COPE, Thomas P. (Thomas Pim), 1768-1854

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Thomas P. Cope
Thomas pim cope.jpg
Engraving of Thomas P. Cope, 1849.
Alternative names: Thomas Cope, Thomas Pim Cope, T.P. Cope
Gender: M
Birth date: 26 August 1768
Place of birth: Lancaster County, Pa.
Death date: 22 November 1854
Place of death: Philadelphia, Pa.
Nationality: US
Meeting: Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Western District
Branch: Orthodox
Disowned date: N/A
Spouse(s): Mary Drinker (m. 17 May 1792); Elizabeth Stokes (Waln) (m. 9 April 1829)
Children: Henry (b. 1793), Francis (b. 1794), Caroline (b. 1796), William Drinker (b. 1798), Caroline Rachel (b. 1802), Alfred (b. 1806), Eleanor (b. 1807)

Thomas Pim Cope (August 26, 1768 - November 22, 1854) was a merchant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Personal Life

Thomas Pim Cope was born on August 26, 1768 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Caleb and Mary (nee Mendenhall) Cope. In 1784 or 1785, he apprenticed himself to his uncle Thomas Mendenhall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cope married Mary Drinker of Philadelphia on May 17, 1792. The two had four sons and thee daughters. In 1797, Cope helped in the yellow fever times. He contracted the disease, but recovered. T.P. Cope and family transferred membership from Philadelphia Monthly Meeting to the Monthly Meeting for the Northern District, but transferred back in 1806. In 1838, Cope transferred membership to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District. His diary was published by Eliza Cope Harrison under the title of "Philadelphia Merchant."


By 1790, Thomas Pim Cope partnered with his employer and became a merchant. His first ship, the "Lancaster" was built in 1807. This was followed by a large fleet, all identified by a black maltese cross on the mainsail. In 1821, he established his packet line between Philadelphia and Liverpool, England. The success of his various enterprises led to his owning the largest mercantile business in America at the time. At his death, the business was carried on by his sons, Henry and Alfred, trading as H&A Cope. In 1880, it was sold in the face of rising competition from steamships. Thomas Cope's estate was valued at $1,474,000, much of which was left to Henry and Alfred since they were running the business. He favored the constructions of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Cope also became President of Philadelphia's Board of Trade.

Other Work

By securing Lemon Hill in 1797, Cope helped to create Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. In 1801, he helped to furnish abundant water from the Schuylkill. In 1837, Cope delivered a speech to Constitutional Convention of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which would later be published. He was on the first board of Haverford College.

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