52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Week 12 Whispers along the Journey – Lillian D. Copeland
Lillian D. Copeland, birth 15 January 1902, Alabama. You whispered to me yet I didn’t pay attention on more than one occasion. I snapped a picture of your headstone at the Cal Family Cemetery in Town Creek, Alabama over two years ago and wondered who your where. The carved words explained yet it didn’t fit what I knew so not too much attention was given to the engrave letters that spelled it out.
I hunted for your father, Richard W. Copeland born 20 Oct 1973 and found him living with your mother and wife, Lillian in the 1910 Town Creek Census yet you were not listed. I figured he was one of the two living children of Julius and Pearlina (Burt) Copeland but wasn’t certain. Your father, Richard Wallace Copeland listed your mother Lillian as the nearest kin in his Draft Registration Card of 1918. I saw him living in Birmingham Alabama close other family members, Robert and Rose Carroll yet your mother wasn’t in that household in the 1920 Census. I questioned and wondered but looked no further. I hunted and hunted for the marriage record of your father and mother in the Alabama Marriage Index without results. Yet the 1900 US Census for Precinct 22 ½ Town Creek, Alabama stated they had been married for fourteen years without any children. Of course, it took awhile to find them for their names were recorded as Bichar and Lilin Copelan so at first I didn’t realize it was them. Looking beyond the index at the written records noticed that Bichard was Richard and someone had no idea of how to spell Lillian. The birthrates matched, the location was the same as 1910 and the birthplace of them and their parents matched. Felt certain this was the Richard Copeland that I was looking to document.
Along the way, at Family Search.org noticed a Lillian Copeland in the death index for Town Creek, Lawrence County, Alabama, a female that was 11 yrs. 10 mos. with a birth years of 1901. Immediately wrote it down with the source for future reference. Now my paternal grandmother’s brother Ocie Watkins adopted a Carroll in Indiana, Pennsylvania. It was within the last couple of years that I learned his daughter was a Carroll and it was long after his death. He called me ONCE a year since I moved to Atlanta up to his death in the 1980’s. What amazed me was how much he seemed to know about the Carroll’s and the tidbits he would tell me. Once I learned his adopted daughter was a Carroll, what he knew made sense.
So yesterday and today, I found him whispering in my ear to a point that I had to stop and pay attention. Mostly, what I heard was “Mr. Copeland was your Grandmother Sally’s brother”. My response was I hear your Uncle Ocie but I loose track of him in 1927, the last document found where he was a miner in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. So I went back again to learn what I could about Richard trying to document him as my great grandmother Sally’s brother. Found his Draft Registration for WWI in Jefferson County Alabama where he listed his next of kin as Lillian in 1918 (good good thought I was making headway). In the 1920 Census he is living alone and no signs of Lillian not even in the Alabama Death Index. Okay for some reason he went on to Pennsylvania alone yet no record of death found in Pennsylvania or Alabama. I know his father and sister visited Pennsylvania in 1930 so what the heck happened to him and where was Lillian, your mother. Frustrated I pretty much decided to record what was found and leave it alone. My great Uncle Ocie continued whispering in my ear as I was driving to and from an appointment. My response was what is it what do you want me to know???? Came home got on my computer again and something told me to go to my records on the Cal Family Cemetery in Lawrence County Alabama. Sure enough I found what Lillian D. and Uncle Ocie wanted me to find today. A newly found cousin that died much too young. So now how or what did you die of at such a young age? Thank you Lillian D. and Uncle Ocie for leading me to tie this much together. Not sure I'm leading this Journey or following and with finds like this, I'll go with the whispers of my ancestors.