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ROBERT COOPER, SOLDIER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

ROBERT COOPER WAS BORN ON DECEMBER 25, 1746 IN COUNTY ARMAGH IRELAND, AND ACCORDING TO HIS SON ROBERT MELVILLE COOPER “HIS FATHER HUGH COOPER WITH MOST OF HIS NEAR RELATIONS EMIGRATED TO AMERICA ABOUT THE YEAR 1760.” THE FAMILY SETTLED IN NEW JERSEY WHERE ROBERT COMPLETED AN APPRENTICESHIP AS A BLACKSMITH UNDER HIS UNCLE ROBERT GILL WHO CAME WITH THE FAMILY TO AMERICA. IN 1768 IN NEW JERSEY, ROBERT COOPER MARRIED JANE HAMILTON, THE ONLY DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM HAMILTON AND ELIZABETH MCCULLOUGH. SOON AFTER MARRIAGE ROBERT AND JANE MOVED TO SOUTH CAROLINA AND SETTLED ON THE SOUTH FORK OF FISHING CREEK IN CAMDEN DISTRICT. THE VISITATION LOG OF REV. JOHN SIMPSON, PASTOR OF THE FISHING CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH SHOWS THAT ROBERT COOPER'S UNCLE ROBERT GILL WAS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD ON JUNE 8, 1775. (THE VISITATION LOG WAS SAVED WHEN THE BRITISH BURNED THE PASTOR'S HOME DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.)

DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, ROBERT COOPER SERVED AS A LIEUTENANT UNDER CAPTAIN HUGH WHITESIDES AND JOHN MILLING AND COL. JOHN WINN ON THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION. HE ALSO SERVED AS A LIEUTENANT UNDER CAPTAIN JOHN MILLS AND ALEXANDER PAGAN AND AS A CAPTAIN UNDER COL. LACEY. ON THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION, HE LOST A HORSE, AND AT SUMPTER'S DEFEAT, HE LOST A SADDLE ,SADDLE BAGS AND GUN. HE WAS IN THE BATTLE OF HANGING ROCK IN WHICH ALEXANDER PAGAN WAS KILLED. IN CORRESPONDENCE WITH HISTORIAN LYMAN DRAPER, ROBERT COOPER'S SON, ROBERT MELVILLE COOPER REPORTED THAT HIS FATHER RECEIVED A SEVERE FLESH WOUND IN THE SIDE IN A NIGHT ACTION WITH TORIES. AFTER THE REVOLUTION ROBERT COOPER CONTINUED FARMING AND THE PRACTICE OF HIS TRADE AS A BLACKSMITH. ON MAY 13, 1798, HE DIED OF PNEUMONIA AND WAS BURIED IN THE FISHING CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHYARD.

ROBERT AND JANE COOPER HAD 13 CHILDREN AND THEY ALL LIVED TO BE ADULTS, MARRIED AND HAD CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN: ELIZABETH, M. JOHN PATTEN; HUGH , M. CATHRINE BRAKEFIELD; JOHN, M. JENNET CAMPBELL; WILLIAM GILL, M. DEMPSEY DONAHO; ELEANOR , M. ROBERT SMITH; JAMES HAMILTON, M. MARGARET BROWN; JANE, M. WILLIAM HEMPHILL; MARY, M. DAVID ANDERSON; JONATHAN, M. ELIZABETH DUFFIE; SARAH, M. HUGH BARR; HAMILTON, M. MARGARET ELIZABETH STEVENS; ROBERT MELVILLE, M. CATHERINE COOPER; MATTHEW DELAMERE, THE YOUNGEST MARRIED THREE TIMES TO WIVES THAT WERE ALL KIN; MARY AGNES FRIERSON, ELIZABETH JANE FRIERSON, AND MARY ANN WITHERSPOON BROWN.

