|Judge John E. Cooper House - West Liberty, Ky.|
Judge Cooper was a powerful figure in regional politics and law. In the Civil War, he and his fellow Morgan countians sympathized with the Confederacy and took up arms for her; he was wounded at the Battle of Ivy Monutain (Floyd County) in November 1861. He attended law school and graduated from the A&M College at Kentucky University before returning to Morgan County. There, he married and practiced law before becoming county attorney and, later, state senator. Col. John Thomas Hazelrigg spoke well of the senator during his centennial address in 1876, saying that Cooper was "full of hope and promise, now engaged in the practice of his profession as a lawyer, and is distinguished for his zeal and energy with which he represents the interests of his clients. Although young in years, he has taken a front rank in his profession and bids fair to enroll his name among the first jurists of the Commonwealth."
Cooper did not disappoint Hazelrigg. In 1883, Cooper was nominated to fill a vacancy on the circuit court. He was repeatedly elected to the position and held the office for 22 years, "longer than any other man." Of Judge Cooper, Judge Edward C. O'Rear (Ky. Ct. Appeals) wrote: "He was a vigorous executive and worked as hard on the bench for the whole term of his service as at any time whilst at the bar. He not only adjudged the law in his courts, he administered it. A rugged type, powerful physique, dignified bearing, he gave to each case before him the most painstaking investigation." Judge O'Rear went on to note that Cooper never wore spectacles, "though he read every paper in every case submitted to him, and every authority cited, and prepared with his own pen the instructions to juries, his orders and judgments."
Additional pictures of the Cooper House are available on flickr.
NRHP, "Judge John E. Cooper House"
NRHP, "Morgan County Courthouse"