Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin Counties", published by Western Historical
Publishing Co., 1904
JOHN COOPER has earned the title
to a retired life and the enjoyment of the gratifying competence which
is his, because of the activity and industry that have characterized him
in the years that have gone by. He has certainly been a man of wide
experience and in it all the calm and keen judgment, careful methods and
wisdom which are his have been manifest and have brought about, in proper
exercise, the happy results mentioned.
John Cooper was born in Herefordshire, England,
on December 4, 1841, the son of Francis and Mary (Saunders) Cooper, also
natives of England, and where they remained until their death. John
had one brother, Thomas. As the parents died when our subject was
young, he came to America with an aunt and uncle, landing in San Francisco.
When fourteen he went to work in the foundry there and for eight years
wrought at that vigorous labor, learning thoroughly the boilermaker's art
and other lines of the business. After that he turned his attention
to telegraphy and mastered that as easily as he had the other business.
Ten years were spent in California in that labor and then he came to John
Day as operator for the 0. R. & N. in construction, having his headquarters
at The Dalles. After that he held the station at Grant for six years.
Next we see him in the stock business, and after taking a timber culture
claim he purchased eight hundred acres of railroad land and gave his attention
to handling sheep and cattle. In 1892 he took a band of sheep to
Harney Valley and did well on them. As his children wished school
privileges, he removed to Arlington and later, when he held a position
on the Hunt line, the family resided in Walla Walla. In 1893 he went
to Waitsburg and remained the following seven years. In 1900 Mr.
Cooper came to Kahlotus and bought two sections of railroad land.
All this is well improved and rented at the present time. Also, Mr.
Cooper has a residence in town, where he makes his home at the present
time, and whence he oversees and directs his estates.
In 1871 occurred the marriage of Mr. Cooper
and Miss Sarah E., daughter of Alvander and Eliza (Dunbar) Hunsicker, natives
of Virginia. In 1835 they journeyed west to Missouri and there the
father died. In 1864 the mother crossed the plains with her family
and located in California, where she died. She was descended from
English ancestors and her great grandfather was James Sommers, of Eastman
castle. Her father was a German and her mother's people came as the
first settlers to the American colonies. Sir James Sommers and Lord
Fairfax were friends and a county in Virginia is named after the latter.
They established a church and other improvements there and they now both
rest under the pulpit. Mrs. Cooper was one of a family of nine children,
who are named as follows: John, James S., George, L. W., Robert, Mary,
Elizabeth, Gertrude, and Sarah E. To Mr. and Mrs. Cooper the following
named children have been born: Gertrude, now the wife of J. 0. McKinney,
of Kahlotus; E. J., telegraph operator at Mendota, California; Claudia,
married to T. C. Martin, in Ritzville; Frederick, a brakeman on the 0.
R. & N.; Marie, with her parents; Orah, deceased; Hazel E., also with
her parents. Mr. Cooper is a stalwart Republican and since he cast
his first presidential vote for Mr. Lincoln, he has firmly held to the
principles of his party. He is president of the Chamber of Commerce
in Connell, and is also a member of the A. F. & A. M. He and
his wife belong to the Christian denomination and are devout supporters
of the same.