Margaret Cooper

December 9, 1804 - June 19, 1882


Taken from:

From Margaret Cooper's own writings, which I found on Esther Fletcher Cooper (Margaret Cooper's mother) was the daughter of Robert Fletcher, and Lydia Williams, of Currutuck County, Virginia. Robert Fletcher's father and mother were from England. His mother's name was Margaret, and she was called a wise woman.

Esther Fletcher was brought up by her grandmother. She was left an orphan when very young. Early in her life her grandmother and principal friend died. She moved to Halifax, North Carolina, where she married John Cooper. They soon moved to Tennessee to take over the claim of land, 1,000 acres, which fell to Esther by heirship, from her Uncle William's estate. It was given to her uncle by the United States Government for valiant and faithful service in the Revolutionary War. When Esther came to her estate, she found it improved by a man who claimed it under the Squaters Rights, therefore a law suit came on. She was about to lose her claim when it flashed through her mind that she had seen a clause in a law book that would save her. She ran up in the garret, got the book, found the point, and showed it to her lawyer. Because of this, she gained her rights.

[This is an interesting story showing the type of reading that Esther Fletcher was accustomed to. This couple reared their family on this beautiful plantation where apples grew in abundance, and the great maple trees flourished.]

My father, John Cooper, died and was buried about one and a half miles from the Cumberland River, about ten miles from the town of Clarksdale. My mother was a wonderful person. She believed in God all the days of her life, and taught her children that the greatest blessing in all the world was to learn to pray and to put their trust in God. I was always thankful for this teaching, and it helped me many times. It was hard to give our mother up, but she was buried carefully by the side of my good father, whom she loved. Two years after my mother's death, I set out for religion. I prayed with the mourners at church, and I prayed in secret, and one night at the Presbyterian camp meeting, I was praying with all my soul and strength when this feeling came to my understanding. 'The Lord does not require that you should go mourning.' I took it for the forgiveness of my sins. I went in to the session and told my experience to the heads of the church and they received it for a good experience.

At about this time, I became acquainted with Mr. Samuel West, who intended to make me his wife, and my affections were no less for him. I prayed for the Lord to help me make a wise choice, and it seemed that the Spirit said, 'You must pray together,' to which I agreed. We were married the 29th of January, 1829, and I felt contented and happy.

Esther, our first child, a beautiful little girl, was born the 8th of November, 1829. John Anderson, our first son and our second child was born the 19th of December 1830. When John was four days old, I was seriously afflicted from eating a frosted potato, threw me into a colic, and I was like to die. I tried to pray for myself, and on the night of the 25th I had a wonderful dream. I thought I was in the company of people who were all hunting their prizes, for this is the way it came to me. I thought it was their religion, and I was desirous to know whether I had a prize, when a man of mild appearance said to me, 'You have a prize, but it is under your husband's feet. I want you to get out and rub the rust off.' I looked and saw a table with precious white bread and little girls partaking. Another way, I saw hammers and chains. I thought I saw people flying. I awoke and told my dream to my family, but they paid little attention to it.

But I thought on it, and I tried to pray, but I suffered much. I could not sleep; my nerves became affected. I tried to sit up, but I could not for I was all a tremble, and it appeared that I should die. My husband carried me to bed, and I thought I was dying. Then I looked up to my husband and said, 'I shall not die. I shall live and we shall live together to a good old age in the Lord.' For so it had seemed to me. I was unconscious for sometime, and then strength came on me. I rose (up) and exhorted the people with a powerful exhortation, for I thought the day of the Lord was at hand. I saw the nations of the earth gathering. Then I thought that we were the people of the Lord, and that we were of all sects and denominations. But there were among us those who did not have mastery enough to keep our secrets. And they mingled with the wicked, and would whisper things into their ears, which neither they nor the wicked understood. It enraged the wicked, and the Christians had no power to stand, only by the power of God. But that was sufficient, for when we brought ourselves right before Him, we could conquer our enemies, and by our faith and good works we increased in knowledge, both in the things of God, and works; also in the healing power. For when we saw ourselves right, we saw that a natural medicine was easy to manage. And many things appeared to me, which I did not understand, and I pondered them in my heart. I thought something great had either taken place, or was about to take place on the earth. I could not express myself, even to my husband.

