The Infamous Black BirdSouthern Oregon History, Revised

Olive Cooper

Ida Grove, Iowa, June 1880
Micheal K. Cooper, 52, blacksmith, born Ky., parents born Ireland
Climenia Cooper, 36, wife, born Ind., father born Ky., mother Conn.
George Cooper, 23, son, blacksmith, born Ia.
Chester Cooper, 9, son, born Missouri
Retta Cooper, 6, daughter, born Ia.
Daisie Cooper, 5, daughter
, born Ia.
Olive Cooper, 1, daughter, born Ia.
Lottie Silts, 19, servant, born Ia., father born Penn., mother Ohio
U.S. Census

Estherville Township, Emmet County, Iowa, June 13, 1900

John R. Parmly, 40, brakeman, born Md., parents born Md.
Georgia L. Parmly, 25, wife, born Kan., parents born Ind.
Ervin C. Parmly,
4, son, born Ia.
Minnie Cooper,
58, mother-in-law, born Ind., father born Ky., mother N.Y.
U.S. Census

Sioux City, Iowa, June 5, 1900

James I. Mahony, 57, born Ireland, parents born Ireland
Elizabeth A. Mahony, 40, wife, born Mass., parents born Ireland
Marie J. Mahony, 16, daughter, born Ia.
John S. Mahony, 7, son, born Ia.
Catherine F. Mahony, 1, daughter, born Ia.
Olive Cooper, 20, servant, born Ia., father born Ky., mother Ind.
U.S. Census

Death of Mrs. Cooper
    Mrs. Climenia Cooper, a native of Muncie, Ind., died at her home on North A Street, June 15, 1903. She came to Medford some months ago, hoping to recover her health, but skill of physicians and climate was baffled.The funeral took place from the First M.E. Church, of which she as an esteemed member. The pastor pronounced a deserved eulogy upon Christian patience and life.
Medford Mail, June 19, 1903, page 2

    Climenia Downing Cooper, a native of Muncie, Ind., was born February 18, 1842 and died in Medford, Oregon, June 15, 1903. She was married to W. K. Cooper, in Unionville, Mo., in 1870. To this union was born four children--Chester, Betta Pormilee, of St. Paul, Minn., Daisy Maxson, of Shellsbury, Iowa, and Olive Cooper, of St. Paul, Minn. Her husband died Feb. 22, 1893, after which she made her home with her oldest daughter, Betta Pormilee, of St. Paul. November last she came to Medford to visit friends and thinking to regain her health, but steadily grew worse until death relieved her of her suffering.
    She was a patient sufferer and bore her sickness with Christian meekness. She united with the M.E. Church when a child, and with a devotion characteristic of our fathers she loved and served her church. Her funeral took place from the First M.E. Church, her pastor pronouncing a high eulogy on her Christian faith and life. She will long live in the memory of those whose pleasure it was to know her.

Medford Mail, June 26, 1903, page 2

Heroic Miss Cooper Gives Her Life in Vain Effort to Save a Patient.
The Dead:
Dangerously Injured:
    A fire attended with terrible mortality occurred at the little town of Glendale yesterday morning, about two o'clock. The fire broke out in the residence of O. P. Lane, and as a result Mrs. Lane, her two-year-old son Bennie, and a nurse, Miss Olive Cooper, are dead, while Mr. Lane is dangerously if not fatally injured.
    Mrs. Lane had been sick with pneumonia and was having the constant attendance of a nurse, a lamp being kept burning through the night. This lamp exploded, which caused the fire to break out, the destruction of the house and the deaths following.
    Mrs. Lane and Miss Cooper, the nurse, were both terribly burned, and this, in addition to the sickness of the former, produced death in a short time, while the nurse lingered for some hours after the fire. The body of the little child Bennie was entirely consumed in the conflagration. Mr. Lane, besides the burns he sustained, was cut and bruised.
    Miss Cooper, the nurse, was a sister of Mrs. Retta Parmalee of Medford. As soon as the news reached Medford a nurse, Mrs. Farnsworth, and a physician started at once for Glendale, but arrived too late to be of any assistance.
    The financial loss is about $1,000.
    In consequence of the flames, escape from the room by way of the door was cut off, and in breaking the window Miss Cooper and Mr. Lane were also severely cut by glass. Sleeping in an upper room and cut off from rescue was Bennie Lane, the two-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Lane, and his charred body was only found three hours after the fire had completely consumed the house.
    The heroic Miss Cooper, who could have escaped injury by leaving the dying woman to her fate, succumbed to her wounds early last evening, and so the tragedy claimed three victims.
    Miss Cooper was a resident of Medford and only came to Glendale a few days ago on her errand of mercy.
Ashland Tidings, February 2, 1905, page 3

Nurse and Patient Are Envel
oped in Blazing Oil.
Frantic Husband Bears Wife Through a Window,
but She and Her He
roic Attendant Soon Die of Their Injuries.

