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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  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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PROF. WILLIAM W. COTTINGHAM. No one can be more deserving of representation in a volume of a biographical nature than those who are devoting their attention to the guiding of the young and the cultivation of their minds and morals. The pleasure ordinarily experienced under such circumstances is in this instance enhanced by the fact that Professor Cottingham is one of the oldest and most successful educators in Pennsylvania. Throughout the entire extent of the United States there are very few who have had charge of the schools of one city for so long a period as has he, and his connection with the schools of Easton has been both long and honorable. During the years that have passed since first he came to this city, he has witnessed wonderful improvements in its commercial, architectural and civic affairs, but in no line has greater progress been made than in that of education, and the high rank gained by the schools of Easton among others of the state is due principally to his intelligent and untiring efforts in their behalf.

At the time of the arrival of Professor Cottingham in Easton in 1853, no public money had been expended for school buildings, but since then there has been erected, on an average, one every four years. The first of these was built in 1854, upon Seventh Street; then another was erected on Second Street, and a third on Seventh Street. The latter was in 1892 vacated and sold. Afterward were erected the Taylor, Lafayette, Centennial, Franklin, Monroe and Cottingham. In 1893 the high school building was erected. These structures are complete in their appointments, and furnished in a manner conducive to the comfort of the children and the convenience of the teacher.

Born in the city where he now resides, the natal day of our subject was December 6, 1824. The family is of English origin, and has for several generations been represented in Maryland, where our subject’s father, Robert, and grandfather, John, were born. The former came to Easton in early manhood, settling here about 1820, and opening a dry-goods store on Northampton Street. Later he removed his establishment to Third Street, where he continued in business until his death. His wife, whose maiden name was Sophia White, was born in Easton, being the daughter of William White, who came from New Jersey to Easton in an early day, and conducted the Easton Hotel, located on the public square. Great-grandfather White was of English birth, but emigrated in early life to America.

The parental family consisted of nine children, seven of whom are living. William W., who is the next to the eldest of the family, was reared in Easton, and received good educational advantages, attending Lafayette College, from which he was graduated in 1848 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The degree of Master of Arts was also conferred upon him. He spent one year in Lafayette College as tutor, after which he entered Princeton College, spending two years in that institution. After a short time in the Haddonfield (N. J.) Academy, he returned to Lafayette College, where he spent one term. In 1853 he was chosen Superintendent of the schools of Easton, which position he has held continuously to the present time.

Upon accepting his present position, Professor Cottingham knew nothing of the school, but he soon found that it needed entire re-organization. He began the work, gradually introducing new improvements and promoting the grade of scholarship until the work was upon a substantial basis. Under his thorough and capable supervision, the sixty-three teachers discharge the work of the sixty different departments with skill, tact and success. Some time ago he secured four scholarships in Lafayette College, and each year one of these is given to the boy who wins the highest scholarship in the high school course. The matter is in charge of the Board of Education, and in this way many youths have been enabled to prosecute their studies at the higher institution of learning.

The high school course is in many respects an ideal one. It includes thorough instruction in higher mathematics, English and classics, together with a business course, and a course preparatory to college. Musical instruction is given in all the schools, and books and other necessary material are furnished the pupils without cost to them. The library, secured through the efforts of Professor Cottingham from the original corporation, is admirably adapted to the needs of girls and boys. In addition to his other duties, he was also Secretary of the School Board for twenty years.

The marriage of Professor Cottingham occurred in 1855, and united him with Miss Louisa C., daughter of John Abel, formerly in the confectionery business in Easton. Since his death the business has been continued by his wife. Four children comprise the family of Professor and Mrs. Cottingham, namely: Mrs. Laura S. Morrison, of Kansas City, Mo.; Mrs. Annie W. Talmage, of St. Louis; Mrs. Jennie B. Vories, of Memphis, Tenn.; and W. W. Cottingham, Jr., of Memphis, Tenn. The children are graduates of the high school, and are well educated and cultured, fitted to adorn the highest station in life.

Socially Professor Cottingham is a Mason, and for twenty -seven years has been Secretary of Dallas Lodge No. 396; he also belongs to Royal Arch Chapter No. 172, Hugh DePayen’s Commandery No. 19, K. T., and affiliates with the Order of American Mechanics. In religious belief he is a Presbyterian, belonging to the First Church of Easton. In the various local and state teachers’ conventions he has been an important factor, serving as President of the state convention held in Harrisburg, and in many other ways promoting the success of the work in which he is so deeply interested.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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