July 15th, 2007
John R. Cooner 1843-1915
John R. Cooner was born in 1843 in Madison Township, Montour County, PA to William and Elizabeth Reader Cooner. On August 1, 1862, John enlisted as a private in the Union Army serving in Company B, Regiment 131 Pennsylvania Infantry. John married Eleanor B. in 1870. Eleanor, also known by Ellen or Ella, was born in February ?, 1844.
In 1871 John R. took over the proprietorship of the Cooner Hotel from his father who had built the hotel in 1857 and was the town’s oldest hotel. He ran the hotel until about 1878. John R. was elected Chief Burgess in 1876 and served in that capacity until the election of 1881. During his five years as Chief Burgess many events occurred. In 1876 the reservoir on Liberty Street was built on land leased by Samuel Caldwell. In 1877 the dog tax ordinance was repealed. The Watsontown High School was started this year with students meeting at Lyceum Hall at the foot of Second Street and in the upper story of the Methodist Church on Third Street. In 1878 an ordinance was passed prohibiting the burial of animals in the borough. A resolution was also passed that new manufacturers employing 25 men or more and invested $25,000 in their businesses were exempt from local taxation. In 1880 an ordinance was passed that gave the Warrior Run Telephone Company permission to erect poles and wires. Street lamps were to be erected as well and a petition signed by many residents requesting that the council have a lock-up built and police regulations adopted. A vote was taken on whether to build a new school or not with the vote being 170 for to 125 against.
Mr. Cooner died on January 5, 1915. His wife Eleanor B. died in 1922. They are both buried in Watsontown Cemetery. He was a member of Watsontown Lodge No. 401 having been made a Master Mason on May 5, 1869.
Last Modified: 08.07.09