Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Working on Wednesday: Moses Cooper (1710 - 1805), Entrepeneur

Moses Cooper, my maternal 6th great grandfather, was a life-long resident of Glocester in the county of  Providence, Rhode Island. On December 10, 1732, he and Mary Mathewson were married by a justice of the peace. They had ten children that we know of--I am descended from their daughter Ruth through her natural child Mercy Phillips.

His next recorded appearance is his admission as a freeman of Glocester in 1735 and then there's a long blank period until his name is among those of families in the town of Glocester in June, 1774, and in a 1777 military census. According to a brief history of the town written by Elizabeth A. Perry in 1856, he  supported the Revolution and "was always active in aiding to collect for the soldiers."

Most of what I know about this ancestor comes from a 1991 Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Gordon S. Wood titled The Radicalism of the American Revolution in which the author refers to him in a paragraph on page 172:
"Take, for example, the lifelong struggle of farmer and sawmill owner Moses Cooper of Glocester, Rhode Island, to rise from virtual insignificance to become the richest man in the town. In 1767-68, at the age of sixty, Cooper was finally able to hire sufficient slaves and workers to do all his manual labor; he became a gentleman and justice of the peace, and appended 'Esq.' to his name. Cooper...had made his money from lumber. Yet at the same time Cooper knew only too well the precariousness of his wealth and position and naturally feared what Britain's mercantile restrictions might mean for his lumber sales to the West Indies. What had risen so high could as readily fall: not surprisingly, he became an enthusiastic patriot leader of his tiny town of Glocester."
However, in March of 1788 he was among the freemen who voted against Rhode Island's adoption of the new Constitution.

My ancestor Ruth is one of the 3 free white females in his household in the 1790 U.S. Census. (His name appears about half way down the left hand column.)

[ 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National] 

As his will dated 1802 describes "my daughter Ruth who lives with me" she's undoubtedly the other person living with him in the 1800 U.S. Census.

[ 1800 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Second Census of the United States, 1800. NARA microfilm publication M32 (52 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National]

His death in 1805 was reported not only in the Providence Gazette but also in the Boston Commercial Gazette.

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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