Histories of the   Cooper  of Lewis County, TN

A TnGenWeb Project

Submitted by: Mary Bob McClain Richardson on 19 September 2004.

Col. Robert Melville Cooper (son of Capt. Robert Cooper, Revolutionary War soldier of Fishing Creek, South Carolina.), had fifteen children. Twelve boys and three girls. His children were born in Maury/Lewis County, Tenn. many of whom left for war, returned, and got their families, and headed for greener pastures.  Some came back to Lewis County, Tennessee and died here.

Listed below are some of the histories of the Cooper family of Lewis County that moved and died in other states.

Lt. Colonel Albert Gallatin Cooper, C.S.A.

Born: Sunday, June 22, 1817 - Maury Co. (that part which is now Lewis Co.) Tennessee

Died: February 28, 1883 - Weatherford, Parker Co., Texas.

Buried: March 2, 1883 - Spring Creek Cemetery, Parker Co., Texas, 9 miles south of Weatherford on Grandbury Hwy.

Married: Sunday, April 8, 1838, Maury Co., Tn., by Wyle Ledbetter, LEMEC. to Elizabeth E. Webb b. Circa 1820 - Tenn. - d. 17 Dec 1876. Big Cane, St. Landry Parish, La.

WAR RECORD: Private to Corporal in Capt. John B. Hamilton's Company lst Tenn Mounted Militia, Seminole (Florida) War. Enlisted June 16, 1836; corporal July 4, 1836 to Jan 14, 1837; enlisted as Second Sargent. May 28, 1846, to Captain of Company C, lst Regiment Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Mexican War), June 6, 1846 to may 29, 1847; Lieutenant Colonel 19th (Biffle's) Division, Forrest's Cavalry Corps, Dept of Tenn. and Georgia, Confederate Army; resigned December 13, 1864 for physical reasons. The eldest child of Col. Robert Melville and Catherine Cooper Cooper.

Thomas Melville Cooper, C.S.A.

Son of Albert Gallatin Cooper and Elizabeth E. (Webb) Cooper
Born: circa 1840 Maury County, Tenn. (note: this was the part of Maury Co., that became Lewis Co., in 1843.)
Died: February 1862 - Killed in Civil War at Fort Donelson (Was a member of his uncle Capt. Robert Cooper's Company C, 3rd (Clack's) Tennessee Infantry)

John Alexander Cooper C.S.A.

Born: 26 Sept 1844 - Lewis County, Tennessee
Died: 7 June 1933 - San Angelo, Texas
Buried: Rough Creek Cemetery, Navice, Texas
Son of Albert Gallatin Cooper and Elizabeth E. (Webb) Cooper.

John Alexander Cooper served with his father in the 9th Cavalry Regiment of Tennessee after he withdrew from his uncle Theodore Cooper's company. After his father moved to Houston County, Texas, he taught school at Crockett, Texas from 1879 - 1880. In 1928 he was granted a Civil War pension in Texas. His application gave his address as Route 3, Coleman, Texas. Affidavit was made by his cousin, James Melville Cooper, son of Paris Cooper, in Dallas, Texas on 18 Mar 1925.

Jonathan Melville Cooper C.S.A.

Born:  2  December 1843 on Saturday - Maury Co., TN (note: This was the part of Maury Co., that became Lewis Co., TN in 1843.)
Died:   4 Jul 1930 - Cedar Hill, Dallas Co., Texas
Buried:  Little Bethel Cemetery, Cedar Hill, Dallas Co., Texas

Private 9th Tennessee Cavalry (Forrest) serving under both Capt. Beatty and Capt. Biffle. On September 15, 1913, he applied for a Pension, stating he was 60 years old. it was sworn to by John Alexander Cooper, his cousin, of Fisher County, Texas. He stated he was on furlough when Lee surrendered. The Pension was granted and is on file in State Archives of Texas.

Albert James Cooper C.S.A.

Born: 8 July 1846 - Maury Co., Tenn
Died: 9 November 1918 on Saturday, Fisher Co., Texas
Married: 18 April 1869 on Sunday - Lewis Co., Tennessee
Margaret Eupheme Pollock (Sister of Susan Catherine, Ellen and John Pollock). Born 2 May 1851 - Lewis County, Tennessee.

