The Cornelius Coot statue first appeared in the Donald Duck comic Statuesque Spendthrifts (1952) by Carl Barks. Here, Scrooge and the rich Maharajah of Howduyustan compete at building the largest statue of Duckburg's founder, eventually leading to Duckburg being filled with gigantic statues of its founder. Barks re-used Coot's statue in Statues of Limitations (1957) and The Day Duckburg Got Dyed (1957). Afterwards, Coot's statues became a recurring location in many comics taking place in Duckburg.
Cornelius first appeared in person in a flashback in the Italian Disney comic Paperino e la "graande impresa", first published in 1988, in which he looked similar to Donald. A year later, Don Rosa used Cornelius in His Majesty, McDuck, telling the story about how Cornelius became the owner of Fort Duckburg. In a flashback, we learn that, during Cornelius's stay in Fort Drake Borough, it was attacked by Spanish soldiers. When the British were incapable of defending the fort, the commander made a deal with Cornelius: the fort would pass to his property so the British wouldn't be responsible if the Spanish took it. Cornelius agreed, and then popped some corn to make it sound like shots, which made the Spanish troops run away. Cornelius renamed the fort 'Fort Duckburg' and turned it into a trading camp for hunters. Several people began to settle down and form families, and Cornelius himself started a farm of his own. A village was formed in Duckburg, with Cornelius as the leader.
As seen in Last Sled to Dawson, Cornelius' grandson Casey Coot was a fellow prospector of Scrooge McDuck during Scrooge's gold rush days. However, unlike Scrooge, Casey was not successful and sold his grandfather's land to Scrooge, so that he could pay a train ticket back to Duckburg. Years later, Scrooge built his Money Bin on this land.
Cornelius has a great-granddaughter called Cornelia Coot, who visited Duckburg in The Fabulous Fixer.
In modern times, Duckburg has many statues of Cornelius Coot holding corn. It can be seen in several comic stories, and also had a cameo in the DuckTales episode "Ducks on the Lam". A real-life version of the statue was also built in Mickey's Toontown Fair. The Toontown version included the following legend:
- This Is Old Cornelius Coot
- Who Turned His Corn Crop Into Loot
- And Founded Mickey's Toontown Fair
- To Him We Dedicate This Square.
Before (and after) Don Rosa settled on 1818 as the date of Cornelius's arrival in Fort Duckburg, other authors had instead created a version of the mythos where Cornelius lived in the 18th century. For instance, The Incredible Quest for Cooties (Donald Duck #378) shows the story of how Cornelius and his brother Johannes left the old country to start a new colony at the end of the 16th century. Cornelius sailed West and Johannes sailed East. Two years later, Cornelius arrived in the New World and founded Duckburg there, while Johannes was never heard of again. The story later reveals that his ship was attacked by pirates and only few crew members escaped, excluding Johannes. A popular theory is that the 18th-century Cornelius Coot is actually Don Rosa's Cornelius Coot's grandfather.