Friday, August 21, 2009

Cemetery Walk No. 2: Anna Gibbon McCollough Copeland

The best laid schemes often do go awry, in this instance because of the number of interesting people grouped around Anna (Gibbon) McCollough Copeland on the triple lot in the Chariton Cemetery that she shares with two husbands, a son, a grandson, her parents and her maternal grandparents.

So two return visits will be required, one for her parents, Dr. William Henry and Laura (Gibbon) Gibbon, and another for her grandparents, Leonard Gibbon and Sarah (Ardery) Gibbon Huntington. To do anything else would overshadow Anna herself.

And that overshadowing business is one of frustrations of local history --- women before perhaps the latter half of the 20th century often were presented principally as extensions of their husbands or their fathers. Most of the published biographical material out there tends to devote 95 percent of the attention to male accomplishment and only a paragraph or two to the women who held the operation together. It seems odd, looked at from the 21st century.

Anna, however, tends to overshadow her husbands --- one of whom, Ralph McCollough, died after only 10 years of marriage leaving her with three small children; and the other, Josiah C. Copeland, who died after a 20-year marriage that produced three more children.

While her father certainly was revered, her mother --- also a woman of accomplishment --- may have had the greater influence. Anna and her family shared the Gibbon home on South Grand Street, one of Chariton’s finest, with Laura (Gibbon) Gibbon for 20 years.

Both women were pioneers in the public library movement in Chariton and for many years the library was located upstairs over the Gibbon drug store on the northeast corner of the square. Anna also served on the Chariton School Board and worked, when she probably would not have needed to work at all, as librarian at the Chariton High School.

Gibbon, McCollough and Copeland all were names to be reckoned with in Chariton during its first century although all now are absent. Anna seems to transcend much of that, based upon what was written about her and a portrait probably dating from not too long before her death. She seems someone any of us might be comfortable sitting with for a time on that grand front porch on South Grand. Here is her obituary:

Mrs. Anna Copeland Succumbs
After Illness of But Two
Days With Paralysis

Chariton Herald-Patriot, 12 April 1928, Page 1

The citizens of Chariton and community have been greatly saddened by the passing away of one of our best loved women, Mrs. Anna Copeland. Last Friday afternoon about ten o’clock, she was suddenly stricken with a cerebral hemhorrhage, while apparently in the best of health, and in a hour’s time lapsed into unconsciousness. She never rallied, and on Easter Sunday, Aprl 8, 1928, at eleven o’clock a.m., as the church bells were ringing, summoning worshippers to the house of God, her soul departed to be with the risen Lord. Everything that loving hands and medical skill could do was done to restore her health, but the good God above saw fit to summon her to the home on high. Largely attended funeral services, conducted by her pastor, Rev. Geo. L. Brown, were held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal church on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, after which the remains were laid to rest in the Chariton Cemetery.

Anna Gibbon, daughter of Dr. William H. and Laura Gibbon, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 5, 1864. Her mother at that time was spending some time in Cincinnati with relatives while Dr. Gibbon was serving in the civil war, although the family home was in Chariton, Iowa. At the close of the war the family come to the home here, which had been established in 1861 when Dr. Gibbon and wife were married. The doctor was one of the early pioneers of Chariton, coming here in 1858. The daughter attended the Chariton schools and then went to Providence, Rhode Island, where she spent two years at the Friends’ (Quaker) Boarding School, and received a liberal education.

She was married on September 4, 1884, to Mr. Ralph Ferree McCollough, who died on February 4, 1894. Three children were born to them, Clement Gibbon, who preceded his mother in death on September 11, 1912, and Mrs. Dorothy Vaughn, of Bloomfield, and Henry McCollough, of this city. On November 26, 1896, Thanksgiving Day, she was married to Mr. (Josiah) C. Copeland, who passed away on September 3, 1916. They were the parents of three children, Lawrence Copeland, of Corydon; and Mrs. Anna Laura Piper and Miss Kathryn Copeland, of this place. Besides these five children above mentioned she is also survived by eight grandchildren.

Mrs. Copeland ever took an active interest in public affairs, and for some time served as a member of the Chariton school board, also on the public library board, and during the world war and on various occasions has given much time to Red Cross work. For several years, until a year and a half ago, she filled the position of librarian at the Chariton high school. She had been an active and devoted member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal church from early girlhood, and was ever ready and willing to assist in all church activities, in which she was greatly interested. She was also a member of the P.E.O. Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Eastern Star order, Daughters of Union Veterans, and Chariton Woman’s Club. She possessed a calm and pleasant disposition and to know her was to admire her for her many lovable characteristics. She was an ideal wife and mother, a splendid neighbor, a true friend, and no one in Chariton will be missed more than she. To the grief stricken children and grandchildren, the deep sympathy of the community will be extended.

Anna’s first husband was Ralph Ferree McCollough, a son of James N. and Rebecca (Feree) McCollough, proprietors of a dry goods firm, J.N. McCollough & Co., with which Ralph was associated. He died on 4 February 1894 of pneumonia complicated by “inflammation of the bowels and brain” after an illness of approximately a week. (Lucas County death records and Ralph's obituary give the death date as 4 February, at variance with the tombstone date).

A little more than two years after her first husband’s death, Anna married Josiah Carey Copeland on Thanksgiving Day, 2 November 1896. Born in Kenton, Ohio, he was a son of Howard and Catherine Copeland and a brother of James Darlington Copeland, also of Chariton. Josiah was a lawyer who at the time of his death of “heart trouble and a complication of diseases” was president of Chariton National Bank (not to be confused with the failed Mallory First National Bank) and mayor of Chariton.

Also buried in the same row with Anna and her two husbands is one of her two sons by Ralph McCollough, Clement Gibbon McCollough, who died at his home on 11 September 1912, age 27, of a “hemorrhage of the stomach.” Clement lived next-door to his mother and stepfather on South Grand and it was she who discovered him unconscious and dying. At the time of his death, Clement was operating the family business, Gibbon Drug Store, for his grandmother, Laura Gibbon. He left a widow, Louise (Angel) McCollough.

To reach the Gibbon/McCollough/Copeland lot, drive straight west from the main entrance of the Chariton Cemetery until the drive turns south. The lot will be on your left. The large family stone is inscribed "Gibbon" on its west face and "McCollough" on its east face. One of Anna's grandsons, Lawrence G. Copeland Jr., is buried beside the family stone. The second row on the lot contains the graves (from north to south) of Josiah Carey Copeland, Anna Gibbon McCollough Copeland, Clement Gibbon McCollough and Ralph Ferree McCollough. The third row on the lot contains the graves (from north to south) of Sarah Gibbon Huntington, Leonard Gibbon, Laura (Gibbon) Gibbon and William H. Gibbon.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information. Anna Gibbon McCollough Copeland was my Great Great Grandmother. The photo is super - amazing that I can see some of my relatives in her face.

Anonymous said...

Anna Gibbon McCollough was my great grandmother. I have her wedding portrait. Let me know if you would be interested in a copy of it for this website.

Frank D. Myers said...

Yes, I certainly would like to have a copy of the wedding portrait. You may contact me directly at Your great-great-grandmother, Laura (Gibbon) Gibbon, was one of four people we featured during this year's Historic Preservation Commission cemetery tour about a month ago.