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Abraham Lincoln’s Colonel John Joseph Coppinger (1834-1909)

William Joseph Coppinger Carrigtwohill & Midleton Distiller

William Joseph Coppinger & Margaret O'Brien

On the 30th April, William Joseph Coppinger of ‘Union Lodge’ Carrigtwohill married Margaret O’Brien at Kilcor as reported by Cork Constitution, 8th May 1832, presumably the home parish of the bride’s family. Sir John Bernard Burke’s “A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland”, of 1871, has his name inverted as, John William Coppinger of Gronacloyne, and does not mention his children. For the subsequent publication of 1875 it was corrected, but only naming his son Lieutenant-Colonel John Joseph Coppinger.

Cork Constitution,
8th May 1832
Southern Reporter,
21st May 1833

It was at 'Union Lodge' were the couple's first child, a son was born the following year, as announced by the Southern Reporter, 21st May 1833. By August that year ‘Union Lodge’ and land were sold. Then, in 1839 the property was owned by Rev. William Gifford.

Southern Reporter,
21st May 1833

Subscribing to his publication, Samuel Lewis’ ‘Topographical Directory of Ireland', 1837, has William Joseph Coppinger’s address as 'Glenmore Cottage', Cove. The Cork Constitution, 14th October 1834, confirms the birth of the couple’s second son born, 11th October. Then, the Limerick Chronicle, 29th June 1836, announces the birth of a daughter. Cork Constitution, 18th April 1839, tells of a son. The Tipperary Vindicator, 3rd July 1844 announces birth of another daughter. The Weekly Freeman's Journal, 1st March 1851. All at Glenmore Cottage, Cove.

William Joseph is next found in Midleton where he established his Brewery Business, and from where his second daughter died as announced, Southern Reporter, 8th June 1854. The following year William Joseph dies, 5th April. His death notice being published, Freeman Journal, 11th April 1855.

Southern Reporter,
8th June 1854
Dublin Freeman Journal,
11th April 1855

Following are two relevant extracts of Burke's publication;

Coppinger of Midleton Burke's Peerage

Colonel John Joseph Coppinger

Born 'Glenmore Cottage', Cove, (not town of Midleton as has been continually misreported), 11th October 1834, John Joseph Coppinger was one of six children of William Joseph Coppinger and Margaret O'Brien, and cousin of William Coppinger of Barryscourt. As may be seen, there is clearly a typing error, but there is no question this is the announcement of the Colonel's birth.

The Cork Constitution,
14th October 1834

Although, so far unproven, he was most likely baptised South Parish as were the vast majority of the Coppingers in accordance with family tradition. Not least of all, because his uncle was Parish Priest and Bishop. However, Bishop William died 1830, a few years prior to his birth.

The Colonel's military and American Civil War service is fully documented by Brian C. Pohanka.

Cousin of the Colonel, Stephen William Coppinger was born, 4th January 1803, the son of Stephen William Coppinger & Joanna Coppinger. He studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of San Sulpice, Paris, and ordained by his uncle Dr. William Coppinger, Bishop of Cloyne, 29th April 1829.

Follows is a contemporary account as reported by the Cork Examiner of 24th February 1883.

Colonel Coppinger
as transcribed
The Cork Examiner 24th February 1883

“The people of Midleton will be interested in the following particulars, about one of their townsmen, who is fast becoming distinguished in military circles in this country. Among the many young Irishmen who went as volunteers to Italy to uphold the temporal power of the Pope against the attacks of the Garibaldians, was a young man named John J. Coppinger, of the Midleton family of that name. He served creditably in the Papal Brigade, and received the rank of chevalier for gallantry at the defence of La Rocca gateway in September, 1860. After the triumph of Garibaldi, Chevalier Coppinger and comrades in arms returned to Ireland. At the outbreak of the civil war in this country, Secretary Seward, who was anxious to enlist the Irish sentiment in favour of President Lincoln’s administration, consulted with his friend, Archbishop Hughes, who suggested that a number of young Irishmen, of influential connection should receive military commissions. With the administration the Archbishop’s suggestion was equivalent to a command, and six commissions were placed at his disposal.

The sainted and patriotic Bishop Keane, of Cloyne, who had been P P of Midleton, recommended the young Papal officer for one of these commissions, and he received it, being appointed captain of the 14th Infantry in September, 1861.

He was in the Army of the Potomac in 1852 (62??), and saw some hard fighting at the second battle of Bull Run, where he was severely wounded, and subsequently at Gettysburgh, Chancellorville, Mine Run, Willderness, Yellow Tavern, Meadow Bridge, Hanover Crossing, Hawes Shop, Old Church, Cold Harbor, Trevellian Station, Deep Bottom, Newton, Winchester, Smithfield, Shepardtown, Fishers Hill, Waynesboro, Woodstock, Cedar Creek, Liberty Mills, and the last battle of the rebellion, Appomator, where he was again wounded. It will be seen that he had not been a carpet night, and while the commissions of those who had been appointed with him expired with the war, his bravery and soldierly qualities obtained him a permanent connection with our army. He was twice breveted for “gallant and meritorious service,” and in January, 1865, he was appointed Colonel of the 15th New York Cavalry, which he retained until the regiment was mustered out at the close of the war. He was ordered to the frontier, and in 1866 was brevetted Colonel “for the zeal and energy which he displayed in command of troops operating against hostile Indians.” For some years he has served as Acting Inspector-Gen on the staff of General Pope (doing service for a Pope again), a position only given to those thoroughly versed in the manual of arms, the drill, equipment and discipline of the army. Strict disciplinarian as he is, the men who have served under him speak of him in the highest terms of praise, and many of the “boys” from his own town and country have done duty for Uncle Sam, in his regiment on the plains.

When the writer saw Colonel Coppinger in Ireland, he was a tall, erect man, of military bearing, dark complexion and “bearded like the bard.” He was changed only in having becoming prematurely grey. Last summer Miss Alice Stanwood Blaine, daughter of ex-Secretary of State Blaine, visited the far West with some friends. There she met Colonel Coppinger, who wooed her, and made her his wife, Tuesday, February 6. Now James G. Blaine, the father of Mrs. Coppinger, is one of the most brilliant and distinguished men in public life in this country. He began his political life in the State of Main, though a Pennsylvanian by birth, who, with a dash of Irish blood in him. He went through all the grades of politics in Pine Tree State, and was sent to Congress, and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. From the House he was promoted to the Senate, and at two Conventions of the Republican party he nearly obtained the nomination for President, which would have been equivalent to an election. It is not probable that he may be nominated and elected President in 1884. He is a man of great wealth, ability, and influence, and is now engaged writing a history of our own times [...] Justin M’Carthy.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and the story of Colonel Coppinger’s life reads like a chapter of romance. From Ireland to fair Italy, and then through the “pride, pomp and circumstance” of our great civil war, with credit and distinction he went his way. The Indian warfare coupled with his recent years, and far from the great cities, amid “the vernal woods” and great rolling prairies of the far West, he met and won a fair young girl whom he has just made his bride.

The wedding was the great social event of the season at Washington. It was celebrated in the now and elegant mansion of the bride’s father, where a large and very distinguished company had assembled for the occasion, in response to the following card:-

Mr. & Mrs. Blaine,
invite you to be present at the marriage
of their daughter,
Ann Stanwood Blaine,
Brovt-Col. John J Coppinger, U.S.A.
On Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 12 o’clock, M, 1500
Twentieth-street, Washington, D.C

Stephen William Coppinger, known simply as Stephen, was deeply affected by the needs of poor and deprived children of his native Midleton; just as Nano Nagle before him did in the city. There is, however, no evidence that she was ever in Midleton.

Stephen Coppinger’s greatest achievement and legacy must be Midleton’s Presentation Convent and school, completed in 1834. It was the realisation of a dream of this young priest to improve the poor health of the children of his parish, and only 26 years of age when construction began in 1829. Stephen’s sister; Dorinder, married, John Musson Ashlin, whose son George Coppinger Ashlin, was in partnership withEdward Welby Pugin (1834-1875), the renowned London Architect.

Angelina Gould was born Portugal, 1792 the daughter of a wealth Irish merchant. Her parents had left their native country some years previously and taken up residence, where they had acquired an enormous commercial wealth. She joined the Presentation Order as a novitiate at Doneraile in 1826 and made her religious profession in 1829. She brought with her a fortune of approximately £60,000.00, and willed that a greater portion of her fortune be employed in the building of Presentation convents in the Cloyne Diocese for the promotion of Catholic education of the poor. She was a first cousin of the Bishop.

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