Copley Family Page

Updated: 23 May 2011

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If you have additional information on this family (photographs, diaries, letters, obituaries, etc.), please contact Jim Adams at: adamsmckain at

There are several connections to the Adams & Brown families:

1. Edward Edwin Bennett Copley married Esther McKain who as a sister of Jane Woods McKain who married Uri Mason Adams.

2. Abner Brown was a laborer in the A.B. Copley household in or near Nicholsville, MI.

3. Fernando C. Brown (a brother of Abner Brown) married Miss Alice J. Copley (born about 1846), the daughter of Thomas Nelson Copley and Clarissa Nichols of Nicholsville, MI.

From the Copley Family Tree (Richard Copley) at (goes back to England in the 14th Century. I will start this page with Thomas & Mary Holcombe Copley):

Generation 1: Thomas Copley, IV (28 Dec 1743 in Suffield, CT - 04 Jan 1797 in Hartford, CT) married (1) Phenix Lane (1740 - 1773). They had:
1.Mary (1766 - )
2. Anne (1768 - )
3. Lucy (1771-1771)

He married (2) Mary Holcomb (06 April 1749 in Simsbury, CT - 11 Oct 1811) the daughter of John & Mary (Kent) Holcomb. They had:
1. Thomas (1775-1782)
2. Oliver (1776-1837)
3. Bildad (1778-1782)
4. Lucende (1780 - )
5. Belende (1780-)
6. Thomas (1782)
7. William Bildad (1786 - 1846)
8. Ebenezer (19 Dec 1787 - 1844)
9. Alexander (22 Nov 1790 - 1842)

Generation 2: Ebenezer Copley (19 Dec 1787 - 1844)

Thomas Copley (1743 - 1797) and Mary Holcombe (1737 - 1789) had a son, Alexander Copley (22 Nov 1790 in Granby, Hartford, CT - 06 Jan 1842) who married Esther (Nott) Copley.

Descendants of Alexander Bennett and Jane Helen (Hathaway) Copley (21 Jan 1827 in Cayuga, NY - 20 Sep 1890 in Decatur, Van Buren, MI).

The Thomas Copley lineage can be found at the Suffield Historical Society. (Relation to our Copley family not known)

Max Copley Family Tree at

Thomas Copley lineage

Biographies of the Copleys can be found in the Portrait & Biographical Record of Berrien & Cass Counties (1893). Readers can download a PDF file (76.8 Mb) or do a search for "Copley" . The index is on page 919.

For Shade & Comfort -- Democratizing Horticulture in the 19th Century (Google Books). Includes history of the Copley family.

Michigan Women's History -- Esther Evoline Copley Lawrence (1824 - 1904) photo & short biography. Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. She was a resident of Little Prairie Ronde, Cass County, MI. Her collection includes 8 volumes of diaries (1851-1903), containing comments on activities, primarily on Sundays, with occasional mention of travels and attendance at Chautauquas and Swedenborg religious activities. In additon to the original diaries, the collection contains a bound typescript of the diaries for 1855-1903. The diaries for 1851-1854 are in shorthand and have not been deciphered. The collection also includes a typescript of the diary (1833) of Charlotte T. Copley (daughter of Alexander Copley), describing her trip from Ohio to Michigan. Another copy of this typescript and a photocopy of the original are found in the Copley family collection.

Copley Message Board at

A.G. Copley (b. 10 Aug 1815 in Otsego County, NY) {found on page 579} Married to Mary Beebe in 1841. She was the daughter of Martin Beebe. She died 1852 at age 28. They had 4 children and Gilbert C. was living at the time the Biographical was written. Gilbert C. Copley married Eliza Foglesong (b. 19 July 1842) of Springfield, OH in 1858. She was the daughter of John and Ann Eliza (Renton) Foglesong. Gilbert C. and Eliza Copley had 10 children.

