[1906 - The Coppock Barn, Monroe Township, Miami County, Ohio]

This site is under construction - some pages are unfinished.
Site completion is planned for June 21, 2024.

From the time of its founding through a significant portion of the 19th century, the economy of the United States was largely agricultural. Most people lived on farms and they produced much of what they consumed. If the house was the heart of the 19th century family farm, then the barn was its soul. This website remembers one of those barns, the Coppock family's Pennsylvania Barn, built in 1857 near Tippecanoe City, Ohio. It was demolished in 2005.


1906-2002: All photographs taken of the barn complex prior to commencement of restoration in 2003
An in depth explanation of how the 1857 barn may have been built
A journal kept during restoration of the barn, 2003-2006

At 8:35pm on Monday, February 7, 2000, Audrey Lucille Coppock died.

Her passing effectively brought to a close events that began on January 27, 1856, when Audrey's great grandparents by marriage, Samuel and Delana (Blickenstaff) Coppock, 1 purchased land that would become the Coppock family farm. Audrey was the last of at least five generations of Coppocks to live on the land since 1856, and her death triggered the sale of the land out of the Coppock family in 2001.

214 years earlier in 1787, the Northwest Ordinance was enacted by the Confederation Congress. It created a government for America's Northwest Territory and established guidelines so that persons there could petition for statehood. The Northwest Territory would ultimately become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota.

Among the settlers coming to Ohio shortly after it attained statehood were James Coppock, his wife Hannah and their children. In 1806, they left 2 Bush River in Newberry County, South Carolina and made the long trek to Ohio. James and his family were members of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly called Quakers. Also coming to Ohio at about this same time were Jacob and Mary Blickenstaff and their progeny. The Blickenstaffs were German Baptists, he originally from Maryland, she from Pennsylvania.

Within a few years of arriving in Ohio, James and his son Moses purchased adjacent 160 acre quarter sections of land 3 in what would ultimately become Monroe Township in the recently formed Miami County. Around this time, the Blickenstaffs had also purchased a quarter section, 4 just one-and-a-half miles from the Coppocks. Given the sparse population in the area at the time and an unforgiving wilderness environment, reliance on neighbors was critical to early settlers' survival. Presumably the Coppocks and Blickenstaffs became acquainted soon after they became neighbors.

James and Hannah Coppock's oldest son Moses married Lydia Jay in 1809, and they had eight children, including Samuel in 1817. Jacob and Mary Blickenstaff parented five children. Among them was last born Delana, in 1822.

In 1839 Quaker Samuel Coppock married German Baptist Delana Blickenstaff. Samuel was censured 5 by the Quakers in 1840 for his marriage to other than a Quaker, and in 1848 he lost his Quaker membership. 6 Samuel joined the German Baptist church in 1856, and later became an elder there.

Early in 1856, Samuel and Delana acquired the northeast quarter of Section 28 7 in Monroe Township, Miami County, Ohio. This was the land that Delana's parents had purchased and homesteaded nearly a half-century earlier. Major improvements came to the property in 1857 and 1858, with the most important among them being the brick farmhouse 8 and Pennsylvania Barn. This farm would be the home for many generations of Coppocks over the next 145 years.

In the era of the Internet, cell phones and social media platforms, it's easy to forget that just a few generations ago, things were radically different. People alive when the Coppock barn was built may have lived their entire lives without ever being photographed or seeing their name in the most prominent social media of the day, the newspaper. Today, often the only surviving tangible contemporaneous remnants of these people are the things they built, as well as a handful of legal and/or church records providing a few scant details of their lives.

All of the people that played any significant part in the building of the Coppock barn have been dead for at least 100 years. People just like us in so many ways. People that often led hard lives. People that earned the right to be remembered and respected, but who became virtually anonymous as the decades passed and the collective memory of their family and friends was lost.

It's all the more critical then that structures like the Coppock barn, the very soul of countless family farms for so many decades, not be lost. Their substantial physical presence not only serves as dramatic witness to the incredible toil necessary to build them, but by extension then their great importance to our ancestors, who went to such trouble to construct them. Construct them during a time when hundreds of tons of stone, wood and earth could only be fashioned and moved by man and horse, with wagons, ropes, pulleys, axes, saws and shovels.

