GENEALOGY Research Paper of E. Rowland Dawson

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The following information has been obtained from research papers of E. Rowland Dawson. According to the cover page accompanying the Dawson papers, the information was prepared for "those Dawsons who are descended from General Cooper".

This particular paper, titled GENEALOGY, is in regard to General Fitzhugh Lee’s Sketch of the Late General S. Cooper as it appeared in the Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume III, January to June, 1877, published in Richmond, VA by Rev. J. William Jones, D.D., Secretary Southern Historical Society, Pages 269-274.

 For years it has been written that General Samuel Cooper was a direct descendent of the Reverend Samuel Cooper of Boston. Much of this belief stemmed from the paper prepared by General Fitzhugh Lee and published in the Southern Historical Society Papers. E. Rowland Dawson, in his unpublished papers, has added some interesting discovery with regards to General Cooper’s family including some documented facts about General Cooper’s father’s military career.

 With the permission of S. Cooper Dawson, Jr., great grandson of General Cooper, this paper, GENEALOGY by E. Rowland Dawson, has been released to General Cooper’s Web Site for publication. Every attempt has been made to reproduce E. Rowland Dawson’s research papers in the exact form as presented to General Cooper’s Web Site by S. Cooper Dawson, Jr.:

 

GENEALOGY

By: E. Rowland Dawson

 "Fitzhugh Lee says General Cooper’s great grandfather came to Massachusetts from Dorsetshire, and had three sons, John, Samuel, and William Cooper. ‘John became the grandfather of General Cooper. Samuel was president of Harvard University, and during the Revolution, was proscribed by Gage and had a reward offered for his head.’

"Massachusetts records show that a number of persons named Cooper entered the colony from England, and that by the time of the Revolution, several families of the name were well established and numerous. One family was very prominent in what has been called the "emancipation" of Massachusetts from the vicious practices of the Puritan theocracy. The most distinguished member of this family was the Reverend Samuel Cooper.

"The Reverend Samuel Cooper, pastor of the Brattle Street Church, ranks as one of Boston’s great among preachers. He made his "Manifesto Church" the largest in the city; he was offered the presidency of Harvard, and refused it; he was a friend of Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and had John Hancock in his congregation; he was active in the Revolutionary cause, especially in writing pamphlets; the British ordered his arrest, but he escaped from the city and remained away until the British evacuated.

"This is evidently the Samuel Cooper whom Fitzhugh Lee referred to. He was never president of Harvard, but the post was offered him. While there is no record of a reward having been offered for his head, as if he were an Indian, the more likely ordering of his arrest is on record. Furthermore, the Reverend Samuel Cooper had a brother named William, who occupied the post of Town Clerk in Boston for fifty years.

"There is no trace, however, of a brother named John, and the "Memorial History of Bost, 1630-1880" has this to say on page 558 of Volume II:

Of another family (than that of Reverend Samuel Cooper) was Captain Samuel Cooper, born in Boston in 1755, a soldier of the Revolution who removed to New York and died about 1839, and who was the father of General Samuel Cooper, Adjutant General of the United States, and of the Confederate States.

(Editor’s note: The correct date of birth is June 13, 1757. The correct date of death is August 19, 1840. General Cooper’s correct title both USA and CSA was Adjutant and Inspector General. Adjutant General was normally used for brevity purpose only.)

"The credibility of the connection with the Reverend Samuel Cooper which is indicated by Fitzhugh Lee is, therefore, questionable. Identification of Captain or Major Cooper of the Revolution as a member of a particular Boston family of Coopers does not seem possible in Baltimore, but the Captain or Major appears established as the father of General Samuel Cooper beyond doubt. His service is on record among the officers of the Continental Army as "Captain Samuel Cooper (Mass.)" as follows:

"February, 1777 2nd Lieutenant in Colonel John Crane’s Artillery Regiment (3rd Continental Artillery), apparently in Captain Jotham Drupe’s company.

"May, 1778 Became Regimental Quartermaster.

"June, 1783 Became Adjutant, Crops of Artillery Died August 19, 1840.

"His name is not on the roster of the rebels ordered to disperse by Major Pitcairn at Lexington, and Fitzhugh Lee’s quotation of the inscription on his tombstone is the only record of battles in which he participated.

"Fitzhugh Lee mentions a brother named George who ‘graduated at West Point, but afterwards went into the Navy.’ A George Cooper, born in New York and appointed from New York, graduated from West Point on March 1, 1815 (nine months before Samuel Cooper graduated). He resigned from the Army on February 15, 1817, and died in New York in 1825 (Cullum’s Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy)."