Lawson L. Cope biography

Ex-Sheriff Cope came to Jack county a youth of sixteen, and was from thenceforward an active aid to the maintenance of the family headed by his widowed mother. His rural homestead on Cleveland creek marks the site of their early settlement and with its development and improvement has he been chiefly occupied since.

Lawson L. Cope is a native son of the Lone Star state and was born in Lavaca county, where his father, Andrew J. Cope, settled as an emigrant, in 1859. The latter was born near Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1813, came to mature years on his parents’ farm and married there Miss Martha Clepper, who survived him many years and passed away in Jack county, Texas, in January, 1901. Of their large family of ten children only three survive, viz: Lawson L., Silas, of Indian Territory, and Sonora, wife of D. P. Hill. From Lavaca county Mr. Cope, Sr., took his family into Lee and it was there he died in 1878, and from this point the widow and children migrated to Jack county a year later.

June 5, 1863, Lawson L. Cope became a sentient being and from that day a factor in the family’s domestic life. As a pupil in the country schools of Lee county he acquired the elementary principles of an education and he began contributing to the needs of the domestic establishment at the early age of sixteen. He never left home, as almost all sons some time do, but remained with the homestead and an aid to his mother to the last. When he married he set up his household under the roof of his youth and his efforts have won him the ownership of the three hundred and seventy acre farm that furnished him a field for labor in youth and provided for the domestic wants of the family while it was growing up.

August 28, 1887, Mr. Cope married Lucinda Sparks, a daughter of J. W. Sparks, of Blount county, Tennessee, the place of Mrs. Cope’s birth in the year 1865. Mr. Sparks moved from Blount county to Freestone county, Texas, and later to Chickasaw Nation, and died in 1900. He married Miss Jane Feasel, who bore him twelve children of which number Mrs. Cope was the third child. Mr. and Mrs. Cope’s children are George Mason and Ava.

In his political relations to Jack county Mr. Cope has been one of the spokes in the political wheel set in motion here by the People’s party. This party acquired such a force at one period of its history as to almost, if not quite, dominate county affairs, and fill the county offices with its favorite sons. In 1902, Mr. Cope was named as its candidate for sheriff and was elected, retiring at the end of two years and turning his office over to a Democrat successor. During this incumbency only one case of prominence came before the district court of the county and that the arrest, trials and conviction of George Freeman, a large stockman and early settler, for the murder of his son-in-law. Beyond this incident the mere routine of the office relieved the monotony of office-holding in his case and he returned to the life of a stock farmer.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 285.