Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sir John Copeland - fighting for his king in Medieval times

 Abt 1320 - 1363

Several years ago, while researching John Copeland, the Irish Revolutionary soldier featured in my first post, I discovered that the Copeland name was actually deeply rooted in "Coupland Castle", a medieval structure still standing in the Village of Coupland, outside Northumberland, England - not Ireland, as commonly believed. Thankfully, it didn't take a lot of digging to fill out the legend which had been lurking out there, waiting to be told.  

Coupland aka Copeland Castle

The earliest documented soldier in the family was John de Coupland, one of 12 knights who, in 1248, were chosen by King Henry III to meet with Scottish commissioners in order to settle a number of recurring border disputes. 

Almost 100 years later, Scotland again - or still - was causing problems for the English when another John, Sir John's grandson and the Governor of  Roxbury Castle, earned an important place in medieval English history. 

King David Bruce of Scotland
While fighting under the banner of King Edward III during the so-called "100 Year War", Sir John captured King David Bruce II of Scotland, who was the last of his royal line in Scotland.  King David had been recruited by France to attack the English with his 12,000 troops, thereby creating a diversion and hopefully weakening England's military efforts.

The Battle of Neville's Cross

The Battle of Neville’s Cross was decided on October 17, 1346.  The forewarned British had prepared well to meet the enemy, so before the Scots could coordinate their efforts, the English had identified the best ground - a narrow ridge - to favor them in a fight.  Even though the Scots were stronger and had seemed at first to be winning, they were eventually out-maneuvered and fled the field, leaving their king behind to be captured and imprisoned. 

The total casualties of the battle are not known with certainty;  however sources indicate that while the English losses were minimal, there were about 1,000 Scots killed and many more captured.  Those captives included a wounded King David Bruce, who was disarmed after knocking out two of Sir John de Coupland's teeth with his gauntlet in the struggle to free himself. 

Queen Phillipa

King Edward II
After the battle ended, Sir John proved to be a stubborn man (a Copeland trait?) who could have easily lost all he had won with his refusal to obey the orders of Queen Phillipa.  The queen had remained at Newcastle during the battle, and demanded that John deliver the wounded Scottish monarch to her. Highly insulted by his refusal to accept her authority, she sent her complaint to the King who was laying siege against Calais, France at the time.

Soon after King Edward  received the queen's message, he summoned Sir John to explain his disobedience.  On his way to Calais, John first stored his prisoner in a nearby castle.  As soon as he appeared before his king, he fell to his knees and forcefully explained that he had meant no disrespect to the queen but that he had sworn  allegiance only to his king and had risked his life only for him and his country.

Upon hearing Sir John's impassioned speech, the king acknowledged the man's loyalty and bravery, and granted him a rich reward of five hundred pounds a year and land.  In addition, he was made a Knight Banneret (a Medieval knight who could lead a company of troops during a time of war under his own banner and was eligible to settle whatever new territory he conquered), the Sheriff of Northumberland, and Keeper of Boxboro Castle.  Obviously, Loyalty earned its own reward in this case (you have to wonder whether Queen Phillipa agreed with the king's generosity)!   

de Coupland was then ordered to deliver the prisoner to the queen, who imprisoned him in the Tower of London for eleven years. The following year the English were able to occupy almost the whole of Scotland south of the Forth and the Clyde. Following his rise to fame, Sir John de Coupland became a powerful figure in the north of England, and eventually his ruthless pursuit of power produced many enemies, one of whom ambushed and killed him in 1363.  

History is pretty murky for several hundred years after the great battle, but we do know that sometime before the 18th Century, this branch of the family migrated to County Down, in the Ulster Province of Ireland. The question is: why would this well-known English family leave a place they loved and live in a place where they weren't wanted?  It is believed that they may have been chosen to participate in a plan hatched by their government entitled "The English Plantation Movement" and were offered incentives such as land and money to make the move.  The underlying hope behind the plan was that these solid, loyal citizens would bring peace and stability to an area that had always been resistant to English control and had often threatened rebellion.

Spode Christmas plates
William Taylor Copeland
But not all of the Copelands migrated to Ireland. The  family can be justly proud of those who stayed behind in Straffordshire, England where William Taylor Copeland joined Josiah Spode, an outstanding ceramic artist, in creating a company still highly respected today: Spode, Copeland and Sons. They became highly successful creators and dealers of china, glass and earthenware in London, while also operating on Copeland Island off the Northern Coast of Ireland. In 1835, this same William Taylor Copeland became Lord Mayor of London.  

