• Athens Banner, 12 May 1915, pp. 1 & 3
    Judge Disqualified
    [Note: This article is too long to reproduce in its entirety, so I will summarize most of it and completely transcribe the part that is of genealogical interest.]
    [Summary: J. W. Griffin was president of the Athens Trust & Banking Company and in that connection was charged with violation of the banking laws. Judge Charles Hillyer Brand, as judge of the Western Judicial Circuit of the state superior court, was to try the case. Over the initial objections of his attorneys, Mr. Griffin wanted Judge Brand disqualified on three grounds. The first was his position as president and a shareholder of the Brand Banking Company, which held a certificate of deposit from Athens Trust as collateral for a loan. The second involved the Judge’s position as director of two other banks. The third, and most interesting to genealogists, was an allegation that Judge Brand was related to W. A. Cooper and L. E. Cooper, one a depositor in and the other a debtor to Athens Trust & Banking Company. The transcription of the remainder of the article begins with Judge Brand speaking, identified as “The Court.” I have added a few paragraph breaks to make Judge Brand’s statement easier to follow.]

    The Court:  It devolved upon me to investiage the question raised as to my disqualification on account of relationship, because I was supposed to know more about my kin folks than any of the others. I did not even do that until I got the permission of Mr. Shackelford to do so. I told him I wanted to write to these three Coopers, who were named, and enter upon this investigation. He consented and I undertook it. I couldn’t get much information from these three parties.

    I took it up with Scott Cooper in Walton county last week, who is a son of Virgil Cooper. I also took it up with William Cooper in Walton county, who is a son of J. C. Cooper or Can Cooper, who was a brother of my grand father, Levi M. Cooper. Sunday, despite the Sabbath, when I ought not to have done it, I suppose, I took it up with Mr. Knight and asked him to confer with Governor McDaniel, Thomas Giles, the old ordinary of Walton county, and who had been ordinary for thirty odd years, a man of eighty years old now, I expect, and Mr. Bill Ford, a cousin of mine, to ascertain from them, if they knew anything about the relationship between Scott Cooper’s father, who was a son of Blake Cooper, and my grand-father, Levi M. Cooper.

    Governor McDaniel reported that he didn’t think I was any kin, or at least within the disqualified degree. For some reason or other Mr. Giles didn’t know, and yet Blake Cooper was sheriff of that county for many years. I thought if any two men living knew the relationship between Levi Cooper, who was a large planter and slave owner and a wealthy man in his day, and Blake Cooper,who was sheriff of Walton county, that Governor McDaniel and Mr. Giles would. I then took it up over the phone with Uncle Hamp Braswell who lives at Loganville and who married the youngest daughter of Levi M. Cooper, my aunt and the only aunt I have on the Cooper side. I later took it up with my brother to go to see Thomas Cooper, the only living uncle I have on the Cooper side. I heard from these two young Coopers and I heard from one of these young Cooper’s father at Statham, whom I took it up with.

    I submitted all the facts yesterday afternoon that I had gathered from this investigation, which was full and as far as I could get it, to Judge Cobb and Mr. Erwin and Mr. Gamble. I had Mr. Knight present to report the messages sent me by Mr. Ford, Mr. Giles and Governor McDaniel. I have thus communicated with the oldest Cooper I know anything about.

    My grand-father’s father was named Vining Cooper. From the best information I gathered Vining Cooper and Blake Cooper were brothers. Judge Cobb with his chart and with the information I gave him, worked it out. Blake Cooper had a son by the name of F. M. Cooper, Sr. F. M. Cooper, Sr. had a son named F. M. Cooper, Jr. F. M. Cooper, Jr., had a son named L. E. Cooper and he is the barber[sic]. Vining Cooper, brother to Blake Cooper, had a son who was named Levi M. Cooper, who was my grandfather. My mother was Julia Cooper, the daughter of Levi M. Cooper. So, according to this information, which I don’t believe to be absolutely accurate, and it may be error, though it is the best information I can gather upon the subject, according to the figuring and calculating and working out by Judge Cobb, I am within the fourth degree related to L. E. Cooper, or a fifth cousin to L. E. Cooper, and am, therefore, disqualified.

    [The remainder of the article consists of Judge Brand’s formal statement of disqualification. I believe that F. M. Cooper, Jr. is “young Cooper’s father at Statham” and the Francis Marion Cooper (1862-1960) buried in Section B of the Statham City Cemetery. L. E. Cooper is Launa Erwin Cooper (1884-1981), also buried in Statham. Francis Marion Cooper appears with his family in the 1900 census for Walton County, the 1910 census for Jackson County, and the 1920 census for Barrow County. Judge Brand’s reference to L. E. Cooper as his “fifth cousin” is incorrect; they were third cousins. The reference to degrees of relationship is legal terminology and may be correct.]