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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Copeland

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 264-268 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Copeland family of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from whom the present family in Troy descent, was planted in America at an early day by Lawrence Copeland. By the marriage of his son William to Mary Bass the line of descent is carried to John Alden and Priscilla Molines (Mullins), through their youngest daughter Ruth. Through a later marriage of Jonathan, son of William Copeland, to Abby Godfrey a second line is traced to John Alden, through his eldest daughter Elizabeth (Betty). Several revolutionary ancestors are encountered in tracing this line, which are hereafter noted. The Copelands are a strong and hardy race, strong in mentality and character, as well as in bodily vigor, and are very tenacious of life. Notwithstanding their length of years the men of the family matured early and were filling men's places in the world when they were yet boys — note the early business responsibility of George, and the early enlistment of his son Ithamar W. Copeland.

(Mayflower descent)

(I) John Alden, born 1599, came to America in the "Mayflower" in 1620, and was a signer of the compact. His career is too well known to be here considered. He married, in 1621, Priscilla Molines (often written Mullins). They had eleven children of whom Elizabeth was the eldest daughter, and Ruth the youngest.

(II) Ruth, youngest child of John and Priscilla (Molines) Alden, married, May 12, 1657, John Bass, of Braintree, and from them descended two presidents of the United States, John and John Quincy Adams. Ruth died in 1657. John Bass, born 1632, died September 23, 1716, was a son of William, born in England, 1601, settled in Roxbury, 1630, removed to Braintree, 1640, where he was deputy twelve years. He married Annie ————, and died January 10, 1695, aged ninety-four years. His wife, Annie, died September 16, 1692, aged ninety-three years.

(III) Mary, daughter of John and Ruth (Alden) Bass, born December 11, 1669, married (first) Christopher Webb; (second) April 13, 1694, William Copeland.

The first Copeland in America of whom there is definite record was Lawrence Copeland, born in England in 1589. The time and manner of his coming is not recorded. He was a resident of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and lived to the great age of one hundred and ten years. He married, December 12, 1651, Lydia Townsend, and had children: Thomas died in infancy; Thomas (2), William, Lydia, Ephraim, Hannah, Richard, Abigail.

(II) William, son of Lawrence and Lydia (Townsend) Copeland, lived in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He married, April 13, 1694, Mary, widow of Christopher Webb, and daughter of John and Ruth (Alden) Bass. Children: William (2), Ephraim, Ebenezer, Jonathan, mentioned below; David, Joseph, Benjamin, Moses, Mary.

(III) Jonathan, son of William and Mary (Bass) (Webb) Copeland, was born August 31, 1701. He settled in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where he married, in 1723, Betsey, daughter of Thomas Snell (2). Children:

  1. Abigail, born 1724;
  2. Betty, 1726, died young;
  3. Jonathan (2), 1728;
  4. Mary, 1731;
  5. Joseph, 1734;
  6. Hannah, 1737;
  7. Elijah, 1739;
  8. Daniel, 1741;
  9. Sarah, 1745;
  10. Ebenezer, 1746, see forward;
  11. Betty, 1750.

(IV) Ebenezer, son of Jonathan and Betsey (Snell) Copeland, was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in 1746, and married, in 1770, Abigail (Abby) Godfrey, of Norton, Massachusetts, daughter of James Godfrey, a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, through their eldest daughter Elizabeth (Betty). Children:

  1. Ebenezer, born 1773; married (first) Mehitable Snell; married (second) Mrs. Hannah Godfrey.
  2. James, died without issue.
  3. Betty, married, in 1799, Calvin William.
  4. Lydia, married, in 1799, Nathan Howard (3).
  5. Oakes, see forward.
  6. Abby, married, in 1796, Elijah Snell (2).
  7. Rachel, died without issue.
  8. Ruth, died without issue.
  9. Molly, died without issue.

(V) Oakes, son of Ebenezer and Abigail (Abby) (Godfrey) Copeland, was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in 1793. He resided in that town, Foxboro and Grafton, Massachusetts. He was a prosperous farmer, a man of strong character and commanding influence. He married Polly Pettee, born June 26, 1799 (see Pettee V). Children: George, mentioned below; Joseph, Mary, Abigail, Lydia, Simon, Otis, Thomas.

