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Compiled and copyright by MJP Grundy, 2003
"Daylily", block print by Anne E. G. Nydam, used by permission.

Three distinct and separate Cooper families settled in the Delaware Valley in the late seventeenth century.
One: in 1697 [sic? 1679?] William Cooper (1632-1710) of Hertfordshire, with his wife Elizabeth and five children settled at Pine Point, West Jersey.
Two: in 1683 James Cooper, probably born in 1645 in Bolton, Lancashire, and ancestor of James Fennimore Cooper, arrived and took up the lot opposite the custom house on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. He married Sarah Dunning of Southampton, Bucks County.
Three: in 1697 William Cooper, also spelled Cowper, of Low Ellington, Yorkshire, arrived and eventually settled in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.[1] The first two lines may be related. We are descended from the third, so that is the line which shall be described in more detail here.

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English Ancestors

WilliamA Cooper is identified as being of Nether or Low Ellington, Yorkshire. This was a hamlet on the river Ure, a township in the parish of Masham, in the union of Leyburn, North Riding of Yorkshire, two and a quarter miles northwest from Masham. Masham is a market town 34 miles northwest and west from York. Anciently it was the home of the baronial family of Scroop. It had a market on Wednesdays, and a court leet. Yarn spinning was the major industry. In 1546 the Masham prebend was the richest in the cathedral of York, valued at £136 when it was disolved by Archbishop Holgate and made a lay-fee. The church building is small but handsome, English style, and the tower has a lofty and elegant spire.[2] Presumably this is the town with which our Coopers would have been familiar.

Children of William and (___) Cooper (probably incomplete):

  1. William Cooper, bapt. 16 Aug. 1649 at Low Ellington;

Immigrant Generation

William1 Cooper, also spelled Couper or Cowper, the son of William, was baptized 16 August 1649 at Low Ellington.[3] He died between 30 Eleventh Month [January] 1709/10 and 17 February 1709/10. William married Thomazine PORTER in 1672. Their first two children were baptized in the local Anglican church in Low Ellington.[4]

Then the family became Quakers, although I have not yet discovered just when or under what circumstances. That William and Tomazine had joined with Friends is indicated by their refusal to have their subsequent children baptized. Besse recorded that William was fined 2/ 6d in 1690,[5] although I have not checked the original record to see if it was for non-payment of tithes. Since this was after the Act of Toleration, and it was no longer illegal for Friends to gather for worship, I am guessing that it was for the conscientious refusal to pay a tax to support a government-established church from which the Coopers received no spiritual sustenance.

When William and Thomazine decided to emigrate, probably to find a place with more economic opportunities for their children, Thomas obtained from Robert BANKS, then parish clerk of Low Ellington, a certificate for the Anglican baptisms of himself and his two eldest children. He also obtained a certificate of removal from Masham Monthly Meeting dated 26 First Month [March] 1699. [See an explanation of Old Style dates.] Both were deposited at Middletown Monthly Meeting, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the family worshipped, and where they had the births of their six younger children recorded.[6]

William purchased 8 First Month [March] 1702/3 a tract of 500 acres in Buckingham Township for £30 from Christopher ATKINSON, who died before the settlement was completed. His widow, Margaret Atkinson of Bellmount, in Bensalem Township, confirmed the sale. William was described as a husbandman of Buckingham. Robert HOLLIS witnessed the sale, and the conveyance was delivered two days later. It was recorded 30 January 1704. The land was part of 1,500 acres "demised" by William PENN to Christopher and John Atkinson of Scotforth, Lancashire, England, on 18 March 1698. Christopher bequeathed 500 acres of it to his wife Margaret, to be disposed of for their younger children. "The parcel beginning at a tree in Thomas Parson's line and adjoining Mercy Phillips' land ... Richard Tucker's corner ... surveyed and laid out for William Cowper in right of said Christopher Atkinson 5/6/1700."[7]

On 5 Ninth Month [November] 1702 William and his family obtained a certificate of removal from Middletown Monthly Meeting to Falls Monthly Meeting. This probably signifies the time of their move from Middletown Township to their own land in Buckingham Township.[8] Although at first glance it seems peculiar to transfer their membership from Middletown to Falls, which was actually farther away from their new home, it makes sense because until 1720 Falls was the monthly meeting to which the particular meeting that worshipped in Buckingham belonged. William and his family attended meeting for worship in Buckingham. The first meetings were held in the Cooper home.[9]

