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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


HARDIN D. COOPER, a thorough-going and wide-awake business man, and proprietor of the well-known general mercantile house at Chapin, needs but little introduction to the people of Morgan County. Our subject is the son of John D. Cooper, who first established the business now so ably carried on by his son Hardin. Mr. Cooper, Sr., was born in Sumner County, Tenn., on the 20th of December, 1809. His father, George W. Cooper, emigrated to Morgan County, of this State, in November, 1829, and settled in township 16, range 11 (Concord), and was accompanied in this journey by his son, the father of our subject, who was then about twenty years of age.

On the 23d of January, 1836, John D. Cooper married Miss Margaret Willard, who bore him four children, as follows: Martha E., widow of D. M. Brunson, of Eldorado, Kan.; Hester Ann, wife of the Hon. Lewis Hanback, ex-Member of Congress, of Kansas; William M. was a soldier in the late Civil War, and held the rank of Lieutenant on the staff of Gen. N. B. Buford; he was a partner of his father in the store, from 1866 to 1876, at the time of his death. One other child, George, died in infancy. Being left a widower he subsequently remarried, on the 28th of September, 1847, the lady being Margery A. Risley, by whom he became the father of the following children: Mary A., Hardin and Ida. His settlement at Chapin dates from 1847. Shortly afterward he began to do business as mentioned above, and continued as the sole proprietor until he took our subject into partnership with him, and retaining his interest in the firm until his decease, on the 5th of February, 1880.

The subject of this writing was born in Chapin, Ill., Dec. 27, 1849. He received his education and was reared in his native county, becoming his father's clerk and helper in the store at an early age. He attended the High School at Jacksonville, and developed an aptitude for study that has been of great assistance to him as a man of business. In 1888 Mr. Cooper had so progressed in business, and prospered financially, that he purchased the interests of all the heirs to the business as left by his father, and became sole proprietor. On Nov. 1, 1877, he became the husband of Miss Belle Neely. There has been given to them a daughter, whose name is recorded as Julia N., and who was born Oct. 11, 1888. She has made the home the brighter and happier by her presence.

The store of our subject is quite large, and carries a stock consisting of dry goods of all kinds, also a full line of boots, shoes and hats; there is also a grocery department, and one is sure to find everything in the line of hardware, and in fact anything that is usually carried by similar well-managed stores in the country. The stock carried is at no time of less value than $8,000, and his sales average over $20,000 annually. The reputation of our subject as a man of business is in keeping with his high character, previous training, and the example of his respected father, who established the business.

Mr. Cooper as a loyal citizen is deeply interested in the political aspect, and gives considerable time to the understanding of governmental questions. He is a firm adherent and cordial friend of the Republican party, but is first, a man, and afterward a politician, and therefore never sacrifices principle to policy. For fourteen years he was Postmaster of Chapin, and throughout that lengthy period earned the heartiest esteem of the people, owing to the well nigh perfect manner in which every duty connected therewith was performed. He has recently been re-appointed Postmaster, and will again assume the duties of that office.

1889 Index
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