Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Austin Cooper 1825-1883


A Station Master for the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland

Photo in possession of distant cousin,  Angela Anderson 
There are numerous, Austin Cooper’s named after the MAIN forefather of my line, Austin COOPER (1621-1695). One of them, is the Austin COOPER who married Mary IRWIN and Elizabeth GIBSON.  

He was born in Aug 1825, in Dublin, Ireland, the only son of Samuel COOPER (1802-1874), a Gentleman, with second wife, widow Frances Ann ARMSTRONG Arthure (1793-????). By 1830, Frances and her five year old son were left on their own when Samuel COOPER moved on to his third wife. My distant cousin, Richard Austin-Cooper, mentions in his book, that Austin was "doted" on by his father and taken by his grandfather, Austin COOPER, FSA, of Merrion Square, "in the carriage." 1


I find 23-year old Austin working for the Midland Great Western Railway by 1848. He is at the first temporary Mullingar railway station (close to the current Greyhound stadium) of County Westmeath. This line from Dublin to Mullingar opened on 2 October 1848. By August 1851, the Galway line was completed via Mullingar and Athlone to Dublin. This station is no longer in use, but still exists dilapidated.  Another branch line to Longford was completed by December 1855, opening the current station closer to the town.2

Austin met and later married Mary Agnes IRWIN on 26 May 1848, in the Parish Church of Kilbixy.


Irish Civil Records. Marriage Registration of Austin Cooper & Mary Agnes Irwin, 26 May 1848, Parish Church of Kilbixy, County Westmeath. Married by Alexr. Gome. 1848, Vol. 8, page 382, No. 1. Microfilm #101,299. Family History Library, Salt Lake City :  accessed 12 November 2008.

Interesting to see that Austin, living in Carrig[-----] is 23 years old marrying a minor who is from Cumminstown. They are married by a Presbyterian minister, Alexr Gome, of the Presbyterian Church of N[------]shire. Their only child, Austin Irwin COOPER (1849- 1891), was born on 25 March 1849. 

There is no more mention of Mary. Did she die giving childbirth to her only son? 

I find Austin again in 1851, marrying Elizabeth GIBSON, as a widower. Both of them are in Mullingar. Elizabeth is a daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Alexander GIBSON. The two witnesses catch my eye. Edmond Digges LaTouche is a cousin from Elizabeth's mother side. How is John Gibson related to Elizabeth?


Irish Civil Records. Marriage Registration of Austin Cooper & Elizabeth Gibson, 14 June 1851, Church of Mullingar, County Westmeath. Married by Thomas Woodward. 1851, Quarter 1,  Vol. 8, page 269, No. 78. Microfilm #101,329. Family History Library, Salt Lake City :  accessed 12 November 2008.
I find Austin working at the Mullingar station from 1848-1855 with the birth of his first three children with Elizabeth Gibson. They are  Henry COOPER (1852-1883), Mary Elizabeth COOPER (1853-1886) and Alexander Sisson COOPER (1854-1927), my great-grandfather. 

By 1856, I find Austin and Elizabeth in Canterbury Barracks, Kent, England. Elizabeth is giving birth to her fourth child, Arthur Lincoln COOPER (1856-1876). I order Arthur’s birth registration from England. Arthur is born 28 Jan 1856, 8:30 a.m. in Northgate Barracks. Their residence is Canterbury Barracks with Austin’s occupation as Lieutenant in the Royal North Lincoln Militia. This explains Arthur’s middle name of Lincoln. (Copyright from the website/organization I ordered this record from does not allow me to post the document here on my blog.)3

Finding several newspaper articles about the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia, Austin is mentioned from February to May 1856. Why did he join? How long was he required to stay? I am still searching for military documents with this regiment. This is during the time of the Crimean War (1853-1856). 

Was Austin a part time volunteer soldier for home defense? What was his position here in Canterbury?

Researching the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia, 1782-1881, I find that it went through name changes through the centuries. I also find a book on Google Books, listing where I can find copies of specific records for this regiment. This leads me to the Public Record Office in Kew, England. I will have to refer copies of these records for Austin Cooper in the future.

