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.

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