Duncan Brown Cooper
|Duncan Brown Cooper|
Cooper, c. 1908
Columbia, Tennessee, U.S.
|Resting place||Zion Presbyterian Church|
Mary Polk Jones
|Parent(s)||Matthew Delamere Cooper
Marian Witherspoon Brown
|Relatives||William Frierson Cooper (half-brother)
Lucius E. Burch (brother-in-law)
Lucius E. Burch, Jr. (nephew)
He was born at "Mulberry Hill" near Columbia in Maury County, Tennessee in 1844. His father was Matthew Delamere Cooper (1792–1878) and his mother, Marian Witherspoon (Brown) Cooper (1822–1861), who was his father's third wife. His half-brother was Judge William Frierson Cooper (1820–1909), a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court who owned the Riverwood Mansion. His sister Sarah married Dr. Lucius Burch, a Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Their son, Lucius E. Burch, Jr., was his nephew. He attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, now known as Washington & Jefferson College.
After the war, he was elected a Democratic state representative in 1881 and state senator in 1895. He was also the publisher of the Nashville American, a conservative Democratic daily newspaper. He worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Malcolm R. Patterson, who went on to serve as Governor of Tennessee from 1907 to 1911. Both Cooper and Patterson were opposed to prohibition. His gubernatorial opponent, Edward W. Carmack, who was the editor of The Tennessean, grew embittered and published scathing articles about Cooper.
On November 9, 1908, Cooper and his son Robin encountered Carmack on a Nashville street. Carmack fired first on the father and son, wounding the son. He retaliated, killing Carmack. Some accounts suggested it was premeditated murder. During the first trial, both Cooper and his son Robin were convicted of second-degree murder and twenty years in prison. Governor Patterson granted a pardon to Cooper and saved him from jail. Shortly after, Robin was granted a second trial and released. However, he was still vilified in the temperance press and shunned by Nashvillians. The pardoning of Cooper ultimately doomed the political career of Governor Patterson.
In 1865, he married his first wife, Florence Fleming (1843-1870), and they had three children. In the 1870s, he married his second wife, Mary Polk Jones (1856-1893), and they had five children. He inherited Riverwood from his brother's death in 1909.
- James Summerville, The Carmack-Cooper Shooting: Tennessee Politics Turns Violent, November 9, 1908 (1994), 219 pages.
- Timothy P. Ezzell, Duncan Brown Cooper, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, December 25, 2009
- COL. DUNCAN B. COOPER DIES; Death Recalls His Conviction for Slaying Former Tennessee Senator., The New York Times, November 05, 2002
- Tennessee State Library and Archives: COOPER, DUNCAN BROWN (1844-1922) Papers
- Joe Coker, Liquor in the Land of the Lost Cause: Southern White Evangelicals and the Prohibition Movement, Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2007, p. 74, 
- Jackie Sheckler Finch, Nashville, Globe Pequot, 2009, p. 98 
- William R. Majors, Editorial Wild Oats: Edward Ward Carmack and Tennessee Politics, Mercer University Press, 1984, pp. 147-148 
- William A. Harper, How You Played the Game: The Life of Grantland Rice, University of Missouri Press, 1999, p. 114 
- Timothy Ezzell, "Malcolm R. Patterson," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 1 April 2014.
- Riverwood Mansion, History
- Google Books