John Cooper

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894). May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

JOHN COOPER, who devotes his time and attention to agricultural pursuits, being recognized as one of the leading farmers and extensive land-owners of Henderson County, now lives on section 22, township 12 north, range 4 west. An early settler, his residence in the county dates from 1849. He was born in Washington County, Pa., on the 8th of July, 1817, and is a son of William Cooper, who was also born in the Keystone State, and was a farmer by occupation. During the War of 181 2 he served in the American army. Moses Cooper, the father of William Cooper, served through the Revolutionary War. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Jennings. They were married in Pennsylvania, and became the parents of nine children, of whom John is the third in order of birth; Perry and Moses are now deceased; Sarah is the wife of M. Baldwin, a resident of Wayne County, Ind.; Ephraim is living in Henderson County-see biography in this volume ; Annie and Matilda are now deceased; Eunice makes her home in Oquawka; and Mary is the wife of S. Pickering, of Little York, Ill.

The educational privileges which our subject enjoyed were limited to those afforded by the subscription schools of Wayne County, Ind. When he was only three months old, his parents left Pennsylvania and went with their family to that county. He grew to manhood upon the old homestead, and early in life great care and responsibility devolved upon him. His father died, and, although John was then quite young, he assumed the management of the home farm and the care of the family. At the age of twenty years, he began learning the carpenter's trade, which he followed continuously for about twelve years. In 1849 he came to Henderson County, 111., locating near his present home. Two years later he bought a part of his present farm, and has resided there- on since 1861. He now owns and operates eight hundred and seventy-five acres of valuable land, constituting one of the largest and best farms in the county. He keeps it under a high state of cultivation, and a neat appearance characterizes every department of it.

Mr. Cooper has been twice married. On the 6th of March, 1845, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Martha Smith, daughter of Benjamin and Tamar Smith. Her death occurred June 20, 1848. By that union were born two children: Rauseldon, who is now County Judge of Henderson County, and a leading lawyer; and Martha E., deceased. On the 27th of October, 1864, Mr. Cooper was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary A. Crawford, daughter of Jacob Crawford. They became the parents of twelve children, one of whom died in infancy. Those still living are: Frank, William, Emma, John, Eva, Ada, Sophia, Howard, Jennie, Ethel and Arthur.

In politics, Mr. Cooper is a Republican, and has advocated the principles of that party since its organization. In early life he was a Whig, and cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison. He has been honored with a number of local offices, having served as School Trustee, School Director and Township Supervisor. Socially, he is connected with the Odd Fellows' society, but has ever devoted the greater part of his time to his business interests, in which he has met with most excellent and well-deserved success. Steadily he has worked his way upward, overcoming the difficulties and obstacles in his path, until he is now one of the wealthiest farmers of Henderson Countv.