Charles Samuel Cooper was born November 16,1861 in Norwalk, Ohio, the second child of George Washington Cooper, Sr. & Julia Elizabeth McMurray Cooper. The other children in his family were: Francis Henry Cooper, born June 6, 1860; George Washington Cooper, Jr. born about June 23,1863; Al T. Cooper, born about 1865; Mary Elizabeth Cooper, born Aug. 10, 1868; William James Cooper, born May 5, 1872.
As a young boy he had many adventures, as he ran away from home in Norwalk, Ohio, and went west. Charley had been punished at school; and when he went home that evening he received no sympathy but instead another whipping. So he climbed into a box car and took the freight train out of Norwalk. The train crew discovered the boy a few miles from Norwalk and put him off at Fremont, Ohio, a town of about 7,000 at the time. Alone and friendless, without a penny, he wandered the streets of this strange town.
Charley's plight attracted the attention of a well-dressed man and after conversing with Charley that he would not return home and that he could milk a cow, curry a horse and hoe a garden, the gentleman took him home & the following day he became the chore boy for Rutherford B. Hayes, who, about three years later, was elected President of the United States.
But Charley thought Fremont was too close to home, so as soon as he had earned some money, he was again on the road. He stopped in the capital city of Indiana and strolling down the street, he observed some men at work in a wagon factory & asked the boss for a job. He became general roustabout and in due time learned that he was working in an establishment belonging to Benjamin Harrison who also was to become our President. Although Charley never saw Mr. Harrison during his employment.
After a time, Charley was again on the road and stopped in Canton, Ohio, where he saw a gentleman on the street and approached him for work. He asked if he could help in cleaning house, do the washing, clean windows----general housework. The man agreed to give him a job as his wife was not strong and needed help in the home. That is how Charley entered the employment of William McKinley, who also became President. Charley spent two yeas in his home and was some of the happiest times of his life- he thought a lot of both Mr. & Mrs. McKinley.
Charley was now a young man and moved on west, working for a railroad in Michigan. For a short time he was in the crew with Henry Ford. Then in Topeka, Kansas, he found employment in the Santa Fe shops and for several months worked beside a man also named Cooper. The two became friends & for six months shared the same bed, one working days and the other nights.
Charley was 25 years old in 1886 and his friend, George, was to be married in February & asked Charley to be his best man. After the wedding the bride & groom went on a short wedding trip. Some three months later, George invited Charley to Sunday dinner, as his wife wanted to get better acquainted with him. While talking at the dinner table, George told him he had visited his parent in Norwalk, Ohio and Charley replied, he had lived there as a small boy. George jumped up & hugged Charley saying that he was his brother that the family thought was dead.
The three were dumbfounded, but George ran to the telegraph station and wired their parents telling them he found Charley and that he was alive. The parents came to Topeka to visit and Charley later visited his own home and stayed in contact with his family from then on.
In the Summer of 1893 Charley was in Pueblo, Colorado, and was almost penniless after suffering losses in the sheep business. He heard of the Cherokee Strip Run in Oklahoma in September and decided to try for a claim.
He left his sweetheart, Annie Maltzie, in Pueblo and came to Oklahoma. He bought a gray mule for $15, but had no money for a saddle, so rode bareback at the sound of the starting gun. He had barely crossed the line when the mule threw him, so he staked his claim right there and hung his coat on the stake and was thinking how lucky he was, when a woman rode up crying that she had failed to get a claim, so Charley said to take his. He again got on the contrary mule, took off, but was thrown off this time in a draw, but Charley though could do better. His knapsack with oranges and lemons had gotten torn and he stopped to put them in his pockets.
Then he was off again and about three miles north of the claim he had given away he set his stake on the northeast quarter of Sect. 17, Township 20 , Range 4. He filed his claim at the land office in Enid, Oklahoma.
He returned later for his sweetheart, Anna Rozina Maltzie, born July 3,1861 in Wilmore, PA, daughter of Valentine Jefferson & Elizabeth Ader Maltzie, and they were married June 9,1894, in Pueblo, Colorado, and a year later he brought his family to the claim. Later he left his wife to look after the farm while he returned to work on the Santa Fe.
When he had accumulated a small sum he joined his wife on the claim. Charley & Annie both lived on this claim until their death. First they had a dugout, then built a two story frame house, which is still standing.
Charley and Annie had five children: William James " Bill" Cooper, born July 7, 1895: Charles Samuel Cooper, Jr., born June 20,1898, ( my grand father); Mary Elizabeth Cooper, born March 22,1900; George Vincent Cooper, born July 11, 1902; and John "Jack" Gustav Cooper, born October 25,1904.
A railroad company paid Cooper $900 for a the right-of-way across his farm and he purchased a nearby school land lease. A short time before his death, oil was discovered near his land and he leased the two quarters for $17,000. He left each of his five children a farm or money to buy one. Their grandfather's family saying," A good deed is never thrown away," was proved when he gave his first claim away.
Charley's daughter, Mary Cooper, never married and lived on the homestead which he staked in the Cherokee Strip Run until her death in March, 1984. The homestead is still in the family, going to Helen Cooper Scott, daughter of Charles Samuel Cooper, Jr., and now her daughter, Marcia Scott.
( This was originally written by Harold & Marilyn Cooper in Roots & Branches)
Contact: Marcia Scott