J.E. COOPER, the editor of the Williamson County Sun and an attorney of George-town, the subject of this sketch, is a man of whom Judge Chessher says: " He is a straightforward, reliable and successful businessman, true as steel and honorable in every way. His success in business has been attained in a quiet manner, and he has never bored anyone with his paper." Mr. Cooper was born in Maury County, Tennessee, on February 5, 1855, and came off the noted Cooper family of that State. His parents, Robert T. and Louise Clementine Cooper were both natives of Tennessee, where- they were reared and married.
The former, a farmer of Tennessee, served as Sheriff of Lewis County for one term and enjoyed an extensive acquaintance.
During the late war, he enlisted in 1861, was made Captain of Company H, Third Tennessee Infantry, and was taken prisoner at Fort Donelson, being retained for about a year at Johnson's Island, when he was exchanged and returned to service.
During his entire term of service, he enjoyed only two short furloughs and was killed at Raymond in battle near Jackson, Mississippi, in 1863. Colonel John C. Brown, late Governor of Tennessee, in speaking of him, says: No braver man was in the service than he." He was leading his men on to victory, having himself just taken two prisoners and the company many more, when he was shot in the breast by the enemy and only lived about two hours.
They were led into an ambush and were having a hand-to-hand encounter. Two of his company, who saw him fall, ran to his relief, one on either side, and both were instantly killed, falling each way dead over him. His age, at death, was thirty-five years. During life, he attended the Presbyterian Church, in which faith he was reared, although he was not a member of the church. His father, the grandfather of our subject, Robert O. Cooper, served as County Clerk for Lewis County for over twenty years.
He had a remarkable memory and was one of the best-read men in the State. He had ten sons and five grandsons in the Confederate army, of whom five of the former lost their lives in the service, four of the others returned home wounded, and only one of the ten escaped unhurt. In addition to the ten sons in the army, Mr. Cooper had one son physically unable to go into the army and three daughters, and he reared his fourteen children to maturity.
This honored gentleman died at the age of ninety-four. The maiden name of his wife was Cooper, but she was no connection, a native of Iowa, of Irish extraction, her grandparents being natives of Ireland, who settled in South Carolina on coming to this country.
Our subject's mother, Louise Clementine, was one of four daughters born to Robert O. Smith, while her father was a nephew of Robert O. Cooper, our subject's grandfather.
The mother was reared by her maternal grandfather, who was a Baptist in religion. Owing to her training, she inclined to the same faith and was noted for her sweet and kind disposition, being one of the most amiable of women. So strong was the attachment between her husband and herself that she never recovered from the shock of his death, although she survived him until 1867 when she died. She possessed many of the sweet and loving attributes of the wife, mother, and neighbor, and so strongly were her acquaintances impressed by this fact that they were all her friends.
Our subject is the oldest of five children, two of whom were twins that died in infancy, those living being: Mary Belle, wife of W. S. Leake, of Georgetown: Robert T. Cooper, who married Miss Corinna Taylor and is the collector in the First National Bank, and our subject. The last was educated in his native State, and after finishing, he engaged as clerk in the Chancery's Clerk's office for about two years, during which time he did a great deal of writing necessary in such a capacity.
He then came to Texas, January 1876 and taught school in Williamson County for seven months, being very successful. In spite of his success in the work, he felt that he was better suited for other things, so he engaged as a clerk at Round Rock for Captain J. C. S. Marrow. He came to Georgetown in 1877, and in April of that year, started his paper, The Williamson County Sun, to which he gave the present name. Since that time, he has been the editor and publisher with the exception of the year 1891-'92. This paper has a circulation of 1,500 and has been the official paper of the county and city for many years. The success of the paper has been wonderful. Although he started without money, his energy, determination, and zeal have amply compensated for that lack.
During his residence in Georgetown, he has been importuned many times to accept office but has always refused. Being a person who has had the welfare of the county and city at heart, he has done more than his share of the charity work, both as an editor and a private person. He has served as Chairman of the Democratic County Executive Committee, and is now a member from his county of the Congressional-Executive Committee, and has always taken a leading part in advancing the best interests of the county.
Mr. Cooper was married in 1878 to Miss Mary Sansom, daughter of Colonel Richard Sansom of Georgetown, an old settler and ex-County Treasurer, also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. He died in 1880, at the age of fifty-four. Our subject and wife have three children, namely: Jessie A., Louise S., and Edgar L. Both our subject and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, in which the former has been an Elder for many years. He is a member of the K. of H. and Knights and Ladies of Honor and Knights of Pythias.