Thomas S. Copeland

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Thomas S. Copeland

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Madison County, Alabama, United States
Death: February 21, 1904 (88)
Savannah, Hardin County, Tennessee, United States
Place of Burial: Hardin County, Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Copeland and Flora Catherine Copeland
Husband of Martha Ann Copeland
Father of Amanda Minerva Webb; Millie Ann Whitaker; Sarah Copeland; Hettie Louise McGee; Jonathan B. Copeland and 2 others
Brother of Mary Jane Harrison Duncan; Daniel Gillis Copeland; William J. Copeland; James Dugal Copeland; Joseph Matthew Copeland and 1 other

Occupation: Private in Co G, 10 Tenn Inf, Civil War (USA)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas S. Copeland


Research submitted by Mrs. Sandra TEDFORD of Farmersville, Texas.

The life of Thomas S. COPELAND was one of contradictions and surprises. Some of his life story is based on what is known as"preponderance of evidence". In other words, all the facts indicate certain statements to be true, but beyond this, verification is not possible.

Thomas was the first son born to James and Catherine COPELAND. He was born in the Mississippi Territory, on May 13, 1815. He married Elizabeth PATTERSON on August 12,1833, in Lauderdale County, Alabama. It is felt that this marriage record was for our Thomas because of a land transaction that occurred on November 29, 1841. Tishomingo (Mississippi) County Deed Book F, page 109 records a sale of 160 acres sold by Thomas S. COPELAND and wife Elizabeth to James COPELAND of Wayne County,Tennessee. James was the father of Thomas. It is assumed that Elizabeth died in Tishomingo County shortly after 1838 and is buried there.

It is tradition that Thomas and Elizabeth had two or more children. Part of this information is based on the 1850 census. By this time, Thomas has remarried and is living in Wayne County with his new family. Also living with the family is a fourteen-year-old boy named James COPELAND and a girl named Louisa Sidney who is sixteen. It is not known if Sidney is her last name or if her name is Louisa Sidney COPELAND. Nothing else is known about her. The boy, James (B.), married Indiana SHELTON on April 8, 1858,in Wayne County. James and Indiana appear on the 1860 census in Wayne County, and then disappear.

There is a daughter by the name of Mary C. COPELAND said to be from this first marriage. On the 1850 census twelve-year-old Mary is living nex tdoor with her Copeland grandparents. She was born March 22, 1838, inTishomingo County, Mississippi. She married Elem Linn McMILLIAN (also found as Elim McMillin) and is said to have moved with him to Arkansas shortly before or during the Civil War. Elem served in the war and family tradition states that while he was home on leave, he was shot and killed. It is said that before he could show his leave papers, he was killed by patriots that mistook him for a deserter. Mary returned to Wayne County where she lived the remainder of her life. She died May 9, 1918, and is buried in the Lutts Cemetery. The children of Mary and Elem were Hettie J. McMILLIAN (1859-1945),Janetta McMILLIAN (1862-died after 1910), Sarah Elizabeth McMILLIAN(1863-1946), and Texanna McMILLIAN (1869-1948).

Thomas married a second time in 1845 in Wayne County. This marriage date was obtained from a statement given by Thomas for his pension application. His second wife was Martha A. QUALLS. Martha was the daughter of Gatewood QUALLS and Milly Ann BOWLIN. She was born about 1825 in Virginia and is said to have been part Cherokee. There were seven children born to this couple.

The first child was a son whom they named Jonathan B. COPELAND. Jonathan was born January 16, 1845, in Wayne County where he lived the remainder of his life. He married Sarah Elizabeth SINCLAIR July 6, 1865. Sarah was born March 15, 1840, and was the daughter of William SINCLAIR and Mary OATES. Jonathan served in the Civil War in the Federal Army, Co. B, 2nd.Regiment Tennessee Mounted Infantry. He received a pension from the U.S.Government for his military service. Jonathan died on January 1, 1908,and is buried in the Lutts Cemetery. After his death his wife received awidow's pension. Sarah Elizabeth left Wayne County and moved with some other children to New Mexico where she died on April 11, 1909. She is buried in the Longs Cemetery near Dora, New Mexico. The children of Jonathan and Sarah Elizabeth were William Thomas COPELAND(1866- 1953), John Robert Jasper "Bob" COPELAND (1868-1940), Benjamin Franklin COPELAND (1870-1945), Joseph Felix N. COPELAND (1872- 1945),Cynthia Roxanna Elizabeth "Roxiell COPELAND (1873-1926), and Mary Emma May COPELAND (1875-1903).

Thomas had several land transactions about this time. Wayne County Deed Book E, page 540, records a sale of seventy-five acres, which was purchased from William POLLARD on December 14, 1844. This was located in Range 10, Section 52. Thomas paid $75.00 for this land and sold it for$100.00 on September 13, 1845, to John STRICKLAND. This is recorded in Deed Book F, pages 21 and 22. On January 17, 1845, Thomas received from the State of Tennessee twenty-seven acres on Weatherford Fork of Indian Creek. This is recorded in Survey Book 3, page 243. He later transferred this land to B. WATKINS. Thomas sold the land he inherited from his father to his brother on June 8, 1868, as recorded in Wayne County DeedBook K, page 330.

On March 29, 1847, Thomas's family was increased by the birth of another daughter. This child was named Amanda Minerva COPELAND. She married William Riley WEBB on September 9, 1866. William Riley's parents were William Carroll WEBB and Sarah BROWN. He was born October 6, 1845. During the Civil War he served in the Federal Army, Co. H, 6th Regiment, of the Tennessee Cavalry. William Riley and Amanda were the parents of ten known children. These children were Martha J. WEBB (1867-1930), William Thomas WEBB (1870-1969), Drew Piney WEBB (1872-1884), Luther Alexander WEBB(1874-1943), John Jefferson WEBB (1877-1968), Riley Kester WEBB(1880-1974), Joe Bell WEBB (1883-1969), Eula Mae WEBB (1886-1947), Millie WEBB (about 1889) (probably died as an infant), and Marshall Henry WEBB(1892-1939). William Riley died on March 12, 1910, and his wife on April 6, 1936. Both are buried in the Lutts Cemetery.

The next child born to Thomas and Martha was born November 15, 1850, and named Milly Ann COPELAND. She was born in Wayne County and remained there all of her life. She married John Wesley WHITAKER on December 30, 1868. John was born August 17, 1842, to William WHITAKER and Mary Margaret McCRORY, in Maury County, Tennessee. John and Milly had eight children.The children were Amanda Louise WHITAKER (1870-1882), Martha J. WHITAKER(1872-1931), Robert J. WHITAKER (about 1875), Mary A. WHITAKER (1878),Alice Bell WHITAKER (1880), Samuel Allen WHITAKER (1882-1885), William Daniel WHITAKER (1885-1968), and Flora Ella WHITAKER. John died on November 12, 1889, and Milly on August 31, 1894. Both are buried in the Lutts Cemetery. After their deaths, Milly's brother, Jonathan B.COPELAND, served as guardian for the minor children Alice Bell, William D., and Flora Ella.

The next child was a son who was named Joseph G. COPELAND. Joe was born May 5, 1855, in Wayne County. He moved to Hardin County where he married three times. His first wife was Mary E. McCarn whom he married on Christmas Day in 1882. Joe and Mary had a daughter named Lillian (1884).Joe's second marriage was to Mattie I. ALEXANDER on December 8, 1885.They had a son named John or possibly Elihue (Hugh?) (1886). Joe is listed on the 1900 census in Hardin County as being a widower. His children, Lillian and Hugh are living in Wayne County in the household of his brother, Jonathan COPELAND. Joe married the third time on December 8,1901. His wife was named Mary (Mollie) A. Points MILLER. Mollie was born February 25, 1871. This marriage produced a daughter by the name of MAY COPELAND (1902-1980). Joe died at home on October 5, 1916. His wife Mollie died February 21, 1961. Both are buried in the Savannah City Cemetery.