William was unable to write, but that did not prevent him from being a witness, along with his son Jonathan, to the will of John LINTON of Buckingham on 1 Eleventh Month [January] 1708/9. William signed with his mark.[10]

William Cooper's will, identifying himself "of Buckingham", was signed with his mark on 30 Eleventh Month [January] 1709/10, and probated in Philadelphia on 17 February 1709/10. Why it was done in Philadelphia rather than in Bucks County, I do not know. He named his sons Joseph and Henry executors. Mentioned in the will were his children Abraham, Jonathan, Hannah, Ann PEARSON, Sarah BOND, and Israel Cooper, and grandchildren William, Elizabeth, and Henry HUDDLESTON. It was witnessed by Thomas WATTSON [sic], Rebecca LINTON (signed with her mark), and Joseph FELL.[11]

William's burial was recorded by Falls Meeting, as occurring on 3 Twelfth Month [February] Month, 1709/10, although I am guessing that his body would have been buried in Buckingham.[12]

Children of William and Thomazine (__) Cooper:[13]

  1. Elizabeth2 Cooper, bapt. 13 Apr. 1673, at Low Ellington, Yorkshire;[14] d. 1709, Bucks Co., Penna.; m. Henry HUDDLESTONE or Huddleston of Middletown, Bucks Co., who signed his will 16/2m/1706; it was pr. 17 May 1706. In it he mentions his wife Elizabeth and their unborn child, plus children William and Elizabeth. Henry named his father-in-law William as executor.[15]

  2. Henry Cooper, bapt. 17 Jan. 1674 by Anglican rites at Low Ellington;[16] d. 17 May 1709/10 [sic];[17] m. Mary BUCKMATE [or Buckman], 30 Nov. 1703 at the house of William TWINING in Newtown.[18] Their first baby was apparently born sooner than nine months after their marriage, and Mary was disciplined for "unchaste actions" in November 1704. Three Friends were appointed to help her write a paper condemning her action, which was accepted in January 1704/5 and ordered read on First Day after meeting for worship.[19] Henry's will, in which he identified himself as "blacksmith of Newtown", was dated 6/12m [Feb.] 1709, signed by his mark; probated in Philadelphia Co.[20] Mary married for a second time, contrary to Friends discipline, with a non Quaker, Lancelot STRAUGHAN or Strawhen in 1716.[21]
    a) William Cooper
    b) Ruth Cooper
    c) Sarah Cooper, b. ca. 1706; m(1) 1727 Joseph STRICKLAND; m(2) Jonathan ABBOTT;
    d) Henry Cooper, b. 25 Jan. 1706/7; m. Mary SHERMAN;
    e) John Cooper, b. 19 Apr. 1709; d. 3 Jan. 1829; m. 12 Jan. 1769 Esther BUCKMAN; had at least one son.

  3. Jonathan Cooper, b. 11/11m/1676/7; m. 31/3m/1714 Sarah HIBBS;

  4. Hannah Cooper, b. 28/11m [Jan.] 1678/9;

  5. Anne Cooper, b. 18/2m [Apr.] 1681;

  6. Abraham Cooper, twin, b. 24/6m [Aug.] 1684; his widow, Sarah (__), of Warminster Township, dated her will 1/4m/1736; pr 18 March 1736/7; in it she mentioned her son Joseph, and daughters Lucretia & Tabitha; she named as executors Jeremiah LANGHORNE and William HUDDLESTON (presumably a relative of Abraham's oldest sister's husband, perhaps their oldest son). [22]

  7. Sarah Cooper, twin, b. 24/6m [Aug.] 1684;

  8. Joseph Cooper, b. 5/8m [sic] Mar. 1686/7; bur. at Falls MM 14 Sept. 1712

Second Generation in Pennsylvania

Jonathan2 Cooper, son of William and Thomazine, was born 11 Eleventh Month [January] 1676/7 in Low Ellington, Yorkshire. He died 12 February 1769.[23] Jonathan and Sarah Hibbs were married on 31 March 1714. Sarah was born in 1692 in Byberry, the daughter of William and Hannah (HOWELL?) Hibbs of Byberry. Jonathan was 37 and Sarah 22 years old.

