Sons of Revolution re-enactor ‘passing on history to kids’

  • Tristan Cooper started re-enacting 18th century life at age 6, when he participated in a Fort Loudoun visitor movie, portraying a young lookout reporting a raiding party of Native Americans coming through his family’s farm. - Photo submitted

  • Tristan Cooper, then 17, impressed Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) during a re-enactment of 18th Century history at a local historic site in Tennessee. - Photo submitted

  • Cooper (facing camera) and his father, John Cooper, left, re-enact the Revolutionary War battle at Wilderness Park, Virginia, at Cumberland Gap. - Photo submitted

While Tristan Cooper, who lives just outside of Farragut, graduated earlier this month from Knoxville Catholic High School, he plans to continue with his passion for history.

Tristan, 18, a member of the Sons of the Revolution, has been a re-enactor of 18th century battles since he was 6 years old, when he participated in a Fort Loudoun visitor movie as a young lookout reporting to a raiding party of natives coming through his family’s farm.

“I love passing on my history knowledge to kids and adults alike on how our great nation was formed,” he said.

Tristan, the descendant of Henry Maine who fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain, has re-enacted at Southwest Point on the Clinch River, Tellico Plains, Knoxville’s James White Fort, Martin’s Station 1775 battle at Cumberland Gap’s Wilderness Park, Virginia, and Hiawassee River Park, as well as numerous events over the years at Marble Springs (John Sevier homestead) in South Knoxville, where he represented a child in the frontier evolving into a member of Knox County Militia, and Sycamore Shoals State Park.

Tristan also had attended black powder workshops and helped instruct at Marble Springs.

He said his favorite aspects of re-enacting were being in the militia, primitive camping, black powder flintlock shooting and the camaraderie with fellow re-enactors.

“His ability to interact with high school and college history teachers has made friends he truly values,” said Tristan’s father, John Cooper, who also has been re-enacting history, between 1756 to 1814, for the past 10 years.

Tristan also has had the opportunity to meet local, state and national leaders such as Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-2nd District), former Knox County Mayor and state representative, through his re-enactment adventures.

“It was a pleasure watching Tristan gain the respect and friendship of fellow re-enactors, who are all independent souls walking the walk of the 18th century frontiersmen and frontier women,” John said. “He is liked by all, a kind heart and startlingly mature for his age.”

Tristan plans to continue with re-enacting while in college, attending Tennessee Technology University in Cookeville, but he said college is a priority. He will be studying finance and business, but he plans to continue his love of history in his free time.

Tristan’s interests don’t end with history, though. He also received the First-Degree black belt from Knoxville Academy of Martial Arts in Farragut.

As for KCHS and his religious duties, Tristan was on the Honor Roll his junior and senior years; was an altar boy at All Saints Catholic Church; was a member of Catholic High’s band for four years, playing violin; and was a member of the Fighting Irish boys soccer team for three years.

Working at Harper Volkswagen along Kingston Pike, “He took a part time job this last month while being off from school, cleaning cars at Harper Volkswagen, and after two weeks he has been offered full-time employment this summer while still doing full-time classes online,” John said about Tristan, his youngest of five children.

“I’m really impressed,” the father added. “He has done everything right. He has been such a blessing. He has always had a very strong faith.”