McKendree Chapel & the Grave of Jonas "Am" Cooper

At the McKendree Methodist Chapel, near the mouth of Upper Twin Creek, one finds the graves of key players in the Shawnee Wilderness Area's history of moonshine and murder.

Of particular note is the grave of Jonas Cooper. After being shot to death in December 1930, Jonas Cooper's body was brought to McKendree Chapel. Cooper had died at his moonshine still, high up in nearby Vastine Hollow, shot dead by George Rivers, an Adams county special deputy sheriff. Marked by a simple headstone, illustrated with two hands joined in prayer, Cooper's grave and the simple beauty of the Methodist church still attracts visitors.

At Cooper's funeral, a reporter from the Portsmouth Daily Times, spoke with an elderly man who stated, “I knew Jonas Cooper all his life. The creek will sure miss his kindness; Jonas had a big heart and loved his family. He never refused a person in need. Often I’ve seen him give his last cent to the poor. He could not stand to see a person suffer.”

Thanks to the work of Ronny Richards, who has resided on Upper Twin Creek since the early 1970s, the story of Cooper's death has been preserved for posterity. We learn from Richards' account that "over five hundred people were in attendance with many of the mourners standing outdoors under cold, gray December skies, due to the limited capacity of the chapel. Old timers in the crowd said that it was the biggest event ever held at the church or anywhere in Western Scioto County that they could remember. The service lasted nearly three hours."

Visit the graves of Jonas "Am" Cooper and other "Twin Crickers" whose life stories tell the tale of moonshine and murder in what is now the Shawnee Wilderness Area.