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[KS] Cooper: dual heritage & homes in KS & DC

Surnames: Cooper, Lyles, Renick, Rickli, Thomson/Thompson, Waller/Walker

While searching for a different line of Coopers, I came across this possibly related biracial family that maintained dual households in Kansas City and Washington, DC for several decades. This family was stably settled yet also remarkably mobile, with family and community ties in both DC and KS. The household heads are Robert and Eliza Cooper. Robert Cooper, a VA-born African American, could have been free before the Civil War. He might have traveled with his parents on the “underground railroad” to Quindaro, KS (an abolitionist settlement); or possibly he joined a later migration of black southern “Exodusters” who settled in KS. Perhaps he moved to KS after military service at Fort Davis, TX. Robert Cooper appears to be a brother of Elisabeth Thomson or Thompson of KS. Robert’s wife Elise or Eliza was born in Switzerland. Does anyone know her maiden name? Some family members were farming in Kansas while others in Washington, DC were government employees or worked at the navy yard. A cousin born in Switzerland served with the US navy. In different census years this family is identified as black, white, or biracial.

1880 census: Company H, 24th -25th US Colored Infantry, Fort Davis, Presidio, TX
Other—COOPER, Robert, 23, single, U.S. Soldier, b. 1857 VA, parents b. VA
(If this is the same man, he could have transferred to Fort Leavenworth, KS, home of 10th US Colored Cavalry, original “Buffalo Soldiers.”)

1890 Leavenworth, KS Directory, 1890-93
COOPER, Robert, laborer,
(R N side Kiowa between 13th and 14th; R Kiowa, W of 13th; R Kiowa, W. of 13th)

1895 census: Leavenworth, KS (identified as white family)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 42, b. 1852 VA (Could he be veteran US Soldier from Fort Davis, TX?)
Son—Robert Jr., 6, b. KS
Son—Charles, 4, b. KS
Wife—Lise/Lisa, 32, b. Germany (Switzerland)
Dau—Cera/Sarah, 8, b. KS
(Neighbors include Johanna & John Krohn, 42, b. Germany/IL; also listed in Leavenworth, KS directory 1892-93 at R 10th NE corner Kiowa; R 800 N 10th)

1900 census: High Prairie, Leavenworth, KS (identified as black family)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 46, farmer, married 15 yrs, b. May 1854 VA, parents b. VA
Wife—Eliza, 47, married 15 yrs, 3 children, b. Aug 1852 Switzerland, parents b. Switzerland
Dau—Sarah Eliza, 13, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Son—Robert H., 11, b. 1889 KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Son—John W., 9, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland

1905 census: Kansas City, Wyandotte, KS (identified as black family)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 48, b. 1857 VA
Wife?—COOPER, Mrs. B., 53
Other—THOMPSON, Mamie, 21
Other—THOMPSON, Pearl, 16
Other—THOMPSON, Lucie, 12
Other—THOMPSON, Eda, 10
(African-American neighbor—DIVERS, James & Mrs. Fannie; WHITE, Lilly)

1910 census: Quindaro, Wyandotte, KS (identified as black family)
HOH—THOMSON, Elisabeth, 62, b. 1848 MO, parents b. TN/MO
Children & grandchildren—THOMSON, Ellie; Waller/Walker, Annie, Pearl, Theodore, Elisabeth
Boarders—Hasten, Virginia; Rodger, Sadie
Boarder—COOPER, Robert, 53, single, laborer, b. 1857 KS, parents b. VA
(in household of Elisabeth Thomson, 62, b. 1848 MO, parents b. TN/VA—siblings in 1920)

1910 census: Bruce Avenue, Pct 11, Washington, DC (identified as biracial family)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 56, black, laborer, 1st marriage, 15 yrs, b. VA, parents b. VA
Wife—Eliza, 47, white, 1st marriage, 15 yrs, 3 children, b. 1863 Switzerland
Dau—Sarah E., 23, mulatto, b. 1887 KS
Son—Robert H., 21, mulatto, b. 1889 KS
HOH—COOPER, John, 23, mulatto, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Wife—Flora J., 19, mulatto, b. PA, parents b. VA
Dau—Flora E., 1, mulatto, b. DC, parents b. KS/PA

WW I Draft Registration, 1917-18
Robert Henry Cooper, Negro, age 28
Single, born 12 August 1888, Leavensworth, KS
Residence: Bruce Place & Ainger Place, S.E. Washington, DC

1920 census: Bruce Road & Ainger Place, Washington, DC (identified as biracial family)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 67, mulatto, helper in navy yard, b. VA, parents b. VA
Wife—Eliza, 57, white, b. Switzerland, parents b. Switzerland
Dau—Sarah, 33, mulatto
Grandson—John W., 7, mulatto
Grandson—Robert, 5 years, 6 months, mulatto
Granddaughter—LYLES, Gertrude, 6, mulatto
Grandson—LYLES, Herman, 3, mulatto
HOH—COOPER, John W., gov’t employee, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Brother—Robert, laborer, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Cousin—Jacob Rickli

1920 census: Quindaro Road, Quindaro, Wyandotte, KS (identified as black family)
HOH—TOMPHSON (Thompson, Thomson), Islebeth/Elisabeth, 70, b. MO, parents b. MO
Children & grandchildren—SMITH, Pearl, Theodore, Berenice, Perrie, Robert
Brother—COOPER, Robe (Robert), 68, widower, farm laborer, b. 1852 MO, parents b. MO

1921 Leavenworth County, KS Farmer Directory (Is this the same man?)
Robert COOPER, P.O. Lawrence R7, settled 1918, p. 50

1921 Wyandotte County, KS Farmer Directory
Etta (THOMPSON) RENICK, P.O. Kansas City, Kan. R. 3, Quindaro,
settled 1910, p. 224

1930 Quindaro, Wyandotte, KS (African American)
HOH—COOPER, Robert, 76, widower, no occupation, b. 1854 VA, parents b. VA
(Neighbors include Elizabeth/Elisabeth Thompson, 79, in household of Alverta/Albert F. Renick and wife Etta V. Renick)

1930 2709 Bruce Place, Washington, DC (identified as black family)
HOH—COOPER, Eliza, 67, widow, b. 1863 Switzerland, parents b. Switzerland
Son—Robert, 41, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Son—John W., 39, b. KS, parents b. VA/Switzerland
Gson-John W., 17, b. DC
Gson—Robert F., 15, b. DC
Gdau—Lyles, Louise, 16, b. DC
Gson—Lyles, Herman, 13, b. DC

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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