Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of North and South Americans >> Peter Cooper





American’s Four United Republics: Discovery-Based Curriculum

For more information go to Historic.us

 

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





Virtual American Biographies

Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories. Virtualology.com welcomes editing and additions to the biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor Click Here or e-mail Virtualology here.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 





Click on an image to view full-sized

Peter Cooper

COOPER, Peter, philanthropist, born in New York City, 12 February, 1791; died there, 4 April, 1883. His mother was the daughter of John Campbell, a successful potter in New York, who became an alderman of the City and was deputy quartermaster during the Revolutionary war. Mr. Campbell contributed liberally to the cause of American freedom, and received in acknowledgment a large quantity of Continental money. On his father's side Mr. Cooper was of English descent, and both his grandfather and his father served in the Continental army. The latter, who became a lieutenant during the war, was a hatter, and at the close of the war resumed his business in New York. Peter was born about this period, and he remembered the time when, as a boy, he was employed to pull hair out of rabbit-skins, his head being just above the table. He continued to assist his father until he was competent to make every part of a hat. The elder Cooper determined to live in the country, and removed to Peekskill, where he began the brewing of ale, and the son was employed in delivering the kegs. Later, Catskill became the residence of the family, and the hatter's business was resumed, to which was added the making of bricks. Peter was made useful in carrying and handling the bricks for the drying process. These occupations proved unsatisfactory, and another move was made, this time to Brooklyn, where the father and son again made hats for a time, after which they settled in Newburg and erected a brewery. Peter meanwhile acquired such knowledge as he could, for his schooling appears to have been limited to half days during a single year. In 1808 he was apprenticed to John Woodward, a carriage-maker, with whom he remained until he became of age. During this time he constructed a machine for mortising the hubs of carriages, which proved of great value to his employer, who at the expiration of his service offered to establish him in business. This, however, was declined, and Cooper settled in Hempstead, L. I., where for three years he manufactured machines for shearing cloth, and at the end of this engagement he had saved sufficient money to buy the right of the state of New York for a machine for shearing cloth. He began the manufacture of these machines on his own account, and the enterprise was thoroughly successful, largely owing to the interruption of commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain by the war, and also on account of an improvement devised by himself. At this time he married Sarah Bedel, of Hempstead, who proved a devoted wife during fifty-six years of married life. With the cessation of hostilities the value of this business depreciated, and he turned his shop into a factory for making cabinet-ware. Later he entered the grocery business in New York, but soon afterward the profits acquired by the sale of his machines and in the grocer's shop were invested in a glue-factory, which he purchased with all its stock and buildings then on a lease of twenty-one years. These works were situated on the "old middle road," between 31st and 34th streets, New York City, and there the business of manufacturing glue, oil, whiting, prepared chalk, and isinglass was continued until the expiration of the lease, when he bought ten acres of ground in Naspeth avenue, Brooklyn, where the business has since been continued. In 1828 he purchased 3,000 acres of land within the City limits of Baltimore, and he erected the Canton iron-works, which was the first of his great enterprises tending toward the development of the iron industry in the United States. This purchase was made at a time when there was great commercial excitement in Baltimore on account of the building of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. It was feared that the many short turns in the road would make it useless for locomotive purposes. The stockholders had become discouraged, and the project seemed about to be abandoned, when Peter Cooper came to the rescue and built, in 1830, from his own designs, the first locomotive engine ever constructed on this continent. By its means the possibility of building railroads in a country with little capital, and with immense stretches of very rough surface, in order to connect commercial centres, without the deep cuts, tunnelling, and levelling that short curves might avoid, was demonstrated, and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was saved from bankruptcy. He determined to dispose of his Baltimore property, and a portion of it was purchased by Horace Abbott, which in time became the Abbott iron tom pany. The remainder was sold to Boston capitalists, who formed the Canton iron company. He received part of his payment in stock at $44 a share, which he subsequently sold at $230. He then returned to New York and built an iron-factory, which he afterward turned into a rolling-mill, where he first successfully applied anthracite coal to the puddling of iron, and made iron wire for several years. In 1845 he built three blast-furnaces in Phillipsburg, near Easton, Pennsylvania, which were the largest then known, and, to control the manufacture completely, purchased the Andover iron-mines, and built a railroad through a rough country for eight miles, in order to bring the ore down to the furnaces at the rate of 40,000 tons a year. Later the entire plant was combined into a corporation known as the Ironton iron-works. At these works the first wrought-iron beams for fireproof buildings were made. The laying of the Atlantic cable was largely due to his persistent efforts in its behalf. He was the first and only president of the New York, Newfoundland, and London telegraph company. It became necessary to expend large sums in its construction, much of which came directly from Mr. Cooper. The banks were unwilling to trust the corporation, and invariably drew on the president as claims matured. The company was frequently in his debt to the extent of ten to twenty thousand dollars. The first cable lasted scarcely a month, and a dozen years elapsed before the original investments were recovered. In spite of public ridicule and the refusal of capitalists to risk their money, Nr. Cooper clung to the idea, until at last a cable became an assured success. The original stock, which had been placed on the market at $50 a share, was then disposed of to an English company at $90. Mr. Cooper served in both branches of the New York common council, and strongly advocated, when a member of that body, the construction of the Croton aqueduct. He was a trustee in the Public school society first founded to promote public schools in New York, and when that body was merged in the board of education he became a school commissioner. But he is most widely known in connection with his interest in industrial education. His own experience early impressed him with the necessity of affording proper means for the instruction of the working classes. With this idea he secured the property at the junction of 3d and 4th avenues, between 7th and 8th streets, and from plans of his own making "The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art" was erected. In 1854 the corner-stone was laid, and five years later, on its completion, a deed was executed in fee simple transferring this property to six trustees, who were empowered to devote all rents and income from it "to the instruction and improvement of the inhabitants of the United States in practical science and art." A scheme of education was devised which should include "instruction in branches of knowledge by which men and women earn their daily bread; in laws of health and improvement of the sanitary conditions of families as well as individuals: in social and political science, whereby communities and nations advance in virtue, wealth, and power; and finally in matters which affect the eye, the ear, and the imagination, and furnish a basis for recreation to the working classes." Free courses of lectures on social and political science were established; also a free reading-room ; and collections of works of art and science were provided, and a school for instruction of women in the art of design by which they may gain an honorable livelihood. When sufficient funds have been collected, it is proposed to establish a polytechnic school. The building with its improvements has cost thus far nearly $750,000. It has an endowment of $200,000 for the support of the free reading-room and library. The annual expense of the schools varies from $50,000 to $60,000, and is derived from the rents of such portions of the edifice as are used for business purposes. Mr. Cooper devoted much careful thought and study to questions of finance and good government. He became active in the greenback movement, and published several political pamphlets on the subject of the currency. In 1876 he was nominated by the national independent party as their candidate for president, and in the election that followed received nearly 100,000 votes. In all affairs concerning the advancement and welfare of New York City Mr. Cooper was prominent. No public gathering seemed complete without his well-known presence on the platform. He was a regular attendant of the Unitarian church, and liberal in his donations to charitable institutions, to many of which he held the relation of trustee. His various addresses and speeches were collected in a volume entitled "Ideas for a Science of Good Government, in Addresses, Letters, and Articles on a Strictly National Currency, Tariff, and Civil Service" (New York, 1883).--His son, Edward, merchant, born in New York City, 26 October, 1824. He was educated in public schools and then in Colum-bin, but left College without completing the course, and received the honorary degree of A. M. in 1845. Afterward he spent some time in travel abroad, and on his return to the United States became, with his College friend and brother-in-law, Abram S. Hewitt, a member of the firm of Cooper, Hewitt & county Gradually he was associated with his father in his various enterprises, and much of the active management of affairs fell to him. The success of the Trenton iron-works and of the New Jersey iron-and steel-works is largely due to his painstaking, and careful study of the subject. Long experience as an iron-master has made him a practical and scientific metallurgical engineer. Mr. Cooper has also been prominent as a democrat in New York local politics, and was mayor from 1879 till 1881. He was also an active member of the committee of seventy, through whose efforts the Tweed ring was overthrown. In national politics he has served as a delegate to the Charleston convention of 1860, and to the St. Louis convention of 1876. He is a trustee of the Cooper union, and is a member of various corporations. --Peter Cooper's nephew, James Campbell, mineralogist, born in Harford county, near Baltimore, Maryland, 16 June, 1832, a son of James Cooper, received a limited education in the public schools of Baltimore, and for many years has been connected with the development of western railways, holding various offices. Mr. Cooper has taken great interest in the study of geology and mineralogy, and has collected, located, and named fully 50,000 specimens of minerals, including a collection of 9,000 specimens that he presented the University of Kansas. He has added much to the knowledge of the mineral resources of the United States, and has contributed extensively to newspapers and periodical literature concerning his discoveries. Mr. Cooper is a member of several scientific associations.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

