Benjamin Franklin Cooper has been one of the foremost merchants of Redwood City for nearly forty years, and for almost fifty years has been identified with the commercial interests of California. In fact, he has known no other occupation since he was a boy of thirteen, which was his age when he starte out on his independent career as a clerk. From that time he made how own way in life, and is a self-made merchant, shrewd and self-reliant from his long experience and dealings with men, and in business, social and domestic life has been esteemed for his many genuine qualities of heart and mind.

Mr. Cooper was born at Wellsville, Ohio, September 30, 1834, being a son of William A. and Mary Cooper, both of English descent, and who were early settlers of Columbiana county, Ohio, where they reared a family of eleven children.

Mr. B. F. Cooper was the tenth in order of birth in this family. He received his education and remained on his father's farm until the age of thirteen, when he left home and went to Pittsburg, pennsylvania, and obtained a position as clerk in a dry-goods store. In 1852 he went to St. Louis, Missouri, continuing the same line of business, and in 1855 came out to California during the early times of the state. He established a general merchandise store in Petalume, Sonoma county, and continued it until his removal to Redwood City in 1865, since which time he has conducted general mercantile enterprises in this city, and is one of the long established and successful business men.

He has given his allegiance to Republican principles since his boyhood days. he joined the Odd Fellows fraternity in 1865, and is a member of both the lodge and the encampment, and also affiliates with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Mr. Cooper married, in 1860, Elizabeth S. Laird, a twin daughter of M. S. Laird, a California pioneer who crossed the plains and drove cattle, with which he started a dairy in Marin county, and who was an honored resident of the state till his death at a ripe old age. Mr. and Mrs. Cooper had two children. The daughter Alice died in infancy, and the son, M. S., has for some years been occupying an important position with the Standard Oil Company.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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