CHARLES COOPER, now living retired but formerly connected with the commercial interests of Nilwood, was born in this village on the 10th of October, 1853, his parents being Henry and Mary (Murphy) Cooper, the father a native of England and the mother of Ireland. Their biographical sketch appears on another page of this volume.
Reared in Macoupin county, Charles Cooper acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of Nilwood following which he attended Blackburn University at Carlinville for a time. In 1873 he abandoned his studies and began his commercial career with his father who was engaged in the grain and coal business, which thereafter was conducted under the firm name of Henry Cooper & Son. Charles Cooper continued to be identified with this enterprise until 1898 when he withdrew and removed to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he engaged in the coal and ice business. This venture was operated under the name of C. Cooper until 1902, when he took C. H. Gillman into the business, which was thereafter conducted under the firm name of Cooper & Gillman. At the end of three years Mr. Cooper sold his interest to his partner and in 1906 returned to Nilwood and took charge of the business and property of his father, who passed away in November of the same year. He was subsequently appointed executor of the estate to the management of which he has ever since directed his entire attention.
Mr. Cooper was married in Nilwood, March 10, 1875, to Miss Lucy Moore, a native of Greene county, Illinois, and a daughter of Langston and Sarah (Melton) Moore, both of whom were natives of Tennessee. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, in order of birth as follows: James Henry, who married Mary Duffner and died in 1907, being survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters; Frank C., who was married August 27, 1911 to Dessy Schaefer, of Fredrick, Oklahoma, and resides in St. Louis, Missouri; Mabel, at home with her parents; and Wade M., who has the management of the store of Cooper Brothers in Nilwood.
Fraternally Mr. Cooper is a member of Jacksonville Lodge, No. 4, I.O.O.F., and also belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of Jacksonville. He votes with the democrats, and has been collector of Nilwood, township clerk, and trustee of the village, clerk of the village board, which office he held when the new charter was adopted, and president of the village. The Cooper family has been prominently identified with the commercial and political as well as social life of Nilwood for over a half a century, the third generation being connected with the business interests of the town in the person of Mr. Cooper's youngest son, Wade M.