Francis Marion and Celia E. "Hettie" (Crane) Cooper
Among the early settlers of Baxter County, Arkansas was Cooper family. The first member of the family to settle in America was Thomas Cooper, who came from England in 1776 in the King’s Army during the Revolutionary War. After the war, he married and settled in Alabama. Thomas as the father of James (Uncle Jimmy) Cooper who established the family in Baxter County. James Cooper was born in Alabama in 1803 and married Mary Elizabeth Fannin(g). They were the parents of 13 children and came to Baxter county in 1851 from Yell County, where they had lived a year after leaving Alabama. They settled on the Mart Wolf place, eight miles from Mountain Home. Their children F. M. (Ben), who married Celia E. Crane; Alfred Calvin, who married Betsy Hargrave; Jim, who married Nan Messick; Wash, who married Susie Stafford; Jack; Lucinda Ferguson, Martha Morgan, Malissie Stafford, who later married a Bagwell; Eliza Hargrave, Mary Littlefield, Arminda Hammack; and Angeline. F. M. and Celia Crane Cooper were the parents of 12 children; Jim, who married Julia Payne and served many years as a justice of the peace in his community; John, who married Amanda Green; Warren; J.E.L., who married Nellie McBroom and served as treasurer of the county; Frank, who married Mary Conley; Cleve, who married Mona Creel; Lawrence, who married Pearl Gilbert; Laurie, who married J.T. Strawhorn; Minnie, who married Newton Webber; Mollie who married R. Lee Webber, and Matt who married Aly White. F.M Cooper was a Confederate soldier as were two of his sons. Several of the men of the family were outstanding Masons. (Info based on newspaper article by Francis Shiras)
Rosine Webber tells these stories: “Ben and Celia Cooper’s house was said to be haunted. The door would just open. They would put chairs against the door and it would still open. An old man who lived off a way would come home late and rattle chains on the horses and scare everyone to feed the stories.”
Rosine continues: “Ben went to church and was saved. One day he was sittin’ on the porch and looked out and there were geese in his corn patch. He went to cussing ‘em. Grandma (Celia) said, ‘There goes his religion.’”
Maxine Webber Partee said of Celia, “Grandma Cooper had such pretty soft white hair. We were young, but I still remember that.”
Maxine Webber Partee wrote in a letter dated July 15, 1998, "I don't ever remember seeing Grandpa Cooper. Rosine said she could. He wanted to hold us and we were afraid of him. I guess we were about 4 years old when he died. From what I have heard he was some character. If he got mad he threw his clothes in the fire and Grandma would get them out. Then one time she didn't get them out and he said "aren't you going to get them out?" I guess she told him no so I don't know if that stopped him or not."
Family Lore: Neal Cooper, a son of Francis Marion Cooper, Jr. related the following story which Francis Lowe Cooper also remembered hearing Amanda Priscilla Cooper relate:
In 1864 George Washington Cooper was on his way home. He was caught by a group of Union Sympathizers and hanged. His brother, Francis Marion “Ben” Cooper gathered his ‘boys’ (unknown as to whom his boys were, unless in reality it was his brothers) and hunted down the ones that killed his brother. Twelve people were supposedly killed and only one escaped. Neal told that Runt Ownsby was related to the one that got away. This story might account for Ben’s behavior with not having windows in his home (or at least in his bedroom). George Washington Cooper is supposed to be buried in Marion County, Arkansas.
Civil War Records for Francis Marian Cooper
Alice Celia Crane Cooper Obit
Rosine Webber, Maxine Webber Partee, and Neal Cooper
History of Baxter County, Arkansas by Francis Shiras