Private in Company H (Biffle's) 9 Cavalry of Tennessee, serving with his brother, Jonathan M. Cooper. Ha applied for a pension in 1912 stating he was 66 years old and resided at Roby, Fisher Co., Texas. He moved to Fannin County, Texas, when he came from Tennessee after 1880. He helped organize the first draft board in Fisher County. He is listed on the 1870 and 1880 census of Lewis County, Tennessee, living next door to his father, Paris Cooper.

2nd Lt. William McAdams Cooper C.S.A.

Born: Sunday, February 1823 - Bainbridge County, Mississippi*
Died: 5 July 1862 - Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi - Age 39 yrs. 4 mos., 26 da.
Buried: Shiloh National Cemetery.
Married: (1)Wednesday, July 12, 1843 - Maury Co., Tenn. by C.Y. Hudson, J.P. to Louise Elizabeth (Eliza) Toombs, Born 26 December 1824 - Tennessee, Died 6 Mar 1901. (2) "Judge" Graham, a county clerk, and is buried in an unmarked grave at McClain's Cemetery, Mt. Joy, Tennessee at the end of the row of Cooper graves and next to Mrs. Melvina Whitwell.

War Record
Volunteer Service of the Confederate States, serving as 3nd Lieutenant Company "A" 48th (Nixon's) Tennessee Infantry, Confederate Army. Died July 5, 1862 at Tupelo, Mississippi.

William McAdams Cooper was named for his maternal grandmother's family. He married when he was just past twenty and his wife was nineteen. Nine years after his marriage he was elected the first mayor of Newburg, Lewis County, Tenn., which was incorporated in 1852. He was living here when he joined the volunteer army of the Confederacy.  As he went to war, he left behind his wife and seven children ranging in age from seventeen to three years. As he left, his wife followed beside his horse carrying their baby, Narcissa Clementine, whom they called "Sissy". His wife and children followed him to the end of the lane, bidding him farewell.  It was their last farewell for he never returned home. He contacted a fever, possible measles of malaria, while fighting in Mississippi and died at Tupelo, Mississippi.  *Bainbridge County was formed from Jones and Covington Counties and was only a county until 1826 when it was dissolved and it is now Jones County, Mississippi.

Captain Robert Theodore Cooper   C.S.A.

Born:  Saturday, 7 April 1832 - Maury County, Tennessee
Died:  12 May 1863, near Raymond, Mississippi.  Killed in Battle of Raymond.
Buried:  Confederate Cemetery, Raymond, Miss. Unmarked grave.
Married:  23 December 1853 - Lawrence County,  Tenn.
Louise Clementine (Jesse ) Smith - (daughter of Robert O. Smith, his first cousin.)
Norn: circ 1835
Died:  19 Aug 1867 in the battle of Baker's Creek at West Point, Miss. near Raymond.
War Record
Captain, Company C. 3rd (Clack's) Tennessee Infantry C.S.A. 

As a child Robert Theodore Cooper lived in that portion of Maury County, Tenn. that later became Lewis County.   As a young man he taught a subscription school at Newburg, the county seat of Lewis, and later served as sheriff for the county.  He married his second cousin, the daughter of Robert Orville Smith who was the son of Eleanor Cooper.  Louise Clementine Smith did not like her name so she re-named herself "Jessie" and was known by that name throughout her life.  Her mother died when she was very young and she spent most of her life with her sister and her husband, Francis Watson.  When the first company was organized in Lewis County during the Civil War, Robert T. Cooper joined immediately and was elected second lieutenant.  The company was attached to the 3rd Tennessee Regiment.  Later he became Captain and was mustered into service on May 20, 1861 and sent to Camp Cheatham near Bowling Green, KY, and from there moved to Bowling Green.  He induced three of his brothers, Alexander, Bruce, and Samuel to join him.

Columbia Herald
handwritten date of Aug 26-27, 1928.

