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George Coppenbarger

George Coppenbarger was born in 1804 in Virginia to Jacob and Catherine Snavely Coppenbarger, the 5th of 12 children.  The family eventually moved to Blount County, Tennessee and then on to Illinois, settling right in the center, in DeWitt County.

On November 12, 1829, George married Nancy Henderson.  Her father had come north from Kentucky to help George's father build the first grist mill in the area.  Her father returned to the South, but Nancy stayed behind to marry George.

The family lived simply, in log cabins near Salt Creek (just outside of present-day Kenney, Illinois).  Many Native Americans lived nearby, and the family was reputed to have good relations with them.  The family cemetery (now called Hays Cemetery) contains the graves of two Native Americans.

Two years after George's marriage, he and two brothers-in-law, joined the Illinois forces in the Black Hawk War.  According to family legend, this was a hard thing to do, given their friendly relations with the local Native Americans.  However, George enlisted in Decatur, Illinois as a member of J. Johnson's Company, regiment 5 of the Whiteside Brigade.

The war was a relatively short one, and George returned unscathed to DeWitt County, where he purchased land from the state government and homesteaded there.  He and Nancy raised their family and were buried in the family graveyard.  George's headstone clearly records his military service.



Surnames Gallery Blackhawk War