FEB 12, 1835 - OCT. 17, 1906

Daughter of: William Slay and Selimea Thompson

Husband: John Jordan Cooper


Father's page



Louisa Slay was born February 12, 1835 in Henry County, Alabama. She was the sixth child of ten children born to William Slay born in North Carolina and Selimea  Thompson Slay born in South Carolina. Her siblings names, in order of birth were: Robert, William,Jr., Erasmus, Stephen, Bedy, (Louisa), Caroline, Harriet, Nancy and Julie.

Sometime between 1841 and 1850 louisa's family moved from Dale County, Alabama to Washington County, Florida.


It is not known when or where Louisa and John met but both of their families lived in close proximity to each other. John with his father and mother lived in Holmes County, Florida during the 1850 census and Louisa and her family lived in Washington County, Florida during the 1850 Federal Census. Holmes County and Washington County share a common border. They could have met at a Church meeting or some other social event. We do know that Louisa married John sometime in 1851 when Louisa was sixteen years old and John was thirty-one.


Their first child, Henry Moses Cooper, was born February 14, 1852 in Holmes County, Florida.


It is assumed that John and Louisa moved to Washington County, Florida to be closer to Louisa's parents, William and Selimea Slay, because their second child, William Erasmus Cooper was born in Washington County, Florida on December 21, 1855.


During the early part of 1856 John, his family, and his father, Washington A. Cooper, moved to the area of Florida that is now called Santa Rosa County. They built their home near a basin off the Blackwater River, which is now called "Cooper Basin". Obviously it was name after them. According to the Homestead document, Louisa stated that they had lived at the homestead since May 1856.


Their third child, John Robinson Cooper, was born July 15, 1858. John was the first child to be born at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their fourth child, James Fountain Cooper, was born April 17, 1861 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their fifth child, Michael Raleigh Cooper, was born August 24, 1864 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their sixth child, Daniel Jordan Cooper, was born April 8, 1867 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their seventh child, Selimea Cooper, was born August 19, 1869 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their eighth child, Thomas William Slay Cooper, was born March 13, 1872 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.

Their seventh child, Selimea Cooper, dies on December 17, 1872 at the homestead  and is buried in the Cooper Cemetery near Cooper Basin.


Their ninth child, Susannah Demerah Cooper, was born April 11, 1875 at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their tenth and last child, Joseph Franklin (Frank) Cooper, was born September 5, 1879 when Louisa was forty-four years old and John was fifty-nine years old. He was born at the "Cooper Basin" homestead.


Their eighth child, Thomas W. S. Cooper, dies on December 11, 1880 at the homestead  and is buried in the Cooper Cemetery near Cooper Basin.


Their sixth child, Daniel Jordan Cooper, dies on May 14, 1883 at the homestead and is buried in the Cooper Cemetery near Cooper Basin.


Louisa survived the Flu epidemic of 1892, that took her husband John Jordan Cooper, two sons, two grandsons, and two daughters-in-law.


Louisa's third son, John Robinson Cooper had caught the Flu the previous year that had killed his wife, Dorah, and one of his sons. He had survived but had not totally recovered from the illness. On August 3, 1893 he had a relapse of the Flu and died. The death of her son John left his three surviving children without either parents so she took them into her home. Louisa was by herself, Susannah had married Jasper Adams in April and she had sent Frank, her youngest child, to stay with her mother, Selimea, at Orange Hill in Washington County, Florida. Louisa wasn't able to care for her grandchildren as well as they needed to be cared for so Lou Bloodworth Dean, sister to Dorah Bloodworth Cooper, took them to her home in Pace, Florida and raised them.


When Louisa was sixty-eight years old she decided to apply for final verification of Homestead which would document that the land that she and John had lived and farmed on for over fifty years would be legally hers. ( If she had been a full blood Indian, the Government would have never given her the land no matter how long she had lived on it.) Because she was not in good health and could not make the journey to Gainesville to make the application, she was allowed to be interview for the Homestead Affidavit with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Milton, Florida. She was asked many questions and had to have witnesses to verify her answers. Among the witnesses were Wiley Morrell, Aaron Morrell,  Henry Moses Cooper, her first child and Michael Raleigh Cooper, her fifth son.


Louisa out lived John by seventeen years and died on October 17, 1906. Louisa's final resting-place is in the old Cooper Cemetery near Cooper Basin, east of Milton, Florida.


Based solely on oral history, Louisa was a full-blooded Indian. I have collected three stories pertaining to her Indian heritage. The first story stated that she was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma and that is where John met her during his travels. The second story stated that she was an orphaned Cherokee Indian child that William and Selimea took into their home when the Union soldiers had massacred her Indian parents and sibling. This was supposed to have taken place during the final push by the U.S. Government to occupy all the Indian's land east of the Mississippi River. The third story stated that she was a Seminole princess that John met and married.


Based on documentation Louisa was not from Oklahoma, nor was she an orphaned Indian child or a Seminole Princess as oral history recalls. There may be some truth to Louisa being part Indian however and if this is the case it would have to be through her mother Selimea Thompson. At the first "Cooper Basin" Coopers Family Reunion I met and spoke with Joseph Ivan Goyer of DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Joseph is one of Louisa's grandnephews and nephew of Joseph Franklin (Frank) Cooper. Frank Cooper was the tenth and last child of John Jordan Cooper and Louisa Slay Cooper. Joseph I. Goyer supplied me with information on his Uncle Frank Cooper and his grandaunt Louisa Slay. Joseph used to attend the Slay family reunions and has the Slay Genealogy book, which is where the historic information came from. Even though Joseph stated that he didn't believe that Louisa was a Indian and said that he had never heard any stories from any of the Slay family members that there was Indian blood in the family, he did say that the Slay Clan all had dark complexions. The seated photo of Louisa in the "Cooper Basin" Coopers genealogy book, is testament to some Indian blood in her family. The dark complexion, high cheekbones and the hairstyle cut short in the front with the hair possibly pulled back into a ponytail in the back. The dark complexion could be due to constant exposure to the sun because most of the family were full time farmers.