Friday, August 26, 2016

Call A Copp

We made it!

After beginning our look at their descendants in February, we've arrived at the youngest of John and Eliza (Callin) Ferguson's children. Telling her story, and that of her children, has been tough. The records I have been able to scrape together don't corroborate much of what we knew about them - but let's look at what they do tell us.

Here is what the Callin Family History had to say about her:

Record of Minerva Ferguson, 7th daughter of Eliza Callin Ferguson, 3rd daughter of John Callin, 2nd son of James 1st.

Born 1850, died 1881.
Married to Copp.
To this union three children were born:
Clarissa, born 1880, died 1909; 2 children:
Letha, died at 3 years old.
John, born 1881; married, one child.

The Census records vary, but they seem to show that Minerva J. Ferguson was born about 1853 in De Kalb county, Indiana. She married Abner G. Copp (1849–1919) on 8 June 1871.

Abner was the youngest son and second youngest child of one Jacob Copp, who was born on March 2, 1812, in Pennsylvania. Jacob married Isabella "Zibby" Kees on April 11, 1834, in Columbiana, Ohio. They had seven children in 18 years; depending on which records you consult, some of them were born in Ohio, at least one was born in Pennsylvania, and the rest in Indiana. Abner was born on 3 December 1849 in Allen county, Indiana.

Minerva would have been about 17 years old when she and Abner married, and contrary to what the CFH record says, they had their first daughter right away (at least according to the 1880 Census). I have not found any record of Minerva's death or burial, and there were no newspaper items available from that time, but I would guess that she either died giving birth to her youngest child, or that she died soon after, possibly from one of the outbreaks of typhoid that were common at the time.

After Minerva's death (at age 27) in 1881, Abner remarried in 1884. He and his second wife, Anna Alice Boran (1864–1939) had three children; a son and two daughters. (I haven't included their complete family history here because they aren't, strictly speaking, descendants of James Callin. If you're interested in learning more about them, I'm happy to share whatever I have.)
  1. Jesse Roy Copp (1884–1962)
  2. Vera Copp (1888–??)
  3. Flossie C Copp (1891–1982)

     I. Clarissa "Callie" Copp (1872–1909)

detail from 1880 U.S. Census showing the Copp family
(click to see it full size)
As you can see in the section of the Callin Family History quoted above, great-uncle George mis-stated her birth date. I don't know if he got her name right, but he recorded her as "Clarissa;" that is also how she was referred to in her grandfather James Ferguson's will: "Clarissa J Copp daughter of my daughter Minerva Copp deceased"...

I have only found three records that show her name: the 1880  Census (shown at right), the 1900 Census, and an Indiana Marriage Index record. The 1880 clearly says "Caroline," but I suppose that could be a mistake on the part of the enumerator. The 1900 calls her "Callie," which doesn't conclusively tell us anything. And the marriage index record lists her name as "Clara C Jane Copp," which could be a corruption of "Clarissa," but it is not very helpful without the original document to consult.

Callie also gets her own entry in the CFH:

Record of Clarissa Copp Mears, eldest daughter of Minerva Ferguson Copp, 7th daughter of Eliza Callin Ferguson, 3rd daughter of John Callin, 2nd son of James 1st.

Born in 1880.
Married to Frank Mears.
Died in 1909.
To this union two children were born.
Fred, born
Farfield, born

Callie actually married Franklin "Frank" Meese (1870–1945) in De Kalb county on 6 February 1892. Frank enlisted in May of 1892, probably serving in the National Guard. Frank farmed, and hired out as a day laborer; sometimes he worked as a drayman. The couple had two sons in the eight years they were together.

Once again, I have been unable to find any records that tell me how or when Callie died, but on the 1910 Census, her sons were shown living with Frank's parents, Isaac G Meese (1844–1931) and Amanda Melton (1844–1910). Amanda died in December of that year.

Frank eventually remarried in 1920. He was living in a boarding house in Columbus, Ohio, at the time, and married another lodger listed at the same residence - a widow named Queen Breedlove (b. 1886). He died in January 1945 at the age of 74. He was struck by a car in Fort Wayne on 10 December 1944, and succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later.

     A. Fred Jay Meese (1892–1947) was an iron worker, by trade. In 1917, when he was 24, he listed his occupation on his World War I draft registration as "structural iron works," and was employed by Bethlehem Steel, in Pennsylvania. While he still listed his home address in Indiana, it seems he settled in Philadelphia for the rest of his life.

There is a 1922 Philadelphia marriage record for a Fred Meese and Ethel D Heatherington (b. 1896), and they appear in the 1930 Census; however, I have not been able to find any other information about her. I don't know whether they had any children after 1930, or whether they divorced or she died; all I do know is that by 1940 he was listed as single in the Census.