WITH THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, JANE COOPER FACED HER SEVEREST TEST. JANE WAS BORN IN ST. AUGUSTINE FLORIDA IN 1753 AFTER THE DEATH OF HER FATHER WILLIAM HAMILTON WHO FELL ILL WHILE ENROUTE FROM JAMAICA TO THE COLONIES AND WAS BURIED AT SEA. WITH THE REMARRIAGE OF HER MOTHER SOON AFTER, JANE WAS REARED BY MR. AND MRS. CHARLES GRAVES. MRS. GRAVES WAS THE ONLY SISTER OF WILLIAM HAMILTON AND CHARLES WAS A WEALTHY SHIPPING MERCHANT WHO WAS LIVING AT ST. AUGUSTINE AT THE TIME BUT HAD OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON, JAMAICA, AND PHILADELPHIA WHERE JANE LIVED AND ENJOYED THE ADVANTAGES OF WEALTH AND EDUCATION THAT ENABLED HER TO SPEAK FLUENT FRENCH AND SPANISH. IN CORRESPONDENCE WITH HISTORIAN LYMAN DRAPER, HER SON ROBERT MELVILLE COOPER WROTE IN 1872 THAT WHEN MR. AND MRS. GRAVES RETURNED TO THE WEST INDIES TO LIVE, JANE RETURNED TO NEW JERSEY WHERE SHE MET AND MARRIED ROBERT COOPER. WITH ROBERT COOPER'S DEATH IN 1798, JANE WAS LEFT WITH 3 UNMARRIED DAUGHTERS AND 4 SONS AGES 16 TO 6. IN 1803, JANE PACKED THE UNMARRIED CHILDREN IN A CARRYALL ( A COVERED CARRIAGE DRAWN BY A SPAN OF HORSES) AND DROVE TO TENNESSEE WHERE SHE SETTLED IN HAYSBOROUGH IN DAVIDSON COUNTY NEAR NASHVILLE. AFTER ROBERT MELVILLE COOPER MARRIED IN 1816(WITH WHOM SHE WAS LIVING), JANE MOVED TO MISSISSIPPI WHERE FOUR SONS WERE LIVING. IN RECENT YEARS, HER GRAVE WAS FOUND ON THE OLD HAMILTON COOPER PLACE AT MT. OLIVE IN JEFFERSON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI. THE GRAVE MARKER GAVE THE DATE OF DEATH AS JANUARY 23, 1823. A BIOGRAPHY OF A GRANDSON IN TENNESSEE GAVE HER CREDIT FOR HAVING THE BRAINS OF THE COOPER FAMILY.

ROBERT COOPER IS THE G-G-G-GRANDFATHER OF BILL PITTMAN. HE IS ALSO THE G-G-GRANDFATHER OF WILLIAM CLAUDE PITTMAN SR. AND THE GREAT-GRANDFATHER OF EMILY HEMPHILL PITTMAN WHO ARE BURIED IN THE PONTOTOC CEMETERY, PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI. REFERENCES 1.ROSTER OF SOUTH CAROLINA PATRIOTS IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Bobby Gilmer Moss, page199 2. HUGH COOPER(1720-1793) OF FISHING CREEK SOUTH CAROLINA AND HIS DESCENDANTS by Mrs. William E. Roberts,Jr. Fort Worth ,Texas 3. DRAPER COLLECTION, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, SUMPTER PAPERS, Series VV Volume 4, pages 12-13( as well as others on Robert Cooper) 4. LIST OF VISITATIONS OF REV. JOHN SIMPSON, PASTOR OF FISHING CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CHESTER COUNTY,S.C. Chester County Genealogical Society 5. ESTATE SETTLEMENT OF CAPTAIN ROBERT COOPER, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, Chester County, South Carolina, First Monday in October 1813 6. THE CARMACK-COOPER SHOOTING: TENNESSEE POLITICS TURNS VIOLENT, NOVEMBER 8, 1908, by James Summerville, McFarland, 1994

Contributed to Pontotoc County by Bill Pittman


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