A Look Inside The History Of Cooper Music – II

Just as with any business, there is a history. Where it all started, how it started and how it became who they are today. Long before the first "Welcome to Cooper Music" ever chimed the ears of a piano buyer, the history of the Cooper Family began. For the next few months, I will share with you, every Friday a special blog, containing the history of the Cooper family and creation of Cooper Music. We hope that you enjoy reading as Cooper Music is brought to life with memories.


The newlywed couple arrived in USA, living on the Southside of Coal Street in Shenandoah, PA, (US Census 1880). Schuylkill County was part of the anthracite coalmine fields. The town, Shenandoah, and the Korinor coal mine were company property. The town was mostly lawless, run by company police. The mine worked by an ethnic mix of European, Welsh, Irish, and Black Americans. Mostly non-English speaking and illiterate. The Korinor mineworkers and management soon found that Johnathon was an able and willing leader. He taught the laborers the necessary work and survivor skills needed to mine coal and stay alive. The US Department Of Labor reported 3000 mining fatalities in anthracite mines, 1880 to 1890, in eastern Pennsylvania, not including murders and violence resulting from ongoing labor vs mine owner strife.

By 1885 Selina and Johnathon had born son William, Nov 1881, daughter, Lily, Sept. 1885.  cooper pianoSelina knew wild Shenandoah, with no school, was not the place for her family. They moved to nearby Mahanoy City PA, where sons John Edward, Mar. 1887 and James Tichenor, Jan 1890 were born. The move only partially solved their family problems. Johnathons’s success with the workmen and management earned him promotion from Pit Boss to Mine Carpenter. His new job mostly got him out of the pits, up to the surface, and closer to management. This proved to be just as life threatening. Johnathon was caught between his loyal fellow workers and anti-labor owner policies. There was a war between labor and owners. Jonathon’s heartfelt religious faith would not allow him to participate in the labor union versus owner violence.  The needed high pay and the growing family needs were obvious. Selina resolved the dilemma when in 1890 she announced that the family would move out! She demanded, ”It’s me and the children or the mine”! The Cooper family moved away from the mine forever to Buffalo New York.



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