Lawrence Copeland, a lineal descendant of Sir John, was the first to leave Ireland because of his religious convictions and he is believed to have founded a major branch of the Copeland family on the East coast of Massachusetts.

Our lineal ancestor, George Copeland, and his children left Ireland and settled in Chester County, PA in the early 1700s. After settling his family, he traveled with his young son, John (who became a soldier in the Revolution), and a group of Scotch-Irish immigrants to South Carolina where they attained great swatches of land. 
 My sincere thanks to the following resources which made this story of a legend possible: 
“Some Copeland and Little Families”, written by A. Lucille Harney and Fairline Bigley (Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 98-74171)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Queen Rebecca Dickerson - Part 2 The story goes on

Presented on the occasion of Queen's 100th birthday celebration March 29, 1991 in Venice, Florida 

(The green threads)

 Time has a way of flying by 'til it becomes a blur.
A tangle of so many threads, woven tight and sure.
But on your 100th birthday, it seems quite fit and right
to  pull apart the glorious threads and share a life so bright.

Queen Dickerson, Age 19

A little girl with a regal name is born that cold March day.
Mother Emarine holds her close, her father's proud and gay.
Her first three years are filled with joy; 
the family adds a baby boy.
It seems that it will ever be, 'til stricken with a tragedy.

With Papa dead and many kids, Mother works so hard.
She spins the wool and gives out love, teaches faith in God.

 (The red yarn)

Queen & Fred with Evert & Edna
In 19-9, Queen meets the man to whom she pledges love.
And as they court one starry night, Hailey's Comet soars above.
Her 20th birthday is the day that Fred and Queen are wed.
One year later,  Evert's born, and wailing to be fed.

The little family scrapes along, hard times are the norm
Evert and Edna
Before too long, they swell with pride when a baby girl is born.

The family moves from state to state since jobs are hard to find
E'en though the outside world may change, their love withstands the grind.
Six years later, Paul is born, and Carthel's born in two.
They weary of their roaming ways, want to settle in their crew

In rural land outside Versailles, they spot a farm and store
It's big enough to raise some food – with chickens, cows and more.
In '23, they make the move, excitement reigns supreme.
And though they still must scrape and strive, together they're a team.

With gardening, sewing, care for kids, there's not much time to spare;
And no such thing as “store-bought” clothes. Store food, store treats are rare.
The kids keep getting bigger, their needs are greater too.
Fred “moonlights” in a quarry; sells Watkins on a route

One by one the children leave;  to college each one goes.
Their parents feel such joy and pride. 
This chapter they now close.

William Evert Franklin

Edna Bethel Franklin

Carthel Floyd Franklin
Paul Keith Franklin

(The blue fiber)

Teacher Edna's first to wed,  moves to another state.
Evert, Paul and Carthel, too, await the hands of fate.
As a great war looms ahead, their parents leave their home;
They move to other cities; to Chicago they do roam.

Queen, Fred, Linda, Hayward, Billy Franklin

They rent a small apartment and find some work to do;
Queen sews for a living and Fred does “war work” too.

When the fighting's finally over, back to the farm they go.
And hear new children's voices -  kids playing in the snow.

With Cart and Evert  finally wed, their life goes speeding by.
Queen's hands start feeling such great pain, arthritis makes her cry.
But never one to whimper long, new juices start to flow.
She wins a ribbon at State fair and has a “one man” show.

Life takes on all new rhythms, until they must decide:
It's time to make another move; God knows how hard they'd tried.
The farm and furnishings are sold and city life begins.
It's nice to have the ”boys” nearby and a neighborhood of friends.

As Fred takes joy in baseball games, helps Evert mow and paint,
Queen keeps having her art shows, and sales do escalate.
Before too long, one grandchild weds and Paul takes on a wife.
The family grows and grows again; THIS is the thread of life.

But by the middle '60's, Fred's health begins to fail;
and after more than 80 years, he leaves this life's travail.
For many  years she'd been his wife but now she starts a brand new life.

(The cords of Gold)
The thread's a deeper color, the weave becomes more tight
And after she has grieved and mourned, Queen finds travel a delight.
By now her family's scattered; kids and grandkids far and wide;
There isn't much she likes much more than going for a ride;

Then at the age of 85, a new hobby she begins.
The bowling alley is the place. It's fun knocking down those pins!
She loves to tease the “youngsters” about their 10 pound balls;
Sells bread loaves to her cronies, cheers when the last pin falls.