Isles Marion, our third child, was born the 23rd of April, 1832, and died July 6th, 1833

Our fourth child, Susan Elizabeth, was born December 4th, 1833. She was about six months old when we became acquainted with "Thompson's Guide to Health," and soon after we purchased a Guide. It was then selling for $20.00. I thought it a great work, for it seemed to me that natural things were set forth in the most natural manner. And I thought if the pattern was observed, our lives would be longer, and our constitutions stronger. I thought it was not much less than the work of God.

Soon after this, our Mormon Elders came, David W. Patten, and Warren Parrish, with the plaines of the Gospel. I knew it was true the first word I heard of it, and we were both baptized. I thought I had already seen something of this Gospel in the year 1830, and I was not surprised when some of our former friends began to forsake us. I had seen that also in my dreams. I would like to relate a circumstance that happened soon after I was baptized. My husband took very sick, and he said, 'The signs are to follow them that believe. Pray for me.' I did so, but this testimony is given later by Samuel West, my husband. [This testimony must have been lost, it could not be found.]

Our fifth child, Emma Seraphine, was born January 3rd, 1836. I had no assistance, except my husband and Dr. Thompson's medicine. But I did well.

Sometime later, Brother Patten, in talking to me, said that Thompson was an illiterate man, and that his work was of little value. Although I always felt to submit to Brother Patten, still I withstood him. Said I, 'the Sectarians say as much against the Saints as the fashionable practice say against Thompsonism, and with about as little reason.'

On the 22nd of May 1838, our sixth child, Margaret Fletcher, was born, with no one in the room but my husband.

We began having a great deal of trouble. Mathew Williams, the Methodist minister, whom he had known before joining the Mormon Church, came out to our house with a warrant of arrest for Brothers Patten, Parrish, and Woodruff. I began to think that the wicked were showing themselves, and I felt a very heavy influence. I began to seek unto the Lord by prayer. My prayers were in secret. I would rise out of my bed at night and pray, for I thought that if I could gain the favor of God, our enemies could not harm us.

On the morning of the trial, several of the Brethren stopped at our house for breakfast, and when it was ready, the Spirit said to me, 'They have not prayed. They are going, they know not where!' I asked them if they had prayed, they said, 'No.' Then I was bold and imprudent enough to ask them to pray with me. They all knelt down, but not one of them (as well as I can remember) would pray. I was sorry, for I felt that there was a need of prayer. At that time my husband would permit me to pray, and I commenced as well as I remember, I plead for the blessings of God to attend them that day. And my soul rejoiced in the prayer, and I felt as if I had eaten and drank, and when they had gone I said in my heart, 'I will go to the Sisters and we will unite our hearts in prayer to God,' for I felt something serious was determined against us. The day was passing lightly, and Sisters Capes and Huber began thinking of going home. I must speak the sentiments of my mind. I said, 'It was in my heart for us to pray when I came here.' Sister Patten said, 'I am glad Sister West has mentioned this; we do not know the situation of our husbands.'

Sister Utley was pleased. We shut the door and prayed to our Father, who seeth in secret. Our husbands said it was a gloomy day for them. Brothers Parrish and Patten were in the courthouse, stripped of every weapon, even their pocket knives, and were not allowed to speak in their own defense. And the guards were men, mostly drunk, staggering with blindness, swearing and cursing. Their guns were stacked about. And non of our men had weapons of defense. This was the situation, I suppose, when we were praying, but about that time, our enemies said, 'If they will send these men away, we will let them.' Our Brethren agreed, and they were guarded off and went to Brother Albert Pettey's. When our praying was over, we went home, and on our way we met Brother Huber coming from the trial. We asked the news. He said that there was a change in the plan which the men had at first. But, said he, 'I expect bloody times ahead.'

