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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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BENJAMIN COOPER, a prominent and influential citizen of Dowagiac, Cass County, Mich., has now retired from the active duties of business, and in the evening of his days enjoys the competence earned by persevering and intelligent industry. In very early life a farmer, Mr. Cooper soon abandoned the tilling of the soil, and entered into a profitable and extensive quarry business, in which he remained continuously until about three months since, finally disposing of his business interests in April, 1893.

Our subject was born while his parents were on a journey from their birthplace in New York State to Cincinnati, Ohio. The date of Mr. Cooper’s birth was September 19, 1820. The father and mother later removed from Cincinnati, and made their home in Big Island Township, Marion County, the same State. Benjamin Cooper was fourteen years of age when, for the third time, his parents changed their locality and came from Ohio to Cass County, Mich., in the year 1834. The father spent all of his early life in his native State, New York, and served bravely as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was a man of high courage and great endurance, and was a representative pioneer of the West. He died in Michigan, passing away at the advanced age of ninety-three years.

The paternal grandfather, John Cooper, emigrated to this country from England, and was in early youth when he crossed the broad Atlantic. He settled first in Canada, afterward located in Massachusetts, and later made his permanent residence in New York, where he married and reared a large family, who lived to adult age and occupied useful and influential positions in life. Our subject received a common-school education, and was naturally possessed of fine business qualifications. He had only reached his majority when he assumed the cares of a family, and was married in February, 1841, to Miss Lorinda Mowry, who was a resident of Honora Township. This estimable lady, who died in 1880, was a native of New York, but passed the greater part of her life in the West. In 1863, Mr. Cooper came to Dowagiac and built his first residence in the city. His substantial dwelling was erected on the property sold six years ago to P. D. Beck with, and stood on the spot where Fred E. Lee, the manager of the Beckwith estate, is now building a magnificent home, one of the most finely appointed structures and costly residences in this part of the State.

Mr. Cooper first entered the quarry business in company with Joel Andrews, but the two had been partners for only a few months when their property was entirely destroyed by fire. With invincible hope and courage our subject again tried the business by himself, and was a second time a total loser by fire. Undaunted, he subsequently formed a partnership in the quarry business in connection with J. F. Moshier. This latter partnership continuously endured for twenty-seven years, the business extending its limits rapidly, and yielding lucrative results. The two long-time partners, old friends, tried and true, yet hold real estate in common, and still enjoy close companionship.

November 2, 1881, Mr. Cooper a second time entered into matrimony, and was united in marriage with Mrs. Parker, a daughter of William and Mary A. (Brownell) Wilder, of New York State. In 1864, the Wilders settled in Dowagiac, where the father, a highly respected citizen, died in 1886, at the age of seventy-five. The mother survived until 1892, and was at the time of her demise seventy-seven years of age.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper have shared the benefits of extensive travel in the United States, and are known in their own home locality as liberal and progressive, always ready to render assistance in social, benevolent and religious enterprise. Fraternally, our subject has affiliated with the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons since 1860, and was made a member of the Ancient Order in Pokagon. Although never an office-seeker, Mr. Cooper is interested in Governmental issues, and is an ardent advocate for the elevation of the masses.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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