In biographically sketching the lives of the reputable and worthy citizens of Redding, California, the writer finds few, if any, more deserving of honorable mention in a work of this character than John G. Cooper.
He was born in England, of English parents, June 3, 1821. His education was obtained in his native land, but, as he says, he is still studying. He worked at the manufacture of silk ribbon and silk hosiery; was clerk or bookkeeper for a contractor and builder; later on, learned the harness-maker's trade and worked at it for some time.
In the spring of 1844 he emigrated to the United States and settled in Plymouth, Marshall County, Indiana, where he purchased a farm and improved it by building, etc. This property he sold, and afterward bought a farm in St. Joseph County, same State, where he remained twelve years. In 1855 he came to California, via the Isthmus route, and landed in San Francisco. He engaged in dairying in San Francisco and in San Mateo County for twelve years. While there he was elected to and held the office of Justice of the Peace. He afterward removed to Napa County, purchased 640 acres of land, which he improved and for which he secured a perfected title, and there engaged in fruit culture. He remained on that place from 1867 till 1880. In the latter year he sold out and removed to Redding. Here he purchased thirty-four acres of unimproved land in the then young town. At the time of its purchase it was occupied by Indians. Mr. Cooper cleared it up, built his home and planted trees. He has disposed of it all except his home and orchard and vineyard, which he has reserved for his own use. He has eight buildings in the city, consisting of dwelling-houses and a store, all of which are occupied.
Mr. Cooper was united in marriage in 1847 to Miss Barbara Russell, a native of Ohio, and coming from an old American family. Her father was a soldier in the war of 1812. Their union was blessed with two children. One is deceased, and the other, John Henry, born in California in 1856, is a resident of Oakland, this State. He is employed as proof-reader on the Oakland “Enquirer”; is married, and has two children.
Mr. and Mrs. Cooper are faithful members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Cooper's father was a minister, who led his son to a knowledge of the gospel. At the early age of fourteen years he experienced religion and joined the church, and through all these many years he has been an intelligent and earnest worker standing up for the cause of God and humanity everywhere. He is now an ordained elder in the church at Redding. Mr. Cooper is enthusiastic over the wonderful growth and development of California. He is a member of the society known as the Sons of St. George, the object of this society being to influence Englishmen in this country to become citizens of the United States. He is also an active temperance man and a Good Templar. For many years he has cast his vote with the Republican party. He has become thoroughly identified with this country and its grand institutions, and no native born citizens could be more staunchly American than he.
Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern Californis, Lewis Publishing Co., 1891 page 767