But after years of city life, the cold begins to pall;
Our Queen begins to yearn for sun and a southern drawl.
What new place could suit her more than where her children are?
Where she can plant her flowers without cold winter's scar.

So toward the end of '88, she quickly packs her things
And with some sadness and more smiles,
she once more spreads her wings.
Now she lives in this fair land, with friends and family.
Around her home fair flowers bloom and birds sing happily.

3 generations - in front: Edna Hayward, Queen Franklin; 
in back Judy, Susan, Linda Hayward

This tapestry is not complete, though it throbs with colors bright.
For all of us are woven through the story of her life.
As Queen herself has often said, her goal remains the same.
And we'll confirm her life has left "a mark but not a stain”.

Queen Franklin on her 106th birthday in Venice, Florida

Written with great love by Queen's granddaughter, Judith Hayward Copeland, for the celebration of  her 100th birthday in March 29, 1991.

She left us May 27, 1998 but the memory of her life and adventures linger on.- with nary a stain.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Joseph Kimball - a rebel, carpenter, sailor and merchant

Family lineage: 1 Joseph Kimball, 2 Peter Kimbrall, 3 Peter Kimbrell, Jr.,  
 4 Buchner Mansfield Kimbrell,5 Mary Polly Kimbrell, 6 Thomas L. Johnson, 7 Lula Jane Johnson, 
 8 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr., 9 Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.
1662 – 1711

As I began to research Joseph's story, I thought it might be  “somewhat interesting”; but it soon became more than "somewhat"!  Granted, there was very little official documentation of the story, and sometimes it was downright confusing.  But after sorting through stories told over the years, I am confident that he deserves to take his place among our family legends.  

He was born in Massachusetts, the fifth child of Thomas and Mary Kimball, who had migrated from England in the mid-1600s. If you read my earlier post about his father's murder by Indians and the kidnapping of his mother, and 5 of their children, including 14 year old Joseph, you might think that he would have wanted a placid life from then on. Not so!

Even a year after the tragedy, the family's scars still ran deep, and nothing was as it had been. Whether the same decisions would have been made if his father had lived, the fact is that 15 year old Joseph, with his mother's consent, moved into his Uncle Benjamin Kimball's home and bound himself to work as a carpenter's apprentice for three years.  

It is likely that the Kimball family members were all Puritan in those early days.  But as Joseph got older, that lifestyle seemed too restrictive and there were too many bad memories of his father's death and their time in captivity.  So, at age 17, he began to make plans to see the world.  The problem was that he was restricted by Puritan law which forbade single men from living alone. Joseph solved that by joining the crew of a southbound ship sailing to Barbados in the West Indies. 

He might not have known that the British Royal Navy had begun to forcibly stop American ships on the high seas in order to fill their crews with “eligible men of seafaring habits between the ages of 18 and 45 years old”. This practice, called "impressment", continued for many years, and was one of the hot issues contributing to the War of 1812.  Joseph certainly fit the description of a perfect crewman and twice became a victim of “impressment” - the first time for 2 weeks and then for six months. 

Finally, in 1684, after 5 years at sea, Joseph again took control of his life. It is generally believed that he jumped off his Massachusetts-bound ship as it sailed along the coast of Virginia and made his way along the coast of Virginia until he reached Surry County with nothing but his clothes and name, but somehow managed to find enough money to build a small trading post.

Joseph made a meager living running his little trading post. That may have been the reason why he married the first time fairly late in life.  But he was able to use what he had learned from the Skelkyl Indians back home in Massachusetts and it is believed that he taught his sons the ways of the Native Americans. While there is no proof to this, two of his sons became "Indian guides", and supposedly one of them married an Indian woman.

He was married twice and his children were all born between 1695 and 1710.  When naming them, Joseph managed to intermix his Puritan upbringing with Virginia traditions. One of those Puritan traditions was to simply open the Bible and choose a  name or word found on that page for the child. Occasionally they based the name on characteristics they hoped a son would have when he became a man, such as "Peter" (strong as a rock) or "David"  (very brave).  However, he also followed a Virginia tradition of naming some of the children after a member of the family or the Royalty of Europe.