    GLENDALE, Or., Feb. 1--(Special.)--A coal oil lamp in O. P. Lane's residence exploded at 2 o'clock this morning, and three people are dead as a result of the fire which followed. The explosion occurred in one of the lower rooms of the house, where the wife, Mrs. Alice Lane, was being cared for through a serious attack of pneumonia by Miss [Olive] Cooper, a nurse from Medford. The house was instantly enveloped in flames, cutting off all escape by doors.
    Mr. Lane, who was asleep upstairs, rushed frantically down through the fire, and, after a heroic struggle, with the assistance of the nurse, succeeded in getting his wife through a window which he smashed out, all of them being terribly burned and cut by glass.
    Turning to get little 2-year-old Benny, they found that no living body could withstand the terrible heat, and were compelled to give him up. His charred body was taken from the ruins four hours later.
    Mrs. Lane, raging with fever, cut, burned and shocked, could not withstand the suffering and met death heroically but calmly at 4 o'clock this evening, after 14 hours of awful pain and suffering.
    Miss Cooper, more calm and stoical, though suffering untold agony, survived until 6 o'clock this evening and passed away.
    It was a sad funeral train that wound its way up the hill to the cemetery this afternoon to lay away the remains of little Ben, and it will he a sadder one tomorrow or next day when the devoted mother will be laid by his side.
    Mrs. A. G. Hamilton, mother of the dead woman, is ill in the eastern end of the city, and is also in a critical condition from the shock of her daughter and grandchild's ending. It is feared she, too, will not survive.
    Mr. Lane, the husband is frantic with grief and suffering as he watches over the bier of his wife, himself badly cut by glass and burned.
    The property loss was probably $1500.
Oregonian, Portland, February 2, 1905, page 7

Mother, Child and Nurse Burned.
    Glendale, Ore., Feb. 2--Fire which destroyed the home of William Long resulted in the burning to death of Mrs. Long, her two-year-old child and her nurse, Mary Cooper, of Medford, Ore.
The Penny Press, Middletown, Connecticut, February 2, 1905, page 6

    The explosion of a lamp in the residence of O. P. Lane at Glendale Wednesday morning about 2:30 o'clock resulted in a fire in which the two-year-old son of Mrs. Lane lost his life, and Mrs. Lane was probably fatally burned. Miss Olive Cooper of Medford, the trained nurse, was badly burned, but it is thought not fatally.
    Mrs. Lane and her son were both ill with pneumonia, and Miss Cooper was nursing them.
    R. U. McClanahan, traveler for the Portland Cigar Co., was in Glendale and furnished The Mail with a full account of the matter. Mr. McClanahan says that the burning oil was scattered by the explosion all over the room and its three inmates, and instantly the interior was a mass of flame. By heroic efforts Mr. Lane succeeded in getting his wife and Miss Cooper out of the burning house, but the little boy could not be reached and perished, his body being almost entirely burned up.
    The injured ladies were carried to nearby residences, Mrs. Lane to that of E. A. Wall and Miss Cooper to that of Dr. Shearer, where everything possibly was done for their comfort.
    Mrs. Parmelee, Miss Cooper's sister, was summoned by telephone, but before she could be reached, the northbound morning train had passed through, and she was compelled to wait until evening.
    A later report is to the effect that Miss Cooper was asleep in an adjoining room, the lamp in the sickroom being turned down low. When it exploded the nurse rushed into the room to try and save her patients, and thus sustained her injuries. Mr. Lane broke in a window and dragged his wife and Miss Cooper through it, but was unable to reach the child. Hopes were held out for Miss Cooper's recovery, but Mrs. Lane, in spite of the fact that she was not as badly burned as the nurse, owing to her illness and the shock she sustained, died at 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.
    The above was put in type Wednesday. Wednesday evening the news came that Miss Cooper had died at about 7 o'clock, before the train bearing her sister could reach Glendale.
    The remains were brought to Medford on Thursday night's train for interment in Odd Fellows Cemetery, where her mother is buried. The funeral will take place either Saturday or Sunday.
Medford Mail, February 3, 1905, page 1

