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Leonard Cooper

Eric Trudgill    -    5 January 2014

Leonard Cooper was perhaps the third child of Henry and Mary (apparently sometimes Asha) Cooper, born about 1806 after Francis and the first Gentilla and before Sentinniah/Cinderella, Nelson, Rhoda, Matty, the second Gentilla, and Patience. We know much less about Leonard than about Matty, the charismatic royal rat-catcher and father of at least eleven sons, but we know rather more about him than about any of the other siblings except perhaps Cinderella and Rhoda, who married respectively Moses Small and his nephew, Robert Small.

Leonard claimed in the 1851 census he’d been born about 1806 in Old Windsor, Berks (in the quite small, west of London, area used by his family into the twentieth century), and his wife, Phyllis (said to be a Lee), claimed she was four years his junior. They were believed by the gypsiologists to have had six children, and though I’ve found no trace of an alleged Milly and Henry, the other four, Diana, Job, Nelson and Thomas, are easy to spot, making a joint appearance, all four of them, together with their families, in Clewer, Berks in the 1861 census.

Diana Cooper, presumably the one christened in Marylebone St Mary, Mdx in 1829 daughter of Leonard and Philadelphia, pedlars, married Henry Hazard, christened in 1826 son of Henry and Honor. Job Cooper, born allegedly in Frimley, Sryabout 1830, married a Selina, born allegedly in Stratford, Wks about 1828, who may have been born a Smith, and definitely wasn’t, as is still often claimed, the daughter of Manuel and Sinfi Buckland. Nelson Cooper, born allegedly in Frimley, Sry about 1832 and buried in Bracknell, Berks in 1881, married in Easthampstead, Berks in 1858 (26 son of Leonard Cooper) General Buckland (19 daughter of Henry Hazard). General’s mother was Selina Buckland daughter of Manuel and Sinfi, and presumably her father was the Henry Hazard who’d supplied a spouse for General’s sister-in-law, Diana Cooper. Thomas Cooper, christened in Chertsey, Sry in 1836 son of Henry and Phyllis, traveller (the priest perhaps confused Leonard with his father), married a Sarah, just possibly an Ayres (the widowed Sarah in 1891 was travelling with Thomas’ cousin, Francis Cooper, and his wife, Alice Ayres).

Henry Hazard junior and Diana Cooper had three children: William Hazard, born about 1848, who died in Windsor RD in 1862M; Ocean Hazard, christened in Bray, Berks in 1852, who married Thomas Soley son of Thomas and Anne, and had a Henry and Jane born in the Windsor area about 1879-82; and Job Hazard, christened in Henley, Oxf in 1854, who married Jane Mary Hughes in Clewerin 1873, and had a Catherine, born about 1872, plus (all Hazards) Edith Gertrude, Job Nathan, and Ernest Vivian christened in Clewer1875-78, Arthur John born in 1880 (who married Rebecca Meade in 1901), Grace Naomi and Henry Leonard christened in Clewer 1885 and 1889, and Lilian born about 1891.

Job and Selina had two children unequivocally theirs: Bella Cooper, christened in Bray, Berks in 1851, who married William S Dickinson, and had an Ellen and a Lavinia, born about 1879-81; and Nelson Cooper, christened in Bracknell, Berks in 1853 (Job a gypsy horse dealer), who seems to have been short-lived. The Richenda Cooper, described as their daughter in the 1861 census, was almost certainly Selina’s child by a previous marriage to Solomon Buckland: when she married her cousin, Nelson Cooper son of Thomas, in Cranbourne, Berks in 1878, she was recorded as Richenda Buckland, with Cooper crossed out and no father named, but in the 1871 census she and Bella were travelling with Solomon Buckland and recorded as his daughters. The Lementina Smith, on the other hand, christened in Bracknell, Berks in 1862 daughter of an unnamed horse dealer and Selina Smith, was possibly Job Cooper’s: Job and his two brothers had been described as horse dealers four times in the previous eleven years when christening children in Bracknell, and Job’s brother, Thomas, christened a Lementina himself seven years later.

Nelson and General Cooper also, it seems, like Job and Selina, had fewer children together than it would appear from the 1861 census. Nelson probably had Isaiah and Emma in Berks about 1853-55, and Ruth, Rebecca and Diana in Surrey about 1857-61, by an earlier wife. His first documented children by General followed their wedding: Thomas and Louisa (who might be a re-named Diana) christened in Bracknell in 1859 and 1862. These were joined by Ellen christened in Sunningdale, Berks in 1866; Nelson (Johnny) and Sabina Cooper, christened in Egham, Sry in 1869 and 1872 jointly with their cousins, Lementina and Job Cooper, children of Thomas and Sarah; Edward, born in Berks about 1874; George Arthur Cooper, christened in Clewer in 1877; and perhaps the Matilda Cooper, who said she was twenty and daughter of Nelson, when she married James Perry in Clewer in 1901. General is sometimes Jane Cooper in the records, and on one occasion, in the census, Hazard Cooper!

Thomas and Sarah Cooper had nine children: Nelson, christened in Hayes, Mdx in 1857, who married his cousin Richenda, step-daughter of Job Cooper, then soon after Frances Leggett, nee Howard, and finally his cousin Sabina Cooper daughter of Nelson and General; Walter, christened in Bracknell Berks in 1860, who married a Reni, and had a Patience and Lemontany Cooper christened in Clewer in 1885 and 1888, and in between a Walter Cooper christened in Upper Sunbury, Mdx; Matilda, christened in Bracknell in 1861; Ann, born about 1862, who perhaps married Samson Jones, and christened a Jessie and Louisa Agnes Jones in Clewer 1887-88; Thomas, christened in Staines, Mdx in February 1866 (travelling dealer of Egham); John, christened in Egham, Sry in December 1866, who married an Alice, and christened a Matilda Cooper in Hillingdon, Mdx in 1885, a Louisa Agnes Cooper in Clewer in 1888 jointly with Samson and Ann Jones’ Louisa Agnes, and also had a Jane, John, Walter, Lena, Nelson and Alfred; Lementina Cooper, christened in Egham, Sry in 1869 (jointly with her cousin, Nelson son of Nelson), who married in Hounslow St Stephen, Mdx in 1890 Thomas Simpson son of Thomas, traveller, and had Eva, Walter, Ellen, Nelson, Leana, Tommy and Edward Simpson about 1891-1908; Job Cooper, christened in Egham, Sry in 1872 jointly with his cousin, Sabina Cooper daughter of Nelson; and finally Francis, born about 1874.

As always, I’d welcome any corrections and additions I’m offered, especially as I’m hoping to publish a Family Tree booklet quite soon on Leonard Cooper and his siblings.

Copyright © 2014 Eric Trudgill