What happened to his second wife is a mystery. She was not mentioned in Joseph's estate when he died in 1711 at age 49 for an unknown reason, but that is possibly because when he died, his estate totaled only 10 English Pounds. The Executor of his estate was Joseph's largest creditor in Virginia and obviously didn't take his responsibility to the estate very seriously. He missed court appearances at least six times and finally presented the final settlement in 1713 - two years after Joseph died.

For more information about this very interesting family, refer to "History of the Kimball Family in America between 1634 & 1897

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Julius Walker - a story of betrayal

A brother of Charles Walker, Jr., the father of 1 Sarah Walker;2 Eliza Frances Walker, 3 Emarine Bartram, 
 4 Queen Rebecca Dickerson; 5Edna Bethel Franklin ; 6Judith Ann Hayward

1791 – 1814

While researching the Walker and Peters men who had served together in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, I ran into a puzzling notation asserting that Charles and Chrispiano Walker's brother, Julius, had been hung at age 22 in 1814.  I couldn't help but wonder what that young man had done that would have led to such a terrible end.  Luckily, I didn't have to dig very far down through the layers of family tales to discover that the story was wrong - Julius was the “murderee” and the person hung was  his murderer!

The story began sometime in the early 1800's when Julius married  Elizabeth, whose last name and family background are unknown  (perhaps because no one wanted to claim her?).  In any case, they couldn't have been married very long before the War of 1812 heated up and the young men of Giles County, Virginia were called upon in 1813 to continue the fight against England that their fathers, uncles and cousins had begun a few years before.

Julius, Chrispianos (his brother who was featured in a previous post) and a cousin, Captain John Peters, Jr., were listed among the Giles County men who traveled 400 miles to Norfolk, Virginia to join the battle.  However, shortly before their arrival in Norfolk, a treaty was signed.  Since their services were no longer needed now, they could return home without firing a shot. This 800 mile round trip by foot or horse took several months, but they didn't have to be away as long as originally anticipated, and the exhausted, foot-weary men probably didn't all rush home at the same time. 

We don't know how long it took for Julius to return, but we do know that he didn't receive a hero's welcome in the loving arms of his wife (unless she was a good actress). That was because while he was gone, Elizabeth had become romantically involved with Jeremiah Lucas, a powerfully built man from a family notorious for their criminal behavior. Upon receiving the "good" news about Julius' anticipated return, Jeremiah realized that he couldn't allow Julius to resume his marriage with Elizabeth, and made plans to kill him before he learned of their treachery.

Since Elizabeth and Jeremiah had been able to hide their affair from all but their closest friends, Julius had no reason to question Jeremiah's warm greeting and accepted his invitation to see the house he was building. As they strolled along the New River Cliffs, Jeremiah grabbed a club, knocked Julius down, and continued beating him until he was sure he was dead. After covering up the body with snow, he actually returned to the Walker home and stayed the night with Elizabeth!

The next morning he returned to the scene of the crime to bury Julius in a deeper grave and found his victim sitting upright against a tree and very weak.  Later Lucas was to admit that Julius had entreated him to spare his life.  He had also promised that he would never tell anyone of the assault and would leave the area forever.  But Lucas had gone too far in his scheme and made sure that Julius was truly dead this time.

We aren't sure when it was discovered that Julius was missing.  But once the searchers discovered Julius' broken body, it didn't take long to name Jeremiah as the main suspect, especially after he fled into the Salt Pond Mountains.  A posse was hurriedly organized and found it fairly easy to capture him because of the trail he had  left in the snow.

Justice was swift in this mountain community. 16 days after the murder, Lucas was indicted in the Superior Circuit Court of Giles Co. and on April 27, he was found guilty by the jury and sentenced to be hanged on May 28, 1814. 

The gallows was erected near the courthouse in order to accommodate the occasion and Lucas was confined in what was known as “the dungeon”. 

But Lucas was not about to go down easily. One day, as the jailer was bringing him a meal, Lucas struck him on the head with his handcuffs, knocked him out and took off down the street.  Unfortunately for him the jailer recovered quickly, grabbed a loaded musket, and seeing him in the distance, fired a shot which struck him on the leg and knocked him to the ground. He was taken back into custody and the execution was carried out on May 28.  

This story is even more amazing when you realize that Julius returned home triumphantly on April 4, 1814, was murdered April 9, and his murderer was hung just a little less than two months later - on May 28 of the same year. 

Elizabeth Walker escaped legal punishment for lack of evidence, and there is no record of her life after her husband was killed and lover hung.  It is highly doubtful that she stayed in an area where everyone knew her story