Intimately associated for years with the industrial and commercial development of Henderson and taking a prominent part in public affairs of the community, William H. SOAPER stood among the leading men of his section of the state and is eminently worthy of representation in this work.
William was born in Henderson 29 Jan 1876, and was a son of Robert C. and Annie (PRINGLE) SOAPER. The family comes from old Revolutionary stock, his great-grandfather, Nathan SOAPER, of Hagerstown, Maryland, having fought in the war for independence. He was the father of William SOAPER, who was born in Loudon County, Virginia, on 28 Apr 1796, and who died in Henderson, Kentucky, 4 Jan 1881. He came to this state alone at the age of nineteen years and became a farmer and tobacco grower and a man of prominence in his community. He was a democrat and a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. He was married to Susan HENDERSON, who was born in Henderson, Kentucky, 18 May 1813, and died in this city, 9 Mar 1889. She was a daughter of Richard and Ann (ALVES) HENDERSON, her father being a nephew of Richard HENDERSON, who was the president and leading figure in the Transylvania Company that bought Kentucky and Tennessee from the Indians and ratified what was known as the Treaty of Watauga. The father of Susan inherited considerable land from his uncle, Richard HENDERSON, and this property is still in the possession of his descendants, likewise several pieces of furniture that were brought across the Cumberland mountains when the HENDERSON and ALVES families moved from South Carolina to Kentucky. One of the pieces is a walnut bed with a top and beautifully carved posts. The bed cost one thousand dollars when first made and took first prize at the world's exposition in London.
Among the children of William and Susan SOAPER was Robert C. SOAPER; who was born in Henderson, 22 Jul 1848 and died 7 Jan 1921. Robert became a successful farmer, was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church and a stanch democrat in his political views. Robert married Miss Annie PRINGLE, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, 15 Apr 1848. She was a daughter of Rev. Maxwell PRINGLE, of Columbia, South Carolina, who was a minister of the Protestant Episcopal church and a democrat in his political views.
William H. SOAPER attended the public schools of Henderson, graduating from high school, and then entered the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was graduated in 1894. After leaving school he engaged in the wholesale commission business in Henderson, which he conducted under his own name for several years, after which he operated a wharf boat and transfer business and was general agent for several steamboat lines. He also ran a ferry boat at Henderson. He then turned his attention to the mussel shell and pearl business, operating over the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and their tributary streams. He became the largest producer of shells and river pearls in the world, exporting all his products until world war, when the government put an embargo on them. William was in the business fifteen years and met with splendid success. On quitting the shell business, he turned his attention to the loose leaf tobacco warehouse business in Henderson and operated two of the largest tobacco warehouse in the country, under the names of the SOAPER Tobacco Warehouse and the Tri-County Tobacco Company. He was also extensively engaged in general farming, owning six hundred and fifty-three acres of fine land just outside the city limits, which was well adapted to a variety of crops. Here he specialized in the raising of fine stock, keeping forty head of purebred Hereford breeding cows. William also had a number of other business interests, being president of the Henderson National Bank, vice president of the Pennyrile Finance Corporation of Henderson and vice president of the ROYSTER, SOAPER & LOCKETT Insurance Agency. He was a man of sound judgement in practical affairs, foresighted and sagacious in all his undertakings, and a man whos counsel was considered invaluable among his business associates.
On 7 Feb 1905, in Henderson, William H. SOAPER married Miss Lucy Henderson SNEED, who was born in this city, 15 Nov 1876, and died in Henderson, 1 Aug 1921. Lucy was a daughter of Stephen K. and Mary Anna (SOAPER) SNEED. Her father was born in North Carolina and died in Henderson, was a banker, chairman of the Henderson sinking fund, president of the Kentucky State Bankers Association and one of the influential men of the community. He supported the democratic party and was a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. His wife, was born in Henderson, 22 Aug 1846, died 7 March 1921, Henderson. She was a daughter of William and Susan SOAPER. Stephen K. SNEED was the son of Dr. SNEED of North Carolina.
Mrs. SOAPER was educated in the Henderson Female Seminary and Miss Carey's finishing school in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an active member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and belonged to the Henderson Golf and Country Club.
Mr. and Mrs. SOAPER became the parents of four children, as follows: Mary Ann, who died at the age of twelve years; Elsie Pringle, who died when one year old; Richard Henderson, born 9 Dec 1908, who was graduated from the Henderson high school in 1926 and then entered the University of Virginia; and Stephen Sneed, born 26 Mar 1913.
MARRIAGES IN HENDERSON COUNTY, 1806 - 1858
William Soaper - Susan Henderson, 02 Nov 1830, Book 001, Page
MARRIAGES IN HENDERSON COUNTY, 1858 - 1900
Thomas Soaper - Cora Cook, 23 Oct 1862, Book 005, Page 377
Susan F. Soaper, bur 24 Oct 1841, Fernwood, Age unknown, 423,
Thomas Soaper, bur 6 Dec 1897, Fernwood, Age unknown, 602, 9
Allise Pringle Soaper, bur 25 Jul 1907, Fernwood, Age unknown,
K 498, 11
Sophie T. Soaper, bur 21 Oct 1883, Fernwood, Age unknown, 603,
Harriet Soaper, bur 20 Nov 1911, Fernwood, Age unknown, 976
Malinda Soaper, bur 29 Sep 1912, Fernwood, Age unknown,
James Robert Soaper, bur 24 Jun 1935, Fernwood, Age unknown, CPG
Robert Galloway Soaper, bur 7 Jan 1921, Fernwood, Age unknown,
1820 Census of Henderson County
William Soaper, Page 004, House No. 032, (1) male age 26
1830 Census of Henderson County
No Soaper listings
1840 Census of Henderson County
William Soaper, Page 233, House No. 0507, (2) males age 5; (1) male age 15; (1) male age 20; (1) male age 40; (1) female age 5; (1) female age 10; (2) females age 20; (2) females age 30; (2) females age 60
1850 Census of Henderson County
William Soaper age 54, Page 65, House No. 577; Susan F. age 37; Elizabeth age 17; Richard H. age 14; Thomas age 12; William age 12; Harry age 6; Mary J. age 4; Robert C. age 2; Annie Henderson age 63; Elizabeth Sight age 62; Elizabeth Sight age 27; Nancy Sight age 25.
1860 Census of Henderson County
William Soaper age 65, Page 28, House No. 254; Susan F. age 47; R. H. (m) age 24; Thomas age 22; William age 18; Henry age 16; M. A. (f) age 14; R. C. (m) age 12; K. N. (f) age 10; Mariah age 8; Susan age 6; George Coons (laborer) age 25.
1870 Census of Henderson County
William Soaper age 75, Page 402-403, House No. 1; Susan age 58; Harry age 26; Mary P. age 24; Robert age 22; Kate age 18; Maria age 18; Susan age 16 ALSO LISTED WITH FAMILY: Miles Lambert (B) Farm lab age 45; Louisa Lambert (B) cook age 36; ____ Lambert (B) age 4; Dick Soaper (B) age 16; Frank Soaper (B) age 10; Thomas Black (B) farm lab age 45; Arianna Black (B) servant age 34; Thomas Black, Jr. (B) age 14; Maria Black (B) age 10; Kate Black (B) age 8
Thomas Soaper age 32, Page 218, House No. 100; Cora age 25; Bettie age 4: Sudie age 2
Richard Soaper age 33, Page 186, House No. 136; Willie
Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS