When Ralph Copeland passed in Aug. 2011, he left his home and contents to the Bolton Friends (Quaker) Church. Pastor Grady Miller responded to my request to save the family photos and memorabilia.
George Copeland, his wife Maxine, and sister Virginia Copeland Noble went to the church to examine the 30 albums and 23 diaries that Pastor Miller found on the first day. Only one album pertained to the Copelands. George took it home. Maxine began scanning the album contents and sending them to me. One photo was immediately intriguing. It is labeled Andy and Nancy Copeland.
When I saw this photo, I wondered "who is Andy Copeland?" At first, I noticed Nancy's hands - they look as large and long as Abner Copeland's hands. Then my sister Fran said, "Doesn't George Copeland look a little like Andy Copeland?' But we had no Andy or Andrew Copeland in family records or on the known Copeland genealogy records.
I went through my book "An American Genealogy: The Copeland Family of Montgomery County Kansas." On page 470, there is the "Descendants of Ashford Copeland" compiled by Lawrence (Larry) Seits of Benton, IL. In it, he lists Andrew Jackson Copeland as the son of Ashford and Elizabth (Dodson) Copeland. Andrew married Nancy Lamb. Andrew died in 1895 in Parke County, IN where the Copeland family had settled. So I assumed that this was the Andy and Nancy in the photograph.
It wasn't until a week later, when I was going through 3 boxes of photos and memorabilia sent to me by Pastor Miller that I came across another revelation!
In Samantha Finney Copeland's memorial book (1937) on the last page, there is a "Personal Record of Abner Copeland." I assume it was written by Clarissa Copeland, the eldest daughter. In it, she says Abner had 9 siblings - "five brothers and four sisters."
Note that Nancy Copeland (Abner's sister died in 1908) and her obituary states that she had 3 sisters and 4 brothers who preceded her in death and 2 brothers still living - Abner and John."[ Also, we know that one of the Abner's brother's name was Simon, who settled in Orange (not Parke) County (he is the father of Abner's cousin another Andrew Jackson Copeland (another Andrew) who settled in TX).]
Back to Samantha's memorial book. Clarissa lists Abner's known siblings - Oliver, Nancy, and John. The big SURPRISE is the name of one of the "missing" siblings - ANDREW COPELAND!