Cooper, Thomas E., 1883-1949
- Existence: 1883-08-19-1949-05-5- 1883 August 19 - 1949 May 5 - 1949-05-05
Thomas E. Cooper, born in Mullins, South Carolina on August 19, 1883, attended the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from Falls Business College, Nashville, Tennessee. He married Janie Collins of Conway, South Carolina; the couple had two daughters, Lois and Jane. Cooper was head cashier of the Merchants and Planters Bank of Mullins; after he moved to Wilmington he had an impressive career as a banker. He served as President of the North Carolina Bankers Association in 1914, was president of the Murchison National Bank and president of Liberty Savings Bank. He served as chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Education from 1915 to 1925. When the bank closed Cooper was tried and convicted and sentenced to a term in the federal penitentiary.
After he was pardoned by Governor McLean, Cooper tried to relocate and build a new life for himself and his family. However, finding it impossible to escape his past, he returned to Wilmington, opened up a small business and proceeded to make his way into public life. He unsuccessfully ran for sheriff two times and then in 1934 successfully for the state legislature. He ran for governor of North Carolina in 1940, coming in fifth in a field of seven in the Democratic primary. He died May 5, 1949 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington.