WILLIAM M. COPE, a progressive farmer and leading citizen of Smithfield, Jefferson county, Ohio, first saw the light of day October 22, 1829, near his present home. His father, Joseph H. Cope, was born near Brownsvhille, Fayette Co., Penn., in March 1801 and moved to Smithfield, Ohio in 1825 having previously married Rebecca Milhous, of Belmont county, Ohio, by whom he had seven children, viz: Lindley, William M., Willits, Samuel, Benjamin W., Martha M. and Sarah, all of whom except Lindley, are still living. Mr. Joseph Cope became a leader in the communtiy in which he lived, a man of decided talent, possessing a positive, firm nature, yet withal, a man of broad and liberal mind. He was one of the earliest advocates of abolition, and many a fugitive slave found a safe hiding place in his barns and coal banks. He was president of the Mount Pleasant branch of the State bank of Ohio, for nearly twenty years, and in 1864, originated and organized the First National bank of Smithfield, Ohio, serving as president of the board of directors until his death, which occurred in March, 1879. His father, Samuel Cope, was born in Chester county, Penn., and was one of the early pioneers west of the Alleghanies, having crossed the mountains when those with whom he traveled had to cut their way through the forest and build a road on which to transport their belongings. At one time, all the scythes and sickles used west of the Allegheny mountains came from his forge. He married Sarah Willits about 1799. They had seven children, all of whom are now dead, they were: Joseph, Rachel (Cope), Samuel, Dawsey, Lydia (Gilbert), Mrs. Jesse Vale, and Eliza. William M. Cope's grandparents on the mother's side, were William and Martha Milhous, both natives of Chester county, Penn. On coming to Ohio, they settled near Colerain, Belmont county. They had eight children: Vickers, William, Martha (now dead), Rebecca M. (Cope), Hannah M. (Hough), Thomas, Joshua V. and Mrs. Jane M. Watters. The principal of this biography received a fair common school education, and when eighteen years of age entered the academy at Mount Pleasant, which was then under the direction of Professor Jenkins. Here he remained for about two years. After leaving school, he taught, and worked on a farm for five years, at which time he became interested in the stock-business in Illinois. After a short time he operated a farm in connection with his other business and continued them both until November 13, 1869, when he took possession of the farm on which he now lives. He married Mary A. Johnson, December 6, 1866. She was born November 19, 1843, the daughter of John Johnson and Nancy (Harper) Johnson, who were both born in Franklin county about 1817. Mr. Johnson died in 1866; his wife still survives him. Their eight children were: Mary A. Cope, J. Clayton, Rachel (Shreve), William, Mrs. Elizabeth McKee, Mrs. Harriet Maxwell, Edward and Lewis. The last named died at Hollow Spring, Tenn., during the war, being a Union soldier. Mr. and Mrs. Cope have three children: Ida M., Charles C. and Lewis J. The family are members of the Society of Friends, and are a highly respected successful household. Mr. Cope was formerly a republican, but of late years has voted and worked with the prohibition party.
Copyright © 2006 Danice Ryan. All rights reserved.