M. L. COPELAND. The subject of this sketch is one who has built, by years of industry and good management, a business that is recognized as being one of the best of its kind in this section, a credit to Reynolds County. Mr. Copeland is a man who possesses the inherent qualities requisite to commercial success, in a very high degree, and in his chosen calling has attained an enviable position among his compeers. He is a prominent merchant at Barnesville, and was born in Reynolds County, Missouri, December 24, 1855, to the marriage of William and Elizabeth (Ellington) Copeland.
The elder Copeland was born in North Carolina as was his father, Landon Copeland, who came to Reynolds County at an early day, settling on Logan Creek, where he followed farming. He came to this county by wagon and was one of the prominent men in the county in his day. He reared a family of eight children: James, William, Lott, and others not remembered. William Copeland came to this county when a small boy, grew to mature years, and became one of the successful and enterprising farmers and merchants of the same. Early in life he began merchandising at Barnesville at a time when he was obliged to have his goods hauled by ox teams from St. Louis. Until 1876 he carried on this business, when his death occurred. He was living at Ironton during the war and lost all his possessions during that time. When he returned to Barnesville all he had left was the land of that place. He was one of the best known men in southeast Missouri, was a Republican and a Union man during the war. For many years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was an officer in the same. He also was a Mason and prominent in the order. He was self-made and self-educated and became a public-spirited and most worthy citizen. Mr. Copeland was married in this county to Miss Elizabeth Ellington, daughter of James Ellington, who resided in this county up to 1849, when he moved overland to California, and was killed by an Indian for his money. Mrs. Copeland, subject’s mother, was born in this county and died in Ironton during the war. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Four children were born to her marriage: Mary J., who is the wife of Gilbert Dickson, of the State of Washington; Catherine, wife of James Moore, is living in Logan Creek; M. L., subject, and Dr. W. A. After the death of the mother of these children, Mr. Copeland selected his second wife in the person of Miss Margaret E. Tubb, who bore him six children: James, who died when twenty-six years of age, was a graduate of the St. Louis Medical College (he had studied under Dr. Copeland, was a bright young man); John A., a farmer; Samuel, who is still living on Dor Run; Sarah, wife of Mr. Chidwiler, of the State of Washington; Julia, wife of William H. Reed; and Harry, who died when one year old. The Copeland family is one of the most prominent in Reynolds County, and all its members were wealthy and influential.
Our subject was reared on the old home place, and when but a boy was left father-less. He received only limited educational advantages, but after reaching mature years branched out for himself as a merchant. In his life we have a character representing integrity, industry and unconquerable will that over-comes all obstructions. He is now doing a flourishing business of about $30,000 per year, and is the present postmaster of Logan Creek. A stanch Republican in his political views, he was elected to the office of district judge in 1886, and discharged the duties of the same in a very able manner. In Carter County he was married to Miss Margaret A. Rose, daughter of Allen D. and Martha J. (Watterfield) Rose, and a native of Iowa. Her father died, but her mother is living at Van Buren.
To Judge and Mrs. Copeland have been born four children: Carrie, Della, Wilbur A., and Emil, who died when two years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Copeland attend the Methodist Episcopal Church, but the latter is a Baptist in belief. Their fine home, which bears every evidence of the taste and culture of its inmates, is the center and meeting place for the best class of people in Barnesville. They have a large tract of land at the latter place.