A prominent member of the U.S. House of Representatives for almost thirty years, Jere Cooper was born in Dyer County on July 20, 1893. Cooper attended local schools and graduated in 1914 from Cumberland University Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1915 and began practicing law in Dyersburg. Cooper served in World War I with the 119th Infantry Company in France and Belgium and was promoted to captain.
After the war Cooper returned to Dyersburg and his law practice. He was elected to the city council in 1920, as state commander of the American Legion in 1921, and served as the first scoutmaster of the Dyersburg chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. Cooper, a Democrat, won election to Congress in 1928. He married Mary Rankley in December 1930; the couple had one son, Leon Jere Cooper, who died as a child.
During his congressional years, Cooper served as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and on the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation. In 1941 Cooper was selected as one of five men to aid President Franklin D. Roosevelt in drafting the resolution announcing America's entry into World War II. Cooper also served on an investigative committee studying the conditions at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack. Cooper is best remembered as a champion of the Tennessee Valley Authority and improved flood control and navigation of Tennessee's rivers. Cooper served Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives until his death in Bethesda, Maryland, on December 12, 1957.