This biography was contributed by Greg Moore. I hope those of you reading my blog will send me some information about your family. Also, if you have a specific inquiry about a person or event in Caddo history please email me. I don't have time to do a lot of family research, but I will help you if I can.
Cornelius “Niel” Cooper, the son of James Neighbors Cooper and Lucy Hitchcock Cooper, was born south of Dallas, Paulding County, Georgia on 8 March 1867. The family moved to New Hope, Arkansas for a short stay before relocating to the Pleasant Hill Community. Cornelius Cooper went ahead of the family on horseback in search of a suitable farm in the Choctaw Nation. He located the farm at Pleasant Hill around 1892. His brothers, Allen, Robert, and Eldridge, died when they were young; Marcus and Arthur lived in the Pleasant Hill Community, Daugherty lived in Pike City, Arkansas, and his sister, Minnie Ola Cooper Hunt, lived in New Mexico.
He met and married Susan Ellen Thompson, of Hempstead County, Arkansas, when she came to Pleasant Hill to visit her grandfather, Murdock McKenzie Deaton. She died in 1895 of complications of child birth when their only child, Oscar Levi Cooper, Sr., was born.
He worked in the coal mines at Lehigh around 1900 and lived at Wasetta Switch, south of Caddo for a while before buying a farm southeast of the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. He supplemented his income by working as a carpenter.
Cornelius married Mary Frances Elizabeth “Molly” (Alexander) Petty. She was the daughter of Thomas Anderson Alexander and Rhoda Priscillia Whitworth of Caddo. Their children included Alcie Breedlove Cooper and Lucy Cooper Ray. (Molly also had Lee A. Petty, Jack Petty, and Virgie Nadine Petty by her first husband, James Patrick Petty.)
Cornelius was an active Mason with his brother, Marcus Cooper. He was a follower of the Socialist Party and supported presidential candidate, Eugene V. Debs. He served as secretary of the Pleasant Hill Local. In the fall of 1915, he took his family to Caddo to hear speeches by Debs and party activist, Kate O’Hare. While the speeches took place, the Cooper children slept in the family wagon.
An avid reader of Biblical history, he waited to join the Baptist Church in Caddo until shortly before his death. He caught TB from milk produced by the family cow and was ill for a while before he died in Caddo on 10 November 1927. He is buried with the Cooper family in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. He is survived by a large number of descendants.