top of page

Cooper, Lee

May 6th, 1906 - ?

Laborer (Livestock Auction)

Cooper, Lee

For many decades the Sealy Livestock Auction in Austin County had a German speaking Hog Manager, Lee Cooper, who went by the nickname "Shorty." His other nickname "Little German Man," referred to the peculiar fact that he was a Black man who spoke German and Czech perfectly. Bubba Sartewelle of the former Port City Stockyards remembered in 2021 that Shorty's language abilities where an invaluable asset for dealing with small-scale white farmers from Austin County communities. Census records from 1920 show that Lee Cooper grew up with his grandfather, Mac Davis, in the New Ulm area surrounded by German families. His son, Johnny Cooper (see picture below), believes that Germans also played a role in his father's upbringing. Many in his family spoke German, including his uncle and cousins. In the audio below, Johnny remembers the time with his father at the Sealy Auction.

bottom of page