(VI) George, eldest son of Oakes and Polly (Pettee) Copeland, was born at Foxboro, Massachusetts. He was a boy of early mental and physical development. At fifteen he had left school, and had more than a fair knowledge of the machinist's trade and of machinery. At the age of fifteen he was employed by a Newton, Massachusetts, firm of machine builders to go to China and erect machinery they were shipping to that country. He remained abroad several years, visited all the countries of the far east, and acquired an education that included the fluent mastery of several languages. He loved nature and spent much time in studying rocks and other geological features. Returning to the United States, he continued his roving, adventurous life and added to an already richly stored mind an expert knowledge of mines and mining. For the last twenty-five years of his life he made Denver, Colorado, his home and business headquarters. He was a high-salaried expert and constantly employed in examining and reporting on mines, etc. He acquired private mining interests in Sonora, Mexico, and when last seen by his family was departing to visit them. He was murdered at a ranch in Arispe, Mexico, in 1887, whether by Indians or Mexicans is not known. He had stopped at the ranch overnight, two shots were heard and in the morning his dead body was found. Among his effects, not taken by the murderers, was a letter from his granddaughter, Annie S. Copeland, of Troy, New York, which gave a clue to his identity and residence. His family was communicated with and months afterward learned of his fate. He is buried where he fell at Arispe, Sonora, Mexico. He had won the hearts of the natives by the use of some skill he possessed in medicine and surgery and was greatly beloved. This explains the interest that was taken to inform his friends in the United States of his death. He married (first) Sophia Babbit, born in Walpole, Massachusetts, April 10, 1842 (see Babbit VI). Children:

  1. Leonore, born in Mexico, July 30, 1843; married, Edwin E. Fisher, of Norwood, Massachusetts, son of Eliphalet Fisher; children:
    1. Genevieve Howard, born June 14, 1863, married Albert Everett;
    2. Grace Bruerton, born December 15, 1865; married Henry French Hallis, of Concord, New Hampshire, born August 30, 1869, son of Mayor Abijah (who served in the war of the rebellion) and Henrietta (Van Matis) Hallis, who were married July 9, 1864; Henry F. Hallis is a prominent lawyer of Concord, and in 1906 was Democratic candidate for governor; children:
      1. Henry French Jr., born May 26, 1894, student of Phillips Exeter Academy, from which he will go to Harvard College;
      2. Anna Richardson, born July 12, 1896, student at St. Mary's School, Concord, New Hampshire;
    3. Willard Babbit, born December 28, 1870, died January 10, 1889;
    4. Dana H., a graduate of Massachusetts Intitute of Technology;
    5. Edward Lovell, born January 21, 1882;
    6. Helen Copeland, born May 27, 1885.
  2. Ithamar Whiting, mentioned below.
  3. Edward Jenner, born in Walpole, Massachusetts, 1850, died in Denver, Colorado, 1887; married a Miss Jones and left two children.
  4. Annie Drury, born in Waltham, Massachusetts, died January 1, 1906, unmarried.

(VII) Ithamar Whiting, eldest son of George and Sophia (Babbit) Copeland, was born in Walpole, Massachusetts, October 9, 1847. He was educated in the public schools, and at the early age of fourteen years enlisted in Company K, Forty-fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and went to the front. He saw hard service and was wounded in the battle at Kingston, North Carolina, in 1862. This led to his honorable discharge in 1863. He returned to Massachusetts and was variously engaged for several years, including two years spent in photography. He then entered the employ of the Rutland & Burlington railroad as clerk and telegrapher at Vergennes, Vermont, and was soon promoted to a better position at Brandon, Vermont. He became an expert operator and railroad man, which fact led to his appointment as train dispatcher and assistant to the superintendent at Fishkill, New York, by the New York, Boston and Montreal Railroad Company. Here he remained five years, and then retired from railroading and engaged for three years in mercantile life at Brandon, Vermont. He sold his interests there, and engaged with the American Union Telegraph Company as assistant superintendent in charge of construction of new lines. In 1881, after the American Union had been absorbed by the Western Union Telegraph Company, he was appointed manager of the Western Union office in Troy, New York, where he still remains, a trusted and capable official. He was actively interested for several years in New York National Guard. In 1885 he was appointed signal officer on the staff of Brigadier-General Parker with the rank of captain. This was during the administration of Governor David B. Hill. When three years later General Parker resigned, Captain Copeland was retained on the staff of his successor, General Robert Shaw Oliver, now (1910) assistant secretary of war under President Taft. Captain Copeland is a member of King Solomon's Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Troy Chamber of Commerce, the Magnetic and the Morse clubs of New York City, the Electric Club of Boston, and was a charter member of the East Side Club of Troy, and member of the Commercial Travelers Club of the same city. His patriotic ancestry, which follows, has gained him admission to the Society of Sons of the American Revolution. Politically he is an Independent Republican. He married, July 9, 1873, Mary L. Ross, of Brandon, Vermont, daughter of Dr. Volney Ross, a physician and merchant of Brandon, Vermont, and his wife Maria (Hill) Ross. Children:

  1. Annie Sophia, graduate of Troy high school, class of 1896; married, June 22, 1904, Chester Hastings Stillman, a graduate of Cornell University, E.E. and M.E., class of 1896; a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, C.E., class of 1906; now employed as engineer with the New York State Department of Highway Construction.
  2. Edith Ross, a graduate of Troy high school, class of 1897; married, April 26, 1905, Arthur De Forest Davis, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, class of 1907, in special course in civil engineering.