     Judge Whithorne to be One of the Speakers; Record Without a Parallel, in the History of the Service of The South.  L. Bruce Cooper, gallant confederate soldier, one of two survivors of perhaps the most remarkable family, so far as numbers are concerned, that served the short lived Southern Confederacy, will on next Wednesday, September 2, near his home in Lewis County, just a short distance from Mt. Joy, celebrate the eighty-fourth birthday.
     This will be a combined family and Confederate reunion. The sole surviving brother of Mr. Cooper, Alfred, will be present as will the children, grandchildren and great-grand children. Every Confederate soldier of this section has been invited to be present and as many of the battle scared heroes of the days long gone as possible will attend. There will be an abundance of everything to eat for all.
     Among the speakers invited to address the meeting is Judge Washington C. Whitthorne, himself the son of a Confederate soldier. The reunions are of great interest since they bring together the survivors of a family of ten sons who served the Confederacy. In the same armies of the South were six of the sons of these ten brothers. The Herald some months ago published a letter written by the mother of these ten sons sacred heroes of the days long gone and the grand mother of six soldiers boys which showed the patriotic devotion of the women of the Old South.
     Although living a short distance over in Lewis county, near the old home, the Cooper family really belongs to Maury County, for at the times these sons were born the territory where they now live was embraced in the confines of this county.   The other surviving member of the original family, Alfred Cooper, is eighty one years of age.

Alfred Theodorick Cooper C.S.A.

Born: Wednesday, 18 Sept 1844 - Lewis County, Tenn.
Died: 22 April 1931 - Lewis County, Tenn.
Buried: McClain's Cemetery - Stone reads: "9th Tenn. Reg., Forest; Cav."
War Record
Private, Company H, 19th (Biffle's) Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A., Residence. Palestine, Lewis Co., Tenn. shot in thigh at Brentwood, Tennessee, marcy 23, 1863.
     Alfred T. Cooper was the youngest of fifteen children, and the last of forty-eight children of three brothers who lived in Maury and Lewis Counties, Tenn. After his brother Bruce married, he made his home with him, and it was said they were like Jonathan and David and were together all of their lives. The family said the spent hours sitting under the old apple tree in the front yard spinning tales and always laughing and talking as if they had not seen one another for weeks. Alfred had a dog that was his constant companion, and at meals he always took an extra piece of bread and slipped it inside his coat for the dog. The family kept his secret and he never knew they knew that he was snitching for the animal.
     After his was shot in Brentwood, he was later taken prisoner by the Yankees at Mt. Pleasant, and there is a not written by a Yankee officer giving him parole until exchanged among the papers of Virginia Wright. The official parole and permission to return home after the war was dated May 10, 1865 and his permit to vote again was dated June 19, 1869.

Capt. James Carlisle Cooper C.S.A.

Born: Saturday, 17 Nov 1826 - Maury Co., Tenn.
Died: 11 Nov 1897 - Salinas Peak Gold Camp near Tularosa, New Mexico.
Buried: Hunter's Cemetery, Maury Co., Tenn. (about one-half south of Mt. Pleasant with his wife and several of their children.)
Married: 11 September 1856 - Maury Co., Tenn. to Emmarinthy Caroline Kinzer - (daughter of George Kinzer), Born: 15 November 1832 - Maury Co., Tenn.
Died:   Friday, 14 September 1895 - Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.
War Record
Private in Capt. A.G. Cooper's Co. "C", 1st Tenn. mounted Infantry of the Mexican War, June 6, 1846 to May 29, 1847; Confederate Army - Captain of Company "E" 48th (Nixon's) Tennessee Infantry, November 27, 1861.
Son of Robert Melville and Catherine Cooper Cooper.

Eleanor Cooper Smith

Born: 1775 - Chester Districk, S.C.
Died: 1824 - Maury County, Tennessee
Married: circa 1798 - Chester Co., S.C. to Robert Smith, born: 1774 - South Carolina
Died: 1855 - Lewis County, Tennessee
Buried: Lewis Co., Tenn., Meriwether Lewis National Park about 15 ft. from Lewis Monument in an unmarked grave.

