1880- Charlie was born at home, on his father's
farm, in Harold, Florida on December 17, 1880. He was the first child of eleven children born to
James Fountain Cooper and Lucyann Missouri Levins. Charlie's father was a wealthy Entrepreneur
who owned several thriving businesses as well as land in Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa County, around
Harold, Holt and Milton, Florida.
1892- When Charlie was 12 years old, his grandfather, John Jordan Cooper, uncle William
Erasmus Cooper, aunt Dora Bloodworth Cooper, aunt Eilizabeth Reed Cooper and first cousin,
Henry Cooper (son of his uncle Henry Moses Cooper) dies of the Grippe (influenza). That following
summer his uncle John Robinson Cooper whom Charlie derived his middle name from, dies of a relaps
of the flu. This must have been understandably devastanting to young Charlie, to have so many in
his family die at the same time. Many in the family were sick with the Grippe but with God's
grace most of the family survived.
It is around this time that a tin-type photograph, possibly several photographs, were taken of
Charlie and his uncle Frank (Joseph Franklin Cooper). Frank was tenth and last child born of John
and Louisa. Joseph was only a year older than Charlie and they may have spent a lot of time together
being so close to the same age.
The summer of 92 also had some happy times. Charlie's uncle Ike (Michael Raleigh Cooper)
married Alice Elizabeth (Dollie) Owens, a local school teacher.
Very little is known about Charlie's early years. During his early adulthood he fell in love
with a local schoolteacher in Milton, Florida with whom he had plans to marry. It is remembered
that his family and the town's people felt they were a perfect match. It is also at this time
that a young flirtatious redheaded woman full of spirit from Harold, Florida caught the eye of young
Charlie and enchanted him. Under her enchantment he broke-off his engagement to the young schoolteacher
and ran off and married the spirited redhead. Her name was Mary Ann Matthews. 1Her family
lived in Harold , Florida. Her father and most of his clan had moved there around 1870 from what
is now named Beinivlle Parish, Louisianna.
1909- On September 22, 1909, Charlie married Mary Ann Matthews in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
2Charlie got his start in business with his cousin and brother-in-law, Floyd M. Cooper, Sr.
by salvaging deadheads on the Black Water River. Deadheads were logs destine for the sawmills on
Black Water River that became mired in the mud and sandbars before reaching their destination. The
law of salvage granted ownership to anyone that freed the logs. Like his father he was a successful
businessman. 3Sometime between 1910 and 1913 Charlie owned a store in Holt, Florida with
the name Charlie Cooper's General Store.
1910- In 1910, Charlie and Mary had their first child, Clara Evelyn Cooper. She was born on
February 28, 1910 at their farm near Harold, Santa Rosa County, Florida.
1912- In 1912, Charlie's and Mary's second child was born, Marshall Fisher Cooper.
He was born on September 17, 1912 at their farm near Harold, Santa Rosa County, Florida.
1914- In 1914, Charlie's and Mary's thrid and last child was born, Milledge Lushington
(Bill) Cooper. He was born on November 7, 1914 at their farm near Harold, Santa Rosa County, Florida.
1918- Charlie's Uncle Joseph Franklin Cooper (Uncle Frank) dies from the Spainish
influenza. The Spainish influenza took less than nine months to travel around the world and
killed over 40 million people worldwide.
Charlie In order to provide the lifestyle he wanted for his family required that he spend a
considerable amount of time monitoring his businesses and investments. Meanwhile his young
wife liked to go out by herself to dance and raise Cain. When the impulse to go out and party
came over her, and Charlie wasn't home, 4she would lock the three children in
the closet so they wouldn't mess-up her precious house. Charlie it is assumed, was very
upset by they way his wife treated their children, when he wasn't present, and the fact
that she squandered his hard earned money. It has been said that he was a true gentleman,
however there was a point when for the children's best interest he decided to divorce
his wife. Around 1917, there was a lengthy and expensive divorce which ended with the courts
giving total custody of the children to their father, Charlie. Because his wife had squandered
his money and the costly court fees it almost broke Charlie financially.
5One day while Charlie was at work, Mary, his X-wife, kidnapped the three children
and put them on a train to Texas. When they pulled into New Orleans, Clara, the oldest child,
remembered that her mother stuck her head out the window and yelled to a street vender pushing
a food cart. She bought some tomalleys for herself and the children. Clara said that the tomalleys
were the only food that her mother had given the three children on their trip to Texas.
Clara recalled that they arrived at a ranch (farm) somewhere in Texas (it was actually
Beinville Parish, Louisiana) where she recalled seeing cowboys and horses. Shortly after
they had arrived, the Sheriff of Santa Rosa County called and ordered Mary to return the
children to Florida. Instead she place the three children in a Catholic Orphanage where
they stayed until their father arrived to retrieve them. Trying to raise the three children
by himself and recover from the severe fanatical loss, caused by his wife, was more than he
could handle. He had no other alternative but to ask his sister Lorina (Renee) and Floyd,
if they would take his daughter, Clara, into their home until he got back on his feet.
Charlie's two sons, Marshall and Milledge, went to live with their grandparents Jim and
6Charlie stayed with his sister, Lorina, and her family frequently during the
early 1920s. Sometime around 1923, Charlie and his second wife, Martha (Ida) Helms, contracted
typhoid fever when they were living down at the bowel of Blackwater River where Fisher's
Mill was located. One of the treatments for typhoid, back then, was to put heated stones or
bricks next to the persons legs. During one of the treatments the heated bricks burned one
of Charlie's legs and it never healed completely. Callie recalled bathing her uncle
Charlie's bad leg on occasion, when he stayed with them, and applying, "Texas Star
Liniment", which was his favorite liniment. She said that his leg would improve when he
stayed with them and she had the opportunity to treat it for him, but when he had been away
for a while, he would return with a sore leg. Charlie's second wife died of the typhoid
In the late twenties, Charlie meets a widow in Flomaton, Alabama by the name of Viola J. Taylor.
It is believed that her maiden name had been Spencer. She had three children: Lovina, Harvey
and Barnard. Charlie married Viola and lived in Flomaton for awhile. He owned several stores
in Flomaton. Three of the stores were located side by side like a present day stripe mall.
It's uncertain what took place during those years other than his third wife once again
took advantage of his kindness and broke him finatically. Their marriage ended in divorce.
1928- In 1928 Charlie's oldest son, Marshall, was still living with his
grandparents when he turned 16 year old. Marshall wanted very much to join the Navy and see
the world but because he was under age he had to have his father sign a release form allowing
him to join. His father did sign the papers and his son joined the Navy that year. In 1934
his other son, Milledge Lushington (Bill) Cooper, decided to enlist in the Army Cavalry, which he did.
1930s- 7During the thirties Charlie stayed with his sister Bessie periodically.
1945- 8Charlie died of a stroke in his sleep, April 15, 1945. He had been
staying with his sister Bessie but had traveled over to visit with one of his younger brothers
Tom (Thomas David Cooper) and his family for a few days when he died.
His final resting place is in the Holt Cemetery next to his parents, James Fountain Cooper and
Lucyann Missouri Levins Cooper, two of his brothers, George Washington Cooper and Thomas David
Cooper and one of his sons, Marshall Fisher Cooper.