Jonathan, along with Joseph KIRKBRIDE and William PAXSON, witnessed a transfer of real estate by James MOON, Sr. and his wife Joan, to their son James "for love and affection", on 10 December 1706.[24] As noted above, Jonathan and his father, William Cooper, witnessed the will of John LINTON of Buckingham on 1 Eleventh Month 1708/9.[25]

In the will of John WEBSTER of Falls Township, signed 13 December 1720, there were a number of Bonds due the estate, meaning money loaned by Webster, including to Jonathan Cooper.[26] As there were no banks, it was common practice for people with surplus cash to loan it to family, friends, and neighbors.

A Sarah Cooper was disciplined by Middletown Meeting, 6/8m/1720, but the infraction was not specified in the minutes. There were three women named Sarah Cooper in the meeting at that time: Jonathan’s wife Sarah (Hibbs), his sister-in-law Sarah the wife of Abraham, and his sister Sarah the twin of Abraham. The meeting agreed that a testimony was to be drawn up against Sarah 4/3m/1721. Nothing more was recorded in the minutes.[27]

Jonathan and Sarah lived in Upper Makefield township.[28] They attended Wrightstown Preparative Meeting which in 1724 was shifted from being part of Middletown Monthly Meeting to Buckingham Monthly Meeting. In 1734 Wrightstown became a monthly meeting in its own right.[29]

Jonathan Cooper shows up in the tax records of Upper Makefield Township. In 1733 he was assessed on £12.3.0, putting him at the low end of the economic scale that ran from £10 to £40, with single men taxed at a flat rate of 9 shillings.[30] A tax in 1742 for the support and maintenance of the poor of the township was assessed at 3d per £1, and Jonathan was again assessed on property valued at £12.3.0.[31]

On 4 Third Month 1752 it was reported in Falls Monthly Meeting for Men that there was "a difference" between Jonathan Cooper, Timothy SMITH, and Alexander RICKEY. Benjamin TAYLOR and Joseph DUER were appointed to get the men face to face and see if it could be amicably resolved. It is unclear if Jonathan Cooper was the father or son, who would have been 30 years old at the time. The next month it was reported that the matter was not yet settled. It disappeared from the minutes for a whole year, then Jonathan reported that his complaint against the other two was still not settled. This time Euclydus LONGSHORE, Thomas JENKS, Samuel CARY, Joseph DUER, and Benjamin TAYLOR were appointed to work on it. The next month it was reported that work was continuing. While this was the only mention of Jonathan Cooper in the Falls Meeting men's minutes, Timothy Smith fairly frequently was appointed to committees and tasks, and Alexander Richey occasionally.[32] Presumably Timothy and Alexander were members of Falls Meeting, which is why Jonathan took his complaint there.

One source offers 12 February 1769 as the day Jonathan died. I have not found his will in either the Bucks or Chester County Will Abstracts, but have not yet had an opportunity to check Philadelphia's.[33]

Children of Jonathan and Sarah (Hibbs) Cooper:[34]

  1. Hannah3 Cooper, b. 10 Apr; 1715; d. 17 Sept. 1716.

  2. Jeremiah Cooper, b. 30 Feb. 1716; d. Feb. 1747/8; m. Rebekah WILDMAN under the care of Middletown MM, June 1741. She gave birth to a baby a month later, the child not being her husband's. She obstinently denied it but the meeting testified against her (disowned her) 6 July 1741.[35] He is not in the Bucks Co. tax records.

  3. Hannah Cooper, b. 29 May 1719; m. 1739 John BALDERSTON;

  4. Jonathan Cooper, b. 1 Sept. 1721; d. 6 May 1797; m. Sarah STOCKDALE. He appears in the tax duplicate in Upper Makefield in 1753 assessed on £10.2.6;[36] in 1754 once for £10.1.3, and once for £10.2.6;[37] in 1762 on £5.0.10;[38] in 1763 on £10.2.6.[39] Jonathan witnessed the will of David LEWIS of Upper Makefield Township on 2/1m/1784.[40]

  5. Phebe Cooper, b. 29 Jan. 1722/3; d. 1724.

Third Generation

Hannah3 Cooper, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah, was born 29 May 1719. She was "of Upper Makefield" when she married John BALDERSTON in 1739.[41]

According to local historian Eastburn Reeder, Hannah and John lived first in North Wales, then in Upper Makefield, and finally settled in Solebury. John purchased there on 21 June 1766 Tract no. 23 which straddles Sugan Road just west of Cuttalossa Creek, from the heirs of William CHADWICK (who had drowned while crossing the Delaware).[42]

