This page follows the generations of the Copley family, as I descend from them. The following links operate within this same page - click on the Copley you want to see.





THIRD GENERATION: Edward Harrison Copley
From his own writing in his pension papers, Harrison Copley (as he signed his name) was born on June 15, 1845, in Wayne County, Virginia (later West Virginia). On the 8th of August, 1863, two months after his 18th birthday, Harrison was enrolled as a Corporal at Catlettsburg, Kentucky, in Company K of the 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry. 


After his honorable discharge from service at Catlettsburg on February 14th, 1865, Harrison returned home, where he married Angeline Ward on April 8, 1866, in Lawrence County, Kentucky, across the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River from his county of birth in West Virginia (He had been living in Louisa, Kentucky, at the time of his enlistment).  These two then embarked on a 27-year child-producing spree that resulted in twelve new Copleys by the time it was all over - Arminta J. (b.1/7/1867), Frances (b.3/5/1868), Millard Fillmore (b.3/30/1869), Thomas Benton (b. 5/15/1872), H. H. (b. 2/20/1875), W. Ellsworth (b.11/20/1876), Livatia(?) (b. 5/21/1878).  Then, after taking a six year hiatus, there was Henry Ballard (b. 5/18/1884), James Edward (b.4/16/1886), Mary B. (b. 12/16/1887), Angeline (b. 4/27/1891), and finally Ezra to round it out on 5/20/1894.  Not all of these kids lived to adulthood - in fact, H.H., Livatia, and Mary B. were named by Harrison in his pension papers as 'children living or dead' in 1915, but were not mentioned in the list of living children he provided in 1898.  Judging by census records, I infer that Livatia must have died before the age of two, H. H. before the age of five, and Mary B. before the age of 11. 


Harrison and Angeline evidently stayed in Kentucky for a time, as their first two children were born there in 1867 and 1868, respectively.  But shortly after Frances was born in 1868, they crossed the river back into Wayne County, West Virginia again, as Millard Fillmore Copley was born to them in 1869 in West Virginia, as were all subsequent children.

Edward Harison Copley's grave, located near Webb, WV,

in the Thomas Copley Memorial Methodist Church.

Harrison lived until 1915, but apparently with substantial physical discomfort.  A string of paperwork between 1890 and 1915 pertinent to his military pensions contains many affidavits from friends and neighbors testifying to his frailty.  One representative sample from 1893 is transcribed below, representing the sworn testimony of William Fitzpatrick of Tug River, WV, and Mike Birt of Calf Creek, KY, to a notary public:

"They have worked with claiment for many years at lumbering and farming that he is suffering with rheumatism and indigestion and for some time has not ben able to work and in the year of 1889 was prostrated and had to be carried home and was confined to his bed for a long time and has not ben able to do any work to amount to any thing since and is not able to do more than 1/4 what an able bodied man can do that they no these facts by seeing claiment often for 20 years and working with him and often hearing him complain of said diabilities and from his natural apperance is a badly diseased man now and was not caused by any of his visious habits as he has allways ben temerate in evry thing
and further state that claiment from July 1890 to March 4th 1891 was not able to do any manuel labor and still continues in very bad health to the present time".


Harrison Copley died on September 13, 1915, in Millet (Wayne County), West Virginia, and was buried in the cemetery of the Thomas Copley Memorial Methodist Church (named for his son Thomas Benton Copley).


FOURTH GENERATION: Thomas Benton Copley

Thomas Benton Copley was born to Harrison and Angeline on May 15th, 1872, the 4th of 12 children.  Thomas evidently felt the call of religion (as did at least one of his brothers, Henry Ballard Copley), and tended to the flocks as a Methodist minister.  He was evidently not unacquainted with manual labor, however, as the 1910 census lists him as renting a farm (as opposed to a house), while in the 1920 census, he is listed as a house carpenter.  According to his death certificate, he also worked as a laborer for the railroad.

