Biography of Capt. James T. Hopper
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CAPT. JAMES T. HOPPER. This gentleman is one of the very oldest residents of Boone County, Arkansas, and resided in this vicinity long before such a town as Harrison was thought of. He is a product of Warren County, Tennessee, his birth occurring on his parents’ farm, January 3, 1832.
The fifth in a family of nine children born to Moses and Rebecca (Hicks) Hopper, the former of whom was born in Kentucky in 1802, his father, Gillum Hopper being of English birth. Upon coming to this country he settled first in Virginia, then in North Carolina, then in Kentucky, and finally in Tennessee. He was a Democrat, as was also Moses Hopper, and the latter was, like his father, a tiller of the soil. He was a man of education, was liberal, generous and high-minded, and prior to his death, which occurred in 1862, he became possessed of a comfortable competency. He was killed by bushrangers near Harrison, in Boone County, Arkansas, on account of his Union principles, although he took no active part in the war. He was very charitably inclined, and is still gratefully remembered by many a poor man whom he generously assisted along the hard pathway of life. He came thither from Tennessee in 1851, and made a good home one mile north of Harrison. His wife was a daughter of A. Hicks, a Virginian by birth, who at an early day became a resident of Tennessee, where he died. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and is supposed to have been with Jackson at New Orleans. Mrs. Hopper was born in 1804, and died in 1862, shortly before her husband was killed. She became the mother of nine children, all of whom reached maturity, six being still alive: Archibald, who is living on Long Creek, in Boone County; Nancy, who married Hiram Cantrell, of Tennessee, and died in this county in 1881 or 1882; William, who died July 12, 1893, having been a successful stock dealer of Kansas; Eliza, wife of Luke Holmes, of Polk County, Missouri; James T.; Paralee, who is the wife of W. McCormick, of Taney County, Missouri; Jane E., who is the wife of Joseph Spear, of this county; Gillum, who is living one and one-half miles north of Harrison; Ruth, who was the wife of Henry Thomason, of this county, died in 1879. The mother of these children was an active worker in and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a woman of Christian fortitude and bravely bore her share of the hardships and privations of life in a new and unbroken country. She and her husband reared their children to industrious manhood and womanhood and left them with a competency at the time of their death.
Capt. Hopper spent his early life and school days in his native county in Tennessee, and after coming to Arkansas entered Fayetteville College. After leaving school at the age of nineteen he began doing for himself and embarked in the raising of stock. In 1859 he married and located on a farm on which a portion of the town of Harrison now stands, which portion is known as Hopper’s Addition. This farm comprised 100 acres on Crooked Creek and Mr. Hopper was successfully engaged in tilling it for many years before the town was founded. In 1862 he was commissioned a recruiting officer by Col. Johnson of the First Arkansas Infantry, was located at Springfield, and operated in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. He was in a number of spirited engagements in Carroll County, Arkansas.
After the war the Captain came home and located on his farm, and is now living in a handsome and comfortable home, probably one of the finest in the county. The entire farm is laid out in town lots and a large portion of it has been built up. At various times he has also been engaged in merchandising and he is now giving considerable of his time to the milling business, his mill being known as the Little Jersey and is located on Crooked Creek, whose waters operate it. It is fitted up with the buhr system and has a capacity of seven barrels per day. Besides the property above mentioned he has a good farm in the country and a tract of timber and grazing land, besides a large amount of stock. The Captain has always been a Republican in politics, and his first presidential vote was cast for Bell, of Tennessee. He held the office of registrar during the reconstruction period, and was elected to represent Carroll County in the State Legislature, and while a member of that body introduced a bill for the division of Carroll County, and Boone County was formed. He was a member of the assembly of 1868-69, has always been interested in public affairs, and is liberal in his support of worthy causes. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M.
His wife, whom he married in 1859, and whose maiden name was Millie Deshazo, are members of the Christian Church. She is a daughter of James and Nancy (Turbyville) Deshazo, the former of whom became a resident of this county before the war, and was killed in 1863, while serving in the Confederate Army. He was born in Tennessee about 1799, and became a resident of Arkansas in 1851, his wife’s death occurring in this county in 1886, her birth having occurred in 1809. Mr. Deshazo was of French extraction and he and his wife were members of the Christian Church. Their children were as follows: Mary, the deceased wife of Perry Magness; Benjamin was a soldier of the Confederate Army and is deceased; Elizabeth is living in this county, the wife of John Baker; Allen was killed in the Mountain Meadow Massacre by the Mormons; Eliza died in 1867, the wife of William Patts; Richard died while serving in the Confederate Army; Millie (Mrs. Hopper); Bird was a soldier in the Union Army, and was killed in Texas in May, 1889; Docia’ is the wife of Thomas Bains, of Harrison, Arkansas; Garrett, also resides in Harrison; Tennessee is the wife of Dennis Mosely, of Harrison, and Victoria, who resides in this county, is the wife of William Straud.
Capt. Hopper began the battle of life as a school teacher and in every occupation to which he has given his attention he has met with the best of success. His business career has been marked by the most honorable methods. He has been charitable, public-spirited and law-abiding and he fully deserves the respect and esteem which is accorded him by all who know him.