The fifth child born to this family was Hettie Louise COPELAND. Her birth occurred in Wayne County on February 22, 1857. She lived in the Wayne and Hardin County area all of her life. She married Wiley Daniel McGee in Wayne County on August 17, 1875. Wiley's parents were Samuel Washington McGee and Joannah WARD. He was born December 20, 1849. Hettie and Wiley had seven known children. These children were William Lihue McGee(1876-1935), Flora E. McGee (1878-1967), Mary Jane McGee (1881), Mattie Jo McGee (1883-1958), James Daniel McGee (1887-1971), Brown C. McGee(1888-1930), and Florence McGee (1890-1982). Hettie died February 2,1925, and Wiley November 18, 1926. Both are buried in the Lutts Cemetery.

The next child was William Thomas COPELAND who was born on May 24, 1860,in Wayne County. William married Eliza Jane "Candy" MOORE who was the daughter of M. R. MOORE and Susan WHITE. Candy was born March 16, 1864. William and Candy were married May 14, 1882, in Wayne County. They lived in Hardin County before moving to Shawnee, Oklahoma. They had at least ten children. They were Gypsey COPELAND (died about age 7), (died as infant), Ada COPELAND (1882-1974), Charley R. COPELAND(1887-1968), Martha Viola COPELAND (1889-1957), Anna COPELAND(1890-1919), Emmaline COPELAND (1894-1983), Daniel A. COPELAND(1898-1931), Lillie Mae COPELAND (1901-1919), and Lihugh COPELAND(1904-1904). William and Candy are buried in the Morrell Cemetery. He died on November 28, 1939. Candy died January 24, 1951.

On June 14, 1862 at age forty-seven, Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in the Civil War. He served in Co.G, lst. Regt. Middle Tennessee Infantry. He mustered out of the service on June 24, 1865. After he returned from the war, Thomas and Martha had another child. Sarah COPELAND was their last child. She was born about 1866. She is listed as living with her parents in Wayne County on the 1870 and 1880 census. This record indicates that this child was afflicted. Nothing else is known about her. After his military service and the birth of this last child, Thomas's life changed considerably. His wife Martha lived until March 3, 1884. She is buried in the Lutts Cemetery.

Sometime during the year 1872, Thomas began to keep company with Anna Frances PERRY. Fanny was born about 1858, which made Thomas forty-three years her senior. Her parents were Isaac PERRY and Nancy FRANKS. Thomas and Fanny were the parents of Sena COPELAND (1872-1917), Alexander COPELAND (1874-1954), and William Jasper "Japell" COPELAND (1878-1953).

The State of Tennessee sued Thomas and Fanny and charged them with"lewdness". The lawsuit is recorded in Wayne County Circuit Court Minutes dated May 22, 1879. Thomas went to court at that time and took men with him to post his $250 bond. The case was postponed several times and by the time it was settled Fanny's name had been dropped from the suit. According to page 232 of the Court Minutes for September 22, 1880, Thomas pled guilty as charged and was fined ten dollars. Three friends guaranteed the fine to avoid his being retained by the sheriff. Apparently Thomas was still living with Martha as they are listed on the1880 census. Also living in this household was three year old Alexander PERRY, (COPELAND) who was the son of Thomas and Fanny.

After the lawsuit Thomas continued to see Fanny PERRY and they had two more daughters: Flora COPELAND (1883-1917) and Vina W. COPELAND(1884-1969). These girls were born after Thomas was widowed. Fanny and a man by the name of Bill BROWN applied for a marriage license in Wayne County in 1887, but there is no marriage record recorded. Tradition says she died in 1948 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Sunny Hill Cemetery.

When Thomas was seventy-five, he applied for a military pension. He gave farming as his occupation and testified that he had rheumatism and was partially disabled. His pension records begin about April 19, 1890, and continue through 1905. He stated that his wife was dead and that they had been married in 1845 in Wayne County. When asked if he had been previously married, he answered, "No". When asked for the names of his living children, he only lists those that were born of his marriage to Martha. One great granddaughter told her children that Thomas would come to visit and would sometimes stay a week and other times as long as a month. The children always liked to watch for him to come riding down the road on his white horse.

