Benton County


Paris numbers among her representative and substantial citizens William Daniel Cooper, state senator. A native of this state, his birth occurred at Big Sandy, Benton county, on the 3d of December, 1869, a son of Thomas D. and Lucinda J. (DeBruce) Cooper. His paternal grandparents were John and Mary Fain Cooper. Grandfather Cooper came to this state with his parents from North Carolina. In early youth he located in Montgomery county and subsequently married Mary Fain. Soon after marriage he removed to Benton county and there they resided until about 1858. Grandfather Cooper was an extensive agriculturist and achieved substantial success in life. About 1858, however, he disposed of the land in Benton county and removed to Howell county, Missouri, leaving behind him in Tennessee, Thomas D. Cooper and a daughter, Jane Perkins. The maternal grandparents were Professor Robert DeBruce and Marguerite (Buchanan) DeBruce. Mrs. DeBruce spent her early life in North Carolina and came to Tennessee with her parents. Professor Robert DeBruce was born and reared in Pennsylvania. He was a great scholar, completing his literary education in the colleges of England and France, and he was master of several languages. Professor DeBruce came to Tennessee as a pioneer school teacher and taught in Clarksville, Dover, Trenton and Camden. His marriage was celebrated in the early '20s. Thomas D. Cooper was born at Clarksvillc, Montgomery county. He lived at or near Big Sandy, having moved from Montgomery county in his childhood and he engaged in farming. He resided on that land, which he brought to a highly cultivated state, until a few years prior to his demise in 1910. During his life-time he was a most prominent man in the community and contributed to a great degree in its development and improvement.

William Daniel Cooper received his early education in the country schools of Benton county. At the age of twenty-two years he entered high school at Big Sandy and completed his course there in 1893, under Professor John T. Hill. Later, in 1894-5, he attended a part of one session at Murray Institute and for two years he was a student in the Southern Normal University, receiving the B. S. degree from that institution in 1898. During his high school and university career Mr. Cooper made a special study of pedagogy. He likewise studied law and in 1900 was admitted to the bar of Kentucky. In 1892 he began teaching in the schools of Benton county and he also taught in Henry county, Tennessee, and in Calloway county, Kentucky. These schools were in session from three to five months each year and the remainder of the year Mr. Cooper was active in the promotion of his own education. In 1899 he was elected principal of the city schools of Camden and held that position for four years, resigning in 1902 to enter the office of county clerk of Benton county, serving in that official capacity from 1902 to 1914. He has held many public offices. He was secretary of the city board of education of Camden, 1904-1910; a member of the city board of education of Paris, 1916-1920; served as secretary-treasurer of the latter body two years; was a member of the state board of education, 1918-1921; and he is now a member of the state legislature in the senate, representing the twenty-fourth senatorial district, composed of Henry and Carroll counties. Mr. Cooper is one of Tennessee's most popular public officials, having never been defeated, and he believes every public office to be a public trust. He has discharged his duties to the best of his ability and to the complete satisfaction of all.

At Camden on the 18th of December, 1902, occurred the marriage of Mr. Cooper to Miss Lizzie McCullough, a daughter of William B. and Martha (Bomar) McCullough, who lived at Maryville. William McCullough was born and reared in Overton county. Tennessee, where his people now reside. Mrs. McCullough was the daughter of Reuben and Mary Ann Bomar. The Bomar family and connection is one of the largest and best known in Henry county. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper three children have been born: Willia Fai, who is seventeen years of age; Bonnie May, fifteen; and Mattie Lou, aged eleven years. The eldest child is at present a student in Logan College at Russellville, Kentucky.

Since attaining his majority Mr. Cooper has been a stanch advocate of the democratic party. He served as chairman of the county democratic executive committee in Benton county, 1912-1915, and is now a member of the Henry county demooratic executive committee. His religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, and he is a member of the board of stewards of that church and a consistent attendant of the First church in Paris. Fraternally Mr. Cooper is identified with the Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Woodmen of the World Circle. He has served as Vice Grand, Noble Grand and district deputy in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. During the World war Mr. Cooper was active in promoting the government's interests and served as a member of the legal advisory board and was also a member of the committee in charge of the sale of Government bonds and War Savings Stamps. Mr. Cooper is essentially a public-spirited citizen and no man is more highly esteemed in this community. Tennessee is proud to have him for a native son and Paris is indeed fortunate in having him for a citizen.

Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 3