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Mary Kelso Kelsey Cooper Amberson

  • Birth 1730 Ireland
  • Death 1815 Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina, USA
  • Burial Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 39624965

Mary Kelsey/ Kelso was born 1722 in COUNTY ARMAGH ULSTER, NORTHERN IRELAND.

Hugh Cooper, a weaver by occupation, came to America
with Mary and five children from Northern Ireland, about 1760. Settling in Baskin Ridge, Sommerset County, New Jersey. Mary & Hugh had five children; Robert, Elizabeth, Jane, John, & James.

Mary married Matthew Amberson 1763 and to this union six children were born; William, Jane, Nancy, Margaret, Matthew, Rebecca, & possible oldest daughter who married a Dobson.
Mary's sisters came with her, Eleanor Kelso/Kelsey Gill and her husband Robert David Gill moved on to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Mary and Hugh settled in Baskin Ridge New Jersey and lived there until, Mary & Hugh divorced in 1762. She moved to Franklin County, Pennsylvania and lived with her sister Eleanor. There she met and married Matthew Amberson.

The Ambersons and John Hamilton Families were living on adjoining properties, in Amberson Valley in Pennsylvania.

Mary and Matthew Amberson lived in Pennsylvania until at least 1772. They moved to North Carolina prior to 1774 when Matthew Jr was born. In 1790 the family was listed in Rockingham County, North Carolina.


In THE NEW YORK MERCURY, November 8, 1762, appeared
the following announcement, so important to an
understanding of the Cooper family:

Baskinridge, October 26, 1762
WHEREAS, Mary, the Wife of Hugh Cooper, of Basinridge, in the county of Somerset, hath for some time past behaved
herself very unbecomingly, and that privaely made
away with an confiscated a considerable part of his
personal Estate: I the said Hugh Cooper have therefore been obliged to discharge her from my bed; and as she continues in her state of separation, without any apparent desire of cohabitging again with me, and without the least profession of amendment, I do hereby forbid any person whatsoever to trust her the said Mary Cooper, on my account, for I will not pay any debts of her contracting, after the date hereof.

Matthew and Mary were in Amberson Valley Area by 1763 as he is mentioned In the "The Conococheague Headwaters of Amberson Valley" By Harry E. Foreman. Mathew "Emberson" was on Back Creek, just a few miles further up the Potomac River from Amberson Valley.

Full Context of South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 13
The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research

Mary, after she left her husband Hugh Cooper, evidently was divorced and in 1762 married to Matthew Amberson by whom she had five more children:

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research

1. William (14 Feb 1765-8 May 1849)

2. Jane (27 June 1767-3 July 1831), married (1) James Nichols ( ? - 1795) and (2) William Ardrey (1765-1831)

3. Nancy Agnes (13 Dec 1769-9 Oct 1853), married William Jones (? -1827)

4. Margaret "Peggy" (1771-18 Aug 1857), married Hugh Whiteside ( ? -1798)

5.James Matthew Jr. (1773- ? ). married France Stewart not his brother

Matthew and Mary Amberson moved from Pennsylvania to Rockingham County, North Carolina, and after Hugh Cooper's death to York County, South Carolina, and settled near present Rock Hill. Several of their children are buried in the churchyard of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.

York County, SC, Estates, Apt 36, Pack 1539.

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research
page 133
[p.133] When Margaret (Amberson) Whiteside made her will she proved that she was a half-sister to Robert and John Cooper, for she made bequests "to my three nieces Margaret Johnston, Sarah Thorn, and Jane Fewell."10 Sarah Thorn was the daughter of Jane Nichols, and wife of James Thorn (1793-1873); Jane Fewell was the daughter of Jane Ardrey and wife of James Fewell. Margaret "Peggy" Johnston's small bequest was received for her on January 29, 1859, by her two sons "Wm. D. and John McFadden," thus providing irrefutable proof that Hugh Cooper's sons Robert and John were half-brothers of Margaret "Peggy" (Amberson) Whiteside. There is no way that children of Elizabeth (McCullough) Hamilton, widow of William Hamilton and mother of Jane (Hamilton) Cooper, could have been half-brothers and half-sisters of John Cooper.

Col. Robert M. Cooper went to great lengths to establish that William Hamilton's widow and daughter Jane left New Jersey and lived first in the West Indies, then at Charleston, South Carolina, then in St. Augustine, Florida, then in Philadelphia, and finally got back to New Jersey before 1768 in time for Jane to marry Robert Cooper - all before we had jet planes to globe hop.
The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research
York County, SC, Estates, Apt 36, Pack 1539.

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research
page 133

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research
A persistent legend that Hugh Cooper's wife was a Miss Ellen of Scotland must be dismissed as having no documentary proof, and only possible, if Hugh married her after 1762 and before 1790 when he is shown as having no wife. There is no evidence that he was accompanied to South Carolina by a wife, and one is not named in his will in 1793.

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research

The only conceivable marriage arrangement that would make Capt. Robert Cooper a nephew and first cousin of Jennet (Kelsey) Pagan and her husband Capt. Alexander Pagan; a nephew by marriage of Robert Gill (1720-1804) and of John Mills Sr. (1732-1815), and Alexander Pagan Jr. (1781-1867) and Mary Mills (1789-1852), daughter of Col. John Mills Jr. (1757-1795) second cousins would be that Hugh Cooper and Robert Gill married Kelsey sisters, the former Mary, and the latter Eleanor. These are relationships claimed by older members of the family.

1.Letter to Dr.Lyman C. Draper,November 11,1872. Draper Papers, 4 VV 12.
2. Letter to Draper , November 25, 1872. Draper Papers, 4 V V 16.
3. Letter to James Pagan, May 12, 1870. Draper Papers, 9 V V 88.
4. Original letter in possession (1968) of Col. J. M. Cooper's granddaughter, Mrs. Blanche (Pollock) Pullen, Mount Pleansant, TN.
5. Statement of an acquaintance Joseph Gaston (1763-1836) in Columbia Hive, August 6, 1836. Draper, 9 V V 159.
6. Chester County, SC, Deed Book N, pp. 472-473.
7. Chster County, SC Estates, Apt. 98, Package 1733.
8. Ibid., Aptl. 80, Package 1259.
9. Brent H. Holcomb and Elmer O. Parker, Early Records of Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church, Chester County, SC, 1799-1859, p. 30.
10. York County, SC, Estates, Apt. 36, 1539.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: Amby & Jerry
  • Originally Created by: Sandra
  • Added: 19 Jul 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 39624965
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Kelso Kelsey Cooper Amberson (1730–1815), Find A Grave Memorial no. 39624965, citing Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Amby & Jerry (contributor 47464129) .