Ebenezer Copley

A.B. Copley

Eveline E. Copley of Jefferson County, NY

Alexander Bennett Copley (11 March 1822 in Champion, NY - 27 March 1899 in Havana, Cuba) married Jane Helen Hathaway (21 Jan 1827 in Cayuga County, NY - 20 Sept 1890 in Decatur, Van Buren, MI) in 1850. She was the sister of B. Hathaway, Esq., the "Farmer Poet" of Michigan. He resided with his parents at several manufacturing villages in NY, removing to Dayton, OH in 1829, and from there to Little Prairie Ronde, MI where the family arrived on 01 July 1833. His education was limited to the common schools of MI and was a pupil in the first school taught in Van Buren County in the winter of 1834-35. At the age of 20 his mother was widowed and he had one brother and five sisters younger than himself. His occupation was farming until 1874, when he removed to Decatur. His time was partly occupied in the First National Bank of that place, of which bank he was president. He was Supervisor of Volinia Township, Cass County for six terms. Representative from the First District of Cass County, 1865-6 and 1871-2, and the First District of Van Buren County, 1875-6 and 1881-2. In politics he was a Republican. They had two children:

1. Edward Edwin Bennett Copley married Esther McKain

2. Almond Ward Copley (b. 1867 in Cass County, MI) graduated from the Law Department of the University of Michigan in 1892 and practiced law in Detroit. Was Representative frm the First District of Wayne County, 1909-10, 1911-12, 1913-14, 1917-18, 1919-20 and 1921-22.

Esther Evoline Copley married Levi B. Lawrence, son of Levi L. and Mary (Fales) Lawrence. Lawrence Family Tree at Mary "Molly" Fales (22 Oct 1783 in Charlemont, Franklin, MA - 18 Oct 1839) married Levi L. Lawrence ( She was the daughter of Ebenezer Fales (08 Feb 1728 in Essex, Mass. - 30 Nov 1797 in Charlemont, Franklin, Mass.) and Esther Bingham (1741 - 1826).

Copley Family Tree at Begins with Adam Copley in 1065.

Fales Family Tree at Begins with James Fales III in 1656.

Fisher Family Tree of Westborough, MA at Deborah Fisher married James Fales (1656 - 1741). Deborah Fisher married James Fales (1680 - 1770). The tree begins with Anthony Fisher (23 April 1591 in Syleham, Suffolk, England - 18 April 1671 in Dorchester, MA)

Letter from Lotta Copley to Louise Sykes Davis (15 Dec 1964)

Copley Diary (MS Word document) -- Diary of overland trip to Michigan in 1833 by Charlotte Copley. Charlotte was the eldest daughter of Alexander and Esther Nutt Copley.

The connection of the following is not known:

Family History of Thomas Copley (Suffield Historical Society)

Marrieage of Ebenezer Copley to Desire Knapp in Van Buren Co. 23 April 1849.

Thomas N. Copley m. Clarissa Nichols (Families of Rutland Township, Tioga County, PA by J. Kelsey Jones--2008 edition)

Thomas Copley of Suffield, Conn., and Some of His Descendants by Louis Marinus Dewey of Westfield, Mass. (Download PDF file from Google Books 25 Mb)

Copleys of England

Copley Family at Linkpendium

Gravestone Photos for Copley (English)

Copley Family Crest

Search for Copley at World Connect

There is a Copley Lake southwest of Marcellus just east of Lawrence Road.

Biography of Alexander B. Copley (Online biography)

