Biography of Allen B. Cooper



Barry County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

This venerable pioneer was born in the town of Covert, Seneca Co., N. Y., March 24, 1813. His father, Samuel Cooper, was a pioneer of the town of Covert; he reared a family of seven children to habits of industry and thrift, and gave them such advantages for education as his limited means would allow. Allen lived with his father until he was twenty-three years of age, at which time he was married to Miss Emeline Napier. She was a native of Ashtabula Co., Ohio, and was born Nov. 28, 1811. Two years after their marriage Mr. Cooper started for Michigan in company with his brothers. They arrived in Detroit in May, and from thence went to Oakland County, where a cousin of Mr. Cooper’s, one James Cole, had settled some time previous. Here they rested a few days, when they again took up the line of march for the town of Woodland, where he had purchased eighty acres of land on section 35. The journey from Oakland was made with an ox-team, and after leaving Vermontville he was obliged to cut his road through a dense wilderness. He arrived safely, however, in the month of June; three families had preceded him in Castleton, and one or two adventurous pioneers had located in Woodland. The pioneer life of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper was one of many privations and hardships; their scanty stock of provisions was soon exhausted; there was no money in the country, and starvation stared them in the face. As illustrative of the desperate condition in which they were placed, Mr. Cooper relates that some months after they came their stock of flour was exhausted, and the only article of traffic he had was a small quantity of leather he had brought from Seneca County. This he carried to Marshall, thinking it possible to exchange it for flour. The storekeeper, a man by the name of Comstock, told him that flour was fourteen dollars per barrel, and was a cash article, and that he could not purchase his leather. “Where was that leather tanned ?“ asked the merchant.

In Seneca Co., N. Y.,” answered Mr. Cooper. “What is your father’s name?" Upon receiving the reply he gave him an order for two barrels of flour, and stocked him up with a goodly store of provisions. Mr. Cooper was overcome by the generosity of the merchant, and asked an explanation. He replied, “Your father once befriended me, and I am glad of this opportunity of paying the debt.” Many other incidents in their early history might be written showing the privations and hardships they were obliged to undergo, but the one just mentioned will suffice. Mr. Cooper assisted in the organization of the town, and was elected its first road commissioner. Mrs. Cooper taught the first school, and their names are stamped on nearly every initial event in the early history of the town. In his political belief Mr. Cooper was originally a Whig, and identified himself with the anti-slavery movement upon its inception. Upon the organization of the Republican party he became an ardent Republican. He has never desired political honors, preferring the quiet of home and the cares of his farm to the turmoil of political life. He did his part in the development of Barry County, and isin every way worthy of a prominent place among the pioneers of the county.

History of Allegan and Berry Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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