JAMES M. COOPER. - James M. Cooper, a well known farmer and stock-raiser of Williams township, his home being on section 12, was born on the farm where he still resides, July 7, 1849, and is a son of James Cooper, also a native of this county. His paternal grandfather, Meredith Cooper, was what is known as a snowbird, having located here prior to the winter of the deep snow. He was from Virginia. On reaching manhood James Cooper married Miss Zerilda Taylor, also a native of this county and a daughter of James Taylor, who was one of the first settlers of this locality and entered the land where our subject now resides. For some years James Cooper followed farming here, but finally went to Texas for his health and died in that state about 1852. His wife passed away the following year. In their family were four children, two of whom are still living; James M., of this sketch; and Mrs. Melissa Wood, a resident of Richland county, Illinois. Another daughter, Priscilla, married James Wright, of Clear Lake township, and died October 25, 1903.
Being left an orphan at an early age, James M. Cooper made his home with an uncle in this county and had fair educational advantages. On the 26th of February, 1872, he was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Mcginnis, a daughter of Thomas McGinnis and a sister of Dr. John McGinnis, of Dawson, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume. Unto Mr. And Mrs. Cooper have been born five children, as follows: Isaac, who is married and is engaged in the grain business at Buffalo Hart; Mazy Z., wife of Thomas Telfer, a business man of Seward, Nebraska; John T., who is married and assists in carrying on the home farm, being in partnership with his father in the stock business; Ida, at home; and Catherine, who is now a student in the high school at Springfield.
After his marriage Mr. Cooper located on his father's old homestead, purchasing the interests of the other heirs. He has since remodeled and improved the residence, has built a barn and other outbuildings, and today has a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres. He broke about sixty acres of this and has placed the entire tract under a high state of cultivate. He makes a specialty of the raising of hogs and also keeps a good grade of cattle.
In politics Mr. Cooper has been a life-long Democrat and has efficiently served as a member of the school board about eighteen years and as township assessor one term, although he has never sought political preferment. He is connected with fraternal insurance societies and he and his family are active and prominent members of the Presbyterian church of Williamsville, in which he has served as elder for some years. His life has been in perfect harmony with his professions and he has the confidence and respect of all who know him.