The scene outside Thomas Benton Copley's church, probably around 1950.  Thomas is in the back row, third from left (in bib), next to wife Plina Frances Smith Copley.  Grand-daughter Helen Marcum stands in the middle of the picture, her husband John Akers Ingram, Sr., kneels to the left.


Thomas married Plina Frances Smith in 1893.  Just like Thomas' parents, they had a 27-year productivity run, and in fact outdid them by one offspring, totaling thirteen, for an average of 2.08 years per child.  However, this average is misrepresentative due to the interesting fact that Thomas and Plina had two sets of twins, born two years apart.  Their children were Bessie (b. 11/25/1893), Nebert (b. 11/21/1894), Florence (b.3/27/1897), Murlah (b.1/7/1900), Oscar Edward (b. 9/13/1902), Glen B. Roy (b. 2/27/1905), Birtie & Gertie (b. 5/26/1907), Lawrence T. & Clarence S. (b. 12/30/1909), Mabel D. (b. 5/6/1913), Freddie B. (b. 9/7/1916), and Dorothy P. M. (b. 1/20/1920).


The children were all born in West Virginia or Kentucky, from the census records, but the family seems to have moved back and forth across the river many times.  But by 1910, Thomas Benton seemed to have settled on one spot.  In that census, he is enumerated with his family just two houses over from his father Edward Harrison Copley, separated by one 'Zattoo' (?) Salmon.  Evidently Harrison Copley's boys stuck together, because by 1920, Thomas owned his house on Tug River Road in Wayne County, West Virginia, separated only by an Arthur Fitzpatrick from the residences of his brothers (Henry) Ballard Copley and Ezra Copley.


Thomas Benton Copley died in his 81st year on October 16, 1952.  He died in the Fairview section of  Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia, where he was residing at the time.  The span of his 80 years, five months, and one day witnessed two World Wars, flight of man, the invention of the automobile, commercial distribution of electricity, the invention of television, and of course, football.  From his death certificate, the cause of his death was 'lobar pneumonia' which lasted 6 days prior to his death, as well as a day's worth of 'heart failure', which apparently only contributed to his death.  Thomas is buried in the small cemetery at the 'Thomas Copley Memorial Methodist Church' (shown below).

"Thomas Copley Memorial Methodist Church 1894", as of 2001. Church is located on
Road 29/11, off Route 52 in Wayne County, at 'Copleyville', near Webb, WV.



Murlah Copley with husband Albert Marcum, probably around 1935....

Murlah Copley was the 4th child of Thomas and Plina Frances Copley, born January 7th, 1900.  She waited until the age of 14 (or the age of an eighth-grader today) before marrying Albert Marcum, on July 30, 1914, the result being that she almost lived to see her 63rd wedding anniversary (Albert lived to see the 69th anniversary of their marriage).  Over the course of those many years, the pair had five children, they being Mable Marie (b. 10/10/1916), Roy Lee (b. 9/7/1918), Ora Helen (b. 2/13/1921), Homer Rhea (b. 2/18/1923), and Albert L., Jr. (b. 10/191925). 

....and later in life.

Around 1950 Albert and Murlah moved from Williamson, West Virginia, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, due to the construction opportunities there (Albert was a construction contractor).  They lived in the Oceana section of the city until Murlah's death on December 1st, 1977.  She is buried in the Fairview cemetery, West Williamson, West Virginia.

PLEASE NOTE: I stopped updating the web page around 2001, but I've continued to work on my project. My family history is now in Word document format, with the goal of publishing it once I consider it to be as complete as I'm going to get it. While I'm greatly indebted to those who have assisted me in my research, I'm finding that the demands of everyday life don't allow me to consistently respond to email inquiries. So, I'm offering my most up-to-date volume for sale, at a price of $19. For those interested, it is at 118 pages right now, printed by a laser printer on 8.5x11 32-lb./98 brightness paper, and wire bound. The table of contents, revision history, and index are available at the following links. To order a copy, please email me at [email protected], and I'll send it within 3 days of payment. If you indicate the family line you are interested in, I'll send you a new bound copy if and when I update my research for that line. Thanks,

EMAIL:Jay Ingram

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