William Cooley (1783–1863) was one of the first American settlers in what is now Broward County, in the US state of Florida. Born in Maryland, he arrived in East Florida as part of a military expedition. He was a farmer in the northern part of the territory before moving south, where he traded with local Indians and continued to farm. He sided with natives in a land dispute against a merchant who had received a large grant from the King of Spain and was evicting them from their lands. Unhappy with the actions of the Spanish, he moved to the New River in 1826, an area removed from their influence. He was a salvager and farmer, cultivating and milling arrowroot. His fortune and influence grew, and he became the first judge in the settlement. His decision in a case involving the murder of a local chief antagonized the natives, who attacked the settlement in revenge in January 1836 during the Second Seminole War, killing his family. Cooley was one of the first city councilors of Tampa, serving three terms.
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