COOPER, John & wives

Cliff McCarthy, 2017
Last Updated 17 December 2018

It is said that John Cooper was born in England on July 22, 1610 in London, and that he came to Boston on June 26, 1637 in the Hector though there is no passenger list to verify this. (For a detailed examination of the mythology around the Hector‘s passengers, see:


John Cooper and his wife were original settlers of the New Haven Colony

John Cooper signed the Fundamental Agreement for New Haven Colony on 4 June 1639. He was admitted to the church in 1641 and became a freeman in October 1645. In the first division of land in 1641, he received 9 acres, 1 ¾ acres in the neck, and 3 acres in the meadow with 12 acres in the second division. John Cooper was an iron worker by trade. He held the rank of Corporal in the militia.

John Cooper’s first wife was Mary Woolen (1614-1668), daughter of John Woolen, whom he married in England about 1635. She was admitted to the church at New Haven in 1646, but died in 1668. He married secondly Jane (Woolen) Hall, in about 1679 at New Haven. She was the widow of John Hall of Wallingford, Connecticut. He had no children by his second wife.

John Cooper lived at the corner of Grove and Church Street (see the Brockett Map of 1641). He was granted 54 acres of land in the Third Division of December 1680; his son was granted 37.5 acres. John Cooper, Senr. was listed among the proprietors of New Haven in 1685, along with his son, John Cooper, Jr.

To protect their crops, John Cooper was chosen fence viewer for the settlement, early on. “John Cooper took oath to be faithful to the trust committed to him in viewing fences and pounding cattle, according to the court’s order, without partiality or respect of persons.” In the execution of this trust, he was to inspect all the fences within the two miles “once every week if no extraordinary providence hinder.” Fines could be levied against people whose fences were down.

The colony’s records show on 21 June 1660: After the business had been debated and considered, it was, by the vote of the town, generally declared that upon the jurisdiction’s encouragement, the school shall be settled at New Haven. To which end, Mr. Gilbert, Lieutenant Nash, Sergeant Munson, and John Cooper were appointed a committee to provide a house for the school-master and a school-house, and therein to use their best discretion whether to buy or build…”

On 24 November 1663, John Cooper’s barn and his store of corn went up in flames. His loss was estimated at 100 pounds. A “little girl” by the name of Mary Betts, living as a servant in his household, was charged with the crime and brought to trial in which she stated that she got the idea from her sister Hannah. The incident was apparently a misplaced attempt to get free of her employer. For her crime, Mary Betts was sentenced to be publicly whipped in New Haven and Branford. Further, since her crime was a capital one “deserving death were she of age capable of such censure,” she was required to wear a “halter” visibly about her neck “to prevent the like wicked practice by her or any other for the future.” Additionally, to satisfy John Cooper’s loss, the court ordered that “he may at his liberty sell or dispose of the said Mary as a bond servant, for and toward his satisfaction, to any person and into any place” under English jurisdiction. For Mary, this was like being sold into slavery. For her part, Hannah denied any involvement with the crime and the court could not prove otherwise, though they suspected she was guilty. However, other complaints had come in against Hannah, and proof had been made “of her contemptuous carriage before authority, her frequent lying, and sundry disorders on the Lord’s Day and other crimes.” The court ordered that Hannah be set in the stocks for one hour each in New Haven and in Branford.

John Cooper, Senior died on 23 November 1689 at New Haven.


Children of John COOPER & his first wife

JOHN COOPER died 23 November 1689 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.  He married (1) UNKNOWN.    He married (2) JANE (WOOLEN) HALL. The Children of JOHN COOPER and UNKNOWN are:

i.    HANNAH COOPER, b. 1638, New Haven, CT; d. 15 June 1675, New Haven, CT; m. JOHN POTTER, Abt. 1660; b. 1636; d. 24 December 1706.
ii.    MARY COOPER, b. 1640; d. 4 January 1705/06; m. ABRAHAM DICKERMAN, 2 January 1658/59, Dorchester, MA; b. Abt. 1634, Dorchester, MA; d. 2 November 1711, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.
iii.    JOHN COOPER, JR., b. Bef. 28 May 1642; d. 1703; m. MARY THOMPSON, 27 December 1666, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; d. November 1714.
iv.    SARAH COOPER, b. Abt. 1645; m. SAMUEL HEMINGWAY, 23 March 1661/62, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; b. 15 June 1635; d. 20 September 1711.



  • Atwater, Edward E., History of the Colony of New Haven,  (Journal Publishing Co.:Meriden, CT, 1902; as republished by Heritage Books, Inc.:Bowie, MD, 1989.).
  • Blue, Jon C., Case of the Piglet’s Paternity, The, (Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 2015).
  • Clark, Harmon R., Jr., “John Potter: Some of His Descendants,” manuscript in possession of the author.
  • Cutter, William Richard et al., Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vols 1-4, (Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York; 1911).
  • Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven, CT, (New Haven, CT, 1914).
  • Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, (Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1981).
  • Shepard, James, John Hall of Wallingford, Conn., (Record Press: New Britain, CT, 1902).



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