"Sturdy Pioneers of Van Buren and Cass" by A.B. Copley (found in Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society Historical Collections, Vol. 38, Michigan State Historical Society, p. 637): "This paper is designed to treat in part of the first settlement of Van Buren County on its southeastern border and consequently is connected somewhat with the settlement of Cass and Berrien counties, being an outspreading in order to take in the northern border of Little Prairie Ronde. My father left Dayton, Ohio, August 29, 1832, on horseback, to make a trip to that part of Michigan Territory called the St. Joseph Country. He went by way of the Troy, Piqua, St. Mary's, Fort Wayne and Goshen to White Pigeon Prairie(2) where the land office was then located. From that place he went to Big Prairie Ronde and rached the home of Dolphin Morris on the evening of September 4, 1832. From his journal it appears that there had been entered at the land office sixteen eighty-acre lots of land up to that date in the township of Decatur, four in Waverly to R. Sherwood, and five in Lafayette (Paw Paw) as follows: .... (This was read by Hon. A.B. Copley of Decatur, at a meeting of Van Buren County pioneers at South Haven in 1893. His son, Hon. A. Ward Copley, Detroit, is a member of the House of Representatives for 1911-12.) (2) The land office was established at White Pigeon in June, 1831, and removed to Kalamazoo in 1834. Prior to that time all settlers were compelled to go about 125 miles to Monroe in order to register their claims.

(Page 639) "To go back now to the narrative which opened this paper. After viewing the country in the fall of 1832, my father returned home and made preparations to move to the Territory, and June 9, 1833, left Dayton, Ohio, arriving at Little Prairie Ronde July 1st, being twenty-one days on the road, the distance being 234 miles, an average of eleven miles per day, some days going only three miles. He started with two wagons, two yokes of oxen attached to one and a span of horses and one yoke of oxen to the other. Owing to bad roads the horses soon gave out. Another yoke of oxen was purchased and the journey finished in that way, except in bad places the teams would all be hitched to one wagon. Four cows, several calves and two pure Shorthorn Durham cattle were driven. My father, mother, seven children and three young men who were coming to view the country and help us on the journey, comprised our party, not omitting two fierce dogs for defence against wolves and other wild animals. We generally camped where water and grass could be found, but sometimes in dense forests. Water however was abundant but at times only in mud-holes. We occupied a house but one night on our journey and that was an abandoned one on Sugar Hill in the Elkhart Bottoms. Our shelter was a portable tent at night for my parents and sisters -- the rest slept in the covered wagons above the loads. The cooking was done by an openn fire, the baking in a tin reflector, by my mother and elder sisters. The different yokes of oxen were strangers to each other, consequently a bell was required to each yoke. No less than seven bells were used and the clanging of them after going into camp at night can be imagined but not easily described. Notwithstanding these precautions, at times half a day would pass in getting ready for a start. At the time of our arrival there were about thirty-five families in the settlement of Volinia Township, including those in Van Buren County. An election in July, 1833, polled thirty-two delegates for Congress, Lucius Lyon receiving thirty-one votes. My father settled on the north bank of the Little Walk (Dowagiac Creek) -- not a wagon track, road or settler on the south side for eight miles to Young's prairie, to the east and northeast Flowerfield and Three Rivers, fourteen to eighteen miles. Nothing but the primeval forest, the surveyors' lines alone distinguishing it from the redman's hunting ground of centuries previous.

As before remarked the first settlements were made on the prairies and known by the name of the prairie where located; Whitman's mills and Cassopolis in 1833 were the only exceptions. The log cabins were invariably built at the edge of the timber joining the prairie without regard to section lines; in fact the section lines were not run when th first settlers arrived and their claims were guessed at or stepped off.

(to be continued)

Decatur Corporal Fights for And Invests in His Uncle Sam
Allen Copley, Veteran of New Guinea Battles, Buyes Bond a Month Out of $79.20 Pay.
By Harold Sharpsteen
The fact that Corp. Allen Copley, Decatur youth, earns only $79.20 a month serving on the front lines with the 126th Infantry in far-off New Guinea, it is not stopping him from saving enough out of his pay to buy a war bond each month. Scores of boys in his outfit are doing the same thing, he writes his parents.

Since he has been in the service, Corp. Copley, nephew of Mrs. Marvin J. Schaberg, Baldwin road, has invested more than $1,000 in war bonds and was one of Decatur's first subscribers to the Second War loan, according to his father, Earl Copley, president of Decatur's First State Bank.

Overseas Year This Month
Corp. Copley was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1940, and, after serving for a brief period as assistant cashier in the Decatur bank, entered the service April 18, 1941 at Fort Custer. A few days later, he was transferred to Company 1 of the 126th Infantry and went to Camp Livingston, La., for extensive training. He went overseas one year ago this month.