While in Upper Makefield, John was taxed at 3.5d per £1 for the support of the poor; his tax base was listed as £12.1.6, in a town where the range was from £8 to £40.[43] A second tax that year for the poor of 3d per £1 assessed him on £12.3.0.[44] In 1762 he was only assessed on £4.0.8[45] and the next year on £4.1.0.[46]

Children of John and Hannah (Cooper) Balderston:[47]

  1. John Balderston4, b. 15 Mar. 1739 [1740]; m. 21 Oct. 1767 Deborah WATSON (1744-1794), daughter of Mark and Ann Watson. In 1762 John was taxed 6/ as a single man in Upper Makefield twp., and in 1763 9/.[48] They had eight children:[49]
    a) Ann Balderston, d.y.
    b) Mark Balderston, twin, d.y.
    c) Mirab Balderston, twin, d.y.
    d) Hannah Balderston, m. 1817 John MITCHELL; no children.
    e) John W. Balderston, m. 1800 Elizabeth BUCKMAN; resided in Fallsington; 7 children.
    f) Ann Balderston, m. 1823 James SIMPSON; no children.
    g) Ezra Balderston, d. as an infant.
    h) Mark Balderston, b. 5m/1/1778 in Solebury; d. 9m/3/1823; m(1) Ann BROWN; m(2) 1805 Elizabeth LLOYD, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (CHILD) Lloyd (Elizabeth d. 10m/17/1826); 8 children.

  2. Jonathan Balderston, b. 26 Dec. 1741; in 1763 he was taxed at the flat rate of 9/ as a single man in Upper Makefield twp.[50]

  3. Bartholemew Balderston, b. 4 Nov. 1743; m. 1 May 1771 Jane ELY, daughter of Joshua.

  4. Timothy Balderston, b. 10 Dec. 1745;

  5. Jacob Balderston, b. 27 Feb. 1748; m. 23 Nov. 1769 Mary KENNARD, dau of Anthony and Elizabeth; rem. to Md.; no children.

  6. Hannah Balderston, b. 11 Mar. 1751; m. William BEANS, son of Timothy and Rebecca; 11 children.

  7. Isaiah Balderston, b. 24 Feb. 1753; d. 5 Sept. 1817; m. Martha ELY; removed to Deer Creek MM, Harford Co., Md. Then in 1792 removed to Baltimore, Md. He was a recorded minister for over 25 years.

  8. Mordicai Balderston, b. 31 Jan. 1755; had a son Jacob, whose son was Joseph.

  9. Sara[h] Balderston, b. 21 Feb. 1757; m. 5 Jan. 1774 Hugh ELY, Jr., brother of Martha Ely who m. Isaiah Balderston, Sarah's brother.

  10. Lydia Balderston, b. 1 July 1759; d. 1820; m. 15 May 1782 Aaron QUINBY;

  11. Mary Balderston, b. 11 June 1762; m. William COOPER; 2 children:
    a) William Cooper,
    b) Mary Cooper, m. __ PETERS.


The story of this particular family continues with the Balderstons and the Elys.


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This page was first posted 6/11/2007, and updated most recently on 12/12/2014.

Notes and Sources

  1. Joseph C. Martindale, A History of Byberry and Moreland, in Philadelphia, Pa. … new and revised edition edited by Albert W. Dudley (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co., n.d.), 242-46 for Martindale’s pastiche of data, and the note with Dudley’s corrections, 246-47.

  2. Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England, 5th ed. (London: 1842), 2:150, 3:250; William W. H. Davis, A History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2nd ed., (1905, reprinted 1975), 1:249.

  3. George E. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants Proved, Disproved and Doubtful (Balt: Gen Pub Co, 1970), 79.

  4. McCracken hypothesizes that the two baptized children may have been the offspring of a first wife. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79. Tomazine’s surname is repeated on many websites, usually with no source cited. One of the more complete sites, “Ancestry of Ripley/Hendricks/Brightman/Balderson/Balderston” by Joseph J. Ripley , updated 4/28/2004, seen 6m/9/2007, cites Marion Balderston and Hortense B. C. Gibson, Balderston Family History (1970). So far I have not been able to borrow a copy of this book, but it sounds quite useful.

  5. Besse’s Sufferings, 2:171 as cited by William W. H. Davis, A History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2nd ed., (1905, reprinted 1975), 1:249.

  6. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79. See also Frederick Adams Vickers, ed., The Compendium of American Genealogy: The Standard Genealogical Encyclopedia of the First Families of America. 7 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968), 7:843. This erroneously claims the first Quaker meeting in Bucks County was held in his home in 1700.

