Monday, May 22, 2017

World War II Letters - 21 January 1942 - Written by Stan Cooper

USS San Diego Memorial - West side

Stan is transferred from the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet changing ship homes to the USS San Diego - CL53. He becomes a part of the fire control gang. He explains in more detail what his new job covers.

The USS San Diego was a light anti-aircraft cruiser commissioned on 10 January 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts. My father was honored to be one of the first to serve as her crew. The San Diego was honored to never lose any of its men in battle. She earned 18 battle stars and covered over 300,000 miles.

A few years back, my dad's sister, Eileen, discovered the USS San Diego memorial which was dedicated on 30 April 2004, in San Diego.

USS San Diego Memorial - East side

See this wonderful article written by Fred Whitmore about this beauty with her great history.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Walter Ernest Cooper (1866-1949)

The Old Cooper Bible
Photo taken from his Declaration of Intention 1933

The Grave Digger

Walter Ernest Cooper is the seventh son and tenth child of Austin COOPER and Elizabeth GIBSON born 13/14 Aug 1866 in Moate, Co. Westmeath, Ireland. I find his birth Registration through microfilm #0,101,132 from Salt Lake City. Austin is listed as a station master. The Moate Railway Station is the stop between Mullingar and Athlone. Today it is a dilapidated station.

I was so thrilled as this was the first time (2005) I saw Elizabeth Gibson Cooper's name on an official document. I was disappointed that the microfilmed copy was so poorly done with the dark shadow over his date of birth. 

"Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881," database, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Walter Ernest Cooper, 13 Aug 1866; citing 0024,MOATE,WESTMEATH,IRELAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 101,132. Accessed 5 May 2005.

At age 18, two years after his father’s death, in May 1885, Walter with his younger brother, Ashley Joseph Cooper, 16, on the S.S. City of Rome, immigrate together to New York City. Their mother, Elizabeth Gibson Cooper, sailed to New York City the year before in 1884.

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, ( : accessed 19 May 2017), Image 722 of 1059, Line 498, Walter Cooper entry, citing List Number 490 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Roll 485; Ship City of Rome out of Liverpool, R. W. M[???] master, arrived New York on 1 May 1885.

By the 1900 US Federal Census, I find Walter Cooper, a boarder, in the small town of Rocky Ford, Colorado, about 170 miles southeast of Denver. Nothing else is stated about him and several other boarders. 

In 1910, Walter has moved up to Denver living in the Riverside Cemetery Boarding House, stating he came to US in 1884 and going through his Pa[pers] process for Citizenship. He is a gravedigger at the Riverside Cemetery. This led me to search for his Citizenship Papers which I found on 

1920 finds Walter as a cemetery caretaker, but living on his own on the road “Near Cemetery.” This census states he was Naturalized in 1895. Was this in Travis, Texas? Much has happened between 1883 to 1900 that I have no record. 

1930, he is still a cemetery worker in his own place. 

This decade was when I find a record of Walter filing his Citizenship papers in Denver, Colorado. 

He filed his Declaration of Intention on 2 Mar 1933 in Denver, Colorado.

Colorado, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1868-1990. NARA NAI Number: M1192. Record Group Number: 21. : accessed 19 May 2017. Walter Ernest Cooper. 2 Mar 1933. Declaration of Intention File No. 11402.
Interesting to see recorded that he had made a previous attempt on filing a Declaration of Intention in Travis, Texas, on 4th November 1890. I will have to follow up on this paper work. He waited too late to follow through to the next step of Petitioning while in Texas. 

His next step was his Petition for Citizenship which he filled out on 30 Aug 1935. I see his two affidavits are coworkers at the cemetery. 

Colorado, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1868-1990. NARA NAI Number: M1192. Record Group Number: 21. : accessed 19 May 2017. Walter Ernest Cooper. 30 Aug 1935. Declaration of Intention File No. 7027.
In the1940 census, Walter is a lodger on Humboldt St. still working in the local cemetery.

Walter E. Cooper died on 12 Apr 1949 in Denver, Colorado. He is buried in the cemetery he worked at most of his life. Riverside Cemetery is the historical cemetery of Denver.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 21 Apr 2013). memorial page for Walter E. Cooper (1866--1949), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23411535, citing Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado; the accompanying photograph by Bob Rohwedder is materially informative,
The family Bible was found here in Denver back in 1960. A lady found it in an old boarding house on Speer Blvd. for ten cents. She posted on Message Boards back in 2003 a transcription of the back cover. I discovered the family Bible in 2006, typing in “Arthur Lincoln Cooper.”  I had the Bible in my hands a week later. Is this the family Bible that belonged to Walter, even though his name is not entered in it? His younger brother, Ashley Joseph’s birth date and location are entered in at a later time in different handwriting. See original post “The Old Cooper Bible.”

Walter outlived all 14 of his siblings.

