Cooper family in Woodbridge

Cooper family in Woodbridge
Members of the Cooper family in Woodbridge were buried in the churchyard (now New Haven Green)

John Cooper was born in England in 1612 and came to New Haven with the founders, Eaton and Davenport. When he died in 1689 he was likely buried in the churchyard near the present-day Center Church on the New Haven Green (no gravestone remains).

According to page 139 of The Descendants of Thomas Dickerman:

"New men now came to the front to guide the affairs of the community, and they were men of a different kind ; not so great, but more practical in dealing with everyday concerns. The founders were scholars, thinkers, masters of the deeper things in the life of men and of society. They had many traits of the seer. They saw visions—saw a kingdom to be established of so high an order that the age was not ready for it. This made them visionary. Those who followed were more common men, and for that reason better fitted for what now had to be done.

Of this class was John Cooper. He had been with the colony from the first—planter, freeman and signer of the 'fundamental agreement.' At that time he was a young married man, with one child, to whom others were soon added. His means were small, the amount of his tax being 6 shillings 7 pence. His education was meager ; he signed his name with a mark and all his books were inventoried after his death at 18 shillings. He was not in a position to become engrossed with the profound conceptions of Eaton and Davenport. His view of things was at close range. It was the practical question of making a home and getting bread for his family. And when it came to public interests his eye was caught by the things that were going at loose ends about town and that needed to be brought up and put in order what was wanted then and there to make New Haven a better place to live in, and to advance the welfare of its people. Such a man was of course in the background during this speculative period. But he was to live till this period had passed, growing deeply and strongly into the practical everyday life of the place and making himself master of its affairs. He was to be here fifty years, and during that time perform valuable services for the community which was then acquiring the character it has held until now."

John Cooper married Mary Woolen, who was born in 1614 and died in 1668. Together they had four children:

  1. Hannah, born 1638, married Sgt. John Potter, III (son of John Potter, Jr. and Elizabeth Wood)
  2. Mary, born 1640, married Abraham Dickerman (son of Thomas Dickerman and Eleanor/Ellen Whittington)
  3. Sarah, born bef. 1645, married Samuel Hemingway (son of Ralph Hemmenway and Elizabeth Hewes)
  4. John Jr., born 1642, married Mary Thompson (daughter of John and Dorothy Thompson)

John Cooper Jr. and Mary Thompson had ten children together:

  1. Rebecca, born 1668, died in infancy
  2. Mary, born 1669, died 1671
  3. John, born 1670-71, married Sarah Thomas (daughter of Sgt. John Thomas and Lydia Parker)
  4. Sarah, born 1673, married Capt. John Munson (son of Ens. Samual Munson and Martha Bradley)
  5. Samuel, born 1675, married Elizabeth Smith (daughter of Thomas Smith and Elizabeth Paterson)
  6. Mary (again), born 1677, married Samuel Smith (son of Benjamin Smith and Mary Baldwin)
  7. Abigail, born 1679, married Capt. Isaac Johnson (son of William ‘Wingle’ Johnson and Sarah Hall)
  8. Hannah, born 1681, married John Lines (son of Samuel Lines and Mary Thompson)
  9. Joseph, born 1683, married Abigail _____ (daughter of Thomas Smith and Elizabeth Paterson)
  10. Rebecca (again), born 1689, married Daniel Alling (son of Samuel Alling and Sarah Chidsey)

Of these children of John Cooper Jr., and Mary Thompson, three daughters (Mary, Abigail, and Hannah) settled in what is now Woodbridge and married into local families. Hannah Cooper Lines is buried in the East Side Burying Ground, not far from her sister Abigail's husband Isaac Johnson.