Ebenezer COOPER – A Good Friend to Everyone

EBENEZER COOPER OF LLANGOLLEN

by Dave Edwards.

Ebenezer Cooper was born at Llangollen in 1800 and baptised on 15th January 1800 at Llangollen.    

Ebenezer’s father, Robert Cooper, was a currier.  A currier is a person who applies finishing techniques, including colouring, to leather after it is tanned.  When he was young, Ebenezer was sent to Liverpool to be trained as a currier.  He returned to Llangollen to work where his father had worked, at the Old Tannery in Hall Street. 

To the right of Tregwern Row is the tannery and on the left wall of the building is set a date stone reading “RONDLE READE 1656”.  This confuses many people, because the stone was actually found in the bridge during widening in 1873.  The Old Tannery was marked on the 1845 tithe map as the skin House and was owned by Ebenezer Cooper.  A blue plaque on the wall tells us that Ebenezer was the currier and Commissioner of Income Tax.

Ebenezer Cooper married Jane Griffith. 

Their first child, Mary Griffith Cooper, was born on 26th July 1828 and baptised at Rehoboth (formerly Berllan) Calvinistic Methodist Chapel on 10th August 1828.

Their daughter, Eleanor Cooper, was born on 7th September 1834 and baptised on 5th October 1834 at Rehoboth (formerly Berllan) Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.

Their daughter, Jane Cooper, was born on 19th April 1837 and baptised on 21st May 1837 at Rehoboth (formerly Berllan) Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.

The 1839 tithe map showed Robert Cooper (born in Llangollen in 1773), a currier, to be living at what is now 9 Chapel Street.  His son, Ebenezer Cooper was next door in number 11. 

On 8th November 1839 Ebenezer was appointed as deputy postmaster of Llangollen with a bond of £200.

The 1840 Robson directory mentioned Robert Cooper & son, curriers.  In the 1841 census Robert Cooper was shown as living at number 9 Chapel Street with two servants, his wife Elinor having died on 20th December 1840

In 1841, 40-year-old Ebenezer Cooper, a currier, and his 35-year-old wife, Jane Cooper, were living in Chapel Street, Llangollen.  Their children were, Eleanor, aged 6; Jane aged 4 and Robert, less than a year old.  Also present was Ebenezer’s 65-year-old father, Robert Cooper.

Robert Cooper died in early January, 1844, and was buried in Llantysilio churchyard.

Ebenezer was very public-spirited and along with William Coward and Mr. Allerton of Vivod, he helped to set up the British School on Brook Street.  Richard Jones Berwyn (born on All Hallow’s Eve 1837 in a house called Brynhyfryd near the Sun Inn some half way between Llangollen and Corwen) recalled how as a boy of eight or nine he was among more than two hundred local children in 1846, who marched along the streets of Llangollen together with a great crowd of people to see Ebenezer Cooper laying the foundation stone of Llangollen’s first British School, on Brook Street.  The school had moved from its temporary accommodation in the Rehoboth Chapel.  Ebenezer also helped in the formation of the Bala College and the Bangor Normal College for ministers and teachers.  He was a prominent member of the local non-conformists, at Rehoboth Chapel.

On 27th June 1849, Mary Griffith Cooper, eldest daughter of Ebenezer and Jane Cooper, was married to Richard Ley Alkin of Hartshill, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire.  The marriage took place at Llangollen and was officiated over by the Rev. R. W. Eaton.             

In 1849, Ebenezer was mentioned as being the Vice-President of Llangollen’s branch of the Cambrian Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.  On 8th March 1850 The Welshman wrote that Ebenezer Cooper was the Chairman at a meeting of the Cambrian Institution for the Deaf and Dumb held on 26th February 1850 at Llangollen and he had addressed the crowded audience in Welsh.       