Thomas is said to have died February 21, 1904 at age eighty- eight. He is buried in Whites Creek Cemetery. Even his death date leaves a lot to be explained. His pension continued until April 18, 1905. It is probablet hat relatives were slow in notifying the government of his demise, and someone else cashed the checks. His tombstone is a mystery. It reads,"She was a kind and affectionate wife, a fond mother and a friend to all". Either someone got a good buy on a used tombstone, or the stonemason made an error that was not corrected.


U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about Thomas S Copeland

Name: Thomas S Copeland

Gender: Male

Birth Place: AL

Birth Year: 1815

Spouse Name: Martha A Qualls


Birth Place: VA

Spouse Birth Year: 1825


Year: 1843

Marriage State: TN

Number Pages: 1

U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 about Thomas S. Copeland

Name: Thomas S. Copeland

Side: Union

Regiment State/Origin: Tennesee

Regiment Name: 10 Tennessee Infantry

Regiment Name Expanded: 10th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry

Company: G

Rank In: Private

Rank In Expanded: Private

Rank Out: Private

Rank Out Expanded: Private

Film Number: M392 roll 3

1880 United States Federal Census about Thos. S. Copland

Name: Thos. S. Copland [Thos. S. Copeland]

Age: 65

Birth Year: abt 1815

Birthplace: Alabama

Home in 1880: District 7, Hardin, Tennessee

Race: White

Gender: Male

Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)

Marital Status: Married

Spouse's Name: Martha A. Copland

Father's Birthplace: North Carolina

Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina

Occupation: Farming

Household Members:

Name Age

Thos. S. Copland 65

Martha A. Copland 55

Sarah I. Copland 10

Alexander Perry 3

1900 United States Federal Census about Thomas S Copeland

Name: Thomas S Copeland

Age: 85

Birth Date: May 1815

Birthplace: Alabama

Home in 1900: Civil District 3, Hardin, Tennessee [Hardin]

Race: White

Gender: Male

Relation to Head of House: Father

Marital Status: Widowed

Father's Birthplace: South Carolina

Mother's Birthplace: Tennessee

Household Members:

Name Age

Wild Copeland 40

Eliza J Copeland 36

Charley R Copeland 13

Viola M Copeland 11

Anna Copeland 9

Emma Copeland 6

David A Copeland 1

Thomas S Copeland 85

Thomas S. was the oldest son of James and Catherine Gillis Copeland. Although some researchers have given both parents a middle name there is no documentation of this whatsoever.

On Aug 12, 1833 he married Elizabeth Patterson in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Elizabeth died after Nov 1841. They were the parents of two children.

About 1843 Thomas married Martha Ann Qualls. They are listed on the 1850 - 1880 census of Wayne County, Tennessee. They were the parents of seven children.

On June 14, 1862 Thomas enlisted as a Private in Co. G. 10th Regiment. Physical description was 5 feet 10 1/2 inches, fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes. He later received a pension from the Federal Government for his service in the Civil War.

In about 1870 Thomas S. began "keeping company" with Anna Frances "Fan" Perry of Hardin County. Five children were born of this relationship.

Wife Martha passed away in 1884. It is believed that Thomas lived with first one child and then another. At the time of the 1900 census he was living with son William Thomas Copeland in Hardin County.

A military marker was placed at this grave in 1984 by Sandra Haney Tedford.

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Thomas S. Copeland's Timeline

May 13, 1815
Madison County, Alabama, United States
Age 29
Wayne, , TN, USA
March 29, 1847
Age 31
Lutts, Wayne County, Tennessee, United States
November 15, 1850
Age 35
Wayne County, Tennessee, United States
February 22, 1857
Age 41
February 21, 1904
Age 88
Savannah, Hardin County, Tennessee, United States