Miss Cooper Gave Her Life in Vain Attempt to Save Her Charge.
    GLENDALE, Or., Feb. 2.--(Special.)--Mrs. O. P. Lane, the second victim of the fire caused by a lamp explosion yesterday, was laid away by the side of her little boy in the Masonic cemetery this afternoon. The exercises at the church were conducted by Rev. J. R. Landsborough, and those at the grave by the Eastern Star, of which order she was a member and the present matron. Mrs. Lane was dearly beloved.
    Miss Cooper, the latest victim, made a host of friends here during her brief stay in the capacity of nurse to Mrs. Lane, and praises of her heroic work to save her charge and the child are heard on every hand. The remains were taken to her home at Medford by the evening train.

Oregonian, Portland, February 3, 1905, page 5

    The remains of Miss Olive Cooper, the trained nurse, who so heroically gave her life in an effort to save that of her patient, Mrs. Alice Lane, during the fire at Glendale last Wednesday, were buried in the I.O.O.F. cemetery at Medford yesterday afternoon. The funeral was very largely attended.
Ashland Tidings, February 6, 1905, page 3

An Awful Catastrophe.
    One of the most heart-rending accidents that ever occurred in Southern Oregon was that reported from Glendale Wednesday last. As a result three lives were lost, while another is threatened. The victims are Mrs. O. P. Lane, her two-year-old son and Miss Olive Cooper of Medford, a professional nurse.
    Mrs. Lane was seriously ill with pneumonia and being nursed by Miss Cooper. About two o'clock on the fatal morning the lamp in use exploded while in the hands of the latter, setting afire the building. The flames spread so rapidly that escape by the door was cut off. Mr. Lane, who slept upstairs, was awakened and rushed to the rescue, and with Miss Cooper made a heroic struggle to save his wife, getting her through a window by smashing it out. All were badly cut and burned, the women receiving such serious injuries that they died in great agony the same evening, two hours apart.
    The little son of Mr. and Mrs. Lane was asleep in the upper story of the house when the fire broke out. His charred body was afterward recovered among the ruins of the building.
    It is stated that Miss Cooper could have saved herself, had she chosen to abandon Mrs. Lane, but she remained heroically at her post and forfeited her life.
    Mr. Lane will in all probability recover.
    Mrs. A. G. Hamilton, mother of Mrs. Lane, was prostrated by the awful occurrence and was critically ill for a time.
    Miss Cooper's body was brought to Medford Thursday night. It will be buried in the I.O.O.F. cemetery Sunday afternoon.
    Miss Cooper was born near Estherville, Iowa, in 1880, and came to Medford about two years ago to nurse her mother, who died in June, 1903. She has made her home with her sister, Mrs. R. Parmalee, since that time. Mrs. I. J. Phipps is their aunt. Miss C. was a young lady of many estimable qualities and popular with all who knew her. Her tragic death has cast a gloom over the entire community.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 8, 1905, page 2

Laid to Rest.
    The remains of Miss Olive Cooper, whose heroic efforts to save her helpless patients in the fire at Glendale last week resulted in her own death, were brought to Medford and taken to the residence of Dr. W. S. Jones on East Seventh Street Thursday evening of last week. On Sunday a large concourse of the friends of Miss Cooper assembled at the M.E. Church to pay the last tribute of respect to the dead. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. R. C. Blackwell. From the church the funeral cortege took its way to Odd Fellows' Cemetery, where tender hands lowered the body to its last resting place.
    Miss Cooper was a native of Estherville, Iowa, and was twenty-five years, five months and twenty days of age at the time of her death. She came to Medford from the East about two years ago, to nurse her mother through her last illness. Since then she has followed her profession of trained nurse here and made many warm friends among our townspeople by her pleasant, agreeable manner and many social qualities.
    The friends of Miss Cooper contributed many flowers, and a number of the pieces were of great beauty.
Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 1

Last revised April 6, 2012