APR. 17, 1861 - NOV. 11, 1932

Son of: John Jordan Cooper and Louisa Slay

Wife: Lucyann Missouri Levins


Father's page



Jim was the fourth child / fourth son of John Jordan Cooper and Louisa Slay Cooper. Jim was born early one spring morning, April 17, 1861 at the Cooper homestead, near what is now called Cooper Basin, east of Milton, Florida. Three months before James was born, on January 10, 1861, Florida seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. A month before he was born, March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office and became the 16th President of the United States. Just five days before his birth, April 12, 1861, the Civil War had begun when South Carolina troops fired on Fort Sumter. It wasn't until Jim was seven years old that Florida was re-admitted to the Union.


It can only be assumed that Jim like his older brothers helped farm the homestead with their father during his early years. Jim is not listed with the rest of his family on the 1870 Federal census for Santa Rosa county, Florida. Jim would have been nine years old and was probably staying with other relatives for the summer.


In the fall of 1879 when Jim was 18 years old, one month after his youngest brother (Joseph Franklin Cooper) was born, he decide to marry a young woman by the name of Lucyann Missouri Levins who was four months younger than him.


During the 1880 Federal census it shows that Jim's mother-in-law, Annie Turner Levins, was living with them during the census. It recorded that she was fifty years old. We can only assume that her husband, James Levins, had died and that is why she was living with them.


Like his father, Jim started his life as a farmer then developed other skills which led him to become an entrepreneur. Jim built and owned several stores and buildings over the years and had formed a partnership with his second son, George Washington Cooper, on a couple of the vintures. In 1913 he built a large brick building with glass windows faceing the railroad in Holt, Florida. A photograph of this building in Holt, Florida is included in the Gallery section. It was a Dry Goods Store with the name "J. Cooper & Son" painted on the front. Jim and his son, George, ran a thriving business in this building until 1916 when the store was gutted by fire. Also in 1913 Jim provided the financing for his son, George, to built a Boarding house south of the railroad station in which George and his family lived and managed the five rooms on the north side of the house facing the railroad station.


In 1919 Jim built a large concrete block building next to the old Post Office in Holt. In 1922 the Post Office was moved into his building. For a period of time Jim was the Post Master for Holt, Florida and at some point he and his wife lived in the back of the old Post Office. The safe that was used by the Post Office came from one of Jim's stores in Holt, Florida and still had the name Cooper & Son logo painted on it.


Between 1921 and 1930 two of Jim's and Lucyann's grandsons lived with them. Marshall Fisher Cooper and Milledge Lushington Cooper, sons of Charlie Robinson Cooper. Marshall and Milledge stayed with their grandparents until they both turned 16 years old. Marshall join the Navy in 1928 and when Milledge turned 16, in 1930, he joined the U.S. Cavalry.


Jim's concrete block building which housed the Post Office was destroyed by fire.

Because he smoked a pipe most of his life and was almost always seen with that old corn-cob pipe sticking out of the corner of his mouth he developed what they called in the old days, pipe cancer. Part of his lip and cheek were removed but fortunately, for everyone else, he could afford a wax mask to cover-up the part of his face that was disfigured by the surgery. Callie Dora Cooper, one of Jim's granddaughters, remembered watching her mother, Lorina, take the wax mask off her father's face in order to clean underneath. Callie recalled thinking that she was able to see what she thought was bone.


In 1932, when James' Pipe Cancer became worse, one of Jim's sons-in-law, William Jackson (Bud) Carr, rode with him, by train, to a Cancer specialist in St. Louis, MO, for cancer treatment. On their way back, James was on heavy medication and while Bud didn't have his eye on him, James removed one of his shoes and proceeded to beat out one of the train's windows and jumped from the train while it was still moving. Fortunately in his drugged state, he only broke a leg, which completely healed before he died. Afterwards James was furious with his son-in-law for allowing him to do such a foolish thing.  James died that year of Cancer. Bud had access to all moneys and Accounts of his father-in-law's estate. A copy of the newspaper clipping that tells about the train incident, is included in the Records section of this site.


James Clarence Cooper, one of James' grandsons, remembered when he was a boy and living with his grandparents, that there was a keg of Gold Coins that sat in the corner of the Dinning Room and that he used to play in it.

One of Jame's daughters, Lorina (Rena), told her son, Floyd, Jr., an anecdote about her father: He was outraged when bacon went from $.02 to $.04 per pound and said that if people would quit eating it, it would come back down. They didn't quit eating it, and it didn't come down!