The 1851 census showed 51-year-old master currier, Ebenezer Cooper and his 46-year-old wife, Jane Cooper, to be living at 9 Chapel Street, in the former home of his father, next-door to the Cross Foxes Inn.  It is likely that Ebenezer moved into number 9 when his father died.  Ebenezer was a master currier and had been born in Llangollen.  Jane was born in Llanaber, Merionethshire, on the west coast, fifty miles from Llangollen.  Living with them were two of their daughters, 16-year-old Eleanor Cooper and 8-year-old Ann Cooper and an 18-year-old servant called Sarah Jones.

Ebenezer’s daughter, Eleanor Cooper, died in 1856 and was buried at Llantysilio on 13th October 1856. 

On 10th December 1856, the General Board of Health wrote a draft letter to C. J. Tottenham of Berwyn House, LLangollen and to Ebenezer Cooper of Llangollen.  It was to advise them that they had been proposed to preside over the election of the first Local Board under the Public Health Act for the district of Llangollen.  It was added that their consent to preside would not disqualify them from being chosen as members of such Local Board.

On 20th May 1857, Jane Cooper, daughter of Ebenezer and Jane Cooper, was married to the Rev. David Charles Davies, M. A., of Builth.  The ceremony took place at the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Llangollen and was conducted by the Rev. David Charles of Carmarthen, who was the groom’s grandfather.  The groom, David Charles Davies, a Welsh Presbyterian divine, had been born at Aberystwyth on 11th May 1826.  He was the eldest son of Robert Davies, whose wife was a daughter of David Charles of Carmarthenshire.  Robert Davies was one of the leading laymen among the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales during the first half of the nineteenth century.  He graduated B. A. in 1847 and M.A. in 1849, being placed second on the list. Ill-health compelled him to abandon a theological course which he commenced at Edinburgh in November 1847.

His parents, who were in affluent circumstances, had originally intended him for the bar; but his own deep religious impressions led him to choose a ministerial career.  He married Jane Cooper, who survived him, but he left no issue.  He died on 26th September 1891, at his house at Bangor, and was buried on the 30th September 1891 at the cemetery, Aberystwyth.

On Monday, 8th February 1858, a meeting was held at the Town Hall in Llangollen to vote an address to Colonel Biddulph.  The chair was occupied by Ebenezer Cooper, Esq., who briefly opened the proceedings by remarking that the connection between Chirk Castle and the town of Llangollen was very old.        

In 1858 Ebenezer Cooper, a currier, was one of two men who proved by oath the will of the late Amy Phillips of Walton House, Llangollen, widow of the late Mr. Joseph Phillips, who had been proprietor of the Hand Hotel, Llangollen for many years.

EBENEZER COOPER OF LLANGOLLEN

In April 1859, a public meeting was held in Llangollen Town Hall, to consider the Vale of Llangollen Railway.  The chairman was Ebenezer Cooper.  It was being considered that the canal could be made into a railway by the London and North Western Railway to compete with the Great Western Railway.  Ebenezer Cooper said that the people of Llangollen had no desire whatever to have the district opened for competing railways to fight in.  What they wanted was a railway.  Mr. R. Baker, churchwarden, proposed that the meeting, having heard the explanations relating to the position of the Vale of Llangollen Railway Bill, pledge itself to support it in its progress through the House of Lords, and be opposed to the suggested scheme of the canal conversion as destructive of a useful navigation.  Mr. Ebenezer Cooper recommended that any discussion of the merits of the canal scheme be postponed until summer and that they proceed with the Vale of Llangollen Railway.  Mr. Cooper brought their attention to the fact that the canal conversion would have been carried out by the North Western Company and would also have to join the main line, which belonged to the Great Western Railway Company.  He said, “if we have a railway at all, let us have it in connection with the main line.”  The resolution was then put, and carried unanimously.                    

In May 1863, hundreds of people in North Wales donated towards a presentation to H. R. H. The Princess of Wales.  Ebenezer Cooper donated ten shillings and sixpence.  

Ebenezer Cooper, a currier of Berwyn Street, died on 24th October 1863 at Llangollen.  He was buried at the Fron Cemetery, Llangollen, on 29th October 1863, the burial service being conducted by the Rev. John Parry of Bala.  Ebenezer had just finished having the house on Berwyn Street built, so can’t have been living there for very long.   

