Monthly Archives: June 2012

Obituary: Dessie Ann Coker

I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into the Copeland family for an upcoming article and came across this obituary mentioning Virgie and Danner Copeland by their married names. This turned out to be a key document for the article, so I’m presenting the obituary here. It was originally published in the Midland Reporter Telegram of Midland, Texas on 16 August 1977.

Mrs. Clayton’s rites in Crane

CRANE – Dessie Ann Clayton, 73, died at 1:37 p.m. Monday in a Crane hospital following a lengthy illness.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Sheppard Funeral Home with burial in Crane Garden of Memories.

Mrs. Clayton was born Aug. 19, 1903 in Arkansas. She was married to William Henry Clayton Oct. 23, 1918[1], in Arkansas. She had been a resident of Crane 32 years[2].

Survivors include a daughter, Demolee Kipton of Crane; two sons, Elbert Clayton of Crane and Charles Clayton of Bellingham, Wash.; two sisters[3], Virgie Conley[4] of Reedly, Calif., and Danner Graham of Sikeston, Mo.; two brothers, Seburn Coker and Martin Copeland[5], both of Crane; nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.


[1] The Van Buren County marriage record, which is available online at, recorded 23 October 1918 as the issue date of William and Dessie’s marriage license. They were actually married four days later, on 27 October 1918. The marriage date was also stated incorrectly in William’s obituary.


[2] Dessie moved to Crane, Texas circa 1945, based on this obituary.

[3] Actually her half-sisters.

[4] Misspelling of Condley.

[5] Martin was actually her half-brother.

Dessie was the daughter of California Cypert and her second husband Mancel Coker.

Sources Midland Reporter Telegram, 16 August 1977, page 10A. Retrieved on 23 June 2012.

"Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 July 2012), William H Clayton, 1918.

Tidying Up The Gray Home

I did some tidying on The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 2: Mary Frances Wilbanks today. The following changes have been published:

  • Updated Fannie’s birthdate based on the 1880 census and her grave markers pictured at Find a Grave
  • Added in the names of Fannie’s parents
  • Added an educated guess at the identity of “J. A. Wilbanks”
  • Added in section headers by decade to make the article easier to follow
  • Made some revisions to the text for clarity
  • Updated the Sources section.

Read the updated article now!

Silas Copeland & California Cypert


Silas Richard Copeland was born on Friday, 10 February 1871 in Griggs Township, Van Buren County, Arkansas. He was the son of Burgess M. Copeland.

California E. Cypert was born circa 1872 in Arkansas. She was the daughter of William and Asenath Cypert.


On Monday, 15 August 1892, Silas Richard Copeland, age 21, of Marshall in the county of Searcy, married California E. Cypert, age 20, of the county of Van Buren. The marriage was performed in Van Buren County by judge J. H. Fraser and recorded by county clerk  J. B. Thompson. Security on the marriage bond was Wm. Moody.

Wednesday, 9 May 1894, their daughter Virgie Viola Copeland was born.

Tuesday, 29 December 1896, their son William Martin Copeland was born.

Silas Richard Copeland died in Searcy County on Friday, 30 April 1897, at the age of 26. He was interred at Marshall Cemetery in the city of Marshall, Searcy County. At the time, California was approximately five months pregnant.

Monday, 23 August 1897, the baby girl Silas Danner Copeland was born. She never knew her daddy, but was apparently named for him.

California Copeland PatentSaturday, 22 April 1899, the land office in Harrison, Arkansas issued a land patent to “California E. Copeland, widow of Silas R. Copeland, deceased…” for a parcel located at “the North West quarter of the North East quarter, the North East quarter of the North West quarter and the South half of the North West quarter of Section Two in Township thirteen North of Range sixteen West of the Fifth Principal Meridian in Arkansas, containing one hundred and fifty-six acres and forty-five hundredths of and acre.” Since homesteaders had to occupy their land for five years before being issued a patent, Silas and California had settled this parcel sometime around 1894, perhaps even as soon as following their marriage in 1892, allowing for the inevitable governmental delays in processing paperwork.


I have not been able to find California and the children on the 1900 census for Searcy County, Arkansas. She was granted a land patent only a year before the census, so I think it unlikely she would have been living elsewhere. It appears that the family was simply not enumerated.

In late 1900, California would remarry. That union shall be covered in a future article.

Sources 1860 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Griggs, Van Buren, Arkansas; Roll: M653_51; Page: 474; Image: 476; Family History Library Film: 803051. Accessed 7 June 2012. Social Security Death Index. Name: Virgie Condley; Issue State: Arkansas; Issue Date: Before 1951. Accessed 7 June 2012. Social Security Death Index. Name: William Copeland; Issue State: Oklahoma; Issue Date: Before 1951. Accessed 7 June 2012. Social Security Death Index. Name: Danner Graham; Issue State: Missouri; Issue Date: 1958-1959. Accessed 7 June 2012.

"Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 June 2012), S R Copeland, 1892.

Nancy Weaver. "S.R. Copeland". Find A Grave. Accessed 7 June 2012.

Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior. General Land Office Records. Document number: 12337; Application: 20855; Issue Date: 22 April 1899. Accessed 7 June 2012.

Summer Break

Since the automobile accident a couple of weeks ago, genealogical things have slowed to a stop here at stately Graham Ancestry. My insurance company declared my car, Ruby, a total loss and issued to me a check for her value. We searched the Internet for a replacement, and found something we liked up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, some 70 miles from home. I drove the rental car up there on Saturday (the rental, a Chevrolet Malibu, I nicknamed “Reynold”) and signed the paperwork to purchase a 2009 Equinox Sport, which the children have named “Ruby Jo.” Here is a picture of her:


Between the issues related to the accident, and the upcoming two-weeks of Annual Training (A.T.) that I must perform with the National Guard, I will probably get back into researching and posting here in late July. I’ve even allowed to lapse my subscriptions to Fold3, and GenealogyBank because the money is needed elsewhere. I intend to resume those subscriptions once I receive my A.T. money.

My next article, already partially written, will be about the family of Silas Richard Copeland, whose daughters Virgie and Danner married the Graham brothers William Thomas and John Jasper. I’ve covered some of this material before from the Graham point of view, but this time I will be approaching it from the viewpoint of Silas and his wife California Cypert. If you have any information that you would like to contribute to the article, feel free to e-mail me at

Also, you can now follow @GrahamAncestry on Twitter.

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