Elbert Wesley Cooter

ELBERT WESLEY COOTER. One of the leading business men of Columbus, and a gentleman widely and favorably known throughout the county, is Elbert Wesley Cooter, at present engaged in the real estate business. He came to the county in December, 1880, located on a farm in Lola township, 10 miles southwest of Columbus, on Center Creek, comprising 240 acres, partially improved, in section 35, township 33, range 22. Mr. Cooter was born in Greenville, Greene County, Tennessee, November 21, 1831.

In his early childhood, the parents of Mr. Cooter moved to Lewis County, Missouri, where he was reared to manhood. He received a good common-school education, so applying himself that he was able to enter the school room as a teacher, a profession that he followed successfully in Lewis County, from 1853 to 1859. He had married in 1857, and two years later removed to Holden, Missouri, where he continued to teach until the breaking out of the war. Being a Union man, and Holden being "ultra-secesh," he found it desirable to remove to Douglas County, Kansas, where he resided until the sacking of Lawrence. He then returned to Lewis County and resumed teaching, In 1864 Mr. Cooter secured the appointment of surveyor of the county, and for the succeeding 10 years was kept exceedingly busy in that office. In the meantime he had become the possessor of a farm of 160 acres, and operated that in connection with his other duties. He had become favorably impressed with the opportunities afforded in Southeastern Kansas, and in 1880, as stated, he moved with his family to Cherokee County. He resided on Center Creek for about seven years, during which time he brought his farm to a high state of cultivation. Then he sold it, and bought the 80-acre farm near the city, now owned by Thomas Keethler, the photographer. This he sold in 1894, and has since been a resident of the city. During the period from 1881 to 1887, inclusive, Mr. Cooter was county surveyor, during which period an immense amount of important work was required, the sale of large bodies of government land to the railroad company, which in turn sold the land to the settlers, making it necessary to divide the sections. Since 1894, Mr. Cooter has been active in the real estate business. Few in the county are so well qualified to talk Cherokee County lands, as there is hardly a foot of this section with which he is not intimately acquainted.

Briefly referring to family history,—Mr. Cooter is a son of James and Lavina (Jones) Cooter, the former, a native of Westmoreland County, Virginia, and the latter, of Johnson County, Tennessee. James Cooter was by trade a blacksmith. In 1846 he moved to Lewis County, Missouri, where he died in May, 1864, at the age of 56 years. He was an active member of the Methodist Church, of which he was for years a class leader and Sunday-school superintendent. His wife died in Johnson County in 1841, at the early age of 31 years. She was the mother of the following children: Elbert Wesley; Jasper M., a blacksmith, who was born in 1833, and died at Holden, Missouri, in June, 1902; Philip C., born in 1835, who was pension agent at Cape Girardeau, Missouri; John, born in 1838, who was a justice of the peace in Cedar County, Missouri; and Elizabeth A., born in 1840, who married Thomas Maddox, and resides in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mr. Cooter has twice entered the matrimonial state. He married his first wife, Julia Hamilton, in Lewis County, Missouri, September 15, 1857. She was a native of that county, born April 7, 1836, and a daughter of Andrew and Nancy (Chowning) Hamilton, formerly of Bourbon County, Kentucky. Her parents died in Lewis County, their children being as follows: Tabitha, who died at Mr. Cooter s home, aged 46 years; Jackson, a farmer of Lewis County; Elizabeth, who married Andrew Young, of Johnson County, Missouri, both of whom are now deceased; William a farmer, who went to California, where he died in 1852; Martha (Mrs. Thomas Turpin) of Lewistown, Missouri; Margaret (Mrs. Henry Newman), deceased in 1877; Julia, wife of Mr. Cooter; Lucy (Mrs. Edward Buckles), residing near Dallas, Texas; Mary, who married Thomas Bowles (now living near Peoria, Illinois), and died in Lewis County in 1892; Nancy, who married William Luckett, a farmer, and lives in Lewis County; Minerva, who married William Reagan, a farmer, and lives in Lewis County; and Amanda, who married Frank Cheatum, now sheriff of Kingman County, Kansas.

Julia (Hamilton) Cooter died in Columbus September 4, 1895. She was the mother of seven sons and three daughters, as follows: James T., Ida M., William H., John H., DeWitt, Guy, Andrew M., Mary M., Hugh P., and Julia Belle. James T., born December 2, 1858, became a minister. He is now president of Washington College in Tennessee, to which position he was elected in 1891. He was educated at Wabash College, Princeton Theological Seminary, of New Jersey, and McCormick Theological Seminary, of Chicago, and holds the degrees of B. A., M. A., and D. D. He began preaching in 1883, while at McCormick Seminary. He married, in June, 1894, Sadie Gilbert, of Terre Haute, Indiana, and has three children,—Helen, William and James. Ida M. was born September 14, 1860; she married John N. Elliott, a farmer of Sheridan township and her children are,—Elbert Ernest and Julia F. William H. and John H. (twins) were born December 14, 1861, and were educated at Wabash College. John chose the profession of the ministry (Presbyterian), and William, that of the law. Both were exceptionally promising, when death claimed them, William dying May 22, and John, August 23, 1893. DeWitt, born September 15, 1865, graduated at Wabash College and is now an attorney at Miami, Indian territory; he married, in 1893, Grace Moore, of Columbus, and his children are,—Ben Hur, Leland J. and Catherine L. Guy, born January 11, 1867, an attorney by profession, is now acting as deputy sheriff of Cherokee County and resides at Columbus. Andrew M. and Mary M. (twins) were born December 4, 1868; Andrew, a physician at Miami, Indian Territory, married Miss Williams, and after her decease married Alice Moore. Mary married Dr. Frank Rainier, who was killed in an accident at Fort Scott, Kansas, where she now resides with her two children,—Rea and Frank. Hugh P., born August 13, 1872, a graduate of Washington (Tennessee) College and McCormick Theological Seminary, is now a Presbyterian minister at Harper, Kansas. Julia Belle, born November 17, 1874, resides at home with her father.

The second marriage of Mr. Cooter occurred January 11, 1897, the bride being Mrs. P. Ann Haley, nee Thomas. Her two children by her first marriage are Mary (Mrs. Dr. P. J. Hendrickson), of Columbus, whose children are Ethel and Hattie; and O. G., a merchant at Trenton, Missouri. Mr. Cooter's second wife died in St. Louis, Missouri, June 20, 1904, while attending the World's Fair. She was aged 65 years, having been born April 15, 1839.

Politically, Mr. Cooter is a Republican, and boasts of having raised seven other voters for that party. He has been a member of the Presbyterian Church since 1859, has served as an elder many years, and is now trustee of the church at Columbus. The solid character of the subject of this sketch causes him to be universally respected and esteemed, not only in Columbus but thoughout all the countryside.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 6-27-97


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