David M. Cooper

Born in 1859 in Davenport, Iowa, Cooper would come west to the mining camps of Colorado as a young man and then to Utah to try his hand as a stockman. In 1885 he kept keep a small herd of cattle between Cottonwood and Indian Creeks, joining his herd with his neighbor, Melvin R. Turner to form the first Dugout Ranch (still known as such today). Preferring city life to the open range, Cooper invested in many local businesses with his Indian Creek Cattle Company partners after moving to Moab; his most famous venture being the Cooper-Martin & Co. that he formed with V.P. Martin, D.L. Goudelock, H.G. Green, and William Keller.

In 1918, he and his partners sold their interests in the Indian Creek Cattle Company to the Scorup-Somerville Cattle Company. In addition to the Cooper-Martin Company, he would later invest/purchase the Williams Drug Company and operate as its manager for nearly a decade. Other investments he would make in local Moab businesses included: First National Bank of Moab, Grand Publishing Co, Grand Valley Times newspaper, Moab Investment Company, Moab Land Company, Moab Transportation Company, among others.

After two decades in Moab, D.M. Cooper would relocate to Los Angeles, California but maintained his business interests in Southeast Utah, making many return trips to care for them, until his poor health prevented him from making the journey back and forth. He passed away at his home in Los Angeles in January of 1944.


Mrs. D.M. Cooper aka Annie Cooper, Posey and Poke.
Burro train crossing the Colorado River, Moab Museum Collection