M, b. 2 September 1830, d. 15 May 1883
Sylvester and Harriet (Marshall) Cooper
was born on 2 September 1830 at Jefferson County, Alabama. The 1850 Federal Census enumerated him as a member of Sarah Cooper's
household; Sarah Cooper, 48, born North Carolina; Sylvester 20, farmer; Joseph, 16; Sarah, 14; Martha, 12; George, 9; all born Alabama. Buena Vista, Chickasaw County, Mississippi was settled in 1836, when a family by the name of Pulliam, from Georgia bought 900 acres of land from an Indian and made the first settlement. A post office was established on May 26, 1847 and named Monterey, with Uriah S. Williams as postmaster. On June 3, 1847 the name was changed to Buena Vista in commemoration of a battle fought on February 23 of that year in the Mexican War. Sylvester Cooper married Amy Harriet Marshall
, daughter of William Marshall
and Nancy Wortham
, on 2 February 1852 at Houston, Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Sylvester Cooper enlisted on February 24, 1863 (33 yrs old) in the Company A (Buena Vista Rifles), Seventeenth Infantry Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers, Confederate States of America for 3 years. Sylvester probably participated in the Battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamuga, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cedar Creek. On March 16, 1863, he wrote the following letter from Frederiksburg, Virginia (spelling edited):
"Dear Harriet and little children,
I have got to my company. I got here on the 14th, ten days travel. We had a very good time on the road. Nothing wrong happened to us. It cost me 27 dollars to get here. Everything is very high on the road and also at this place. I have no news to write. It is reported here this morning that the Yankees are across above this place, but maybe it is so or not, I don't know. The boys seem to doubt it but they are a plenty. Just across the river at this place I found all the boys on foot and able to eat their allowance. They are all in good spirits. If there should be a fight at this place the boys think they will gain the victory.
Harriet, I hardly know what to say to you. You can only do the best you can. I have no more idea when I will get home than you do. Some of the boys seem to think that there will be peace sometime this summer, but I fear there will be no such luck. Harriet, do the best you can and I will come home just as soon as I can. I want you to write just as soon as you get this and write often. I will close. Kiss the children for me. Give my best etcs to all of the connections and keep the home yourself.
Yours with great respect, S. Cooper"
He fought along with his two brothers, George W. and Joseph T. Cooper. Sylvester was wounded and captured at Cedar Creek (Belle Grove) on October 19, 1864, probably the result of Union General George E. Custer's cavalry charge. Sylvester's right leg was amputated on the battlefield. On October 20, 1864, the next day after he was captured, Sylvester was transferred to the U.S.A. Depot Field Hospital in Winchester, Virginia. On December 21, he was admitted to the U.S.A. General Hospital, Wests Building, Baltimore, Maryland. On the edge of death, he was fed broth and was restored to health by a Spanish speaking nurse. On May 9, 1865, Sylvester was transferred to Fort McHenry, Maryland. In this fort where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, Sylvester took the oath of allegiance to the United States on June 12, 1865 and he was set free. Traveling muleback in the care of a black friend, Sylvester returned to his home and family in Mississippi. Overcoming the younger children's initial fear (they hid under the bed) of this peg-legged "stranger," Sylvester and Harriet restored the close family ties.
Sylvester Cooper was 34 as of 19 October 1864; 34. He sold 60 acres of land for $160 to John B. Parker; recorded in Deed Book BB, pages 424 & 425 on July 29, 1874 on 29 October 1866 at Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Could not find Sylvester Cooper listed between 1870 and 1872 Bastrop County, Texas. He had 11 mules valued $220; 18 goats, valued $44; 1876 Precinct No. 5, DeWitt County, Texas. The 1880 Federal Census enumerated him as head of household on 21 June 1880 DeWitt County, Texas; Cooper, Sylvester, head, w/m/49, farmer, maimed-yes, born Alabama, father born North Carolina, mother born Alabama. He died on 15 May 1883 at DeWitt County, Texas, at age 52. He was buried at Hebron Cemetery.