David Copeland (c.1738 - 1796)

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Birthplace: Milton, Oxford, ME, USA
Death: Died in VT, USA
Managed by: Michael Alan Copeland
Last Updated:

About David Copeland

About David Copeland

DAVID COPELAND was born about 1720 in Londonderry, Ireland, and died February 9, 1796 in Hillsboro (The Gap), Loudoun Co., VA.

He married (1) UNKNOWN about 1750 in Londonderry, Ireland.

He married (2) DEBORAH UNKNOWN about 1753 in Londonderry, Ireland. Deborah was born in Londonderry, Ireland and died Feb. 9,1806 in Loudoun Co., VA.

The Copeland family, to whom we our direct descent in this country, originated with David, who came with his second wife, Deborah and his children from Londonderry, Ireland circa 1765, settling at Hillsboro, then known as "The Gap," Loudoun Co., VA.

Hillsboro stands on the Braddock Road, leading from Leesburg to Keyes Gap, ten miles south of Harpers Ferry and five miles north of Purcellville, Va.

Hillsboro was a handsome village, located at that point where the Catoctin/Ketoctin creek breaks through the Short Hill and presents the most picturesque appearance of any town in the country.

The buildings were nearly all of stone, with many built before the Revolution, and the mountains at this point resemble massive piles of masonry.

The founder of the town was Thomas Purcell in 1805. It was incorporated into a village in 1830. Hillsboro consisted of but one street over which the great oaks and maples interlaced their branches, making a tunnel of foliage, which was cool, shady and restful on hot summer days.

The water used in this town was unsurpassed. High upon the mountainside, with no human habitation about, a great spring gushes, and the water is conveyed through pipes to two public hydrants on the street, and also to private homes.

In the early years, the only transportation was by stage. Some of the fiercest fighting of the Civil War was done around Hillsboro, as it was so close to the border and near Harpers Ferry, the key to the Valley of Virginia.

Ida Duckworth, in "Buchanan, Copeland and Ribble," explains the beginnings of our Copeland family in Virginia as:

David had two half brothers, William and John Copeland. Whether they were aboard the same sailing vessel is not known. The records of these two half brothers are not very complete, but what is known will be set down.

William and John both settled in Virginia, served in the Revolutionary War, belonged to the Continental Line under General Morgan's Riflemen; the 7th, 11th and 15th Virginia Regiments.

Their war record is about the same as that of David's sons, James and William Copeland.

There is some doubt about these statements and some reasons to believe that these men were sons of David, not brothers.

One of these reasons being that a grandson of James (son of David) describes these men as brothers and sons of David.

Some of what Ida Duckworth wrote was "family legend" and has been proven wrong. On the first page of one copy (found in the Genealogy section, Library of Congress, Washington, DC) of the "Copeland History" of Ida Duckworth's book written: GGGF David Copeland died 2/9/1806.

It is very probable that this was written by Maria Copealnd who did much research on her family. Although we do not know where she found these dates, they will be used for our compilation.

David and Deborah Copeland's names are on the tombstone of their son, James, in Ketoctin Baptist Church Cemetery, Loudoun Co., VA.

The KETOCTIN Baptist Church, where many of the Copeland family are buried, was organized in 1751. It was build on the old road sometimes called the GHreat Road, that goes from Loudoun Co over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Winchester.

The first house of worship on this site was built of logs with a partition that divided it into two parts. One side was used for worship, the other as a stable.

The present sanctuary was built in 1854. J. Garrard is credited with starting Ketoctin, but John Thomas, a Welshman, was the first pastor.

Mr. Thomas, Regular Baptist (meaning one that believes in missionary work) came to preach to the Indians instead of shooting them.

With Mr. Thomas came John Marks, a farmer. Many of the farmers that settled around Short Hill were from Maryland, others were from Pennsylvania.

In 1775 the Ketoctin Church was without a pastor so the pious farmer, John Marks, conducted services and held the congregation together.

This Patriot organized a militia from the community to help fight the Revolution.

These Baptists were anxious for religious freedom. Through their associational meetings they strongly supported George Washington as President, knowing his belief in religious freedom.

