John M. Copeland

JOHN M. COPELAND is one of the three survivors of that group of pioneers who constituted the original settlement of Glasco in Cloud County. His name has been closely identified with the pioneer history of that locality for more than forty-five years. His part has been an honorable one, has been useful both in what he has accomplished as a private citizen and as a business man and public spirited factor in local affairs.

Apart from his service as a soldier during the Civil war his life has not been one of conspicuous activities, and his accomplishments have come through the formal expression and exercise of the strength and talents granted him and through a realization of his personal responsibilities and duties to his community.

Though Cloud County has been settled and occupied by white men less than half a century, only a few parcels of land do not show several ownerships and transfers. An exception to this rule is the case of Mr. Copeland, who still owns the old homestead which he took up in 1870. The first year he came here he broke some of his land and succeeded by the following year in making the products of his farm support himself and family. Only a few of the early settlers were able to do this.

Mr. Copeland was one of the associates who laid out the Town of Glasco. He and his partners bought eighty acres from Mr. Biggs for that purpose in 1872. In 1871 Mr. Copeland erected the first store building, and after that until 1878 sold general merchandise to the settlers of the community. He finally sold his store to Joseph LaRocque. Mr. Copeland was at Glasco when its population comprised only eleven families. During the period he was in the mercantile business he was also assistant postmaster.

John M. Copeland was born in Johnson County, Illinois, in 1839, a son of Isaac and Nellie Copeland both of whom were likewise natives of that state. He grew up in Illinois, gained a common school education, and was still a young man when the war broke out. In 1861 he volunteered his services to the Union army, and was a member of Company H in the First Illinois Cavalry. He served a year with that organization, and was assigned to the western branch of the army. Most of his duties were of a scouting nature. From a history which has been written of the regiment the following terse description of the service is taken: "Bushwacked and jayhawked for twelve months among the swamps of south and east Missouri; captured one hundred and seven prisoners, two hundred and nine horses and mules and a large amount of ammunition and arms." During one skirmish with the enemy Mr. Copeland had a horse shot from under him, but the only personal injury sustained while he was on the march was due to the carelessness of one of his comrades. After his honorable discharge at the end of the year he took service in the sutler department, and thus followed the armies of the Union until the close of the war. After the war Mr. Copeland engaged in farming, but during 1866-67 was clerk in a store.

In 1877 he married Miss Mary Rutledge. She represents a family name very prominently connected with the history of Kansas. She is the daughter of William B. Rutledge, who was one of the early settlers of Kansas. He died in his ninety-first year in July, 1917. They have one daughter, Mary Ivy, wife of 0. F. Deans, of Alma, Kansas, cashier of the Alma National Bank. Mrs. Copeland was born in Iowa. Religiously they are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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