Edward Lincoln Copeland.There is no class of employees as numerically great and as necessary to the common weal as that vast army of men who are in the service of the various railroads. With a grand total of more than a million and three-quarters of men in this country alone, they are a patient, punctual and industrious unit in our national life and an integral part of our national citizenship. The wheels of practically all interstate commerce being propelled by them, they are essentially one of the prime factors of national development and they may be said to be one of the chief assets of the government itself, since without them the country's greatness could never have reached its present stage. There is no class of employees whose combined labor wields as great an influence on the general welfare, and no class of wage earners whose usefulness is so necessary to progress and prosperity as the railroad men. So intimate has become their relation to public utility, and so imperative is their efficient constancy in the public service, that were all of them to be idle for a single day, the nation would become afflicted with a case of commercial paralysis so severe that it would not recover from it in a year. There is also, perhaps, no industry requiring the service of employees in which merit is so quickly recognized and so generally rewarded as the railroad industry. So thoroughly wedded are the merit system and promotion in railway life, that when a man is advanced to participation in high official management, it is a certificate of his faithfulness and efficiency while filling positions of lesser responsibility. A splendid example of a man who has achieved prominence as an official of one of the leading railway systems of the land is Edward Lincoln Copeland, who is secretary and treasurer of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway. As a reward for his faithful service in several minor capacities, and because of the confidence in his ability, integrity and splendid natural equipment, Mr. Copeland was advanced to his present position several years ago, and since that time, while conscientiously discharging his duty to the great system which he serves, he has developed qualities of citizenship which entirely disprove the theory that in order to be a successful railway official a man must sacrifice every other inclination and interest.
Edward L. Copeland comes from a New England ancestry which was entitled to the highest degree of colonial pride of which any New Englander can boast. Born in Winnebago, Winnebago county, Ill., Aug. 25, 1859, he is the son of Dr. Philander Copeland and his wife, whose maiden name was Abigail Louisa Watkins. Dr. Philander Copeland, who was a physician by profession, was born at Bridgewater, Mass., March 6, 1811. He married Abigail Louisa Watkins on Sept. 6, 1836, and by her became the father of ten children, of whom Edward L. is the youngest. Abigail Louisa Watkins was born in Dutchess county, New York, May 15, 1816, the daughter of Joseph Watkins and his wife, whose maiden name was Abigail Watts. Joseph Watkins was born at Elizabethtown, N. J., Feb. 9, 1778, and died on Sept. 22, 1847. Dr. Philander Copeland became an early settler of northern Illinois, removing with his wife and six elder children from western New York and reaching Chicago by the lake route from Buffalo in 1853. He located first at Byron, Ogle county, but in 1858 he removed to Winnebago, Winnebago county, where for many years he was a successful physician. On Sept. 6, 1886, he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, upon which occasion their children, relatives and friends gathered in large numbers to extend congratulations and expressions of love and esteem. Dr. Philander Copeland died at Winnebago, Ill.; Sept. 15, 1895, his wife and companion for more than fifty-nine years surviving him until Aug. 23, 1896, when her death occurred. Dr. Copeland was possessed of a genial nature, was fond of company, and was always delighted to entertain his friends at his home. In religion he was a Methodist, and he was prominent in all church work. He was the son of Alfred Copeland and his wife, Mary Williams, who were born respectively on Oct. 7, 1782, and May 2, 1783; were married at Taunton, Mass., Sept. 13, 1808, and died respectively on July 18, 1857, and May 30, 1860. Alfred Copeland, who was a merchant at Taunton, and who served as drum major in the war of 1812, was a direct descendant of Lawrence Copeland, who landed from the Mayflower on Dec. 22, 1620, and became the founder of the Copeland family in America. On Dec. 12, 1651, Lawrence Copeland married Lydia Townsend. Their son, William, married Mary, daughter of John Alden, who figures in Longfellow's rhyme. One of the sons of this union was Jonathan Copeland, who married Betsey Snell. Their son, Daniel Copeland, married Susan Ames and among their children was Alfred Copeland, who, and his wife, Mary Williams, were the grandparents of Edward L. Copeland of this review. Mary Williams was the daughter of Nathaniel Williams of Taunton, Mass., who was also a descendant of the Pilgrims. Nathaniel Williams was born on March 29, 1755, and died on June 30, 1829, at Taunton, Mass. He served as a minute man in the Revolutionary war, and on April 20, 1780, married Lucilda Hodges. The latter was born at Norton, Mass., May 27, 1760, and died at Taunton, Mass., May 7, 1847. She was the daughter of Isaac Hodges, who served as lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth Bristol regiment during the Revolutionary war, and whose wife was Mary Pratt. Isaac Hodges was the son of Joseph Hodges and his first wife, Bethiah Williams. Joseph Hodges was the son of Henry Hodges and his wife, Esther Gallop. Henry Hodges' father was William Hodges, founder of the family in this country, whose wife, Mary Andrews, was the daughter of Henry Andrews, one of the original purchasers of Taunton, Mass., in 1637. Esther Gallop, wife of Henry Hodges, was the daughter of John Gallop, who emigrated from England to America with his mother in 1633; was one of the six captains killed in the great Narragansett Swamp fight, and whose wife was Hannah Lake. John Gallop's father was Capt. John Gallop, who emigrated from England to America in 1630 and became the noted Boston pilot and sea captain. Hannah Lake's father was John Lake, a merchant of Dublin, who died there. Her mother's maiden name was Margaret Reade. Margaret Reade Lake came to America a widow in 1635, and along with her came two daughtersHannah and Marthaand also her sister, Elizabeth Reade, who became the wife of John Winthrop, Jr., governor of Connecticut and son of John Winthrop, Sr., governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. From the above brief synopsis it will be seen that Edward L. Copeland has sprung from some of the best New England Colonial and Revolutionary stockin short, an ancestry of which any American might be proud to boast.
Edward L. Copeland was educated in the high schools of Winnebago and Lanark, Ill., graduating in the latter on June 15, 1876. It had been his intention to prepare himself for the medical profession, and with this idea in view he read medicine with his father for a short time, but becoming convinced that some calling, other than medicine, might prove more agreeable to his tastes, he abandoned his studies on that line and decided to go west and intrust his future prospects in some field of usefulness to the fortunes of a newer country. Early in November, 1879, he arrived in Topeka, Kan., being then but twenty years of age. Though he had not the advantage of influential friends to aid him, and had no recommendation save his own personal appearance and qualifications, he soon gained the favor of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad officials, and entered the employ of that company. His first position was a minor one in the auditor's office. It being the unbroken policy of this corporation, however, to reward merit by promotion, young Copeland was not destined to fill a mere trivial position very long, and the result was that he was quickly advanced. He was soon made voucher clerk in the same department, and in April, 1881, he accepted a position in the treasurer's office. In 1883 he became assistant cashier, and in March, 1887, he was advanced to the position of cashier, which he held until Jan. 3, 1906, when upon the death of Edward Wilder, the treasurer, he was elected secretary and treasurer, a position of great responsibility, and he is still serving in that capacity. Mr. Copeland's continuous service with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway now covers a period of almost one-third of a century, and in that time he has been advanced from the bottom to a point very near the top of the ladder, for his present position carries with it responsibilities which make it one of the most important offices in the corporation's management. It should be stated to Mr. Copeland's credit that his advancement has been entirely due to his own merit and worthiness. No outside pressure has ever been brought to bear to influence the directorate in his behalf. His rise to a high place in the official management of one of the great railway systems of the country is wholly the reward of his individual efforts and of his loyalty and fidelity to its interests. By reason of his long continuous service with the company and of his long tenure in positions which brought him into personal contact with a large percentage of its employees, as well as because of his polite bearing, genial, affable manners and courteous demeanor, Mr. Copeland has gained an acquaintance and popularity with the men who comprise the Santa Fe forces that is possessed by few others, and he not only enjoys the full confidence of that corporation, but also that of the great public which it serves.
On Nov. 6, 1883, Mr. Copeland married Miss Clarissa Isadore Shelden at Winnebago, Ill., and in 1886 he purchased a residence at 1031 Taylor street, Topeka, where he now resides. The fruits of his marriage are three sons: Harold DeLoss Copeland, born Aug. 27, 1884; Malcolm Edward Copeland, born March 3, 1889; and Stanley S. Copeland, born Dec. 4, 1896. His oldest son, Harold D. Copeland, was married to Miss Nelle Clarkson Millspaugh on Jan. 4, 1910, at Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kan., the ceremony being performed by the bride's father, the Rt. Rev. Frank R. Millspaugh, bishop of Kansas. Harold D. Copeland is receiving teller in the Southwest National Bank at Kansas City, Mo., and resides at 3719 Walnut street in that city. Malcolm Edward Copeland, after graduating at the Topeka High School, spent a year and a half in New Mexico, trying to regain his health, but returned home in March, 1911, and died on March 24 of tuberculosis. He was an exceptionally bright boy, and during his school days had been strong and hearty until he was taken sick with pneumonia, which developed a weakness in his lungs. He had expected to attend Williams College at Williamstown, Mass., after finishing his work in the Topeka High School, but his health was such that he could not take up the work. The youngest son, Stanley, is a student in the Topeka High School.
Mr. Copeland and his wife are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Topeka. He is also a member of its official board and is chairman of its finance and music committees. Mr. Copeland is vice-president and a member of the board of directors of the Young Men's Christian Association of Topeka; is vice-president and a director of the State Savings' Bank and a director of the Merchants' National Bank, both of Topeka; was one of the organizers of the Capitol Building & Loan Association of Topeka; and served for several years as its vice-president; is a director of the Kansas Gas & Electric Company of Wichita; is a member of the Topeka Commercial and Country clubs; is a Thirty-second degree Mason and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, and belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. On account of his position as secretary and treasure of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, he is also financial officer of numerous auxiliary companies owned or operated by that system, including the Leavenworth & Topeka Railway Company, the Kansas Southwestern Railway Company and the Wichita Union Terminal Railway Company.
In addition to performing his highly responsible duties as an official of a railway company, Mr. Copeland has found time to enter into the social, religious, fraternal and business life of his adopted city and state as few railway officials do, and in this respect, despite his corporation connection, he has not neglected any of those important duties which belong to the highest and best type of American citizenship. He is a forcible public speaker and is frequently called upon to deliver addresses at public gatherings. Upon such occasions his utterances command the respectful attention of both the public and the press. At Kansas City, Mo., May 23, 1907, he delivered an address before the Missouri Bankers' Association on the subject of "Prosperity a Problem for the Railroads," Mr. Copeland contrasting the banker and the railway man.
The Copeland family in America has formed a society known as the "Association of Descendants of Alfred and Mary Williams Copeland," it being their custom to hold a reunion every five years. Thus far these reunions have been held at Rockford, Ill. Of this association Edward L. Copeland is now president, his term extending from 1910 to 1915.
With a high sense of loyalty to the interests of one of America's great corporations, and just as high a sense of fidelity to all those traits of character which belong to good citizenship, Edward L. Copeland is an excellent type of American manhood and a creditable descendant of his ancient, honorable and patriotic ancestry. Though the decree of fate has called him to high stations in life, and has burdened him with weighty responsibilities, he has never been found wanting, and the best tribute which can be paid him is to say that his rise to prominence in one of the great fields of human activity, is due wholly to his individual efforts, his sterling qualities of manhood, and to his fidelity, loyalty and punctuality in the discharge of the duties intrusted to his care.Pages 992-997 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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