This brings more family mysteries to solve. What happened to his sixteen year old younger brother, Ashley Joseph COOPER? I will cover Ashley's story soon.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Elizabeth “Bessie” Cooper Pearson (1857-1938) Part 2

Bessie was the sixth child of Austin COOPER and Elizabeth GIBSON. Of all fourteen children born to this couple, Bessie and her elder brother, Arthur Lincoln Cooper were the only two born in England.

Bessie married John David PEARSON on 4 June 1878, in Ballentemple, Co. Caven, Ireland.

Ireland Marriage Records. John David Pearson and Elizabeth Cooper. 4 June 1878. Quarter 2. Volume 3. Page 57. No. 83. Civil Registration Office, Roscommon, Ireland. Accessed 13 November 2008.
John David PEARSON was a bank clerk in Dublin, Ireland, where the couple settled to make their home. 

After the death of Bessie’s father, Austin COOPER in 1883 and the emigration of her mother, Elizabeth Gibson Cooper to the United States in 1884; Bessie takes in her youngest sister Marian Frances COOPER, age 12, to raise for the next six years.

I find 18 year old Marian emigrating also to the United States in 1890 to Texas with her brother- in-law John David Pearson. 

“New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital image, ( : accessed 17 September 2015), image 115 of 735, Line 1174, John D. Pearson, & Line 1175, Maria[n] F. Cooper entries; citing List Number 555 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Roll 547, Ship City of Richmond out of Liverpool, England & Queenstown, Ireland,    Francis S. Land master, arrived  New York on 28 April 1890.
I will cover Marian’s story in a future blog post.

I easily find the couple Bessie and John in the Ireland 1901 and 1911 census records as mentioned in Bessie’s previous post. They had no children.

Bessie became a widow on 9 May 1918, when John died of Pneumonia Cardiac failure at home 72 Upper Leeson Street. He was 67 years old.  

Ireland. Death Records. John David Pearson. 9 May 1918. Quarter 2. Volume 2. Page 460. No. 49. Civil Registration Office, Roscommon, Ireland. Accessed 18 April 2009. 
Two years later, when Bessie came to the United States to visit family, the ship record stated that she is a housekeeper and that she lived with her niece, Mrs. Barlow. Who is this and is she a niece from her side of the family or her husband, John David Pearson’s side? Another new family member to hunt down!

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, ( : accessed 7 May 2017), Image 835 of 1107, Line 3, Bessie Pearson entry; citing List Number 14 of National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, Roll 2930; Ship Carmania out of Liverpool, Geo. W. Melson master, arrived New York on 28 February 1921.
Bessie also brought some family heirlooms to share with her nieces and nephews here in the United States. These include two family Cooper crest rings mentioned in two previous posts.

Another one is a hand petite point piece of the face of Christ which she presented to her nephew, my grandfather, John Carrick Cooper. The family story is that my Pop, rolled up the piece and put it in the closet for 20 years! When my grandparents came to Texas to visit my parents, they brought this hand stitched piece to present it to them, which my mother framed. This has been hanging proudly in my home ever since. 

Petite Point of Christ in author’s possession
I was ecstatic to find the post card below with the hand stitched Christ’s history in family files. I will cover more detail of its history when I post my blog on its creator, Samuel Cooper (1802-1874), my 3rd great grandfather. What other items did she bring to share with other relatives in the United States?

Austin Cooper NOT Austin Damer Cooper
Transcription of postcard:


Given to Marty by Sophie Cooper May -1955
Framed in Feb. -1956

Samuel Cooper

Aunt Bessie - daughter of Austin Damer Cooper & 
Elizabeth Gibson

(Handwritten by Martha L. Cooper)


This was worked by Samuel Cooper of 4 Merrion Sq. Dublin & Abbeyville Kinsealy, Co. Dublin about 70-80 years ago. (Handwritten by Bessie Cooper Pearson 1920)

May 1920 was date Aunt Bessie of Dublin brought it over here. History of petite point written in Aunt Bessie's handwriting above. (Handwritten by Sophie R. Cooper 1955)

I had no idea as to Bessie's death, until I found her obituary in an American newspaper, The Sedalia Weekly Democrat dated 2 Dec 1938. ( This leads me to order her death certificate verifying her death in Manchester, England, in late 1938. Bessie was buried with husband, John David Pearson, in Dublin, Ireland.

Mrs. J. W. [D.] Pearson [Elizabeth "Bessie" Cooper Pearson] obituary. The Sedalia Weekly Democrat, 2 December 1938, p. 5, col. 4. Sedalia, Missouri on : Accessed 18 Mar 2015.
This article was a great find to fill me in with more of her (and my great grand father’s) siblings. Interesting to see that her visit to New York in 1922 and her New York relatives were not mentioned in this piece.

More stories to follow on Bessie’s siblings.