Member Biography

Thomas Valentine Cooper 


Portrait: Senate of Pennsylvania

Sessions Office Position District Party
1874       5 Republican
1875       9 Republican
1876       9 Republican
1877     President Pro Tempore 9 Republican
1878     President Pro Tempore 9 Republican
1879-1880       9 Republican
1881-1882       9 Republican
1883-1884       9 Republican
1885-1886       9 Republican
1887-1888       9 Republican
1889-1890       9 Republican

COUNTIES: Chester, Delaware  


01/16/1835 - 12/19/1909

First Lieutenant Thomas Valentine Cooper (R5) Delaware County 1874 (R9) Delaware County 1875-1889

Early Life: 

First Lieutenant Thomas Valentine Cooper, born January 16, 1835, Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio; son of Dr. J.W. and Hinrietta Fields Cooper; public school education; printer; first lieutenant, Company C, 26th and 4th Regiments, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Civil War, 1861-1864; editor, Delaware County American, 1855-1909; elected, delegate, Republican National Convention, 1860; appointed, director of government printing, Soldier’s Journal, 1865; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1870 unsuccessful campaign for reelection, House, 1871; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1872, not a candidate for reelection, 1873; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1874-1889, elected, Senate President pro tempore, 1877-1878; presidential appointee, collector, Port of Philadelphia, 1889-1894; reelected, Republican, House of Representatives, 1901-1909, elected, House Majority Leader,1901-1902, 1905-1906 sessions; married, Ada F. Turner Cooper, six children; died, December 19, 1909, while in office of House of Representatives, Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania; interment, Media Cemetery, Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  

Early Career:

Civil War, 1861-1864, three months, first lieutenant, 4th Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment, three years, private, Company C, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, served in thirteen engagements, including Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member, George W. Bartram Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Bradbury Post, Grand Army of the Republic.


Cooper, Thomas V.  Campaign of '84: Biographies of James G. Blaine, the Republican candidate for president, and John A. Logan, the Republican candidate for vice-president, with a description of the leading issues and the proceedings of the national convention. Burlington, Iowa: I.F. Segner, 1884.
Cooper, Thomas V.  Pennsylvania’s Memorial Days, September 11 and 12, 1889: The 26th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Self-published, ca. 1889
Cooper, Thomas V.  American Politics (non-partisan) from the beginning to date.  Philadelphia: Fireside Publishing Company, 1892.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Chairman, Republican State Committee, 1881-1886.

Elected, Delegate, Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, 1860.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1870, unsuccessful campaign for reelection, House, 1871.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1872, not a candidate for reelection 1873.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 5th district, Delaware County, 1874.

Elected, Republican, House of Representatives, 1901-1909, elected, Majority Leader, 1901-1902, 1905-1906; died in office, December 19, 1909.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 5th district, Delaware County, 1874. 

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 9th district, 1875-1889; elected, Senate President pro tempore, 1877-1878; committee assignments, Congressional Apportionments, Finance, Municipal Affairs, Public Printing, Railroads; resigned after the close of the 1889 session. 

Continued Government Service/National Politics: 

Appointment, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, director of government printing, 1865.

Presidential appointee, President Benjamin Harrison, collector, Port of Philadelphia 1889-1894.  

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (


Once heard he was called Senator “Red Headed and Hopeful” Tom Cooper

Married, Ada F. Turner in 1858, daughter of a Philadelphia publisher and grandniece of Betsy Ross.

Falling asleep, while preparing a Christmas list for his relatives, the Honorable Thomas V. Cooper died in his Media home after a freak fire engulfed his room, most likely, the result of an ash falling from his trademark cigar.


MEDIA, Pa., Dec. 19.-Thomas Valentine Cooper, a member of the Pennsylvania legislature and formerly collector of the port of Philadelphia, was burned to death at his home here today. While smoking a cigar in his home he either fell asleep or suffered a paralytic stroke. His bathrobe became ignited and he was dead before the flames were discovered by members of his family. Firemen found Mr. Cooper's body lying on a blazing couch in the sitting room. It was badly charred. He was 74 years old.  

The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN December 20, 1909


Cox, Harold "Senate Members "C"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1888). Cochran, T.B., (Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 670, 676-678, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 642.

Thomas Valentine Cooper (1835-1909) - Find a Grave Memorial