|"Poker Crew- Bill Taylor, Ted Heily,Johnny Jenkins, Frank Black, Frank Cooper,WN Nixon" - 1935 Ron V. Nixon Collection - Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University - Bozeman|
Chalkley "Charley" Cooper, Frank Cooper's grandfather, found most of his children decamp from the Stephenson County, Illinois area and remain in parts west. One exception was Barton Cooper. He did leave Illinois for the untapped prairie of Prairie, Jewell County, Kansas for about eight years in the 1870s/1880s. He and his first wife, Mary's first addition arrived months after the great blizzard of April 1873 and before the holidays, 21 Dec 1873 in the form of Frank Oscar Cooper. In the early 1880s, the Coopers returned to Stephenson County and remained there
Frank moved from Stephenson County to Seward County, Nebraska, where he was found in 1900. Several other of Charley's children had either settled there permanently or had lived there temporarily. In that year, he married his first wife, Anna Diers Dupin, daughter of Joseph W. Dupin and Georgia A. Fairleigh. They had three children before Anna died in 1914. She was buried in Seward.
That year, Frank headed west to Willow Creek, Montana. His brother Theodore also arrived that year (see that story here). A young widow named Anna Matilda Shogren Holden married Frank in 1916. She had one child, Leslie Holden. Between the three children Frank had with Anna Dupin, the five they had together, and Leslie, there were nine kids. Son Jack took over the ranch from his father and continued the ranching legacy which has now reached into its fourth generation.
According to the family website, the history of the land went like this:
"Recorded as the Silver Brook Farm by the County Clerk on November 28, 1914, the original homestead of 480 acres was settled by Frank Oscar Cooper. He raised farm animals and harvested a large garden before losing the land during the Great Depression. After receiving a Land bank loan for $200/year, Frank repurchased the land. In 1946, his son Jack bought the land and continued to run a general farming operation for several years.
In 1977, after studying Ag-Production at Montana State University, Jack's son Mark returned to Willow Creek permanently to assist with the ranching and farming operations. Mark began actively working with registered cattle as a teenager under the tutelage of his father. He and his wife Cristy now manage the ranch which consists of over 5,000 acres." http://www.cooperherefords.com/In 1942, daughter Marjorie moved to Vancouver, Washington, where she worked for Kaiser Ship Builders, designing "baby flattops" for the war effort. She then enlisted in the US Navy. She was stationed in Washington, DC, where she drew maps showing where the US fleet was during WWII. Her sister Connie also served as a WAVE for two years.
All nine children have died: Leslie Holden (Anna Shogren's son); Mary Verniece, Howell Raymond "Raymond", and Helen Dorothy (Anna Dupin); Jack Lawrence, Marjorie Lee Jenny, Betty Ann, Clee Scott "Scott", and Constance "Connie," but the legacy of what Frank Oscar Cooper and his children built remains.