“Cooper had no predecessor and no successor in his own field of fiction; he stood alone,—he was a creator, and his ‘Natty’ will stand forever as the most original of pioneer characters,” wrote Henry M. Alden.
With Rev. Mr. Birdsall, many think the time has come when the fame of Fenimore Cooper demands a world-given memorial in Cooperstown. A lifelike statue from an artist’s chisel should show the “’prose poet of the silent woods and stormy seas’ seated, pen in hand, gazing dreamily for inspiration over the Glimmerglass, where the phantom creatures of his genius brood.” Let it stand, a new-world literary shrine, in the square fronting the Old-Hall home site, which northward commands a sweeping view of his “little lake” and a side glimpse of lofty Leatherstocking of the tree-tops—not far away.
[Illustration: LEATHERSTOCKING MONUMENT.]
And strewn the
flowers of memory here.
For one whose fingers, years ago,
Their work well finished, dropped the pen;
Whose master mind from land to sea
Drew forms heroic, long to be
The living types of vanished men.
[Illustration: GEORGE POMEROY KEESE.]
GEORGE POMEROY KEESE
On April 22, 1910, and at the home of his son, Theodore Keese, in New York City, came the Spirit-Land call to the late George Pomeroy Keese. It was also in New York City that he was born, on January 14, 1828. His parents were Theodore Keese and Georgiann Pomeroy, niece of James Fenimore Cooper. This grand-nephew of the author enjoyed four score and more of full, active years, mostly spent in Cooperstown, N.Y., and he gave of them generously in serving the welfare and interests of that village. There Edgewater, Mr. Keese’s attractive home, overlooks, from the south, the entire length and beauty of Lake Otsego, whose waters and banks are haunted by Cooper’s creations.
From Mr. Keese is quoted:
“George Pomeroy of Northampton, Mass., came to Cooperstown among the early settlers in 1801. He married the only living sister of Fenimore Cooper in 1803.
“His ancestry dates back to the coming of William the Conqueror from Normandy in 1066. At this time Ralph de Pomeroy accompanied the Norman duke to England and rendered him such valuable assistance that he received from him no fewer than fifty-eight lordships in Devonshire as a reward for his services. Selecting a favorable site, not far from the banks of the river Dart, Ralph de Pomeroy erected thereon the celebrated stronghold that now bears the family name of Berry-Pomeroy Castle, the stately ruins of which are still visited as one of the most picturesque objects of interest in the county of Devon.
“The descendants of the founder of Berry-Pomeroy retained the lands belonging to their ancestral home until the time of Edward VI, when at the period of the rebellion of that date they were seized by the crown and bestowed upon the haughty Lord Protector Somerset in whose family they still remain.”