Samuel Bronson Cooper, politician, son of Rev. A. H. and Elizabeth Cooper, was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, on May 30, 1850. The family moved to Texas in 1850, and the elder Bronson, a Methodist minister, died in 1853. Samuel was raised by an uncle and worked on a farm as a boy. He was admitted to the bar in 1872. He married Phoebe Young on October 15, 1873. He was elected county attorney of Tyler County in 1876 and again in 1878. He also helped in the early educational efforts of John Henry Kirby.
Cooper served two terms in the state Senate, from 1880 to 1884, and was president pro tem during his second term. He wrote a bill granting each Confederate veteran 1,280 acres of state land. In 1885 President Grover Cleveland named him collector of internal revenue at Galveston, a position he held until 1888. Cooper ran unsuccessfully for district judge in 1889 but was elected in the Second Texas District to the first of six consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives in 1892. He was defeated by Moses L. Broocks in 1904 but came back to beat Broocks in 1906 for a position in the Sixtieth Congress, only to lose to Martin Dies in the 1908 race. While a member of the Congress, Cooper served on the House Ways and Means Committee. He helped secure $600,000 in federal appropriations to link Beaumont with the Port Arthur ship channel. With Cooper's support, a nine-foot-deep channel was dug in 1908; later improvements tied Beaumont to the Sabine-Neches Waterway and made the city a deepwater port.
Cooper was chairman of the Texas delegation to the Democratic convention in Kansas City (1904). In 1910 President William Howard Taft appointed him to the Board of General Appraisers, a customs court that sat at New York. Cooper was affiliated with the Masonic lodge, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He died in New York on August 21, 1918, after a short illness. His funeral and burial were in Beaumont. He was survived by four of his five children, his wife having died in 1911. One of his daughters, Willie Chapman Cooper, married William P. Hobby, and another married S. W. Sholars, congressman from Tyler County.
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Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Cooper, Samuel Bronson,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
February 21, 2021