Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


HARRY COOPER. The gentleman whose name heads this paragraph is widely known as one of the enterprising men of affairs of Greene county whose methods are those of the progressive twentieth century business man, who, despite obstacles and opposition, is forging to the front along conservative and legitimate lines. He is sole proprietor of the large supply company of Springfield which bears his name, and he has long been prominently identified with the commercial interests of the capital city of the Ozarks. His well-directed efforts in the practical affairs of life, his capable management of his business interests and his sound judgment have brought him large financial rewards for the labor he has expended, and his life forcefully demonstrates what may be accomplished in this free land of ours by the, gentleman of foreign birth who comes here with a willingness to work honestly and persistently in any legitimate line of established endeavor.

Mr. Cooper was born near Leicester, England, September 12, 1861. He is a son of Henry Cooper, who was born in England, where he grew to manhood, received his education and married and from that country he emigrated to the United States with his family in 1872, landing in New York City, but came direct to the state of Missouri, secured a good farm in Wilson township, Greene county, and there became a successful farmer and stock-raiser for many years and the latter part of his life was spent in retirement on his small farm of forty-five acres. He was seventy-seven years of age when his death occurred. Politically, he was a Democrat and served his township as a member of the school board. He belonged to the Episcopal church and led a quiet, honorable and industrious life. Mr. Cooper was twice married, his first wife, mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Mary Richardson, died in 1874, leaving two sons, Harry of this sketch, and George, who was associated in business with his brother in Springfield, from 1888 to 1908; he was for many years one of the well- known citizens of this city and while he and our subject were on a visit to England in 1910, he was stricken with illness and died in that country. Henry Cooper's second marriage was to Elizabeth Jackson, and to this union one son was born, Frederick Cooper, who is now engaged in the plumbing business on College street, Springfield.

William Cooper, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born and reared in England and resided there all his life. He was a successful business man and became one of the wealthiest citizens of the city of Leicester. He retained the coat-of-arms of his ancestors, the Coopers being a prominent old English family, and he was very active in church work and was a heavy contributor, building a handsome church unaided for his denomination near Leicester.

Harry Cooper, our subject, spent his boyhood in England, where he attended school and was eleven years of age when, in 1872, his parents brought him to America. He continued his education in the public schools of Springfield, attending about one year when he went to Wilson township to his father's farm and there assisted with the general work during the summer months. However, his educational advantages were limited and he left school when thirteen years of age. He remained under his paternal roof-tree until he was twenty-two years of age, then came to Springfield and went to work for the Springfield Gas Company, under J. S. Ambrose, and began learning the plumbing trade. After remaining with this concern a year, he went to-Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where he worked at the plumbing trade in 1883 and 1884. He worked as journeyman plumber until 1887, then opened a plumbing business of his own at 412 South street, Springfield, and later moved his shop to the southeast corner of South and Walnut streets. He was successful from the start and his business grew to large proportions with advancing years. For twenty years his brother, George Cooper, was in partnership with him, the business being conducted under the firm name of Cooper Brothers. In 1908 Mr. Cooper purchased his brother's interest, since which time he has been sole proprietor of his establishment, which is now known as the Harry Cooper Supply Company On June 1, 1908, he moved to 30 East Water street, where he rented a one story brick building, twenty by one hundred and forty-five feet, and opened a strictly wholesale supply house. The following year he was obliged to seek larger quarters and he rented the adjoining property, doubling his space on the ground floor and adding another story also of equal capacity, and here he remained until again forced to seek more commodious quarters, when he purchased a lot, sixty by one hundred and thirty-five feet, at 223-227 East Water street, early in 1914, and here he constructed a substantial modern three-story and basement reinforced concrete brick front building, purchasing his own cement, iron and all supplies and had the building erected according to his own ideas and plans made by George F. Reed, architect. It is one of the models of its kind in the Southwest. The building contains thirty thousand feet of floor space, and he has one of the best display rooms in the state, which room with his office occupies the entire front of the building. He does a large wholesale business over a vast territory contiguous to Springfield, handling plumbing, heating and engine supplies, well casings, pumps and wind mills. Everything in these lines may he found at his large plant and it requires fifteen experienced assistants to help manage the daily volume of business which is constantly and rapidly growing. The business was incorporated under the laws of Missouri early in 1915. While doing plumbing work, Mr. Cooper was employed in several adjoining states as well as throughout Missouri and he is widely known to the plumbing trade of the Southwest. He did the plumbing work in the Missouri building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, in 1903. He gives his business his personal attention and promptness and honesty are his watch-words.

Mr. Cooper was married in 1890 to Catherine Elizabeth Coombs a daughter of David Coombs, who was a native of New Jersey. Both the parents of Mrs. Cooper died when she was quite young and she made her home with her uncle, John Coombs, a native of New Jersey. He came to Springfield when Mrs. Cooper was but twelve years of age and it was here that she received her education in the public schools.

To our subject and wife two children have been born, namely: Catherine R., who was graduated from the Springfield high school and later from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She was married on February 3, 1915, to Allen F. Mack, of this city, who is in the dry goods business. John Henry George Cooper, second child of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, is attending local high school.

Politically, Mr. Cooper is a Democrat and fraternally is a thirty-second degree Mason.

[1597-1600]


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