The Cooper Group
The Yankees in Griggs County
Rollin C. Cooper and his brother, Thomas J. Cooper bought (in 1880) railroad land (in Griggs County), secured some soldiers' script for same, took pre-emptions, homesteads and tree claims for themselves and their friends. They controlled two townships of land which were known as the Cooper Brothers land. Influenced by letters written by the Cooper Brothers about the splendid opportunities offered in Dakota Territory, about seventy friends and acquaintances from St. Clair, Michigan came in 1881 and 1882 and formed the Cooper settlement which later became the town of Cooperstown. Of these settlers, besides the Coopers, were the families of Will H. Carleton, Anton Enger, Herbert K. Smart, Millard Washburn, Dr. T. F. Kerr, Dr. C. Powell, D. B. Brown, Julius Stevens, Edward Stair, Maynard Crane, the Houghton Brothers, Ed Glass, Fred Williams, Knud Thompson, C. W. Bathie, S. B. Langford, W. C. Barnard. This group brought their Yankee customs as slicing the bread at the table, etc. with them. This eastern (Michigan) group had money, education and refinement. Among them were professional men. The greater share of the business places at Cooperstown were founded by this group. They were the only originally American group in Griggs County. They were socially bound up in church activities as sociable singing societies and young folks' meetings. Their amusements wee taffy pulls, pop-corn parties, sleigh-ride parties. About 40 years ago they had their select dancing clubs, reading clubs, literary societies, etc.
Through the Cooper Brothers they secured work. This group established society; had lovely homes with comforts of life; brought eastern ideas and habits; had progressive and advanced ideas; were aggressive in a correct way; and were people of good principles. Dr. T. J. Kerr, of the group, was the first County Superintendent of schools in the county. The Cooper Brothers were instrumental in organizing the Sanborn, Cooperstown and Turtle Mountain Railroad which later was purchased by the Northern Pacific Railroad. It was through Cooper's influence that the county seat was changed from Hope to Cooperstown. The founders of Cooperstown were prominently associated with every venture in the history of Griggs County.
Whenever there was any public enterprise on foot, the question was "what does Cooper say about it?" or "what will Cooper give?". The Griggs County Court House was built in ____ and stands today as a monument, to the foresightedness of Cooper Brothers and the early settlers.
The Cooper group are permanent settlers in Griggs County. Dr. Kerr was the first County Superintendent in Griggs County; Edward Stair is publisher of The Detroit Michigan Free Pre4ss, one of the world's outstanding newspapers. Will H. Carleton is Judge in Griggs County.
W. H. Carleton
John Hogenson, pioneer
Mrs. Myrtle Porterville, M. A.
Claus Jackson, pioneer