Eldridge  Mansfield Copenhaver 
Biography and Obituary

The following was submitted by Dave Copenhaver Sr. of Monongahela, PA for inclusion at the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA web site in January 2000.

Dave writes:

Enclosed are the  biography and obituary  for my grandfather, Eldridge Mansfield Copenhaver.  Eldridge was Burgess of California Pa from 1925 until his early death in 1931.  The obituary was handed down in the family and probably extracted from The California Sentinel newspaper in 1931.  

The biography was transcribed from Earle L. Forrest's "The History of Washington County,1926".  These books were the property of Eldridge Mansfield Copenhaver and I inherited them from my father, Paul Eldridge Copenhaver (1921-1994).


The man who has made a success of life and won the honor and esteem of his fellowmen deserved more than passing notice, and in this class stands Eldridge M. Copenhaver, a well known citizen of California, Washington County, where for more than twenty years he has held an important and responsible position.  By a life of persistent and well applied energy and commendable industry along well defined lines he has earned the right to be classed with the progressive and public-spirited  men of his county who have made their influence felt in their respective communities. 

Mr. Copenhaver was born at Charleston, West Virginia, on the 30th of April, 1887, and is a son of Floyd and Grace (Carson) Copenhaver. His father also was a native of the Mountain state, born June 7, 1852, and there followed the vocation of farming.  He is a republican in his political views. He is the son of Thomas Copenhaver, who was born in Germany in 1824, and came to this country, settling in Nicholas county, West Virginia, where he farmed and also worked at surveying. He was a republican and a member of the Baptist church.  Grace Carson was born near Baltimore, Maryland, May 1, 1855, a daughter of James and Elizabeth (Blyth/Peacock) Carson.  James Carson was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1824, and died in 1875.  After coming to this country he devoted his attention to mining and became a mine superintendent. During the Civil war he joined the Union army and served valiantly in defense of his adopted country.  His political allegiance was given to the republican party, and his religious faith was that of the Presbyterian church, as was that of his wife. She too was a native of Scotland and died in December, 1853. James Carson was the son of Alexander Carson, who died in 1855 on his way to this country.

Eldridge M. Copenhaver attended the public schools and then took a course in electrical engineering at Scranton, Pennsylvania, followed by two years in the mining school at California. He did first aid work for five years and then for a time was employed in the electrical department of mines in this vicinity. For more than twenty years he has served as electrical foreman for the Vesta Coal Company, his long retention in this important position attesting his ability and faithfulness.  He is thoroughly qualified technically and devotes himself indefatigably to the performance of his duties, the welfare and prosperity of the mines in his care being largely dependent upon his attention to the electrical service.

Politically, Mr. Copenhaver has always given his support to the Republican Party and has served as Burgess of California, giving an able and businesslike administration of the town's affairs. Fraternally he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. He is a member of Syria Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Pittsburgh; the Junior Order of United American Mechanics; and the Chamber of Commerce.  Religiously he is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church at California, being a member of its official board, belonging also to the Men's Bible class and the Epworth League.  He has been deeply interested in work among the boys and is a member of the troop committee of the Boy Scouts.  He is a member of the National Reform Association of Pittsburgh and takes a commendable interest in every movement of an uplifting character, as well as in all measures proposed for the betterment of his own community.

Mr. Copenhaver was married May 3, 1911, at Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, to Miss Pearl Kiesling, who was born October 16, 1889, in Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Wehyman) Kiesling.  Her father was born in Germany, March 17, 1853, came to America in 1866 and settled in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, where he followed his trade, that of a plasterer.  He was a republican and a member of the German Lutheran church. His wife was born in Pennsylvania, June 4, 1856, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Shipper) Wehyman, the former of whom was a native of Pennsylvania, and died in 1885. He was a farmer by vocation, a republican in his political views and a member of the Lutheran church. Mrs. Copenhaver was educated in the public schools of Ellwood City, graduating from the high school, and she is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and its auxiliary societies. To Mr. and Mrs. Copenhaver have been born three children, namely: Harold Ray, born April 15, 1913; Edna Mae, born August 22, 1918; and Paul Eldridge, born August 15, 1921. Mr. Copenhaver is a man of courteous and gentlemanly manner, kindly and genial in his social relations and generous in his support of all worthy benevolent causes, and no one in the community stands higher in popular esteem and confidence than he.




F. Lawson Teets, Former California Pastor, Eulogizes Character and

Accomplishments In Sermon

Masonic Rites Held At Cemetery

The entire community suffered a shock last Sunday evening at the news that Burgess Eldridge Mansfield Copenhaver had been overtaken by sudden death. Telephone wires were busy until far into the night as residence of California and vicinity made inquiries in  the hope that the sad news might turn out to be an unfounded rumor.  It was difficult for people to convince themselves that their esteemed fellow townsman who had been seen on the streets in what was apparently his usual state of health could have passed away.

As Burgess Copenhaver died before a physician could be summoned, it is impossible to say what the exact cause of his death.  He had complained some during the last two or three weeks about not feeling very well but had been at work every day and been seen about town in the evenings.  On Sunday he went to Pittsburgh to see his brother, Hubert, who had been a patient in South Side Hospital for some time.   While it was been stated he was not feeling well, those who made the trip with him said that he seemed to be in an unusually good humor.  He laughed and joked with his brother and the other members of the party as he seemed to be his usual self.  Arriving in California on Sunday evening he complained ---- have been indigestion and -- down on the couch at his home.   According to his mother (Grace M. CARSON-COPENHAVER) who was the only person with him at the time he gave one gasp and passed away.

Mr. Copenhaver was born April 30, 1887 and died Sunday, January 18, 1931. That made his age at the time of death 43 years,  - months, and -- days. Early in life he was married to Pearl Kiesling ------death, dying three yeas ago last December.

Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Copenhaver; Harold Ray, Edna Mae, and Paul Eldridge, and these three survive their father.  The son Harold is the eldest and is a student in the California High School.  His brother and sister are both younger than he and are grade school pupils.  The sympathy of the entire town goes out to the children who were bereft of both parents. Their aged grandmother, Grave M. Carson-Copenhaver remains with them.

The deceased was in the midst of his second term as Burgess of the Borough of California.  He had served his community faithfully and well dealing with intricately difficult problems as he presided with strict justice and fairness during a hard fought coal strike and coped with the ever present problem of law enforcement.  It can truthfully be said of him that the best interests of his community were continually uppermost in his mind. 

He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and had been made a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.  He was also a member of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics.  He was also a devout churchman belonging to the  First Methodist Episcopal Church. of California where he rendered faithful and efficient service as a member of the Official Board.

Funeral services sere held in the First Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock.  The Rev Harry Allan Price was in charge of the service and the music was furnished by the church choir under the direction of Prof. E.E. Halstead.  The sermon was preached by the Reverend F. Lawson Teets, a former California Methodist pastor and a close friend of the Copenhaver family.  He delivered an eloquent and masterly funeral address  which will not be forgotten by those who heard it.  He alluded to the distinguished character of the service which the deceased had always rendered to his church and to his community.  The funeral was one of the largest ever held in California, the church being crowded to overflowing.  There was a Masonic burial service at the Howe Cemetery grave following the ritual of the church.

Genealogy in Washington County, Pennsylvania
Last updated: 01/20/2006


  •   Georgeann Malowney 1996-2006 websites: www.irishgenealogy.com | www.springfieldohio.org | www.redmondwashington.org | www.chartiers.com | copyright information | email