Saint Paul- Events of the Year 1851
Everything is so partisan today
The Goodhue-Cooper Rencontre
On January 16, Goodhue (James Goodhue-printer and publisher of The Pioneer Press) printed a savage and bitter article on “Absentee Office Holders, “ in which he inveighed, with all the ferocity of his pen, against col. Mitchell and Judge Cooper, for absenteeism, etc. On the latter, he was particularly severe, using such terms as, “a sot,” “a brute” “an ass” a “ Profligate vagabond” etc. The article closed a s follows:
“Feeling some resentment for the wrongs of our Territory has so long suffered by these men, pressing upon us like a dispensation of wrath- a judgement- a curse- a plague- unequalled since the hour when Egypt went lousy, we sat down to write this article with some bitterness, but our very gall to what they deserve.”
Of course, such an article as this could not fail to produce a personal collision between Goodhue and the friends Cooper, (he himself was absent,) and scarcely had the paper been distributed through the town, ere it bore its natural fruits in a rencontre on the streets. Eye-witnesses give a minute account of it, in affidavits afterward published, but it can only be briefly recited here.
Goodhue had been in the Legislature, and started down the street, in company with a friend. After leaving the building a few steps, they met Joseph Cooper, A brother of Judge Cooper., who at once advanced and struck at Goodhue. Both then drew pistols, “Col. Goodhue (one account says) having a single barrel pistol, and Cooper having a revolver.” Some parlaying ensued, when Mr. Cooper declared, “I’ll blow your G—d d--- brains out.”
Sheriff Lull here ran up, and, commanding the peace, disarmed the parties, but it seems Cooper still retained a knife, and Goodhue another pistol, with which they renewed hostilities. Some one endeavored to hold Goodhue, which gave Cooper an opportunity to stab him in the abdomen slightly. Goodhue the broke away, and shot Cooper, inflicting quite a serious wound on him. Cooper again rushed on Goodhue, and stabbed him in the back, on the left side. Both parties were the led away, and their wounds dressed, neither being fatally injured….
A History Of Saint Paul to 1875
Fletcher J. Williams
Minnesota Historical Society Press
First published in 1876