Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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COPELAND, GAVIN (1826-1910)

COPELAND, GAVIN, blacksmith and steam engineer; b. Douglastown, 22 Nov 1826, s/o David Copeland and Mary McAllister, natives of Scotland; m. 1st, 1853, Jane McKillop, d/o Alexander McKillop, who was also a Scottish settler at Douglastown, and 2nd, 1861, Sarah Woodworth, d/o Gideon Woodworth, a boot and shoe maker; d. Newcastle, 17 Oct 1910.

Gavin Copeland was one of a number of blacksmiths and other tradesmen who became steam engineers on the Miramichi during the second half of the 19th century. The demand for engineers grew steadily from the 1850s onward, as steam-powered mills replaced those driven by water power, and as steam engines were installed in more and more tugs and ferryboats. In 1874 Copeland was the engineer on Call & Miller's ferry NEW ERA. Later he was the engineer of William Hickson's sawmill in Newcastle. A "remarkably robust man," he continued in this field of work until he was eighty.

As a young man, Copeland was an officer of the Mechanics' Institute. Later in life he was closely identified with the Orange order. He and his family were adherents of the Presbyterian church. He was survived in 1910 by two daughters and three sons of his marriage to Sarah Woodworth. His son Frederick Copeland was "the champion skater of Newcastle" in 1896. His son James Copeland, before his departure for the West Coast in 1907, had a musical ensemble known as Copeland's Orchestra and was also bandmaster of the Newcastle Orange Orchestra.


[b/d] Advocate 18 Oct 1910 [m] official records / Advance 1 Jan 1896; Advocate 26 Mar 1868, 29 Apr 1874, 4 Jan 1905, 16 Jan 1907