We learned that the Methodist preacher was working hard to make trouble for us. He said we had prophecies for the purpose of scaring the people, and that we had prophesied that Christ would come to earth, and that we had baptized four persons, and had promised them the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was one of those persons. I had come out from the Methodist Church. Brother Woodruff was freed because he was from another county, but he did not escape them, for I suppose that some of the same spirit poisoned the beast which he rode. She belonged to Samuel West, my husband, and we were informed that she was poisoned. Brother Woodruff wrote us concerning her and wished to make us satisfaction, (payment in full) but we were satisfied with it. Brother Woodruff spoke of her worthiness in his letter, and said that she had carried the Gospel. Well, we lent her for that purpose, and I rejoiced in her death, for I supposed that we had given her for the Kingdom of Heaven, or in other words, in helping to establish the principles of the Gospel.

We received word from my husband's mother in Kentucky, and her son, asking us to move to Kentucky. We were saddened at the time, at the turn of events in Tennessee-the bitter persecutions we were receiving and hearing that most of our church members were moving into Missouri, or Illinois. We decided to grant our mother's request and go to them. We stopped in Kentucky three years, and it was there I received some great abuse. Our relatives approached us-said we had given our money to the Mormons, and did upbraid us. I sought unto prayer, always my refuge in distress.

April 21st, 1840, our seventh child, Lydia Clementine, was born with only my husband in the room. My faith increased in these natural medicines, and we did not forget to pray. We prayed for our enemies and in about fifteen months after our friends had abused me so, they sent for me. They wanted to join the church, and they did. My husband's mother, brother, and brother's wife were baptized and we were rewarded for praying.

This testimony I wish to relate. From the day I was baptized, I have never hankered for the coffee grain nor for the tea leaves. My husband was blessed also. He left off his tobacco, coffee, and tea at once.

We fed and clothed the Elders with a liberal hand and heart. We sent money to assist in the building of the Kirtland Temple. We sent money by Brother Grover Phelps and other to Missouri to buy lands for the Saints, expecting to have shares with them. We gave money to Brother Wells and many other to bear their expenses home. To those who asked, my husband gave, and to those who asked to borrow, he lent.

This was in Tennessee and also in Kentucky. We gave with free good will and we have not asked reward, nor desired it. We have been willing to suffer with our Brethren. We have been meek when we could not rejoice.

It was in Kentucky, Wadsbarron, Callaway County, that our son, William Moroni, was born. He was our eighth child, and we greatly rejoiced, February 9, 1842, that we had another son.

On the first day of June of the same year, 1842, we started off for Nauvoo. When we got there, we stopped at the Creek where there were a number of wagons. Some of the Sisters came to our wagon and began to talk like this, 'If you go in town you will starve, for they have nothing but potatoes there.' I frankly said, 'I can live on a big potato as long as anyone,' and if I did not say it, I thought that I could cut it in bits, and make as many pots of soup as anyone, but I did not expect to have to do it. I made light of hard living. I thought no one could suffer for food if they had plenty of cornbread or Johnny Cake.

We went into town, and met Brother George A. Smith and Brother Woodruff, and Brother George A. gave us an introduction to the Prophet, and also to Brother Brigham Young, from whom he bought a lot, shingles, bricks, and all the materials for the house, except the plaster. My husband kept $30.00 to finish the building with, when a few days later, a Brother Henry Miller, was in great distress, and asked my husband for the loan of $30.00. My husband, being accustomed to liberality, took it out and handed it to him, took his note, but he could not get enough out of it in the fall to buy even a pound of lime. Winter came on, and we had to take refuge in an unplastered house, where the wind beat cruelly upon us. When we came, we had brought a number of cured hams with us, but noting the poverty of the people around us, we gave quite freely. At one time, Brother George A. Smith counseled my husband to tell them that we had come with our last ham, and I was always pleased with this counsel, and believe my husband was also, but he did not take it.

When I was sick I had plenty of Johnny Cake, salt, and potatoes, but I could not eat. The fact is, I could not swallow cornbread. The taste of it was taken from me. I got a sister to get such things that I could eat. Sister Beech sent me an apple, which I was grateful for. My husband did not seem to know I was so bad. We did not have money, and I did hate to distress my husband on account of being poor, for I knew that we had come by our poverty honestly.

It appeared that Satan chose these experiences to try me for he knew I love a high life, and fat living, and perhaps he would have been glad to see me curse God, and die in consequence of hard living, but thank God, the Father, for not permitting Satan to destroy me. I scarce ever grieved to my husband on the account of hard living, for I would make it a light thing, and likely I have been wrong, for it would be more like a meek and humble spirit to cry for every sorrow, but I am as I am.

