Prof. J. L. Cochran. of Sardis, Tenn., was born in Mississippi in 1847, son of S. K. and Nancy (Talley) Cochran. The father was of Irish descent, born in 1808 in Marion County. N.C. He came to Middle Tennessee in 1829, and located in Marshall, where he lived at the time of his marriage to Miss Talley, by whom he had A family of nine sons and five daughters. Mr. Cochran was a skillful cabinet-maker. In 1841 he moved to Pontotoc County. Miss., where he engaged in agricultural pursuits. After the death of his first wife he married Miss Mary Ann Orman, of Alabama, who bore him six children. She still resides in Mississippi, where her husband died in 1888. Our subject remained with his parents until he reached his majority. He had very limited educational advantages, as his time was employed in earning a livelihood. He left home the possessor of two suits of clothes, $30 in his pocket and little or no learning, but feeling keenly the need of knowledge he at once determined to obtain an education and began making efforts for accomplishing this end. He applied himself closely and diligently, without the aid of an instructor, to gain sufficient information that he might earn money to pay his tuition and board at school. He returned to Tennessee, entered the Union Academy which he was enabled to attend for four years. In 1871 he began teaching, and taught the first six sessions in the same district of Bedford County, thus favorably illustrating his success as a teacher. At one time he had ninety pupils enrolled. In 1879 he became principal of McClure's Institute, holding that position for three years; then taught seven months in Thomasville, Ga.; came back to Tennessee, and since that time has been a resident of Sardis, where he organized the high schools and conducted them for three years in a highly commendable manner. He is universally spoken of as an efficient teacher and a most excellent disciplinarian, He also instructs in all the dead languages: Latin, Greek, etc. July, 1873, he married Miss Ophelia Hardin, a native of Marshall County, and the daughter of Rev. Robert Hardin, D.D. Mrs. Cochran presented her husband with two bright children: Amy Bemis (named after the daughter of Dr. Bemis. of New Orleans), and Thomas A. Prof. Cochran is a Democrat and cast his first presidential vote for Seymour and Blair. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 137, of Farmington, Tenn., being a Master Mason. The past summer he spent in looking after the interests of his valuable farm which contains about 592 acres. Prof. Cochran is, in every sense of the word, a self-made man. By his own efforts and force of character he has risen from poverty and obscurity, to be acknowledged by all as one of the most cultivated, respected and substantial men in the entire community. He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. He taught school at Sulphur Springs, Lincoln Co., Tenn., from 1886 to June, 1887, and then at Spring Place, Marshall Co., Tenn., from 1887 until he was elected principal of McClure's Institute.
Goodspeeds History of Tennessee