The subject of this sketch, who has passed to his rest, is well
remembered by the people of Marion county, where he so long labored not only
for his own advancement but also for that of the community at large,
therefore, it is with pleasure that we give a record of his honorable career
in this book, believing that it will be an inspiration to the younger
generation who peruse it.
Eli Copple was born January 8, 1820, in Washington county, Indiana, the son of David Copple, who was born in Germany and when a young man came to America with his parents, locating with them in North Carolina. Later they came to Clark county, Indiana, where the parents died. David Copple grew to manhood in Clark county, Indiana, where he married Lavina Huckleberry, of German-Irish extract. David Copple and wife located in Washington county, Indiana, in 1818, and fourteen years later they came to Marion county, Illinois, where they both died in Centralia township. He was considered one of the valued and leading citizens of the community in which he lived. They were the parents of twelve children, all but one of whom grew to maturity, namely: James lived in Centralia township and was twice married, first to Jane Wells and second to Emily Huckleberry; Elizabeth married Jacob Breeze; Angeline married Henry Bingaman, and they are living in Crete, Nebraska; Eli, our subject; Christiana married M. P. Hester, of Centralia township, and they are both deceased; Samuel is deceased; John Harvey is also deceased; Edmund is a farmer living in Grand Prairie, Illinois; Julia married Marion Roper, who is now deceased, but she is living in Grand Prairie; David, now deceased, was a farmer living in Centralia township; Pollie A. is living in Kansas, having married David Roper, who is deceased. Eli Copple was reared in Centralia township, Marion county, Illinois, and was among the successful farmers of that vicinity, having come with his parents to this county when twelve years of age and located on what is known as the Seven-Mile-Prairie. He was reared among the wild scenes of the frontier and developed thereby a sturdy manhood. He was first married in 1840 to Martha Flannagan, a native of Jefferson county, Illinois, who died in 1850. Two children, who grew to maturity, were born to them. Arminda married William Dolson, who is living in Fullerton, Nebraska; Loretta married A. J. Hartley, of Irvington, Illinois. The subject of this sketch married a second time, his last wife being Sarah Dolson, daughter of Allen and Mary Louisa (White) Dolson, the wedding occurring in February, 1851. Mr. Dolson was a native of New York, near Albany, on the Hudson river. His wife was born in Georgia. Allen Dolson was the son of Peter and Rachael (Quinby) Dolson, both natives of New York. Mr. Dolson was a farmer. Allen Dolson came west when a boy alone, going to the Platt river country, Nebraska, having lived among the Indians for a time. He descended the Missouri river in a canoe to St. Louis, later to Carlyle, Illinois, and then went to Grand Prairie, Jefferson county, Illinois, where he devoted his life to farming. He entered government land. He came to Marion county, where he and his wife both died. The following children were born to them: Sarah, the subject's wife; Robert, Elizabeth, Melville, all deceased; Mary is living in Kansas; Christina, deceased; William, living in Nebraska; Harvey is living in Kansas. The subject and his second wife were the parents of seven children, namely: Charles, a farmer living in Fullerton, Nebraska, was first married to Lucy Jackson, second to Sarah Averill; Mary married Joseph Baldridge, and she is now deceased; Julia is the wife of Harvey Baldridge and they are living in Seattle, Washington; Willis is living in Centralia township on a farm, having married Henrietta Patton; Elmer, living in Centralia township; Robert, living on a farm in Centralia township, married Lillian Ethel Leonard; Ada May married T. S. Kell and they are living with the subject's mother on the old home place, the parents of one son, Cecil Edward.
After a very active and useful life, replete with success and honor, Eli Copple passed to his reward August 14, 1905.
Our subject started in life under none too favorable circumstances, but his father gave him one hundred and sixty acres of wild land and he worked hard and became successful. He was thrifty and a good manager, and at one time owned as much as two thousand acres. He carried on a general farming and stock raising business and was eminently successful in both, becoming known as one of the leading citizens of Marion county. In 1874 he made a trip to France and imported a large number of Norman horses of a very fine quality. Besides raising some fine horses he always raised many good cattle, hogs and sheep. He was an organizer and leading member of the Farmers' Club of Marion county.
The subject cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison and since that time was a loyal Republican. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a liberal subscriber of the same. He erected his first substantial and commodious brick home in 1872 and he and his noble and faithful wife made all the improvements about the place. No man in the county was better or more favorably known than he and everyone remembers him as a very polite and kindly gentleman, as well as a very able business man, and therefore his influence for good in the county was very great.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 569-571.