Corp. Allen Copley

Natives on New Guinea have meant everything to American and the Aussies stationed there, according to the Decatur youth who says they treat the wounded as if they were their own children. Even then, it is tough on a wounded soldier who has to be carried very far on a native litter, he says.

"Apparently the natives are weak in the arms, for they have a laborious time getting the load up onto their shoulders. But, once it is there, off they go like young antelope," he writes.

Natives a Happy Lot
"The natives are a happy lot, though the hill tribes are pretty wild looking. Especially so when they wear ornaments in their ear and nose slots. Mothers carry their babies around on their shoulders, but, the little tikes have to hang on to their mother's hair to keep from falling off.

"Native villages are always in coconut groves. As far as we have been able to find out their diet consists mainly of rice, coconuts and a few fish they are able to catch.

"We have been having some native rice lately. We, in turn, feed those who carry our wounded out, giving them cheese, hardtack and jam and they are satisfied.

Corp. Copley, well known in Kalamazoo, went through the Amerian invasion of New Guinea against the Japs uninjured.

Allan B. Copley Obituary

NOTE: Allan B. Copley was the son of Earl Edwin and Loretta "Laura" A. (Hughes) Copley.

Allan B. Copley, age 88 of Dearborn, MI and formerly of Decatur, MI passed away March 4 2006 in University Hospitals, Ann Arbor. Survivors include 2 sisters, Virginia (Jay) Vliek of Decatur, Mary Lou (Robert) O'Connell of Jackson, MI; and several nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Memorials Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday in the First Presbyterian Church, Decatur, with Rev. Brian Hall officiating. Burial of cremains will take place in Lakeside Cemetery, Decatur, with military rites conducted by VFW Celery city Post #6248 and American Legion Post #309. Newell Funeral Home, Decatur, is assisting the family with arrangements. Published in the Kalamazoo Gazette on 5/31/2 006.

Margaret L. Copley Obituary

Margaret L. Copley of Lawton, formerly of Decatur passed away Wednesday, November 10, 2004 in LakeView Continuing Care Center, Lawton. Margaret was born March 18, 1905 in Decatur, the daughter of William and Ella Kathryn (Wassman) Conway. She enjoyed flowers, gardening and was a very artistic person. She married Earl Copley September 1927, and he preceded her in death June 1, 1972. She was also preceded in death by a sister, Dorothy Allemang; and 3 brothers, Edward, John and Lynden Conway. Survivors include 2 daughters, Virginia (Jay) Vliek of Decatur, Mary Lou (Robert) O'Connell of Jackson, MI; a son, Allan B. Copley of Jackson, MI; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Maurine Haefner of Lawton. Friends may call Friday 4-8 p.m. in the Newell Funeral Home, Decatur, where a Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Saturday in Holy Family Catholic Church, Decatur, of which she was a member, Fr. Robert F. Creagan, Celebrant. Burial in Lakeside Cemetery, Decatur. Memorials may be made to Holy Family Scholarship Fund. Published in the Kalamazoo Gazette on 11/11/2004.

Lena M. (Copley) Schaberg Obituary

Newspaper article of 1968):
SCHABERG, Mrs. Lena M.,
611 Whites Rd. -
Passed away suddenly Friday. Mrs. Schaberg was born July 29, 1884 in Decatur, Michigan and had been a lifetime resident here. Graduate of University of Michigan, member of the First Congregational Church and the Park Club. Her husband, Marvin J., preceded her in death February 4, 1968. Surviving are: one son, John C. Schaberg; one daughter, Mrs. Wallace (Esther) Davis, Kalamazoo; 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; brother Earl Copley, Decatur; sister, Miss Lotta Copley, Ann Arbor. Religious services will be conducted by Rev. James C. Holt, 1 p.m. Monday, Truesdayle Downtown Chapel. Interment, Mountain Home Cemetery.