Joe Cooper

The Courant American
Cartersville, Georgia
August 2, 1900, page 1
Transcribed by:  

His Body Pushed From Car.
Joe Cooper, a Stilesboro Negro, is Shot and Killed
On An Excursion Train
A Terrible Fracas, in Which Several Get Shot – Slayer of Cooper From Cartersville.

A lively row occurred on the E. & W. train carrying negroes on an excursion from Cartersville to Sulphur Springs in Alabama last Saturday.

It is hard to get facts regarding the affair, as many of the negroes who were in the crowd will tell but little about it if they know and those who do talk at all give stories that in many instances conflict with each other.

It is said that a good quantity of whiskey was provided in advance for the occasion, and the excursionists many of them were well loaded up pretty soon.  One coach in particular contained a rough boisterous crowd of men.  In this car was Joe Cooper, a negro who got on at Stilesboro.  Ed Young, who runs a fruit stand and restaurant in this city made the occasion one to help out his receipts and carried fruits, confectioneries and lunches to sell to the crowd.  Will Alexander was along to assist him and carried things through the cars.  When Cooper was reached it is said he took from Alexander’s basket some bananas and cooked fish which he was told was worth 35 cents.  When asked to pay for them he refused.  A dispute arose over the matter and the fatal shooting was the outcome.  Some say Cooper started to pull his gun when Alexander shot.  Some say Cooper fired at Alexander twice before Alexander shot.  Anyway Cooper was shot in the head, a hole being made from which the brains oozed out.  It is also said he was shot in the body.  Several other negroes were hit with bullets.  Just how many shots were fired nobody seems to know exactly but some of the excursionists brought back flattened missiles that had been picked up on the car floor as souvenirs.  The dispute between Cooper and Alexander, several say was shifted from the car to the platform, where the shooting took place.  From accounts of others it must have been inside.

The shooting commenced a few miles this side of Piedmont.  Just before the cars reached Piedmont Cooper’s body was pushed from the train.  It is intimated that it was shoved through the car window.  One of the train men, looking back along the train, saw the body fall out.  The train ran to Piedmont and then backed and the train crew placed the body on the cars and carrying it to Piedmont left it on the platform there.  Life was not extinct when the body was picked up.

Officers from Piedmont went to Sulphur Springs to arrest Alexander, but although he was there selling his things for some time, he skipped out before the officers arrived.  The officers came back up the road some distance this side of Piedmont searching the cars, supposing Alexander was aboard, but they did not find him.

Cooper, the negro that was killed, lived with Mr. Joe Cannon at Stilesboro, and white people give him a good name.  Some, however, say he was rough when he was drinking.  Alexander, who it is claimed, shot him, has been about Cartersville a long time and was known by the singular nickname of “Cornbread.”  He has been a number of times in trouble.


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