Biography of Edgar Cooper
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





EDGAR C. COOPER. - Since the world began, affairs of state and of government have ever attracted the attention of the most able men of the age, challenging their greatest powers, and closely associating them with the intimate details of the life of city, state or nation, and ultimately, in its largest sense, with the progress of the world. This is particularly so in these later days when the science of government has been recognized, and the political life of a man lasts only so long as he serves the people or at least keeps them thinking that he does. This last, however, his increasingly difficult, and it is quite safe to say that in the commonwealth of California, the men who today hold offices in the state are of the finest that are to be found here or elsewhere. Among this class may be named the present president of the Great Republic Insurance Company of Los Angeles and late state insurance commissioner, Edgar C. Cooper, of Eureka, who was appointed to this important position by Governor Gillett during the latter part of his term of office, and whose term expired in June, 1914.

In addition to requisites of character and ability, it seems especially appropriate that the people should have confidence in, and be served in such a capacity by, a native son, which Mr. Cooper is. He was born in Eureka, Humboldt county, October 6, 1868. He is the son of Solomon and Eliza (Wilder) Cooper, natives of England and Maine, respectively, who were married in Massachusetts and came from that state to California in 1852, locating in Humboldt county in 1856, and thereafter making that their home. The father taught school and later became receiver of public moneys in the United States land office at Eureka, which position he held for nineteen years. Edgar C. received his education in the public schools of Eureka, graduating from the Eureka Academy, and afterward from the Hastings College of Law, in San Francisco, in 1891.

After completing his law studies and being admitted to the bar, young Mr. Cooper returned to Eureka, where he began the active practice of his chosen profession in partnership with Arthur W. Hill. The private practice of the law was not destined to be his life work, however, for his strongest inclinations were toward public service, and obtaining the nomination for district attorney of Humboldt county on the Republican ticket, in 1898, he was elected by a handsome majority. He served in this capacity for four years, and in 1903 he was elected city attorney of Eureka, again polling a decided majority. He continued to occupy this position until 1906, when a wider field opened as the natural result of his unusual ability and his splendid grasp of the affairs of the state, and he went to Sacramento as private secretary to Governor Gillett. In this new capacity Mr. Cooper made many friends and again proved his ability to handle difficult situations and to hold in his magnificent mind the multitude of details to be summoned when they were of vital importance to his chief. As a further recognition of his merit, Governor Gillett, in June, 1910, appointed him insurance commissioner of California, which position he filled until June, 1914, when he resigned to assume the presidency of the Great Republic Life Insurance Company of Los Angeles. To this company's interests he is giving his active attention and the benefit of his years of professional experience.

Mr. Cooper was married in Eureka, being united with Miss Margaret Johnson, a native of Humboldt county, who died in Sacramento in 1909, leaving two children: Elizabeth Marie and Dorothy Prescott.

Always keenly interested in the affairs of his city, county and state, Mr. Cooper has been a factor in the affairs of his party for many years, and in Eureka, which he still claims as his home, and where he holds large financial interests, he is recognized as one of the most influential men in the civic affairs of the city. He is progressive and aggressive, broad minded and clearheaded, with a wonderful faculty for grasping a situation in a few moments and retaining the details.

Another phase of affairs which interests this genial statesman is the fraternal life of his home city, where he is a member of several of the prominent orders. Although he has necessarily been away from Eureka for several years, his present official headquarters being in Los Angeles, and his secretaryship to the governor requiring his entire time in Sacramento, and as insurance commissioner with an office in San Francisco, he has retained his several memberships in the orders where he was initiated as a young man, feeling that there he would be more at home in the organization. Among such fraternal orders are the Masons, Elks, Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World and the Foresters of America, and it goes without saying that he is prominent in the Eureka parlor, N. S. G. W.

The services that Mr. Cooper has rendered his county and state have been clean and energetic. He has never faltered in the execution of his duty, and the affairs of his office have always been conducted in a manner that has defied criticism, rather demanding praise and appreciation, even from his political opponents.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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