We had no experience in these things until we came to Nauvoo, and there we were blessed with an experience. We saw the poverty and suffering of the people, and we saw the suffering of our Prophet. We lived hard and we fared hard, but I do not recollect my husband complaining but once, and that was when his fine blooded horse we called Andrew Jackson, died. He sold one of our cows and got half of the pay in meal and corn, and that was the end of that.

We had learned to eat food we had thought impossible to relish, but who was to be blamed, no one. We felt that we had the priceless jewel, worth striving for, which I had seen in my dream three years before we had heard of the Gospel.

Nancy Melinda, was born 22nd of March 1844. She was our ninth child, our youngest daughter She was born only about three months before our beloved Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred.

I have endeavored to make this work short as I could, for my time has been hurried. I have written some in secret. I should like to have the privilege of completing a narrative of my life, and I should like to have what i have written read by some Bishop, or good-hearted brother who knows how to feel for the distressed and the oppressed. I feel some way, that there is something about me that would be a blessing to my husband, myself, my family, and all my posterity, and to many of my brothers and sisters.

May God bless and help us all, is the desire of my humble heart. Margaret Cooper West.

Samuel Walker West and his wife Margret Cooper with their family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 24-25th of September 1851 as part of the Harry Walton, Garden Grove Company. About 21 families from Garden Grove plus other individuals and 60 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). They left Garden Grove, Iowa on 17 May 1851

Place of marriage for Margaret Cooper and Samuel Walker West is listed as Chalk Level, Benton, Tennessee. A search for Chalk Level and Benton finds the following:

Chalk Level is an unincorporated town in Hawkins County. Hawkins County is in the Northeast part of Tennessee. Benton County was formed in 1835 from part of Humphrey's County. It was named in honor of David Benton (1779-1860), who was a member of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Militia in the Creek war and an early settler in the county. Benton County is in the Northwest part of Tennessee, 360 miles west of Chalk Level.

Benton is also a town in Polk County, Polk County is in the Southeast part of Tennessee, 153 miles southeast of Chalk Level.

This is also a second Chalk Level in Benton County, although it does not show up on any map - State Route 191 (abbreviated SR 191) is a secondary state highway in Benton County, Tennessee. It runs from Interstate 40 (Exit 133), Birdsong Exit, north to Birdsong Resort, Marina, Lakeside RV and Tent Campgrounds and North America's Only Freshwater Pearl Farm, the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Museum, Farm, Tour and Pearl Jewelry Showroom on the scenic Birdsong Creek just 9.2 miles North of the Birdsong Exit at I-40 then on to Camden and then out 191 North to Nathan Bedford Forest State Park just north of Eva, Tennessee. This highway crosses US 70, Business US 70, State Route 69A. This highway passes through the small communities of Eagle Creek, Birdsong, Chalk Level, Camden Bay, Eastview Tennessee, Eva, and the court square in Camden, Tennessee.

The first church at Chalk Level, Benton County, was a Primitive Baptist. The founding date is uncertain but it is believed to be between 1828 and 1832. It was located approximately 1/4 mile West of the present church near the old Chalk Level Cemetery, which is known as Brown Graveyard.

Chalk Level, named for the local rock outcrops, was first organized in 1831 by John D. Camp. It is about 7 miles southwest of Camden, and is considered one of the earliest communities in the county.

After looking at several web sites I feel that this marriage took place just south of Camden, Tennessee close to the present day Chalk Level Baptist Church, 120 Shiloh Church Rd, Camden, Tennessee.

