The subject of this sketch, one of the largest and most successful farmers of Washington township, and a citizen whose high standing and public spirit have gained for him wide acquaintance throughout Shelby county, of which he is a native, was born in the township of Liberty, June 23, 1860, being the older of two sons of John and Emily (Smith) Cropper. John Cropper served with a creditable record during the Civil war, participated in a number of hard-fought battles, and at one time was captured by the enemy and sent to Libby prison, Richmond, Virginia, where he suffered all the hardships and vicissitudes which fell to the lot of those whose misfortune it was to be cast into that noted place of confinement. In due time he was exchanged, shortly after which he returned to his home, but did not long survive his military and prison experience, dying within a few days, and leaving to mourn his loss a widow and two children, besides a large circle of neighbors and friends, who had learned to appreciate his high standard of manhood and citizenship.
Robert, the second son of John and Emily Cropper, is a well known resident of Shelby county and one of the leading farmers of the community in which he lives. Inheriting may of the sterling characteristics of his ancestors and keeping untarnished the honor of the family to which he belongs, he has acted well his part in life. Some time after the death of John Cropper, his widow married William Drake, by whom she became the mother of two daughters, both of whom grew to womanhood, and still reside in the county of their birth.
William Cropper was a mere child when his father died and about seven years of age at the time of his mother's second marriage. By reason of his services being required at home he had little opportunity for obtaining an education, and as soon as old enough he secured employment as a farm hand, which kind of labor he continued for a number of years, making his home in the meantime with his grandmother. Later he engaged in the manufacture of drain tile at Fenn's Station, which he carried on with fair success until his marriage in 1887, after which he rented a farm in Washington township, and turned his attention to agriculture. He made rapid advancement as a farmer and stock raiser, and in due time became the possessor of valuable real estate, to which he has since added until he now owns four hundred and ninety acres of fine land in Washington township, to which he moved in February, 1895, and which is now conservatively estimated to be worth forty-nine thousand dollars, a sum he would refuse for the place were it offered him. In connection with general farming, which he conducts on quite an extensive scale, Mr. Cropper has devoted considerable attention to live stock, making a specialty of hogs, which he raises in large numbers and from the sale of which much of his wealth has been attained. As a farmer he easily ranks among the most enterprising and successful in Shelby county, being a man of progressive ideas and a close student of agricultural science; he is also an advocate of substantial improvements and has not only beautified his own place by this means, but has also influenced his neighbors to do likewise.
In politics Mr. Cropper is a Democrat and well posted on the questions of the day, and outspoken when it becomes necessary to maintain the soundness of his opinions. His fraternal relations are represented by the Knights of Pythias Order, into which he was initiated some years ago, holding membership with the Flat Rock lodge, and taking an active part in the work and deliberations of the same.
Sarah Cherry, who became the wife of Mr. Cropper on March 20, 1887, was born June 18, 1863, in Shelby county, Indiana, being the daughter of Eli Cherry, whose birth occurred in Ohio in the year 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Cropper have two daughters, Meryl and Helen Breanious, who were born July 23, 1893, and August 24, 1900, respectively. Although not identified with any religious organization, Mr. Cropper is a regular attendant of the Methodist Episcopal church to which his wife belongs, a contributor to the support of the society, and an advocate of all worthy means for the moral good of his fellow men. His success in the accumulation of this world's goods and the universal esteem in which he is held bears eloquent testimony to his standing and worth as a neighbor and citizen.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted
by well known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, pages 786-787
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming