Tag Archives: Silas Richard Copeland

Obituary: Silas Danner Copeland

Here is the death notice for Danner Graham, published in The Sikeston Standard-Democrat on Tuesday, 11 June 1996.

Danner Graham

SIKESTON – Danner Graham, 98, died at 6:50 a.m. June 11, 1996, at the Sikeston Convalescent Center.

Arrangements are incomplete at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston.

The following day a full obituary was published in the same paper. Notice the subtle differences in the first paragraph between the two. The dateline on the death notice was Sikeston, where Danner’s death actually occurred, while the dateline on the obituary was Morley, where she resided. Also, the death notice reported the time of death, while the obituary did not.

Danner Graham

MORLEY – Danner Graham, 98, died June 11, 1996, at the Sikeston Convalescent Center.

Born Aug. 23, 1897, at Searcy County, Ark., daughter of the late Bud and Callie Cypert Copeland[1], she was a member of Calvary Temple Assembly of God Church in Sikeston and had taught Sunday school for many years at Hope Baptist Church near Oran.

On Jan. 7, 1916[2], she married John Jasper Graham who preceded her in death on Aug. 11, 1979.

Survivors include: three sons, Denver Graham of Sikeston, Dempsey Graham of Oran and Julius Graham of Memphis, Tenn.; two daughters, Berlene Cody of Perry, Ark., and Delois Goetz of Sikeston; and eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Preceding her in death were one brother, one sister, three half sisters and two half brothers.

Friends may call after 5 p.m. today at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston, where services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.

Burial will follow in the Old Morley Cemetery near Morley.


[1] Her parents’ full names were Silas Richard Copeland and California E. Cypert. This is the only instance where I’ve seen S. R. Copeland referred to as “Bud.”

[2] Year of marriage is incorrect. Danner and John were married in 1917, not 1916. This same error occurred in John’s obituary.


The Sikeston Standard-Democrat, “Danner Graham,” page 5, published on Tuesday, 11 June 1996. Retrieved from microfilm at the Sikeston Public Library on Monday, 8 October 2012.

The Sikeston Standard-Democrat, “Danner Graham,” page 5, published on Wednesday, 12 June 1996. Retrieved from microfilm at the Sikeston Public Library on Monday, 8 October 2012.

Mancel Coker & California Copeland

Continued from Silas Copeland & California Cypert.


Coker 1900 Census

The 1900 United States Census was enumerated in Red River Township in June. Mancel Cebern Coker, born 22 July 1872, was living on a farm in Red River with four of his sisters and a nephew.

California E. Copeland, née Cypert, the widow of Silas Richard Copeland, cannot be found on the 1900 census. She must have been living with her three children in Red River, as she was granted a land patent there on 22 April 1899.

Coker Copeland MarriageOn Saturday, 22 December 1900, Mancel Coker was issued a license to marry “Mrs. California Copeland,” with Ace S. Duck signed as security. Mancel’s residence was given as Debie, Searcy County, while California’s residence was Watts, Searcy County. The marriage was conducted on Sunday, 23 December 1900 by Justice of the Peace C. D. Rambo.

In 1902, Mancel and California celebrated the birth of their first child together, daughter Goldie Coker.

Saturday, 29 August 1903 was the birth of their second daughter, Dessie Ann Coker.

Thursday, 2 February 1905 was the birth of their first son, Cebern Perry Coker.

On Friday, 29 March 1907, their son Paul Coker was born.

In Washington, D.C., the Ozark National Forest was established on Friday, 6 March 1908 by a proclamation from United States President Theodore Roosevelt. The forest covered parts of 18 counties in Arkansas, including Searcy County, from the land north of the Arkansas River. The Cokers were living on land inside the new boundaries of the forest, but pursuant to the presidential proclamation, those lands “upon which any valid settlement has been made” were excepted, and so on Monday, 27 July 1908 Mancel was granted a homestead land patent from the Federal Land Office.


Red River (Ozark National Forest)

The 1910 United States Census was enumerated in Red River Township, Ozark National Forest Reserve, on Thursday, 21 April 1910 by Ancal Martin. Mister Martin recorded the Coker family thusly:

Coker Copeland 1910 Census

Mancel and California had been married for nine years. It was the first marriage for Mancel, but California’s second. California was the mother of eight children, but only seven were living in 1910. Four of the children were from Mancel and California’s marriage, and the other three from her first husband, Silas Richard Copeland. The living children were:

  1. Goldie Coker
  2. Dessie Ann Coker, here recorded as “Arkie”
  3. Cebern Perry Coker, recorded as “Cebie”
  4. Paul Coker
  5. Virgie Viola Copeland
  6. William Martin Copeland
  7. Silas Danner Copeland, here recorded as “Daner”.

At least one possibility exists for the identity of the deceased eighth child. Find A Grave has a listing for Mary B. Coker, born Thursday, 8 July 1909 and died Thursday, 22 July 1909, buried in Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas. I do not know for certain that she was the child of Mancel and California, but her birthdate would place her as their last born if indeed she was their child. Furthermore, Danner’s obituary supports that the deceased Coker child was a girl.

The census reported that Mancel and California could both read and write. The Copeland children were able to read and write, except for Danner, who could apparently read but not write. All three Copeland children had attended school. The two Coker girls had attended school, but apparently not the Coker boys. Whether the Coker children could read or write was left blank.

California lied about her age, making herself 10 years younger.

Mancel, Virgie and William had “home farmer” given as their occupations.

California E. Coker, née Cypert, died sometime in 1911 at the approximate age of 39. She was interred at Shady Grove Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.

Sunday, 7 January 1917, Danner Copeland married John Jasper Graham of Watts, Arkansas. Follow the link to continue reading Danner’s story.

By June 1917, William Martin Copeland had moved to Drumright, Oklahoma where he worked as a pipefitter at Tidal Gas Plant #1. On Tuesday, 5 June 1917, he registered for the draft in Drumright, and later served as a Private First Class in the United States Army during the First World War.

Sunday, 4 November 1917, Virgie Copeland married William Thomas Graham of Watts, Arkansas. Follow the link to continue reading Virgie’s story.

Sunday, 29 September 1918, Goldie Coker married Otis Jasper Bohannon, 19, of Watts, Arkansas. Goldie’s “half-brother-in-law” William Thomas Graham signed as security on the marriage bond, returning the favor to his first cousin Otis who performed the same deed on William’s bond to marry Virgie the previous year.

Sunday, 27 October 1918, Dessie Ann Coker married William Henry Clayton, Junior, 19, of Atlas, Searcy County, Arkansas.


Coker 1920 Census

On Thursday, 12 February 1920, census enumerator Fredrick Houghton visited the Cokers, who by then owned a farm in Shady Grove Township. Mr. Houghton recorded the widower Mancel Coker, age 47, with the occupation of farmer. Mancel’s boys Cebern and Paul were recorded, ages 14 and 12 respectively, with no occupation. The boys had both attended school and could read and write English.

Mancel Cebern Coker died on Tuesday, 4 May 1920 at the age of 47. He was interred at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.


I found several spelling variations for Mancel Coker: “Mancel” (marriage record, land patent and 1910 census), “Mancil” (1920 census), “Mansel” (Find A Grave and 1900 census), “Mansul” (Arkansas Death Index). One spelling variation was more common than the rest, so I’ve chosen to spell it “Mancel” in my family tree and throughout this article. I also chose to use the same spelling for both Mancel’s middle name and his eldest son’s (and a grandson’s) first name: “Cebern”.

There appears to be some discrepancies with the birth and death dates recorded at Find A Grave for Mancel Coker. His birth year is given as 1874 there, but the math doesn’t work with his age of 47 given on the 1920 census. The 1900 census recorded his birthdate as July 1872. If we assume correct the 22nd day of July, as given at Find A Grave, then a birthdate of 22 July 1872 works perfectly to make Mancel 47 years old on the census date of 12 February 1920. An 1872 birth year is also consistent with his age of 37 on the 1910 census, and his age of 28 at his marriage in December 1900. Thus, the 1874 birth year at Find A Grave must be wrong.

Mancel’s death date also appears to be wrong at Find A Grave. The Arkansas Death Index recorded it as 4 May 1920, while Find A Grave reported it as 21 May 1920.

Dessie Ann Coker was recorded as “Arkie” on the 1910 census and as “Dessie Ann” in her obituary. I suspect, though haven’t yet been able to confirm, that her given name was Arkadelphia, after her aunt. That would explain both “Arkie” in 1910, and “Dessie” if we accept it as a variation of “Delphia.”

For Cebern Perry Coker, spelling variations were: Cebie (1910 census), Ceberry (1920 Census), Seaborn (1930 Census), Cebern (Social Security Death Index and Texas Death Index).


A complete list of sources appears on page 2.

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.


Ancestry.com. 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.

Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index. Name: Virgie Condley; Issue State: Arkansas; Issue Date: Before 1951. Accessed 7 June 2012.

Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index. Name: William Copeland; Issue State: Oklahoma; Issue Date: Before 1951. Accessed 7 June 2012.

Ancestry.com. 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 (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NMP2-NBZ : 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, Ancestry.com 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 GrahamAncestry@me.com

Also, you can now follow @GrahamAncestry on Twitter.

John Jasper Graham

Revised 1 October 2013.

John Jasper Graham was the fourth child of John Henry and Mary Matilda Graham.  He was born in Watts, Searcy County, Arkansas on Sunday, 19 January 1896.


The first census to record John Jasper was the 1900 census.  John was living on the family farm in Red River Township with his parents, older sister Evisa, brothers Jessie and William, and younger sister Mary.  John’s birthday appears to be estimated as January of 1895, which was written over 1894, and his age given as five written atop six.  This clashes with the birth year of 1896 given on later documents, which would have made him four at the time of this census.



Marriage Document of John and Danner

The 1910 census recorded the family still farming in Red River Township.  John was recorded as “Jasper” here, age 14 (supporting the 1896 birth year).  Still on the farm were both parents, older sister Evisa and brothers Jessie and William.  Younger sister Mary had died in October of 1905.  Four new siblings were recorded: sisters Emma, Stella and Nona, and a toddler brother Daniel.  Jessie, William and John all have their trades listed as farmer, apparently helping their father keep the family fed and money coming in.

On Friday, 5 January 1917, John, age 21, paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Miss Danner Copeland, 19, of Oak Flat, Searcy County, Arkansas (Oak Flat was actually located in Van Buren County).  John signed the bond as “Jasper Graham”, and his older brother Jessie, listed as security, signed as “Jesse Graham.”  On Sunday, 7 January 1917, Justice of the Peace H.D. Barnes performed the marriage ceremony.

Silas Danner Copeland was born on Monday, 23 August 1897.  She was last child of Silas Richard Copeland and California Cypert.


Front of John’s draft registration card

On Tuesday, 5 June 1917, John registered for the World War I draft.  On his draft card is recorded his full name of John Jasper Graham, age 21, residing in Watts Arkansas, birth date of 19 January 1896, martial status was married (spouse’s name not recorded), and occupation a self-employed farmer.  He appeared to sign as “Jasper Graham”, with the “John” then appended slightly smaller in front of the signature line.  The back side of the card recorded his physical description as tall, slender build, blue eyes, with dark brown hair. It does not appear that John was ever drafted.

On Monday, 29 October 1917, John and Danner became parents to a baby boy, Denver Etridge Graham.


Jasper and Danner 1920 census

1920 Census, Shady Grove Township, Searcy County, Arkansas

The 1920 census was enumerated in Shady Grove Township on 13 and 14 February 1920, and recorded John and Danner owning a farm.  John was recorded as “Graham, J. Jasper” and Danner as “Silas D.”  Their son Denver’s age was recorded as “2 and 2/10”.  Two-tenths?  Really? (Another unrelated entry on this census page appeared to record an age as 8 and 7/18!)

Also listed on this same census page, three farms down the road from John and Danner, was John’s first cousin Otis Bohannon and his wife Goldie, who was Danner’s half-sister. Next door to cousin Otis was John’s widowed aunt Eliza Ann Watts living with her widowed mother Sarah F. Graham.