On Saturday, 31st October 1863, the Wrexham Weekly Advertiser published the following obituary: “The late Mr. Ebenezer Cooper – our obituary this week contains the well-known and highly esteemed name of Ebenezer Cooper, whose death took place on Saturday last at his residence.  Mr. Cooper had been unwell for some time past, but his death was not by any means anticipated, and arose, we believe, from disease of the heart.  Mr. Cooper’s life has been one of marked usefulness, to a degree rarely equalled, and he was always the leader in any undertaking that had to do with the well-being of the town.  At the time of his death he was chairman of the Llangollen Gas Company, and to him the town, we believe, was mainly indebted for its introduction.  He took a very active part in inducing the town to adopt the Local Government Act, and also to bring railway communication to the town.  He always was a warm supporter of the liberal cause, and on the Monday previous to his death, he was present, and rendered assistance in the revising Barrister’s court.  He was a good friend to everyone, having a word of good sound advice always ready for those who needed it, and the town has sustained a heavy loss in his death.”      

On Thursday, 5th November 1863, a special meeting of the trustees of the Llangollen Savings’ Bank was held at the Town Hall, Llangollen.  It was proposed that the Savings Bank be closed and that Mr. Baker, a brewer, be appointed treasurer in lieu of Ebenezer Cooper, Esq., treasurer, deceased.  The motion was carried.

On 30th November 1863, the will of Ebenezer Cooper was proved at St. Asaph by the oaths of Jane Cooper of Llangollen, aforesaid Widow of Relict (during Widowhood); Robert Cooper of 2 Milton Road, Edge Lane, Liverpool, Gentleman, the Brother; Richard Ley Alkin of Hartshill near Atherstone in the County of Warwick, Gentleman (and son-in-law to Ebenezer), and the Reverend David Charles Davies (also a son-in-law to Ebenezer) of 21 Cloudesley Street, Islington in the County of Middlesex, Calvinistic Methodist Minister, the Executors.  Effects were under £6,000.

On Saturday, 5th December 1863 and Saturday, 12th December 1863, The Wrexham Advertiser announced that all persons indebted to the estate of the late Mr. Ebenezer Cooper, currier of Llangollen, were required forthwith to pay the debts due from them respectively to Mrs. Cooper on the premises at Llangollen or to Thomas & Charles Minshall, Oswestry, Solicitors to the Executors.      

On Saturday, 12th December 1863, The Wrexham Advertiser gave notice that all creditors and other persons having claims or demands upon, or against, the Estate of Ebenezer Cooper, a currier late of Llangollen, were hereby required to send in to the Executors or to Thomas & Charles Minshall,  Solicitors, particulars of such claims or demands.  The Executrix and Executors would not be liable for any assets to be distributed to any person or persons of whose claims or demands they had not been given notice prior to the 20th January 1864.

On 8th June 1864, Ann Cooper, the youngest daughter of the late Ebenezer Cooper Esq., was married to David Norman Evans, late of Ruthin.  The marriage took place at the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Llangollen and was conducted by the Rev. D. C. Davies, M. A. of London, who was the son-in-law of Ebenezer Cooper.      

On 11th September 1864, Mrs Jane Cooper, relict of the late Ebenezer Cooper, died, aged 60.          

In 1864, Ebenezer’s house, Plas Geraint, in Berwyn Street was advertised for sale by his executors. 

In December 1864, the late Ebenezer Cooper’s newly-erected dwelling house, Plas Geraint, in Berwyn Street was offered for sale by private contract.  If it was not sold it would be let.  The premises were considered to be well suited for occupation by a medical practitioner or similar professional gentleman, or by any respectable family.  The house contained dining and drawing rooms, 17ft x 15 ft each; two other rooms, recently used as a Surgery and Waiting room, water closet and other conveniences.  There was also a good walled garden.  Further particulars were available from Messrs. Thomas and Charles Minshall, Solicitors, Oswestry and Llangollen.  It remained empty for some time before it was purchased in January 1872 by Thomas Hughes, Esq., a Flannel Merchant from Vrondeg.