     From the records we can establish the following facts about Eleanor and Robert Smith. Robert Smith was a post rider from Nashville to Natchez at the time of Meriwether Lewis' death on October 9, 1809. Robert Smith is said to have found the body of Lewis lying against a tree. Some of the family say that Robert Smith was returning from Natchez by way of the race as was the custom when he found Lewis' body. Others say that Robert Smith lived near the mill and was going to the spring for water in the early hours of the morning when he was Lewis. One published bit says that Lewis died in Robert Smith's arms.
     There are varied stories in the families today regarding the Robert Smith and the Lewis incident. This seems to be true. Robert Smith was a wood craftsman and cabinet maker by trade before coming to Tennessee and practiced the profession in South Carolina. His descendants in Georgetown, Texas say it was he who hewed the log casket for Meriwether Lewis' body. Thus, it was only natural that he would send to his brother-in-law, John Cooper, for nails heavy enough to hold the log casket together.   John Cooper was away in Mississippi but his brothers Hamilton and Robert Melville Cooper forged the large nails which became so important in 1848 when Lewis' body was exhumed.   It was both Robert Smith and Robert Melville Cooper who identified the remains of Lewis which were exhumed for reburial and honor by the nails which had held the log - hewn casket.
     In 1850 we find Robert Smith, Sr., age 77, on the Lewis County, Tenn. census in the town of Newburgh, listed as a herdsman, and living in the home of James D. Davis, age 31 and his wife Juda.   At this writing the Davis family has not been identified.   The Williamson Co., Tenn. marriage records show that James D. Davis married Elizabeth Smith, June 20 1842, J.B. Boyd, J.P., and Owen Prince, Bondsman.
     Robert Smith is buried near the Meriwether Lewis monument together with his daughter and two infant grandchildren. Their graves are some fifteen feet from the Lewis monument and all are unmarked.   The one grave that only says "Mrs. Johnston" is probably his granddaughter, Dorcas Eleanor, who married John Craig Johnston and died two years after her grandfather.

James Melville Patton

Born:   circa 1800 = York Co., S.C.
Married: 16 January 1823, Williamson Co., Tenn. David Youngman, Bondsman, to Narcissa T. Smith - (His first cousin, daughter of Eleanor Cooper and Robert Smith) , born: circa 1801.
 (Note: James M. Patton had a first cousin, David Youngman Cooper, son of Jonathan)
     In 1849 "Mel" Patton opened the first store in Newburg, the county seat of Lewis County, Tennessee and was considered the "first merchant: of the county. In 1855 he was residing on land on Rockhouse Creek in Lewis County which he had purchased from James B. Smith. There were apparently greener pastures in California where many from Maury and Lewis counties had gone to make a fortune in gold, including his Cooper cousins. From a letter that is extant, Mel Patton was a well read and an educated man. In beautiful penmanship on May 3, 1859, he wrote from Ophis, California to his uncle, Col. Robert Melville Cooper quoting from Shakespeare.
     We have no records of the death or burial of James Melville Patton or his wife, Narcissa T. Smith

Civil War Papers of Leander Bruce Cooper

LEANDER B. COOPER, Private,Co. (C) 3rd Regiment
                                                             Tennessee Vols.
Age:   22, 
Height:  5 Feet 10 inches;
Residence: Tennessee, Lewis County;
Occupation: Farmer;
Enlisted: May 24, 1861 at Nashville, Tenn.;
By Whom:   Col. Scudelr;
Period:   War;
Last Paid: By paymaster, Capt. Decker;
To what time: 31st Aug/65
Remarks: The Said L.B. Cooper has $128.40 due him for clothing not drawn in kind from the 8 of Aprile 1863 to the 28 day of march 1864.; the said Soldier has reenlisted to Service during the presant war.
Station: Dalton Ga.

I certify that the above is a correct transcript. 
 Date: March 28th 1864 from the Book of Company (C) 3rd Tennessee Regt.

1st Lieut, Commanding Company


  1. Garrett, Jill K., Maury County, Tennessee Historical Sketches,  p.30

  2. Roberts; Lillian Lesbia Word.   Hugh Cooper 1720-1793 Fishing Creek So. Carolina and His Descendants,  McMillian Publishing Co., Dallas, TX, 1976, pg.  67, 278, 487, 495, 521, 529, 573, 603 611.

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