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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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EDWARD PAYSON COPELAND, dealer in fancy goods and notions at 104 Main Street, Northampton, was born August 1, 1831, in Hartford, Conn., son of Melvin Copeland, who was born in Sturbridge, Mass., March 12, 1797.

Lawrence Copeland, the progenitor of the family in America, a native of England, born, it is said, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, crossed the Atlantic with Governor Winthrop or shortly after he came, and was identified with the Massachusetts Bay Colony until his death, at a very advanced age, December 30, 1699. A record of his family and of several of their descendants is given in Mitchell’s History of Bridgewater. Lawrence Copeland was married October 12, 1651, by the Rev. Mr. Hibbens, of Boston, to Lydia Townsend. They lived in Braintree, and had nine children. William Copeland, the third son of Lawrence and Lydia, married April 13, 1694; Mary, the widow of Christopher Webb and daughter of John and Ruth Alden Bass, a grand-daughter, it is interesting to know, of John Alden. Their son, Jonathan Copeland, married Betty Snell, and settled in West Bridgewater. He spent ninety years on earth; and one of his sons, Jonathan, Jr., lived to the age of ninety-two years. Daniel, the fourth son of Jonathan and Betty Copeland and great-grandfather of the gentleman of whom we write, married Susanna Ames; and both passed their remaining years in Bridgewater, he dying in 1827, aged eighty-six years, and she in 1834, at the age of ninety-one years. They were the parents of eleven children, the difference between the ages of the eldest and the youngest being thirty years. Daniel Copeland, Jr., son of Daniel and Susanna, was married April 28, 1791, to Abigail Shaw, a daughter of Gideon Shaw, of Raynham. His first wife dying March 26, 1810, leaving six children, in 1813 he again married, and by his second wife had two sons. He departed this life in Huntington, whither he had removed from Sturbridge, Mass., March 15, 1850, aged eighty-three years.

Melvin Copeland was the third child and second son born to his parents. He turned his attention to mechanical pursuits, becoming a plane-maker, following that trade in Hartford for twenty-five years. He then removed with his family to Hampshire County, locating in what is now Huntington, then known as Chester Village, in October, 1842. His wife, Lucinda Blake, whom he wedded October 13, 1824, was a daughter of Nathaniel Blake, and was born in Hartford, Conn. Ten children were born to them, the sons and daughters being equally divided. The parents journeyed together as man and wife for forty-six years, and in death were not long separated, the father closing his eyes to earthly scenes March 5, 1866, aged sixty-nine years, and the widowed mother following him a month later, dying April 6, 1866, aged sixty-eight years. He was a man of unusual intelligence and progressiveness, alive to the pressing questions of his day, an ardent supporter of the antislavery cause and of temperance. In politics a Whig and afterward a Republican, he took an active part in the important campaigns, being a ready and forcible speaker. His son well remembers seeing him, with his coat off, astride a log, helping to build a log cabin during the Presidential campaign of 1840, and being, probably, one of the loudest shouters of the stirring refrain,

“Tippecanoe, and Tyler too,
And with them we’ll beat little Van.”

He was very much interested in the family history, and shortly before his death visited Boston, Quincy, Braintree, and Bridgewater, consulting Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary, Winthrop’s Journal, Thayer’s Genealogy, and Mitchell’s History of Bridgewater, and, better still, interviewing a surviving aunt and uncle, Chloe and Daniel Copeland, a son and daughter of Daniel Copeland, Sr., she in her seventy-eighth year and her brother four years younger, both living on the old homestead established by their father one hundred years before that time.

In the manuscript left by Mr. Melvin Copeland the family traits are thus given: “Physically, medium height, well proportioned, compact, and muscular; capable of much hard service and endurance. Complexion, light and ruddy, with a sandy tendency, and blue eyes; not corpulent, and somewhat distinguished for longevity and for rearing large families. Intellectual and studious; demonstrative and investigating; cautious and critical, with inventive genius. Morally, strictly honest, with stern integrity, proving faithful to trusts, and law-abiding. Religiously, free from fanaticism and formality, but scriptural in belief, and uniformly cheerful and unobtrusive. Self-reliant, industrious, and frugal, but hospitable and generous, striving to be useful in public and private life. Characteristics like these, when strongly developed on the male side, will show themselves for many generations, and will occasionally stand out in individual cases almost as strong as in the original; and the man who by temperate habits and a well-regulated life transmits to his posterity good health and a strong constitution, with the above characteristics, leaves them the best possible inheritance.”

Edward Payson Copeland, having attended the public schools until fourteen years of age, studied at a select school for three months, and then began working with his father in the manufacture of planes, at length being admitted to partnership, and continuing with him until 1861. He is now conducting a well-established, lucrative business in Northampton, and owns and occupies a pleasant home at 85 New South Street, where he has resided since 1893. Inheriting to a large extent the personal characteristics above mentioned, he has proved a valued citizen, and has the respect of the entire community. He is a Republican in politics, but has not been an aspirant to public office.

Mr. Copeland was married June 2, 1853, to Marietta Cowles, their nuptials being celebrated in Amherst, at the home of the bride’s parents, Moses and Chloe Cowles. Two children have been born of their union: Harriet and Lucien B. Harriet is the wife of A. H. Stocker, of this city. Lucien, who was graduated from Amherst College in the class of 1886, is now an attorney-at-law in Omaha, Neb. He married Annie Herrick, of Northampton; and they have one daughter, Dorothy, now two years old.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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