In May 1871, a Llangollen Advertiser item drew attention to what was then a present outcry concerning the defences of this nation.  General interest was not in favour of the Volunteer War Force.  The article mentioned that the first attempt to establish a corps in Llangollen had been supported by the late Mr. Ebenezer Cooper, who was at that time the leading elder of the Presbyterians in Llangollen.  He lent his most earnest aid to that movement, which did not however attain fruition at that time.                   

On 4th June 1879, someone calling himself A Pilgrim wrote a letter to the Llangollen Advertiser in which he reminisced over the great changes that had taken place in Llangollen since he left it a few years previously.  He thought of those old familiar faces who were laid in a silent grave, the first and foremost being Mr. Ebenezer Cooper.  He recalled that Mr. Cooper had been considered almost like a prince by the inhabitants. He was a man of “great knowledge and ability, and his influence was unbounded.”

Ebenezer’s eldest daughter, Mrs. Mary Alkin, died at Upper Bangor, on Monday, 2nd May 1887, aged 58.  After the decease of her husband she had occasionally resided in London, where two of her sisters already lived.  Around 1882, she moved to Upper Bangor, where her brother-in-law and sister (the Rev. D. C. Davies and Mrs Jane Davies) already lived.  She left three sons to mourn her.  The private funeral took place in the family vault at Vron Cemetery, Llangollen, on Friday, 6th May 1887.  Rev. William Foulkes officiated at the grave.  It was said that “the deceased lady was possessed of much beauty of form and character, and her life was one period of piety and devotedness.”               

On Wednesday, 14th September 1887, G. Edwards of Llangadfan Rectory, Welshpool, wrote a letter to the Llangollen Advertiser in response to a previous letter written by Mr. Fell.  Mr Edwards had been curate of Llangollen from 1843 to 1849 and was writing in regard of the £1,000 given to the Parish of Llangollen in the will of Mr Telford the eminent engineer who, with William Jessop, built Poncysyllte Aqueduct, Chirk Aqueduct and the Suspension Bridge over the Menai.  Mr. Edwards was puzzled over why Mr. Telford would have left such a large legacy to the Parish and speculated that Mr. Ebenezer Cooper’s family may have had some connection with Mr. Telford.

Rev. D. C. Davies, M. A., died on Saturday, 26th September 1891 at his residence in Upper Bangor.  He was the husband of Jane Davies and the son-in-law of the late Mr. Ebenezer Cooper of Llangollen.  Rev. Davies had been in charge of the churches at Builth and Newtown.  He had the charge of the church at Jewin Crescent, London.  He was moderator of the North Wales Calvinistic Methodist Association in 1873.  His funeral took place at Aberystwyth on Wednesday, 30th September 1891.

In July 1905 the annual meeting of the Bala Theological College was held at Bala.  An oil painting of Mr. Ebenezer Cooper of Llangollen, the first treasurer of the college, was unveiled.  The portrait was a gift from Ebenezer’s daughter, Mrs. Jane Charles, of Bangor, given in memory of her father.             

Mrs. Jane Davies, widow of David Charles Davies and daughter of Ebenezer and Jane Cooper, died on Monday, 11th February 1918 at Hafod, Bangor, aged 81.  Her funeral took place on Thursday, 14th February at Aberystwyth. 

WRITTEN BY: Dave Edwards. February 2019.

WRITTEN BY: Dave Edwards. SOURCES: Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser (15th February 1858; 2nd May 1863; 31st October 1863; 7th November 1863; 5th December 1863; 12th December 1863; 11th June 1864; 17th September 1864; 10th December 1864; ); Llangollen Advertiser (19th May 1871; 6th June 1879; 13th May 1887; 16th September 1887; 2nd October 1891; 4th August 1905; ); The North Wales Chronicle (3rd July 1849; 9th April 1859); the Cambrian News & Merionethshire Standard (15th February 1918); The Welshman (8th March 1850; 22nd May 1857; ); Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald (14th July 1905; ); Sandy Lewis; Peter Jones.



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