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Cooper, John H.
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Cooper, John H.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 266-267


John H. Cooper, who is living on section 23, Martinsburg township, is familiarly called "John" by his numerous friends and is accounted one of the prosperous farmers of this county, owning and conducting a farm of two hundred and seventeen acres, which presents a neat and well improved appearance. He is a native son of Pike county, having been born in Pittsfield, October 10, 1836. His father, Asa D. Cooper, was born in Kentucky and was a son of George W. Cooper, who removed from Tennessee to Kentucky and afterward to Illinois, settling in Pike county. He took up his abode here at a very early day, probably about 1832. It was in this county that Asa D. Cooper was married to Miss Eleanor Gooden, whose birth occurred in Saline county, Missouri, and who was a daughter of Robert Gooden, one of the early settlers of Pike county, who removed from Tennessee to Missouri and afterward to Illinois. Following his marriage Asa Cooper located on a farm in Martinsburg township, opening up a new tract of land. Later he sold that property and developed another farm, whereon he reared his family and spent his last years, his death occurring December 29, 1858. His wife passed away March 29, 1854.

John H. Cooper was reared in Pike county and is largely a self-educated as well as self-made man, for his school privileges in youth were limited. He remained with his father until he had attained his majority, after which he rented a farm for a few years. He was married in Martinsburg township, February 1, 1857, to Miss Mary M. Moomaw, a native of Logan county, Ohio, and a daughter of Rev. Jacob Moomaw, a minister of the German Baptist church. Her father was a native of Virginia and was married in Ohio to Elizabeth Ohmart. In 1842 he came to Illinois, settling in Pike county, near Pittsfield, upon a farm where he reared his family and continued to make his home through the evening of his life.

Following the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper he rented a tract of land which he cultivated for several years. He started out for himself empty-handed but realized that industry and enterprise constitute the basis of success and he worked persistently and energetically until he was enabled to purchase property. In 1867 he bought one hundred and eighty acres where he now resides, located thereon and began to improve the farm, to which he had added from time to time until he now owns five hundred and fourteen acres of valuable land, of which two hundred and seventeen acres are in the home farm. Here he has built a good neat residence, also a bank barn, and other outbuildings. He has fenced his place and added the various equipments found upon a model farm property of the twentieth century. That he has prospered is indicated by his property holdings, for he now owns two other farms in addition to the home place, one of one hundred and sixty-one acres and the other of one hundred and thirty-seven and one-half acres, the second lying west of Pittsfield, and the other to the north. Both are fairly improved. He has also gave forty acres of land to his children. Although he had no capital to aid him at the outset of his career, he and his estimable wife, who had indeed been a faithful companion and helpmate to him on life's journey, have accumulated a valuable property, comprising three excellent farms and in connection with the cultivation of his home place Mr. Cooper raises good grades of stock. He now rents most of his land but gives his personal supervision to the property and to the improvements which are made thereon. The only financial assistance whichever came to him was eight hundred and twenty-nine dollars received from his father's estate, but this did not come until after he had purchased the home farm.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cooper have been born four children: George D., who is a farmer of Pittsfield township and is represented elsewhere in this work; Mary E. the wife of Wesley Walston, who lives upon her father's farm and also owns land of his own and by whom she has two children, Lottie A. and Iva; William Hardin, who married Lillie McClintock, by whom he has a son, John Hurley, their home being in Martinsburg township; and Charles H., a merchant of Martinsburg, who married Anna R. Lawrence and has two children. Mary B. and Veda A. Mr. Cooper now has several grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He and his wife adopted a young girl when eight years of age, reared and educated her and she is now the wife of Frank Gooden. Benton Johnson also became a member of their family when ten or twelve years of age, was educated by them, is now married and follows carpentering in Pittsfield. They also reared James Cooper, a brother of our subject, who came to live with them when thirteen years of age.

Politically Mr. Cooper has been a lifelong democrat, voting first for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. He served as township collector in 1874 and has been road supervisor for one or two terms, but has never sought or desired office. He believes in good schools and the employment of competent teachers and has done earnest work in behalf of public education while serving on the school board. He and his wife are members of the Church of Christ of Martinsburg. His entire life, now covering sixty-nine years, has been passed in Pike county and he has helped to improve and make it what it is today. He has cultivated and developed several farms, thus contributing in substantial measure to the agricultural development of the community. He commenced life for himself at the bottom of the latter, but has steadily climbed upward. At the time of his marriage he had no capital and he and his faithful wife experienced many hardships and privations, but they worked and labored together, were frugal and economical and by their united efforts have become prosperous people. Their home farm is improved with a large, neat and substantial residence and constitutes a comfortable home, in which their many friends receive a hearty welcome, cordial hospitality and good will being extended to all. Mrs. Cooper is now an invalid, but for many years she was a model housekeeper and her labors were an important factor in her husband's success. Mr. Cooper is well known as an active and energetic farmer and as one of the honored pioneer settlers of the county justly deserves mention in this volume.

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Submitted: 04/13/09

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