The Mystery of Benjamin Coopwood
Thomas Benton Coopwood11
6717 Valburn Dr.
Austin, Tx. 78731 firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin is thought to be the original U.S. ancestor for many of the Coopwoods in America. Most of what we know about him was written in about 1852 in a book Sketches of Eminent Americans in an article about his son, Thomas Coopwood. Pg. 630-644. (I have a copy of the book but the first few pages are missing) The narrative is very flowery but gives us background on Benjamin. Shortly after Benj.â€™s death the family left Tenn. for Lawrence Co. Al. In the 1830â€™s the brothers moved to MS, some near and in Aberdeen. From MS decedents of four of the seven sons moved to Central and North Texas.
The Sketches state that Benj. was an Englishman by birth and education who came to America before the Revolutionary War. He fought with the Colonial army for the entire war, being wounded severely three times. After the war he went home with George Thomason, his future bother-in-law, to Goochland, Va. There he met William Thomason, the father, who had lost four sons in the war. Benj. married the daughter of Wm. and sister of George.
The Coopwoods settled in Albemarle Co Va. on a small farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their first child, Thomas, was born 11 September 1793 in Albemarle Co. In 1801 they left Va. for Grainger Co. Tenn. and then moved to Smith Co. Tenn.1806. There they purchased land only to be swindled out of it, as there was no clear title. They moved again 1809 to Madison Co. Al. which was part of the Mississippi territory at that time. Benj. died Oct 1809 leaving his widow, two daughters and seven sons. From there they moved back to Smith Co. Tenn. and began to farm, subsequently being able to purchase land in Tenn. Thus ends the Sketch as related to Benj.
What do we know about Benj. from other sources? The 1790 Federal census list
Benj. living in Orange Co. Va. in one dwelling consisting of five white souls. He must have been the head of the household. Were the other four a wife and three children or others? The tax roll of Saint Anneâ€™s Parish, Albermarle Co. Va. 1800 list Benj. 1male>21, 2 horses, 1 tithable slave >16 (Information given to me by Barrie Kyle of Austin.). What had become of the other white souls from the 1790 census? (Was this like a census or were the wife and children not listed as they were not taxed?) (Of note there is a record in the LDS marriage records (supplied by Rich Taylor) of an Elizabeth Coopwoodâ€™s marriage to Henry Murray in 1785. Also, on the Internet there is a reference to the Birth/ Christening of Elizabeth Coopwood in 1764 in Green Co. Kentucky. Who was she and what if any was her relationship with Benj. ? There is a marriage bond from Benj. and George Thomason for Benj.â€™s marriage to Milly Thomason. A copy in the Virginia Society of Marriage Bonds in Albemarle Co. Va. 1786-1795 Pg. 58 Item 613 has been shared with me by several other Coopwood genealogists. The date is 11 Feb.1793 but there is also one with the date 11 Feb. 1792. A deed for furniture and other household items dated 31 Oct 1799 to Benj. from Samuel McGehee was sent to me by another researcher. (I donâ€™t know who sent it or where it was recorded.) Also, on the Internet, Benj. is listed as having an indenture in the Sept.1796-Mar 1805 in the Grainger Co. Tenn. land records Vol. A roll #3.
What do we know of the children of Benj.? Although I can find no birth or death records, there is good evidence on several of the children but there are some discrepancies. From the Sketches we know (if accurately recorded) that there were nine children with Milly in Tenn. at the time of Benj.â€™s death. Most genealogists list Woodson (son by another women not Milly), Thomas (incorrectly named Thomas Benton by some), William Carroll, David E., James Monroe, John, Elizabeth and George Washington. The second girl is not named. Also listed are Silas and Delilah. Rich Taylor who has done as much research on the Coopwoods as anyone lists Silas but not Delilah. There is some evidence that the second girl was Nancy. Since there is no further mention of Silas or Delilah (listed by Gerald D. Walker on RootsWeb.com as being born 1809 in Smith Co. Tenn.) in other records that I can locate, it is possible that these were children who had died before the death of Benj. in Oct 1809.
Woodson was born circa 1790. He is in the 1850 and 1860 Miss. censuses with ages of 60 and 71 respectively. His wife was Letty (no maiden name). He was in the War of 1812 and was in the Al. census of 1820 with other brothers.
Thomas, my great great grandfather, as we know from the Sketches was born 11 Sept 1893. His life has been chronicled by many other researchers, and there are many records available about him in Tenn. Al.. MS. and Kentucky. He lived a long and storied life that I will not try to cover.
William Carroll, David E., James Monroe, and George Washington also have been well research by other and there are copious records relating each of these sons.
Johnâ€™s records are sparse but in the Orphans Book of Lawrence Co. Al. May 1827 an order for inventory and appraisal of the estate of John Coopwood was entered. (LCOM 1825-1830) In Mar. 1829 another order appeared for inventory of interest and accounts of the estate of John Coopwood. Notes from LR and TD Coopwood state that Johnâ€™s estate was settled by Thomas.
The only record I can find on Elizabeth is a listing in the Lawrence Co. Al. Grooms Surnames of the marriage of James Watson to Elizabeth Coopwood Mar 6 1823. A query on Lawrence Co. Al. website in 2003 entitled Watson, Heflin, Coopwood, etc. states that â€œElizabeth was born circa 1805 in probably Smith Co. Tenn. and died after 1860. She was the daughter of Benj. and Milly Coopwood. James and Eliz. had 13 children.â€
There is a record of the marriage of Nancy Coopwood to Henry Vincent
8/02/1824. (Ancestry.com Al. Marriage 1807-1902). I believe that she was the second living daughter of Benj. in 1809. Woodson had a daughter Nancy Ann who married Joseph E. Sturdivant. However, the date of this marriage isnâ€™t recorded. Josephâ€™s sister Elizabeth married Wm. T. Coopwood (son of Woodson). This is from the Studivant website.
As one can see there is still a lot of mystery surrounding Benj. I hope by publishing this brief sketch that others will be able to find more records to fill in the gaps that are now present. I am in debt to the many Coopwood genealogists who have sent me information over the years.