  7. Charlotte D. Meldrum, comp., Abstracts of Bucks County, Pennsylvania Land Records, 1684-1723 (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1995), 108; Davis, Hist. of Bucks Co., 1:249.

  8. William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Richmond, Ind.: Friends Book and Supply House, Distributors, 1938), 2:991.

  9. Davis, Hist. of Bucks Co., 1:249.

  10. Phila. Will Abstracts, 1:277, citing Book C, #182, p. 224.

  11. Phila. Will Abstracts, 1:267, citing Book C, #155, p. 195.

  12. Falls MM rec. (Burials, p. 6).

  13. Middletown Monthly Meeting records, Quaker Collection, Haverford College; also McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79.

  14. familysearch ancestral file v4.19; familyid=10483034.

  15. Phila. Will Abstracts, 1:222, citing Book C, #22, p. 32.

  16. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79.

  17. familysearch ancestral file v4.19; familyid=10483034. May is clearly in one year, and should not have two years with a slash, which is only correct for dates between January 1 and March 24, Old Style.

  18. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79.

  19. Middletown Monthly Meeting Women's minutes, 2/9m/1704, 7/10m/1704, 4/11m/1704 (1:46, 47).

  20. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 79-80.

  21. McCracken, The Welcome Claimants, 80, quoting Middletown Monthly Meeting Women's minute of disownment. See Middletown Monthly Meeting Women's minutes 14/8m/1703, 4/9m/1703, 2/9m/1704, 4/11m/1704, 5/5m/1716, 2/6m/1716. The children are from Rash's Surname Index, accessed 12/12/2014.

  22. Bucks Will Abstracts, 1:66, citing Book 1, p. 233.

  23. “Clifford J. Goodman, Jr.” webpage on worldconnect, seen 9/19/2000.

  24. Meldrum, Abstracts of Bucks County, Pennsylvania Land Records, 1684-1723, 118.

  25. Phila. Will Abstracts, 1:277, citing Book C, #182, p. 224.

  26. Bucks Will Abstracts, 1:23, citing Book 1, p. 52.

  27. Middletown Monthly Meeting Women's minutes 1:95, 96, 98, 99.

  28. Davis, History of Bucks Co., 3:573.

  29. Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism; Being Extracts from the Records of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and the Meetings Composing It . . . (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted by Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 80.

  30. Terry A. McNealy and Frances Wise Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 1693-1778 (Doylestown: Bucks Co. Genealogical Soc., 1982), 5.

  31. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 9.

  32. Falls MM Men's min., 4/3m/1752, 1/4m/1752, ?/3m/1753, 4/4/1753 ( :195, 197, 206, 207). Film #86, Quaker Collection, Haverford College.

  33. “Clifford J. Goodman, Jr.” webpage on worldconnect, seen 9/19/2000. Bucks County Will Abstracts, 1685-1825 and Chester Co. Will Abstracts, 1682-1825 on the web, seen 2m/2004.

  34. Middletown Monthly Meeting records, Quaker Collection. Some dates of death from "Family Data Collection", as seen on, 6m/10/2007.

  35. Middletown Monthly Meeting Women's minutes, 2/2/1741, 7/3m/1741, 4/4/1741, 2/5m/1741, 6/6/1741 (1:197, 198, 199, 200). Jane W. T. Brey, discretely mentions none of this in A Quaker Saga (Philadelphia: Dorrance & Company, 1967), only that she was disowned for marrying "out of meeting", 568. Sometimes one can learn a lot more from reading the primary source documents.

  36. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 15.

  37. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 19, 20.

  38. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 36.

  39. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 39.

  40. Bucks Will Abstracts, 1:401, citing Book 4, p. 379.

  41. Eastburn Reeder, Early Settlers of Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pa. 2nd ed. (Doylestown, Pa.: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1971), 58.

  42. Reeder, Early Settlers, 58, citing Bucks County Deed book 13, page 349.

  43. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 19.

  44. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 20.

  45. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 36.

  46. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 39.

  47. List provided by descendant Lucy T. (Shoe) Merrit, months unclear as to Old Style/New Style. Some wedding dates and spouses from Reeder, Early Settlers, 59.

  48. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 37, 39.

  49. Their line is charted in Jane W. T. Brey, A Quaker Saga (Philadelphia: Dorrance & Company, 1967), 297-98.

  50. McNealy and Waite, Bucks County Tax Records, 39.


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