(The Pettee Line)

Polly (Pettee) Copeland, grandmother of Ithamar W. Copeland, was a descendant of William Pettee, or Pitty, of Weymouth, Massachusetts, 1638. He married Mary ————, and had children born at Weymouth: John, Joseph, Mary, Samuel, Thomas and William.

(II) Samuel, son of William and Mary Pettee or Pitty, was born at Weymouth, Massachusetts, December 6, 1657. He was of Stoughton, Massachusetts. He married Mary ————, and had children: Samuel, James, Simon, and probably others.

(III) Samuel (2), son of Samuel (1) and Mary Pettee, was born at Stoughton, Massachusetts, October 24, 1685. He was a resident of Walpole, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Clapp, and had thirteen children, of whom Simon was the youngest. There may have been five other children born in another town than Walpole.

(IV) Simon, son of Samuel (2) and Elizabeth (Clapp) Pettee, was born at Walpole, Massachusetts, January 28, 1749, died June 28, 1825, at Foxboro, Massachusetts. He served in the revolution as follows: Enlisted in the Wrentham Matross, second company, Captain Thomas Melville, Colonel Thomas Crafts, artillery; served from November 1, 1776, to February 1, 1777, two months. Rolls sworn to at Boston; also same company and regiment, February 1, 1777, to May 8, 1777, three months and seven days. (See Massachusetts Rolls vol 12, p. 254.) (See Morse genealogy 147-151.) He was a man of great judgment and invention, and a leading citizen of Foxboro. He married Abigail (Jenkins) Caswell. He had ten children, of whom Polly was the youngest.

(V) Polly, daughter of Simon and Abigail (Jenkins) (Caswell) Pettee, married Oakes Copeland (see Copeland V).

(The Babbit Line)

Sophia (Babbit) Copeland, mother of Ithamar W. Copeland, was a descendant of Edward Babbit, born July 15, 1655, died 1732; married Abigail Walker Tisdale, December 22, 1698, and settled in Berkley, Massachusetts.

(II) Nathan, son of Edward and Abigail Walker (Tisdale) Babbit, was born March 1708, died February 25, 1775. He married Mary ————, born 1703, died December 16, 1782.

(III) Lieutenant Nathan (2), son of Nathan (1) and Mary Babbit, was born in Norton, Massachusetts, October 8, 1730, died there August 31, 1794. He married, February 1, 1752, Abigail Cobb, born in the same town, March 5, 1731-32, died March 10, 1782. They "owned the covenant" in the Norton church, 1756.

(IV) Levi, son of Lieutenant Nathan (2) and Abigail (Cobb) Babbit, was born in Norton, Massachusetts, August 31, 1757, died in the same town, May 8, 1795. He married Betty Babbitt, of Hendrick, Massachusetts, December 21, 1779. He served in the revolution as follows: "Private in Captain Silas Cobbs' company, Colonel Timothy Walker's regiment; muster roll dated August 1, 1775; enlisted May 2, 1775; service three months, seven days; also a private in Captain Seth Gilbert's second company, Colonel John Daggett's regiment, which marched on the Lexington alarm, April 19, 1775; served ten days." (See Massachusetts Rolls, vol I, p. 387-390.)

(V) Williard, son of Levi and Betty (Babbitt) Babbit, was born in Norton, Massachusett, December 11, 1787. He was also of Easton and Walpole, Massachusetts. He married, April 13, 1815, Sophia, born in Norton, Massachusetts, March 17, 1790, daughter of Dr. Samuel Morey, and granddaughter of Samuel Morey, a prominent patriot of Norton. When the town of Boston, Massachusetts, wrote to Norton asking for food supplies, which were badly needed, Samuel Morey was elected on the committee to collect sheep and grain to carry to Boston. Samuel was a son of George and Elizabeth Morey, of Norton, Massachusetts. He married his cousin Mary Hodges, descendants both of William Hodges and Mary Andrews, of Taunton, Massachusetts, 1643. She was not quite sixteen years old, and a month after their marriage he was appointed her guardian by the court. They had seven children. Dr. Samuel, son of Samuel Morey, was born in Norton, Massachusetts, June 14, 1757, died there May 8, 1836. He was graduated at Yale College, class of 1777, studied medicine and surgery, and shortly after his graduation enlisted in the revolutionary army as surgeon and served until the close of the war. He was a popular and influential citizen, and a skilled medical practitioner of Norton from the close of the revolution until his death. He was town treasurer six years, a member of the state legislature two terms, school trustee, and in 1794 one of the original board of directors of Norton Library. He was a charter member of Bristol Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, charter A.L. 5797. He married, April 19, 1787, Sarah, born in Norton, Massachusetts, December 2, 1764, daughter of Rev. Joseph and Sarah (Eames) Palmer, of Norton.

(VI) Sophia, daughter of Williard and Sophia (Morey) Babbit, married George Copeland (see Copeland VI).

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