William Couper, employed in the import/export trade, purchased the former home of George Read II in 1846. Having spent a period of his childhood in the former home of George Read I next door, Couper knew the Read House well. Couper, a bachelor, lived in the house with his mother, siblings, and their children. The family made relatively few changes to the exterior and interior architecture of the house and interior spatial layout. Before 1850 a garden was installed beside the Read House, extending back to Second Street. The garden originally consisted of a flower garden next to the house, a kitchen garden at the Second Street end of the property, and an area for trees and shrubs in between. Although plantings have changed over the last 150 years, surviving documentation and recent archaeological excavation suggests the original garden plan survives almost completely intact. Couper also purchased the lot on the north side of the house, which photographic evidence suggests served as a workyard.


William Couper died in 1874, and his brother Samuel in 1886. Thereafter, the estate was managed by Couper’s sister Mary Smith and her two daughters, Ellen and Ester (Hettie). Hettie was the last Couper relative to live in the house, and died in 1919.


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