Mark Anthony Cooper

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Mark Anthony Cooper (April 20, 1800 – March 17, 1885) was a United States Representative, businessman and lawyer from Georgia. His cousin was U.S. Representative Eugenius Aristides Nisbet.

Cooper was born near Powellton, Georgia, in Hancock County in 1800 and graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in Columbia in 1819. After studying law and gaining admittance to the state bar in 1821, he practiced law in Eatonton, Georgia. He later moved to Columbus, Georgia. In 1825 and again in 1836, Cooper fought in the Seminole Wars. (He was a Major in these campaigns.)

In 1833, Cooper served in the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1838, he was elected as a Whig Representative from Georgia to the 26th United States Congress and served one term in that seat from March 4, 1839 until March 3, 1841, as he lost his bid for reelection in 1840. He returned to the U.S. Congress in 1842 after winning election as a Democrat to fill the remainder of the term of William Crosby Dawson, who had resigned in 1841 to run for the Governor of Georgia. Cooper was reelected to that congressional seat in the general election in 1842; however, he resigned in 1843 to run an unsuccessful candidacy for Governor. Cooper's second stint in Congress lasted from January 3, 1842, to June 26, 1843.

Iron Man of Georgia[edit]

During his time as an attorney, Cooper was a lender essentially functioning as the local bank in Eatonton. He then invested in a bank in Columbus, Georgia and after a few years, sold out for $300,000 which he used to build his Iron works nearby Etowah, Georgia. This ironworks is remembered today by many names: Cooper's Furnace, Cooper's Ironworks, and Etowah Ironworks.

After his political service, Cooper became president of the Etowah Manufacturing and Mining Company in Etowah, Georgia, in 1859.

The iron works included large facilities for making nails and another plant for making pots and pans out of iron. But the most famous plant was one for making cannon during the Civil War. These cannon were highly regarded for their higher quality (not exploding as others did).[1] Cooper sold his iron works to another company in 1862 for $400,000 in Confederate currency. The iron works were soon taken over by the Confederacy. Most of the town of Etowah was destroyed during Sherman's March on Atlanta; however, the iron furnaces themselves were left standing.

Cooper's investments in Confederate notes and bonds became worthless with the defeat of the Confederacy. Shortly after the war, in 1866, the Cartersville-Van Wert railroad was chartered by the Georgia State Assembly. Cooper was appointed its first president.[2]

He died at his home, Glen Holly, near Cartersville, Georgia, on March 17, 1885, where he was buried. He was 84 years old.

Further family history[edit]

Mark Anthony Cooper was the grandson of Capt Thomas Cooper of the Revolutionary War. And he is named for Capt Cooper's wife's family which traces its ancestry back to the famous Mark Anthony of Rome.[citation needed]

Capt Cooper moved to Powelton Area of central Georgia from Virginia and had a large family with many descendants-Iron Man Cooper being the most famous.


  1. ^ Seibert, David. "Mark Anthony Cooper's Iron Works". GeorgiaInfo: an Online Georgia Almanac. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Mark Anthony Cooper – Iron King of Georgia". Etowah Valley Historical Society. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Glascock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1841
Succeeded by
James Archibald Meriwether
Preceded by
William Crosby Dawson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1842 – June 26, 1843
Succeeded by
Alexander Stephens