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.
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
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).
ELDRIDGE MANSFIELD COPENHAVER
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
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.
ELDRIDGE MANSFIELD COPENHAVER (1887-1931)
IMPRESSIVE FUNERAL RITES IN HONOR OF LATE BURGESS
HUNDREDS PAY RESPECT AT CHURCH AND CEMETERY
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
turn out to be an unfounded rumor. It was difficult for people to
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
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
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
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
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
the eldest and is a student in the California High School. His brother
sister are both younger than he and are grade school pupils. The
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
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
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
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.
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
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.