There were many Ketoctin men that served their country in the Revolution. One of those buried here was James Copeland, son of David. David's son, William, was buried in Johnson Co., IL. (Taken from an article in the Jan. 1987 DAR Magazine.)

The Copeland home on the northeast side of Short Hill is thought to have been built in 1765 by David Copeland. It's perch on the rolling ground seemed advantageous in that natural protection from the elements was provided and yet it connected with fields that were to be cultivated. This home site boasts a stone spring house, a stone meat house and a stone barn.

The Copeland history goes back in the medieval ages. John Copeland was spoken of in 1248. He was one of twelve knights chosen to meet the Scotch Commissioners to settle certain border disputes at that time.

Later Sir David Copeland is mentioned. Then in 1346, the hero of the battle of Neville's Cross, Sir John Copeland is exploited as having been not only the hero of this famous battle, but as true founder of the Copeland family.

Copeland castle stands on the north brink of the Glen and seems to have been a very famous old one. From all historical researches, it has been deduced that the name Copeland was derived from this castle.

At the time Baliol ceded Galloway to the English King, a very great number of Northumbrians must have moved there to settle the new territory.

Castles Douglas and Dumfries were both in ancient Galloway. There were Copelands in Dumfries in 1500. It is very probably that the Copelands, with others, settled there at a very early period.

The Copelands who live there now claim Sir John as their ancestor and assume him to be descended from the family mentioned as of 1248.

The capture of King David of Scotland introduces Sir John as our standard bearer, the story being authentic according to historical data.

At the battle of Neville's Cross, Oct. 17, 1346, King David II of Scotland was disarmed and taken prisoner by Sir John Copeland, a gentleman of Northumberland, who was Governor of Roxbury Castle, although not without having knocked out two of Copeland's teeth with his gauntlet in the struggle to free himself.

Copeland conveyed the wounded monarch off the field and refusing to deliver the prisoner up to the Queen, who had remained at Newcastle during the battle, she sent word to the King, she sent word to the King, protesting the action of Copeland in refusing her request.

The King, Edward III of England, during the battle of Neville's Cross, was besieging Calais, France.

John of Vienna was Governor of Calais and commander of the French, who were at that time allies of the Scotch.

After a siege of eleven months, John and Vienna was forced to capitulate to King Edward III.

When the King received the queen's message, he straightway summoned Copeland, who upon arrival before the King, excused himself so handsomely, saying that he had sworn allegiance to the King only, he owed his fidelity to his sovereign in presenting the prisoner to him alone, that the King acknowledging his loyalty, bestowed upon him reward of five hundred pounds a year in lands near Woolen, which bear the name Copeland.

The King also made him a knight Banneret. He ordered Copeland to deliver the prisoner to the Queen, who had the Royal Captor placed in the Tower.

King David II, whom Sir John Copeland captured at the battle of Neville's Cross, was the only son and successor of the celebrated Robert Bruce of Scotland.

A book written by Ida Duckworth, entitled "Buchanan, Copeland and Ribble," tells the story of the two brothers, William and James Copeland, sons of David Copeland.

After fighting in the Revolutionary War for three years, both received farms for their service. James' farm was located in Culpepper County; Virginia and William's farm was in Ohio. It is at this point in time that the lives of William and James followed two separate paths.

James remained in Virginia, as did many of his heirs. Even today, Virgil Copeland, a descendant of James Copeland, owns and lives at the Copeland Homestead, circa 1765, in Hillsboro, Virginia.

William eventually left Virginia and migrated into Tennessee and on to southern Illinois.

James, who is reported as serving along side William, stayed put and eventually inherited the "Copeland Homestead."

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David Copeland's Timeline

1738
May 14, 1738
Milton, Oxford, ME, USA
1750
1750
Age 11
Ireland
1750
Age 11
Ireland
1752
1752
Age 13
Ireland
1753
1753
Age 14
Ireland
1754
1754
Age 15
Ireland
1759
August 1, 1759
Age 21
Ireland
1760
1760
Age 21
Ireland
1763
December 5, 1763
Age 25
Ireland
1765
April 27, 1765
Age 26
Braintree, Orange, VT, USA