The story of the Cooper family begins right after the Civil War when Henry Harrison Cooper and his two brothers immigrated from Scotland and settled in South Carolina. They soon moved to Baldwin County, Alabama, in an area later appropriately named Rosinton. They were rosin farmers securing rosin for naval stores from the plentiful Baldwin County pine trees.
Henry Cooper and his wife, Matilda, had fourteen children; the next to youngest was named Angus Royal Cooper. It was this son who established the waterfront tradition which the family would follow for generations. Angus was born in 1877, and at an early age he went to work on the Mobile docks. His days on the docks prepared him to build a strong stevedoring company that would be expanded by his sons and grandsons into the second largest stevedoring company in America. On February 5, 1905 he established what has now become Cooper/T. Smith Corporation. This was the first big step in building a family-owned stevedoring company.
Angus Cooper’s son, Ervin, joined his family’s business. He married, had two sons (Angus II and David), and went on to personally direct the firm’s expansion to ports throughout the U.S. Both sons set out on a seemingly impossible mission: To grow the business worldwide and compete internationally with the biggest maritime firms in the world. Their sons, Angus III, Scott & David, Jr. worked after school, summers and holidays, learning the complex business that was “in their blood”. Today’s Cooper/T. Smith is a progressive and innovative organization employing thousands worldwide. The company impacts an astonishing array of industries throughout the world, from agriculture, energy and chemicals to construction, food service and tourism.
Today, in Mobile, Cooper Riverside Park honors the memory of Ervin S. Cooper (1911 - 1982). There, he is immortalized in a bronze statue sitting on a Waterman Steamship Company bench watching over the Mobile waterfront which has meant so much to the Cooper family. Cooper/T. Smith has grown from modest beginnings to a complex, multifaceted maritime giant in the last one hundred years. Earning a worldwide reputation for lasting partnerships and exceptional service, Angus Cooper II, David Cooper, Sr. and the fourth generation of the Cooper legacy, Angus Cooper III and Scott Cooper, are making the next century just as exciting.