After the end of the Crimean War, in April 1857, Austin is back to working with the railroad in the booking department at the Faringdon Station, Berkshire, England. In June, he is transferred to the Maidenhead Station of Berkshire (approx. 40 miles east); and still by November of 1857 he is moved to the Taplow Station. Maidenhead is 2 miles away from Taplow.

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Collection: Great Western Railway Company: Staff Records; Class: RAIL264; Piece: 1. Book Title : 1835-1910 Clerks Vol·1. Ancestry.com : accessed 9 March 2017.
During this time, child number five, a second daughter, Elizabeth "Bessie" COOPER, is born 31 May 1857, in Faringdon, Berkshire (later Oxfordshire), England.  I have a conflict with Elizabeth's birth location(s) which I will cover in more detail on her blog page.
He resigned the following May in 1858 from his employer, the Great Western Railway. 


From 1860-1864, Austin is working in Longford, Ireland, as seen by the birth of his following four children. The Longford Rail Station was opened in 1855 as the final destination northwest of Mullingar. Later, extended to Sligo in 1862. 4

On 20 Mar 1860, Edwin Ashley COOPER was born in Killashee, Longford, Ireland.

Samuel Penrose COOPER was born 2 May 1861 in Longford, Ireland.

John Turner COOPER came along the following year in 8 Oct 1862 also in Longford. 

Third daughter, Jane Mauvillian COOPER was born 9 Oct 1864 in Edgeworthstown, Longford, Ireland. Is this Ginnie or Jenny? The Edgeworthstown Railway Station was also opened in 1855. 5

By 1866, Austin & Elizabeth had their 10th child, Walter Earnest COOPER on 13th Aug 1866. He was born in Moate, Westmeath, Ireland.  Was Austin working at the Moate station? The Moate Rail Station was opened in 1851 as part of the main route between Counties Dublin, Galway and Mayo. 6

In 1868, Ashley Joseph COOPER born on August 22 in Roscommon. Roscommon rail station opened in 1860. 7

In 1870, possibility of twins, James Austin COOPER and Sylvester COOPER born on 10 May in Roscommon. I can only find a birth record for Sylvester. I can only find a death record for James.

Their last child, Marian Frances COOPER was born on 6 Nov 1871, in Galway. Galway Rail station was opened in 1851. 8

To continue with Austin’s timeline, his now adult son Alexander Sisson Cooper married Laura Jane Boyd on 17 Jul  1875 in Dublin.

His eldest son, Henry married Hannah Frances DIGGES LATOUCHE on 18 Jan 1877 in Dublin. The daughter of Edmund DIGGES LATOUCHE and Jane GIBSON, Henry's aunt and uncle. Jane Gibson was Elizabeth’s older sister. Their story will follow in a future blog. 

In 1878, his daughter, Elizabeth “Bessie” is married to John David PEARSON in Ballentemple of Co. Cavan. 

His eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth is married to John Edgar EDMONDS, a co-worker of her father. By 1881, they are living near Killeshandrea, Co. Cavan. The Cavan Rail station was built in 1862. 9

The Cavan Station was Austin’s last place of employment.



Ireland. Death Records. Austin Cooper. 1 September 1883. Volume 3. Page 62. No. 236. Civil Registration Office, Roscommon, Ireland. Accessed 18 April 2009.
Austin died 1 Sep 1883 in Bellananagh, Cavan, Ireland, at the age of 58. His son, John Turner Cooper is present at his death. Austin's cause of death was an abdominal aortic aneurysm or a "Triple A," diagnosed the previous eight months. 

Nine months later, his widow, Elizabeth leaves for the United States. Her story will continue in a future blog post.

I plan to cover the stories of the 14 known children of Austin and Elizabeth Cooper as I research about them to learn of their adventures. Some came to the United States and some disappeared in time. 

I would appreciate any input from descendants of these children of Austin Cooper and Elizabeth Gibson. 

1 Austin-Cooper, Richard. Butterhill and Beyond: an illustrated history of the Cooper family of Byfleet, Killinure Castle, Co. Tipperary & Abbeville House, Co Dublin. Hurst, Reading, Berkshire : Hurst Village Pub., c1991. p. 22
2  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullingar
3 https://www.freebmd.org.uk
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longford_railway_station
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgeworthstown_railway_station
6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moate_railway_station
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscommon_railway_station
8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galway_railway_station
9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavan_railway_station


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