Obituary From The Deseret News, July 12, 1882:

Died at Snowflake, Arizona, June 19th, 1882, Margaret Cooper West, relict of Samuel West. Deceased was born in Montgomery County, Tennessee, December 9, 1804. Baptized by Elder David Patten in the summer of 1834. Moved to Kentucky in 1838; from thence to Nauvoo in the Spring of 1842; from thence to Council Bluffs in 1846; from thence to Parowan, Utah in 1851; from thence to Snowflake in the winter of 1878-9. In connection with her husband, raised a large family of children, several of whom survive her. She remained to the end of her life a faithful, consistent Latter-Day Saint.
Birth: Dec. 9, 1804, Montgomery County, Tennessee, USA
Death: Jun. 19, 1882, Snowflake, Navajo County, Arizona, USA
Margaret was the daughter of John Cooper and Esther Fletcher and was the first wife of Samuel Walker West.
Family links: Spouse:
Samuel Walker West (1804 - 1873)
Sarah Esther West Barton (1829 - 1906)
John Anderson West (1830 - 1917)
Susan Elizabeth West Smith (1833 - 1926)
Margaret Fletcher West Smith (1838 - 1864)
Margaret J. West Smith (1838 - 1864)
William Moroni West (1842 - 1874)
Nancy Malinda West Rollins (1844 - 1917)
Burial: R V Mike Ramsay Memorial Cemetery, Snowflake, Navajo County, Arizona, Plot: Plot U-35, space 1.
Created by: mommycita
Record added: Apr 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36213331

The following information was found on a blog:

Margaret Cooper West

The following is an excerpt from a chapter of Women of Faith in the Latter-days: Volume 1: 1778-1820 by Richard E. Turley Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman. This particular chapter is only available as a bonus in the ebook version, available from Deseret Book.

Margaret Cooper was born on December 9, 1804, in Halifax, Montgomery County, Tennessee, the daughter of John and Esther Fletcher Cooper. As a young child, she exhibited a talent for healing. Her father died when Margaret was four, and her mother when she was fifteen. She missed her mother greatly and turned to religion two years later. When she was in her early twenties, Samuel Walker West asked her to marry him. She explained: “I prayed for the Lord to help me make a wise choice, and it seemed that the Spirit said, ‘You must pray together,’ to which I agreed. We were married the 29th of January, 1829, and I felt contented and happy.

During a serious illness in 1830, Margaret dreamed that “the day of the Lord was at hand” and that “something great had either taken place, or was about to take place on the earth.” Shortly thereafter, two important events occurred that she thought fulfilled her dream. In 1834, a salesman came to the door with a book, Samuel Thompson’s New Guide to Health. Margaret’s interest in healing persuaded her to buy a copy for the then-huge sum of twenty dollars out of her own funds; thus began her lifelong dedication to the Thompsonian school of healing.

Soon afterward, two other men also arrived at the West home with another book, the Book of Mormon. Feeling that this was a sacred book, Margaret and her family accepted the gospel message taught to them by Elders David W. Patten and Warren Parrish. Margaret and Samuel were baptized in late 1834 and remained faithful the rest of their lives.

Because of increasing distrust and persecution, the family moved first to Kentucky and then, in 1842, to Nauvoo. The Wests left Nauvoo with other Saints in 1846, settling temporarily in Kanesville, Iowa. There Margaret’s tenth and last child was born, only to die within a year. Traveling with the Harry Walton–Garden Grove Company in 1851, their family had two wagons, eight cows, and eight sheep. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September. At general conference a short time later, they were called to settle in Parowan, Iron County, Utah. Their neighbors considered them “a vigorous, lovable, hospitable people.”

Margaret continued to serve in the community as a midwife and healer, blessing the lives of hundreds. She had gained a hard-won testimony of the principle of plural marriage while living in Nauvoo, and Samuel married two other women in Parowan. A few years after her husband died, Margaret went with several of her children to settle in Snowflake, Arizona. Margaret died in Snowflake on June 19, 1882, leaving a large posterity. The Snowflake Relief Society composed the following tribute to her:

"We hold in sacred memory her many virtues, both in precept and example: . . . her firm integrity to the principle of Celestial Marriage, even to the last . . . her many years of usefulness among the sick, etc. . . . We strive to imitate her meekness and patience, benevolence and uncomplaining disposition, her economy and cheerfulness, her wisdom, in being a woman of but few words, and her devotedness to her God and his people.”

Margaret's husband Samuel Walker West

Margaret's son John Anderson West

Margaret's daughter Emma Seraphine West

Margaret's daughter Lydia Clementine West

Margaret's daughter Nancy Malinda West

Margaret's son William Monroni West