Cornelius Coot is the founder of Duckburg, Calisota and Toontown Fair (according to a statue in the land at the Magic Kingdom), and Donald Duck's great-great-grandfather. He first appeared as a statue in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #138 in the 1952 story "Statuesque Spendthrifts" by Carl Barks. His statue and legacy has later appeared in many stories.
Although Cornelius was a well-known figure to readers of Disney comics, his character history was not told until Don Rosa began using the character in the late 1980s. The following history is mainly based on Rosa's stories, especially "His Majesty, McDuck", first published in Uncle Scrooge Adventures #14.
Cornelius Coot (1790–1880) was born in 1790 as an American citizen. His ancestors had been in America for quite some time and his roots are believed to reach to the colonization ofJamestown, Virginia (1607) and the voyage of the Mayflower (1620). But he is the first member of the Coot Kin to gain prominence. His birthplace is unknown and before reaching Duckburg he lived the life of a wandering hunter. He apparently had travelled all the way from the East to the West coast making his living by trading furs from the animals he killed.
He arrived at Fort Drake Borough, a British military base in Calisota, in 1818. He was apparently only looking for some trading with the soldiers but his life took some unexpected turns. During his stay the Fort was attacked by Spanish Troops from neighbouring California (the fictional Calisota includes parts historically belonging to Northern California. The Duck's version of California only includes the historical Southern California). The small British garrison couldn't defend the Fort and decided to retreat. In order to save face the commander made a deal with young Cornelius. The Fort would pass into his possession and if the Spanish managed to conquer it, he and his troops had nothing to do with the failure other than trusting an insane American to guard. Cornelius agreed. After the escape of the British he managed to frighten the Spanish away by making them believe that British reinforcements were approaching by popping some sweetcorn. (His statue depicts this fact.) The abandoned Fort was now Cornelius' and he had big plans for it.
He renamed it Fort Duckburg and turned it into a trading camp for hunters. Soon enough, some of them began to settle down and start their own families. Cornelius started his own farm and started acting as the leader of the new settlement. Pretty soon, a village was flourishing in Duckburg. Calisota was annexed into the new independent state of Mexico in 1821 but Duckburg acted much as a city state. It had its own laws, its own leaders and thanks to Cornelius its own defense force. Cornelius organized the citizens that could carry weapons into the Woodchuck Militia, a force that would guard the territory from any threat, including any conflicts with the Native Americans of the area. Cornelius turned the old Fort into the militia's base. He personally supervised the repairs to the Fort and had the idea to build underground tunnels under the Fort so that even during a siege they could still move in and out of the Fort. Besides the tunnel they made, they found an already existing one, the tunnel built by Fenton Penworthy and his men in 1579 after the building of the Fort. Cornelius explored the tunnel. He found the body of the long-dead Fenton and gave him a proper burial. He also found the info on the Guardians of the Lost Library. He found and kept the book written by Fenton and containing the secret knowledge of the Guardians. Apparently he appointed himself the next Guardian, the first after Fenton.
Cornelius had managed to pipe mountain water into the village. He was a capable leader and managed to improve his settlers' relationships with the Native Americans over time and Cornelius himself married an Native American woman. They had their only known son Clinton Coot in 1830. Throughout the rest of his life Cornelius continued to act as Duckburg's unofficial leader. Even when Calisota and neighbouring California were annexed to the USA in 1848 nothing truly changed in Duckburg. When Cornelius died in 1880, aged 90, he was a very respected family man but over time he has been honored by the citizens of Duckburg as the "father" of the city. The old hunter has gained legendary status in Calisota.
A statue of Cornelius holding an ear of corn is present in Mickey's Toontown Fair in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Prior to 1996, the land was known as Mickey's Birthdayland/Starland, and was set in the city of Duckburg.