Cooper Church of Christ
In 1882, J.D. Tant holding a meeting in Cooper baptized 60 people into Christ, which was the beginning of the congregation that now exists there. Shortly after the beginning, a mechanical instrument was placed in the worship services which caused great division and protest among the members. The church was divided over this and the church had it's beginning in Cooper and some started the Christian church which took the property and assets. With few in number, the church soon disbanded. Those early Christians appeared to lack strength to meet together under those circumstances.
April 10, 1910 the church of Christ in Cooper had it's second beginning with a few people meeting in the home of Brother Talley. Those attending were, Brother and sister Talley, Brother and sister Beasley, J. Q. Taylor and family, J. D. Wheeler and family, and a few others. Due to circumstances beyond their control they had to find another meeting place and they secured the Odd Fellows Hall near Janes Clinic. The first meeting was held in the Baptist church tabernacle. The second on a vacant lot and a tablernacle was errected for a week, much like a big tent.
Bro. John Q. Taylor purchased the lot on Waco street and he said the church could use it if they would clean up the lot as the weeds were as tall as men. Later a tabernacle was built on this land. The air conditioning was the great atmosphere of God and the floor was his great earth. The church was so grateful to have a site of their own. The church felt good about having a permanent place to worship even though it was very modest. Some in the community called it the "mule barn" but they were so proud none the less. The f irst preacher came to work with the church in 1914 but was not hired, he just came in and took over and the church and things were in an uproar for the next year. The preacher being angry actually struck Bro. Taylor on one cheek and he turned to him the other just like Matthew taught us to do. This preacher finally left.
In 1916 the funds were sought to build a house in Cooper to worship. One man from Mt. Vernon ( J.D. Rutherford a pharmacist & Jeweler) gave $10.00 which was by far the largest amount donated. An old church of Christ building in Charleston was moved to Cooper and it was rebuilt and finished in 1917. J.W. Denton from Roxton came and preached the first lesson in the new building. He preached on the use of tobacco. Brother W.L. Sweeney was the first local preacher in Cooper. The next was D. C. Williams and he was a county preacher and preached at churches in Cooper, Klondike, Ben Franklin and Rattan. He preached in this area for a number of years and got into debt with members cosigning for him and then he left town with them having to pay the notes. One of the meeting preacher's was Tillet S. Tedlie who became a great hymn writer as well as speaker.
In 1931 four classrooms were added to the building and a baptistry was also installed. J. D. Lancaster preached in Klondike and also Cooper. O.P. Ballanger came to Cooper from Kentucky to work with the church. He was also a medical Doctor with a degree from Columbia University of New York. He stayed from 1934 to 1935 and then left and went back to the Christian Church. J. D. Wheeler preached for the church in 1937 without pay. Oscar Smith Jr. (38-40) was hired as the next preacher for the church. His father was minister of Lamar Avenue Church in Paris, Texas. Leonard Mullins (40-42) was hired and worked with the church. Elmer L'Roy (42-46) was the next minister. The congregation selected J.D. Wheeler as the next preacher.
The church knew that to be able to have an established preacher they would have to build a house for the preacher to live in also on Waco street . Work got underway and finally it was finished and Paul Matthews (46-47) was the first preacher to be hired that lived in the parsonage. Ollie Duffield (47-49) was the next minister followed by W.R. Jones (49-51) and then Billy Cavender (51--52) . In the late 40's J. D. Wheeler, J.D. Lancaster, W.W. Garrison, Ralph W. Vaughn were elders and later Lancaster moved to Roxton and Barton Good was elected to fill this position. The Deacons were Boyce Bailey, Ray Banks, Joe Cregg, W. B. Gunter and R.N. Poe. The last outside gospel meeting was held between the preachers house and the church building with crowds of 300 attending nightly. Charles Holt of Mt. Pleasant was the speaker.
In 1950 W.R. Jones started a building fund to build a new building as the current building was too small. The current building and house were sold and a new colonial red brick was built at 300 West Dallas Avenue for $90,000.00 A new preachers home was built on West Dallas Ave. In 1952 the Deacons were Alton Wilson, Harold West, Buck Day, Delmon Dotson, Lyndol Cross, L.E. Wheeler and Arvie Brice. Willie Warren (53) was the first preacher at this location. August 3, 1953 the attendance was 302 for Worship and 210 for Bible classes and the contribution was $405.00. Barton Good moved to Commerce and Boyce Bailey and Joe Cregg were elected as Elders in 1956. In 1958 Billy Cavender (54-58) was preaching and Elders J.D. Wheeler and Ralph Vaughn resigned and W.B. Gunter was elected Elder and he served until his death in 1980. The Deacons were selected at a later date and included Charles Patterson, Buck Day, Tommie Joe Wheeler, Nowlin Cain and Harold West. Joe Cregg became ill in 1981 and had to resign and then there were no elders for the next ten years.
In August of 1992, Boyce Bailey and Elmer Joe Holmes were selected as Elders and Jim Price as Deacon. The preacher's house on West Dallas Avenue was sold and a new Brick home was perchased on 6th street and later sold and a new one purchased in West Town addition. In 1 991 the building was sold to make a new Library f or Cooper and the church purchased McClanahan Funeral Home and it was remodeled into the current church building next to the Dairy Queen on 64 just East of highway 24.
The following are a list of the ministers from 1958 to present day. David Harkrider (58-60) moved to Cooper from Mineola. James Pleasants (60-62) came from Greenville. Joe Swint (62-66) moved to Dallas following his tenure. Malcolm King (66-70), Bob Lacoste (70-74), Don Partain (74-77), Elton Hailey ( 77-82), Gordon Grammer (82-86), Mark Mayberry (86-91), Elton Hailey (91-93), Shane Carrington (93-98), Ken Peden (99-2000), David Beckley( 2001-2002), Nolan Gann 2004- 2005), David Jones (2006- 6 months), Noel Bailey ( son of former Elder Boyce Bailey) was hired June 2008 and is the current minister. There are currently no Elders at the church in Cooper.