G. W. COOPER, PVT - 1ST AR INFANTRY
Contributed by:"William P. Cooper"
GW Cooper was born 4 FEB 1836 in DeKalb Co. AL. Son of Isaac Cooper b 1812 Wyane Co. KY and Narcissa Jane Richie b. 1815 SC. GW died 4 APR 1919 in Western Grove, Newton, Co., AR. Cause is listed as Pneumonia. GW served as a Private in the 1st AR Infantry. He was a scout. From what I understand this meant recuiting Northern sympathizers and scouring the land for bushwackers. GW's brother James C. Cooper b. 1840 DeKalb, AL was also a private in the 1st AR Infantry. Both fought at the Battle of Ft. Smith.
The COOPERs were related to the HARPS through the Morris. GW's wife was Minerva Ann Morris, daughter of Isaac Morris and Jane O'Daniel. I am going to transcribe the notations I have on the Harp Massacre. But the gist of it is that the Harps, a Cecil and GW were camped in an orchard near a cave on the Buffalo Gap River. GW awoke from a nightmare, saying he saw a rattlesnake slinking through a fire. Taking this as a bad omen, he told the others he was taking his bedroll and moving a couple of miles down river. Later that night a group of bushwackers attacked the small group in their sleep, mortally wounding all. The next day the bodies were found. The Morris and Harp women came and buried the dead. Some say, they buried them on the spot.
GW's father in law, Isaac Morris taught music. He was bushwacked returning from a music lesson and his body never found.
The Cecil family was split North and South. Some say this is how the bushwackers knew of the Harp encampment (as one of the Harp son-in-laws was a Cecil).
James Cooper was wounded at the Battle of Ft. Smith. . The Union Army didn't pay the soliders until the war ended. Military hospitals were grizly places of amputation and sickness (more of the soliders died from disease than from battle). He was sent home to recuperate. He never returned to service. GW turned James in at the end of the war to collect the deserter bounty. I guess they figured someone would do it anyway and why not keep the money in the family. Pragmatic people, the Coopers.
Minerva Ann had to fight to get a headstone for GW. Like most common soldiers, GW occassionally went home to insure his family was ok. This counted as "desertion" time. GW's military records reflect that he was not paid for the "bad" time. His small pension was used to support a considerable extended family until his death in 1919.
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