William John Cooper – Great Grandfather

Great Grandfather William John Cooper, is a bit of a mystery. We don’t know a lot about him and there are no photos of him – none that I know of anyway.

He was born in Montreal, Canada, 10 November 1867, one of 7 sons:

William John Cooper Baptism 1868,2

So, we have his parents names – William & Annie (nee Ballam or Balham). William being born in Montreal was the first big surprise that my Dad got when he began this research.

In the 1881 Wales census, William appears living in Mold, Flintshire, Wales (off King Street Barracks). His father is stationed there in the Royal Flint Militia.

Cooper 1881 Census,2

Most of the Cooper family can’t be found in the 1891 census. They may have been living in Dublin, Ireland, and most of those records were destroyed about the time of World War One

William married Sarah Porteous / Porteus in Dublin on the 5th December 1893. Sarah was from Enniskillen, Fermanagh, (now Northern) Ireland. His residence on their marriage documents reads 88 Church Street, Dublin. Note that his father is listed as William John Cooper. This should read as William James Cooper. I suspect the registrar got mixed up, as Sarah’s father is also William John.

WJC SP marriage

September 1894 William & Sarah are in Burnley, living at 9 Dugdale Court, because that’s where their son (my Grandfather) Charles Wallace Cooper was born. In June 1896 they are living in 11 Ada Street (2nd son William John Cooper born there). #11 is the beige house with the oval stained glass panel in the door. Both Charles & William were baptised in St Andrews Church.

February 1898 we are back at 91 Church Street, where 1st daughter Sarah Cooper was born & third son Thomas Chambers Cooper was also born there in 1900. I’ve referred more to 91 Church Street in the blog page on my Grandfather, Charles Wallace Cooper.

And still at 91 Church Street, Burnley for the 1901 England census.

1901 England Census (Cooper),2

Here is #91 Church Street again to refresh your memory.


William & Sarah have four more children born between 1902 & 1909:

Annie – December 1902, Georgina – March 1905, Eva – May 1907 & Richard Ballam – May 1909, all born in Burnley, but the street addresses are to be confirmed.

William died of pneumonia in Burnley Union Infirmary, 28 February 1910. His residence prior to this was Hubie Street. I can’t work out if it’s #1 or #48a . The informant is Charles Wallace Cooper – not my grandfather, but his brother -the other Charles Wallace Cooper.

William John Cooper Death,2

William John Cooper Death Notice 1910,2

He is buried in an unmarked grave in Burnley Cemetery – approximately in the centre of this photograph.

Unmarked Grave of William Cooper Sr, 2

William John Coopers' Burnley
William John Coopers Burnley

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