By Old Uncle Gib
What's in a name? Thoughts for the writing of this column come from reading through old Chronicle newspapers. I've been on a real chase for this article that was inspired by a short note in the January 20, 1904, paper, Pleasant Hill Community, as follows: “We believe Perkins Cooper, an eight year old boy in the primary, P.H.A. (Pleasant Hill Academy), holds the championship, not only for Cumberland County, but for this state, for having the longest name. His name is: Henry Levi Perkins Lougrand Loudoffes Palliann Sampson Joe Solomon John Thomas William Carter B. Whitefield Cooper. If anyone in Tennessee has a longer name we hope to know about it. This distinguished young citizen was named by his grandfather, and has been able to say this lengthy cognomen ever since he learned to talk.”
Well, I thought, there wouldn't be room even for his initials on his tombstone! Imagine, H.L.P.L.L.P.S.J.S.J.S.W.B.C.B.W. Cooper. Could I possibly find out more about this “distinguished young citizen”? Here are the results of my searching. Our subject, hereafter referred to as Henry Perkins (H.P.) Cooper, was born in Garland, Texas, on May 23, 1895, his parents being Findley Winchester Cooper and Sally S. Cooper, both of whom were born in Tennessee. Findley W. Cooper (1873-1941) and his wife, Sally S. Cooper (1875-1959), are buried in Springlake Cemetery, Lamb County, Texas.
Because the article said H.P. was named by his grandfather, one more generation was researched which led to Levi P. Cooper and first wife, Amanda Howard, and second wife, Mary T. Stanley. Levi served in Company “D” 84th Tennessee Infantry, CSA. Many Confederates traveled to the West after the war and it may be a clue as to why the family was in Texas. Henry Perkins' grandmother, Amanda Howard Cooper, died in July 1880, and is buried with her parents in the Plum Creek Cemetery, White County. Levi married Mary Stanley in 1881, and they are buried in Lower Cherry Creek Cemetery, White County.
Both Henry Perkins Cooper (22) and his father, Findley (45), registered for the World War I draft in Dryden, Oklahoma, and listed their profession as being farmers. About 1927, H.P. married Pearl Thomas, a native of Texas. At age 46, H.P. Cooper filed his WW II registration, and listed his employer as being the Church of Christ in Hereford, Texas, where he was the minister.
Thus, after this long trip, we learn that our subject, H.L.P.L.L.P.S.J.S.J.S.W.B.C.B.W. Cooper was known only as Perkins Cooper or Henry Perkins Cooper for most of his life, and that his tombstone does not attempt to list his abounding names or even initials. Our “distinguished young citizen” was truly outstanding, serving as a minister of the Church of Christ for fifty years. Rev. Henry P. Cooper (1895-1970), and his wife, Pearl (1898-1975), are buried in Visalia Public Cemetery in Tulare County, California.
Special thanks to Carolyn Mullins, church secretary, Visalia California Church of Christ for her assistance with this article.