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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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PETER COOPER. So rapidly has this country developed, and to such an extent has it become the home of the descendants of all nations of the earth, that those who can trace their ancestry back to the old Colonial time, when New York and Pennsylvania were yet the borderland between European civilization and native barbarity, are rarely met, and when one is found his biography is of more than usual interest. Mr. Cooper came from Revolutionary and fighting stock. His grandfather served in the seven years conflict that made the United States a nation, while his father took part as a volunteer in the second war with England, in 1812, and received his death wound at Sacket’s Harbor, N. Y., in 1813.

The subject of this sketch, a retired farmer of Catharine, was born at Enfield, Tompkins County, N. Y., May 22, 1812, a son of Peter and Polly (Doolittle) Cooper. His father was a native of New Jersey, while his mother was from Connecticut. Peter was the youngest member in a family of four, and is the only survivor. When two years of age he was taken into the family of his grandfather, John Cooper, at the old homestead, where he continued to live until he was ten years of age. He has a very vivid recollection of those early days and of the reminiscences of the War of the Revolution, which he has often heard from his grandfather’s lips. To him the story of forced marches over hard, frozen roads, of shoeless soldiers, whose bloody footprints attested their devotion to the cause of liberty and right, had a significance not appreciated by those who only read the story from printed pages. The grandfather was at Valley Forge and knew well the great leader whose name has passed into history as the “father of his country.”

When ten years of age our subject went to live with Solomon Booth, who had a farm in Chemung County, but which is now included in Schuyler County. There he remained two years. At the age of fifteen he became an apprentice under William Jaycocks, a tanner in Tompkins County, where he remained for six years, or until he was twenty-one years of age. His brother John was also an apprentice at the same place. Leaving the service of Mr. Jaycocks, our subject went to the village of Catharine and hired himself to Edward Lyon, who owned a tannery at that place, and remained with him for one year. At the end of that time he retired from the tanning business, but two years later purchased the tannery from Mr. Lyon and associated his brother John with him. They continued the business at Catharine for seven or eight years, when our subject retired from the business, selling his interest to his brother, and took up his home on a farm. Mr. Cooper owns one hundred and thirty acres of choice farming land, and being a thorough business man, farming with him was of course a success.

In politics our subject is a straight Democrat, having cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson, and has constantly maintained Democratic principles ever since. Mr. Cooper has been married three times. His first wife, Susan Gushing, died a few years after their marriage, leaving no children. By his marriage with Sarah Ostorhaut, five children were born. Walter, the eldest, is now a resident of Elmira, N. Y. Susan is the wife of Burrett Pierce, a farmer near Catharine. Jennette is single and still lives at home. Oscar at his death left three children. Velmot, the youngest member of the family, died leaving one child.

Mr. Cooper’s third union was with Margaret Ostorhaut, a sister of his second wife. Together they are treading the decline of life’s pathway, enjoying the fruits of the labor of former days. Mr. Cooper is a worthy example of what perseverance and economy will accomplish. He began with nothing but his courage and ability to work, and is now rounding out his life in comfort, with plenty of this world’s goods to supply all his earthly wants and leave a heritage for his posterity. Mr. Cooper is a member of the Episcopal Church, and during these years of toil has also laid up everlasting treasures.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

View additional Schuyler County, New York family biographies here: Schuyler County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Schuyler County, New York here: Schuyler County, New York Map

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