Start your search on Peter Cooper.


 

 


 


Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

Search:

About Us

 

 

Image Use

Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

Childhood & Family

Click Here

 

Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Mayflower Compact

Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

Treaty of Versailles

United Nations Charter

United States In Congress Assembled

US Bill of Rights

United States Constitution

US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

Battle of New Orleans

Battle of Yorktown

Cabinet Room

Civil Rights Movement

Federalist Papers

Fort Duquesne

Fort Necessity

Fort Pitt

French and Indian War

Jumonville Glen

Manhattan Project

Stamp Act Congress

Underground Railroad

US Hospitality

US Presidency

Vietnam War

War of 1812

West Virginia Statehood

Woman Suffrage

World War I

World War II

 

Is it Real?



Declaration of
Independence

Digital Authentication
Click Here

 

America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

Thomas McKean

John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
U.S. Presidents

George Washington 

John Adams
Federalist Party


Thomas Jefferson
Republican* Party

James Madison 
Republican* Party

James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
Republican* Party
Whig Party

Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
Democratic Party


Martin Van Buren
Democratic Party

William H. Harrison
Whig Party

John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
Republican Party

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
Republican Party

Chester Arthur 
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
Republican Party

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican Party

William H. Taft 
Republican Party

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party

Warren G. Harding 
Republican Party

Calvin Coolidge
Republican Party

Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

Please Visit

Forgotten Founders
Norwich, CT

Annapolis Continental
Congress Society


U.S. Presidency
& Hospitality

© Stan Klos

 

 

 

 


Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum