JAMES M. COPPER, of McDonald, is a veteran of the Civil war who exercised his privilege as an old soldier to secure a homestead in Western Kansas, taking it up in pioneer times and developing and living on it for a number of years. While he still owns that farm, he has been a resident of McDonald for a number of years and has shown his usefulness in many ways in the life and affairs of that community.
Mr. Copper was born January 26, 1844, at Newcastle, then in Beaver County but now the county seat of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The Copper family settled there in early pioneer times and James M. Copper's grandfather, Nathaniel Copper, had much to do with the pioneer history of that interesting section of Western Pennsylvania.
Nathaniel Copper was born in Maryland in 1761, and was descended from Welsh ancestors. He died on his farm near Newcastle, Pennsylvania, in 1849. Joseph Copper, father of James M., was born in the same county of Pennsylvania October 26, 1818. He was reared and married there, was a farmer, and in 1846 established a pioneer home in Franklin County, Indiana. In 1860 he moved to Decatur County in that state, and died there, at Greensburg, in 1886. For a number of years he held the office of district deputy sheriff of Franklin County. He was a republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He married Nancy J. McLain, who was born in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, August 31, 1823, and died at Greensburg, Indiana, in 1884 and James M. Cooper was the oldest of their children. Nathaniel N., the second, born July 1, 1846, spent most of his life in Decatur County, Indiana, and died at New Point in 1904. Belinda Harriet, born September 24, 1848, lives at Chicago, widow of J. W. Funkhouser. William R., born November 10, 1853, is a teacher at Indianapolis, Indiana. Edith, born in 1863, is the wife of Newton Thralls, a drayman at Shelbyville, Indiana.
James M. Copper was about three years old when his parents moved to Indiana, and he received his education in the schools of that state. He was about eighteen years old when he enlisted, on August 26, 1861, in Company E of the Seventh Indiana Infantry. During that year he was transferred to Rigby's Twenty-sixth Indiana Battery and was an artilleryman the rest of the war. He was stationed at several important points and was in some of the great campaigns of the war. He was at the surrender of Harper's Ferry, was at the battle of Cross Keys, Virginia, at the siege of Knoxville, Tennessee, and acquitted himself as a true soldier in every military situation. He was mustered out on July 20, 1865. At the surrender of Harper's Ferry he was taken a prisoner, but was paroled and exchanged seven weeks later.
A veteran soldier but still a youth in years, Mr. Copper returned to Decatur County, Indiana, and took up sawmill work. He continued in this industry there fifteen years, was in the same line of business at Martinsburg, Keokuk County, Iowa, and later helped operate a sawmill at Spickard in Grundy County, Missouri.
Mr. Copper finally determined to secure a home of his own on the public lands, and on October 4, 1885, arrived at Rawlins County, Kansas, where he made his soldier's filing on 160 acres 2 1/2 miles northwest of McDonald. This he still owns, now a valuable farm, but in 1892 he moved into McDonald. For four years he clerked in a local store here, and during President Cleveland's last term was appointed postmaster and filled that office with efficiency and credit for eighteen years. He finally gave up official life and has since lived retired in his comfortable home built in 1906.
Mr. Copper is a republican in politics, is affiliated with McDonald Lodge of Masons, Atwood Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and still has his membership in Liberty Post No. 150, Grand Army of the Republic, at Spickard, Missouri.
February 22, 1866, at New Pennington, Decatur County, Indiana, soon after he came out of the army, Mr. Copper married Susan F. Stapp, daughter of Sanford and Rachel (Blunk) Stapp, both deceased. Sanford Stapp was associated with Mr. Copper for many years in the sawmill business. After thirty-two years of married companionship Mrs. Copper passed away at McDonald August 6, 1898. She was the mother of four children: Joseph S., born January 12, 1868, is a resident of McDonald and is employed in an elevator. David R., born February 1, 1870, a farmer near McDonald; Rachel Ida, born August 18, 1875, married Monta D. Smith, a carpenter at McDonald; and Bertha Pearl, born November 13, 1880, died at McDonald October 14, 1902, wife of A. F. Aynes, a hardware and lumber merchant at Glade, Kansas.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project