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This biography is from ANNALS of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, 1806-1851, by Sylvester D. Willard, M. D.

Charles Dekay Cooper

Charles Dekay Cooper was the fourth of ten sons of Dr. Ananias Cooper, and was born in Rhinebeck, Dutchess county, in this state, in the year 1769. His ancestors were among the early emigrants from England to Massachusetts, mention having been made of them as early as 1634. His father was a practicing physician in Rhinebeck, and an active whig during the revolution.

Dr. Cooper commenced the study of his profession under the direction of his father, and was afterwards a student of Dr. Crosby, in New York city. His favorite study was anatomy, and he made several anatomical preparations. He had likewise a taste for surgery, but there is only the account of one minor operation preserved.

Dr. Cooper came to Albany in 1792. Two years afterwards he was appointed by Gov. George Clinton and the Council of Appointment, health officer to the port of Albany. The yellow fever was at that time raging in New York, and a quarantine was accordingly established four miles below this city, and for a length of time "vessels having on board, or suspected of having on board, any person or persons infected with any infectious distemper," were detained at that point.

Dr. Cooper became a member of this Society in 1808. Whatever might have been his attachment to his profession, he did not long continue in professional life, but entered the arena of politics, indeed as early as 1804 "he was warmly engaged as an active partisan in the electioneering campaign between Burr and Lewis." *

In 1806 he had been appointed judge of the county courts, and in 1808 he succeeded Richard Lush as clerk of the county, and was re-appointed to this office in 1809, 1811, 1812 and 1815.

He occupied from time to time other political offices, and among them was that of Indian agent. From the Indians of Oneida and Onondaga Castle, to whom he was commissioned with moneys to pay their yearly annuities from the state, he received the name, "Tight Blanket," because he held the money as securely as they did their blanket.

In 1817 he was appointed by Lieutenant Gov. Tayler and the Council of Appointment, who came into executive authority, on the resignation of Governor Tompkins, secretary of state.

Dr. Cooper was a man of great physical force and power of endurance. He was well skilled in the art of fencing, and so quick in his movements that he could seize a designated pigeon in the street before it could rise from the ground, a feat that he has often performed. He excelled in the athletic sports, and could run with remarkable speed. It is said of his brother, Capt. William Cooper, that he could run half a mile and return quicker than any horse.

Dr. Cooper died suddenly on the 31st of January, 1831, in the sixty-third year of his age.

Says that distinguished political historian, Hon. Jabez D. Hammond, of Dr. Cooper, "I knew him long and well as a remarkably correct man, and a man of integrity and honor." **

Dr. Cooper married the adopted daughter of Governor Taylor by whom he had three sons: one of whom is Major General John Tayler Cooper, of Albany, a graduate of Union College in 1818. Another. Rev. Charles D. Cooper, an Episcopal clergyman in Philadelphia.

* Hammond's Political History of New York, vol. I, page 211. ** Vol. I, page 440.

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