Albion Interactive History / People / Chaney Copeland

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Copeland, Chaney Flowers, 1847
    Died June 1952

On July 16, 1947, Albion’s then-oldest citizen, Mrs. Harry Copeland, celebrated her 100th birthday with a gathering of relatives and close friends. Chaney was then living at 1007 North Albion Street with her daughter, Ella Miles (Mrs. John Miles), as she had done since the death of her husband.

Chaney was born a slave but was never sold. Her master, Joseph Davis, a cotton plantation owner, was kicked and killed by his horse while preparing to take her to auction. As a result, she became a slave of the Scriber family who inherited her. A life of mistreatment followed until, emboldened by the Emancipation Proclamation, she ran away.

Chaney was eventually taken in by a Miss Flowers and eventually married Miss Flowers’ brother, Ross Flowers. The couple had six children, of whom only Ella Miles survived infancy. Chaney also raised as a daughter a girl who was not a blood relation. That child, Mrs. Jane Lee, had three daughters who called Chaney their grandmother.

After Ross’ death, Chaney married Harry Copeland in Troy, Alabama, and lived there until his death in 1929, when she moved to Albion. She became a member of the Bethel Baptist Church. She enjoyed the winters here and preferred living in the North, but still declared a dislike for Yankees because of the destruction they caused during the Civil War. Chaney proudly boasted that during the Civil War, she mothered with great care the small children of the Davis family who enslaved her.

Chaney Copeland died in June, 1952, at the age of 104.

Sources: Albion Recorder, July 16, 1947;June 15, 1952

From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.