Daniel C. Cooper was born in New Jersey on 20 November 1773 to George and Margaret (neé Lafferty) Cooper. Cooper was a member of the survey party which included Colonel Israel Ludlow and was tasked by Ludlow to cut a road from Fort Hamilton to the Mad River. Cooper did so, and eventually arrived at the site called Dayton. Cooper had purchased a small lot for himself at the corner of Jefferson and Monument, which was then called Water Street, by 1796, and installed a corn mill at Water and Mill Streets.
The 1800s were a busy time for Daniel C. Cooper. Cooper was appointed tax assessor in 1798, but there were hardly any taxes to collect because settlers were leaving the area. Cooper was also Justice of the Peace from 1799 to 1803. In 1801 Cooper purchased 3,000 acres of land from Congress and urged settlers to return to Dayton. He set aside land for schools, cemeteries, churches, and parks, and although he charged two dollars per acre, Cooper allowed settlers to pay as they could, not in exact installments. He also found that the original plat of Dayton as drawn by Colonel Israel Ludlow was not exactly working, so he created the D.C. Cooper plat (PDF) in 1803 which changed the lay of the land in Dayton to the grid we are still familiar with today. He married Sophia Greene Burnett in 1803, was elected to the Ohio State Legislature in 1804, was re to elected in 1807, 1808, and 1817, and served in the Ohio State Senate in 1808, 1815, and 1816 as well.
Although weighed down with responsibility, Cooper remained dedicated to Dayton. As more settlers moved into Dayton he created a new city plat in 1809. He eventually sold his original land to Colonel Robert Patterson and built a large log home for himself and his family on the corner First and Ludlow Streets. He remained in Dayton until his sudden death in 1818. Cooper was helping build a church and had tasked himself with delivering a large bell for the steeple. He struggled to get the large bell into his wheelbarrow, and as he was walking down Second Street a blood vessel burst in his brain killing him instantly. Cooper was interred in Woodland Cemetery in lot 1, section 55.
"Daniel Cooper Articles." Dayton History Books Online.
Plat Book 1, page 1, Daniel C Cooper plat.
Robert W and Mary Davies Steele. Early Dayton. U.B. Publishing House, Dayton, 1896.
Rosalie Yoakam. "Dayton Owes Debt to Pioneer Daniel C. Cooper." Dayton Daily News. 13 May 2010.