On Friday, 30 July 1920, son Dempsey R. Graham was born.  This indicates that Danner was approximately three months pregnant at the time of the 1920 census.

Circa 1922, their son Julius R. Graham was born in Arkansas.

On Monday, 5 January 1925, their first daughter Berlene V. Graham was born in Arkansas.


John and Danner 1930 census

1930 Census, Jackson Township, Pope County, Arkansas

The 1930 census recorded that John and Danner had moved to Jackson Township in Pope County, Arkansas, where they were renting a farm.  John was listed as “John J.” and Danner once again as “Silas D.”  Sons Denver (“Denva”), 12, and Dempsey, 10, were listed as farm laborers.  Son Julius, 8, and daughter Berlene, 5, were apparently spared from farm work as no occupation was given for either.

Some time in 1938 their last child, daughter Mary Delois Graham, was born in Arkansas.

Between 1938 and 1940 the Graham family moved to Missouri.


The 1940 census recorded the Grahams renting a farm in West Township, New Madrid County, Missouri.

John and Danner 1940 census

West Township, New Madrid County, Missouri

The following education levels were recorded: John’s highest school grade completed was fifth, Danner’s was fourth grade, Denver had completed one year of high school, Dempsey had completed eighth grade, Julius had completed two years of high school, Berlene had completed eighth grade and was still in school, and Delois was not yet school age.

John’s occupation was given as farmer, with sons Denver and Dempsey working 20 hours a week for their father as farm laborers. Julius was working at “cutting bushes” for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Danner’s occupation was “working at home” and Berlene’s was “school”.

Tuesday, 4 February 1941, Dempsey and Julius were involved in an automobile accident that lead to the death of Noah B. Hayes, a local farmer. In the newspaper coverage, the Grahams were said to be of Matthews, Missouri. The city proper is in Big Prairie Township, but is close to West Township, where the Grahams were renting a farm. Matthews was likely cited as it was the nearest post office.

1950 and Beyond

John’s Social Security number was issued in Missouri prior to 1951, and Danner’s was issued circa 1958 in Missouri.

Thursday, 2 August 1979, John was admitted to the Southeast Missouri Hospital at Cape Girardeau. He died there on Saturday, 11 August 1979, at 9:40 p.m. He was 83 years old. Funeral services were conducted at the First Baptist Church in Morley at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 August 1979, with John being laid to rest at Old Morley Cemetery.

Silas Danner Graham died at 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 June 1996 at the Sikeston Convalescent Center. She was 98 years old. Funeral services were conducted at Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Sikeston at 2 p.m. on Thursday, 13 June. Danner was interred beside her husband at Old Morley Cemetery.

Grave Marker of John and Danner Graham

Grave marker of John and Danner, Old Morley Cemetery, Morley, Missouri, 8 October 2012


John had the following name variations: “Graham, Jasper” on the 1910 census; “Graham, J. Jasper” on the 1920 census; “Graham, John J.” on the 1900 and 1930 census; “Graham, Jasper J.” on the 1940 census;  “Jasper Graham” on the marriage document; “John Graham” in the Social Security Death Index; “John Jasper Graham” on his draft card and his obituary; “J. J. Graham” on his grave marker.

Danner had the following name variations: “Copeland, Daner” on the 1910 census; “Graham, Silas D.” on the 1920 and 1930 census; “Graham, Danner” on the 1940 census; “Danner Copeland” on the marriage document; “Danner Graham” in the Social Security Death Index, her obituary, and her grave marker; “Silas M. Copeland” in John’s obituary; “Silas Mandanna Copeland Graham” in Dempsey’s obituary.

Danner’s first name is unusual to me. “Silas” is typically a male name, and indeed it was her father’s. I’ve seen Danner recorded as a male in some family trees as a result. Since her father died just four months before her birth, she was likely named in his honor.

Some family trees have recorded Danner’s middle name as “Midaner.” Danner’s middle initial was given as “M” in her husband’s obituary. In her son Dempey’s obituary, she was called “Silas Mandanna Copeland Graham,” a variation on Midaner. “Danner” itself could be derived from Midaner.


A complete list of sources appears on page 2.

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