Cooper, Leroy Washington (1822–1900)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Leroy Washington Cooper, lawyer, judge, state senator, and representative, was born in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on October 16, 1822, the son of Lewis and Anna Cooper. Cooper was raised in relative poverty in rural Georgia. He read law in his spare time however, and he was able to gain admission to the bar at Monroe County, Georgia, on March 8, 1845. In March 1846 Leroy Cooper married Rhonda Ann Brazier in Monroe County, Georgia; this couple had two sons and two daughters. Cooper moved his family to Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia, and began to practice law. In November 1856 they settled in Crockett, Texas, and Leroy established himself as a lawyer specializing in criminal law.

Cooper was a slave owner but was oriented toward the Whig and Republican parties. During the Civil War, he served as a colonel and acting brigadier general in the Texas state militia. Cooper entered politics in February 1863, replacing John H. Burnett who had resigned as senator for District Eleven—consisting of Anderson, Houston, and Trinity counties—in the Ninth Texas Legislature. In 1870 Cooper returned to the legislature as representative for Houston County. During his term he served as chair of the House Committee on Counties and Boundaries. By virtue of this position he became the namesake for Cooper, Texas, county seat for Delta County which was formed from sections of Lamar and Hopkins counties in the summer of 1870. Cooper later served several terms as judge for the Ninth and Thirty-second districts. In 1876 Leroy Cooper was a member of the Texas delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati. Here he broke with his colleagues, and he cast his vote for Roscoe Conklin of New York rather than vote for the nomination of Rutherford Hayes. Leroy Washington Cooper died in Crockett on October 25, 1900, and was buried there at Glenwood Cemetery.

Armistead Albert Aldrich, The History of Houston County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1943). H. L. Bentley and Thomas Pilgrim. Texas Legal Directory for 1876–1877 (Austin: Democratic Statesman Office, 1877). Houston County (Texas) Cemeteries (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth, 1987). James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002).

  • Ninth Legislature (1861-1863)
  • Twelfth Legislature (1870-1871)
  • House
  • Senate
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Cooper, Leroy Washington,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
November 19, 2014

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