In the 1940 Census, Fred was a lodger in the home of the widowed Mary Leonard and her adult daughter, Katherine. Mary's maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Jessen (1894–1945), and by April 1942, she was Mrs. Mary Meese, according to Fred's World War II Draft registration. In 1942, he worked for the United Engineering Company in Philadelphia. Mary died of a coronary thrombosis in 1945.

His third wife, Martha King McAdoo (1903–1958), was the widow of Howard Charles Booth (1898-1943). Fred and Martha were married in Philadelphia in 1946; sadly, Fred died in August 1947. He collapsed while working at a construction site on Barbadoes Island during a heat wave, and he died on the way to the hospital. Martha died, also of a coronary thrombosis, in 1958, and was buried near Howard.

Found on

     B. Fairfield Isaac Meese (1895–1959) enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1911, and earned a commission, rising to the rank of Commander. He was on the USS Oklahoma, stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia, according to the 1920 census; and he was an instructor in the Reserve Officer Training Corp unit in Berkeley, Alameda County, California, according to the 1930 census. He taught there for many years before retiring in 1940. In 1941, he was re-activated as a chief gunner's mate at the very beginning of World War II. His service career included duty in both world wars and Korea.

Fairfield was married to Virginia L Loveland (1905–1953) in 1949; after her death, he moved back to Garrett, De Kalb county, Indiana. There, he was married briefly to Marie Hester (Leichty) Draggoo (1895–1975) before he died in 1959.

     II. Letha Copp (abt 1877-1880)

All we really know about Letha is what George Callin tells us in the Callin Family History; that she died at the age of 3 years old. Since she did not appear on the 1880 Census; she may have been born as early as 1873, and as late as early 1877. I have not found any records that name her.

     III. John Ora Copp (1881–1972)

 Was raised by his father and step-mother. Ora married Isabella "Belle" Zeigler (1881–1944) on 12 April 1904, in Steuben county, Indiana. They started their new family in Angola, where Ora (or, now that he was grown, "Jack") worked in a hardware store. In 1910, he survived a bout of typhoid.

Jack worked in the hardware store until he found a job in Detroit, where he worked for the Studebaker company as a sheet metal worker during the 1920s. By 1930 he had returned the family to Indiana, and they settled in Hamilton, in Steuben county, where he again worked in a hardware store.

Isabella died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in March 1944, at the age of 62. Jack remarried Esta (Reed) Swift (1890-1965) on 4 November 1944; they were married 21 years before Esta died after suffering hypertensive heart disease. Jack died of complications from prostate cancer at the age of 91.

     A. Russell A Copp (1907–1969) graduated Southwestern high school in Detroit, and found work as a factory worker. He was married briefly to Ethel Mildred Clay (1911–1995); they married on 8 February 1927, and were divorced in October 1928.

In 1934, he and his father worked for the Jewell Tea Company in Angola; in 1937, Russell was working in a factory in Fort Wayne. At some point prior to 1949, he did marry again. His second wife, Eleanor Reed (1921-1987), was the niece of Russell's step-mother, Esta, and she was pretty interesting.

Eleanor was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Elbert R. Reed (1897–1961) and Fern Cassidy (1900-1987). She was married briefly, to Gordon Leroy Miller (1921–1999) from June 1943 to October 1944. October 1944 is also when she enlisted in the U.S. Navy, which she served until 22 June 1946. I have a hunch that her October divorce and enlistment were related to each other.

I surmise that she married Russell after her discharge; he did not serve because he did not pass his Army Board physical. Without records or newspaper accounts to tell me otherwise, I guess that they married between 1946 and 1949 - that is when they began appearing in the social pages of the Angola Herald and "Mr. and Mrs. Russell Copp." Not long after that, they were also accompanied by a son, whom I presume to still be living.

Eleanor survived Russell when he died of a heart attack at age 62 in Hamilton, Steuben county. Russell was buried in the Hamilton cemetery, along with his parents. She returned to Kalamazoo, where she may have been living with her mother, Fern. They each died in 1987: Eleanor in February and Fern in December.

 - -- --- -- - 

So there you have it - we've reached the end of the line for the sons and daughters of Eliza Callin Ferguson. And while I was afraid at the end there would be no survivors, it seems there may be one descendant of Minerva J. Ferguson still out there - that son of Russell and Eleanor!  (Hopefully, he has a long, healthy life, and many happy grandchildren.)

I'll leave you with a special treat today, since I'll be taking a break next week to prepare the next branch of the family. This song has been stuck in my head since I started researching all of these Indiana families. I hope it stays with you for a while, too!

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