That such wonderful old structures are swept aside like so much garbage to make way for the next strip mall is rightly disturbing to those attuned to their forebearers. But it happens, again and again and again. Although the need to replace old with new dates to the beginnings of the human race itself, it should be thoughtfully balanced against the wholesale obliteration of precious links to the past.

That is why this website was created. The old Coppock barn lost its physical being making way for the new many years ago. Although a poor substitute for the original, the barn can, at least for a while, live on here in cyberspace. And perhaps in some very small way then, so can the remarkable people that built, used and depended upon the barn for almost 150 years.

My remembrance here of the Coppock barn consists of (1) every photograph that I could locate of the barn, (2) an extensive explanation of how the barn may have been built, and (3) my written log (including hundreds of contemporaneous photographs) kept as I and friends worked from 2003 through 2005 to save the barn. The effort ultimately proved unsuccessful, and it was demolished on November 1, 2005.9

Ken R. Noffsinger
Tipp City, Ohio
February 7, 2020



Footnotes:

1. This photograph is from the author's collection. It probably dates to the 1880s and was found on a 1911 postcard soliciting attendance for a Coppock reunion in Ludlow Falls, Ohio. Return to text

2. This excerpt from the August 30, 1806 Bush River Monthly Meeting minutes was downloaded at Ancestry.com. A paid membership for access to these records is required. The yellow shading was added by the author, for emphasis. Return to text

3. The land patent was downloaded free of charge from the General Land Office's website. Return to text

4. The land patent was downloaded free of charge from the General Land Office's website. Return to text

5. This selection from the Tuesday, June 16, 1840 Mill Creek Monthly Meeting minutes was downloaded at Ancestry.com. A paid membership for access to these records is required. The yellow shading was added by the author, for emphasis. For clarity, the descriptive term "censured" was used here rather than "condemned", which was commonly used in Quaker writings. Return to text

6. This excerpt from the Tuesday, September 12, 1848 Mill Creek Monthly Meeting minutes was downloaded at Ancestry.com. A paid membership for access to these records is required. The yellow shading was added by the author, for emphasis. For clarity, the descriptive phrase "lost his Quaker membership" was used here rather than "disowned", which was commonly used in Quaker writings. Return to text

7. These records were provided free of charge to the author, via an e-mail request to the Miami County Recorder's Office in Troy, Ohio. This index can be used to acquire the transaction date, parties involved, book and page number for record requests to the recorder's office. Return to text

8. This photograph is from the author's collection. It probably dates to the late 1880s. Return to text

9. On May 29, 2002, the farmhouse and a small amount of acreage surrounding it was set apart from the remaining formerly Coppock farm and was sold to a family who wanted to reside there. They had the option at that time of spending an additional $10,000 to buy the barn and the land immediately surrounding it, but did not. This effectively sealed the barn's fate.

The then owner of the remaining property (LS#1) cooperated with the author, via the most favorable terms that could be arrived at in an informal agreement, in an attempt to save the barn. In addition, the new owners of the house were kind enough to allow the author access to the barn via their driveway. Restoration work on the barn began late in 2003 and commenced through late 2005, based on the informal agreement with LS#1, using access granted by the house's new owners.

In the summer of 2005 LS#1 made it known to the author that the land would be sold to another speculator (LS#2). Although LS#1 had no issue per se with selling the barn and the land immediately under and around it to the author, there was a logistical problem that LS#1 considered insurmountable. The barn would effectively be landlocked. The various scenarios necessary to grant access to the otherwise landlocked barn were simply too costly and troublesome for LS#1, possibly even jeopardizing the sale of the property to LS#2 if some attempt were made to create access to the barn. As such, after thousands of dollars spent by the author and hundreds of hours worked by he and others, the toil to restore the barn ended, as it became clear that it could not be saved.

On November 1, 2005, as part of the sale agreement with LS#2, the barn complex was demolished by LS#1. Its structures were either trucked away, buried and/or burned. The author contacted LS#2 during the early fall of 2005 in one last desperate attempt to save the barn, but LS#2 had no interest in saving the barn or working with the author in any way.

On July 27, 2012, the Randall Residence LLC purchased about nine acres of the farm land from LS#2, including the area where the barn complex once stood. Construction of the Randall Residence of Tipp City was completed in 2013. Return to text




CoppockBarn.com first appeared on December 16, 2016.
Creation and content presentation by Ken R. Noffsinger: contact@irondog.website
Copyright 2001 - 2023.
All Rights Reserved.

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