About John C. Copeland
John C. Copeland
• Birth: 30 SEP 1775 in Hillsboro (The Gap), Loudoun County, VA
• Death: 2 JAN 1853 in Massac County, IL
• Burial: Copeland family cemetery, Bob Riley farm, Massac Co., IL Now (2016) Richard Helfrick property-county line road aka Riley ln last house on left before the river
"In the fall of 1816, when the Copelands [William Copeland and his family, including his son John] arrived in Johnson Co., IL, it had not yet been admitted into the Union of States. Since they believed Illinois would be a slave state and having been brought up in old Virginia, they were deeply imbued with the belief that slavery was perfectly right. Consequently, after becoming a resident of Illinois, John (William's son) was one of the most active advocates of slavery in the state. He was nominated to the Constitutional Convention, but was defeated by a few votes."
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"John Copeland was bondsman for the marriage of Joseph Short and Rebeccah Abbott, on 9-1-1808; Sumner Co., TN. He was guardian to Keziah Short with Guthridge Lyons and Barney Duff, Bondsmen. (From Oct. term 1819, Montgomery Co., Will Book B, page 215.) John Copland and Zadock Bernard were appointed administrators for Joshua Short, Deceased; Stephen Thomas and James Baker, Bondsmen; Bond $500 . . . 10-20-1811; (Montgomery Co., TN Minutes Book 4, page 10.) John was administrator for Joshua Short and made record of the account sales on 19 Oct. 1814. John was appointed to the Montgomery Co., TN jury during the terms of 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1815 and 1816. He was appointed to lay off a road from John McAllister's plantation to Palmyra, TN on 21 July 1812 along with John McGill, Sr., James Baker, Abraham Baggett, John Thomas, James Henry, John Lee, William Sullivant, Jr., John P. Vaughan and Capt. William Porter. He was lised among the hands to work on th road leading from Clarksville to Dover with Dr. Brodies, David Enlow, John Perry, Enock Edwards, Bazel Nelson, Jones Nelson, William Smith, John Swift, Curtis Gray, Abel Johnson, Jesse Elliott and John Robertson on 22 July 1816. John was the prosecutor for the State against Moses Gage charged with Petit Larceny on 22 Oct. 1812. Moses was found guilty and received 10 lashes on his bare back.
John C. Copeland, with his wife, family and slaves came on a flatboat to Johnson Co., IL about 1816. He gave his slaves their liberty in Illinois. They had no desire to leave him, however, and all remained with him while he lived. The settlement mthey made was one of the earliest in Illinois.
John was a Justice of the Peace for Johnson Co., IL appointed by the territorial governor on 7 Aug. 1818. ('Saga of So. IL' Vol. IX, #1, pg. 38). He patented his first land in Johnson Co., IL on 6 Nov. 1818. Another property he purchased was 82 acres located at 15S 3E W part Fr 7, date unknown (after 1816). He was appointed Assessor for the year 1825 and was on the Grand Jury during May Court of 1818 along with David Shearer.
John bought 125.80 acres on the installment system starting on Oct. 1, 1818. The land description was NW 1/4, Sec. 19, Twp. 13 S, Range 3E. He improved this farm, making it his place of residence until the fall of 1833 when he moved to a farm 3 miles SW of where Vienna now stands. After some years, he sold the place to a Mr. Plummer of Ohio and with that money purchased some land near the Ohio River which is now Massac County. This tract consisted of 80 acres, which had only been partially improved. He replaced the small shanty with a well-built hewed log house, and brought the farm under good cultivation. It was here that his wife Sarah died on Juen 24, 1849. John died four years later on Jan. 2, 1853. Their graves are on the old homestead that is on the Ohio River bank, along with their grand-daughter, Sarah Jane, age 2 years. She was the daughter of Louisa and William Jackson Simpson. This was the first family cemetery on the river bank, now the Fred Riley farm (1998).
In September court of 1823, John Copeland was appointed (with others) to view a route for a road from Vienna to Wilcox warehouse on the Ohio River. They reported on the road in 1824. Tradition says most of the roads leading from the north came to this landing. It is almost directly south and about 20 miles from Vienna, IL."
John Copeland was born in Virginia, emigrated to Tennessee and married there, coming to Johnson county, Illinois in 1816. He was a farmer also an early teacher and held several county offices and was active in the promotion of education and the conveniences of a frontier community.
John Copeland brought six slaves to Johnson county, Illinois, a man, his wife and four children. Tradition says that the Copelands went first to Ohio and realizing they could not hold their slaves in that state, they came to Tennessee and later to Illinois, believing this would be a slave state.
William Copeland's land warrant was number 1696 for 200 acres issued for services in the Virginia Continental line. This warrant was surveyed for Andrew Ellison as assignee in the Virginia Military district of Ohio. Three different patents were issued, one in 1813, another 1815 and the third in 1820. This warrant was issued Aug. 10, 1783.
John Copeland was born in Virginia, Sept. 30, 1775, and grew to manhood in his native state.
They removed to Tennessee, where he married Sarah Short, who was born Christmas day 1778.
They came to Illinois from Tennessee, in 1816, bringing their slaves with them, and settled in Johnson county near Vienna.
He moved to a home on the Ohio River about 1835, which location later became Massac County. He died on the Copeland farm there in 1853.
Mr. Copeland taught in the first schoolhouse ever erected in Vienna, —it was a crude log affair, and in various ways his life in that community was an active one up to his last days. He was the nominee of the slave-holding party as delegate to the constitutional convention for his district at one time, and he was always prominent in local politics.
He passed away on January 2, 1853, his wife having preceded him on June 24, 1849. They were the parents of nine children: James, who was once a member of the Illinois General Assembly; Sarah, who died as the wife of John Cooper; John, who was a farmer in Pulaski county; Joshua, who also engaged in farming and left a family in Massac county when he died; Isaac; Jane, who married J.B. Maybury; Alfred: Louisa, who married W.J. Simpson; and Samuel. Judge Samuel Copeland was a mere child when he accompanied his father from Tennessee to Southern Illinois.
John C. Copeland's Timeline
September 30, 1775
Hillsboro, VA, USA
April 2, 1806
Tennessee, United States
November 27, 1812
Sumner, Tennessee, United States
Illinois, United States