James Fenimore Cooper, the son of Quakers, was born in Burlington, New Jersey, on 15th September, 1789. Later the family moved to Cooperstown. He attended Yale but was expelled in his third year for bad behaviour. He spent the next five years at sea, first on a merchant ship and then as a midshipman in the US Navy. By 1811 he had reached the rank of lieutenant.
Cooper left the service on the death of his father. He was now a wealthy man and was able to live the life of a county gentleman. However, some of his investments failed and he decided to turn to writing as a source of income. His first novel, Precaution (1820) was unsuccessful. His next novel, The Spy (1821) did much better and brought him international fame and recognition.
This was followed by The Pilot (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Red Rover (1827), The Wept of Wishton-Wish (1829), The Water Witch (1830), The Bravo (1831), The Heidenmauer (1832), The Headsman (1833), Homeward Bound (1838), Home as Found (1838), The Pathfinder (1840), The Deerslayer (1941), The Two Admirals (1842), Wing and Wing (1842), Miles Wallingford (1844), Satanstone (1845), The Chainbearer (1845) and The Redskins (1846).
Cooper spent much of his life in Europe living in France, England, Switzerland and Italy.
James Fenimore Cooper died on 14th September, 1851.