The Copeland Family

Theodore Copeland 1879 - 1952

Theodore Benfey Copeland was born in Dun-Echt in Aberdeenshire in 1879. He was Ralph and Theodora's 3rd child and their only son.

Fanny's memoirs note him as not a particularly robust child - she recalls looking after him in the pram while her mother, "a regular Martha about the house" was busy cleaning.

When the family left Dun-Echt and moved to Edinburgh, Theodore attended George Watson's school. 15 Royal Terrace was large enough for them to own pets - Theodore's being a dog called Dash. When a fire broke out in the house (the kitchen elevator caught fire) the family escaped using a knotted sheet, leaving Dash behind. He was however rescued - but he wouldn't let the firemen near him - instead Ralph Copeland had to go back in to remove him. Although badly burned he recovered, much to the family's delight. (Dash died shortly after the move to the Blackford Hill site and is buried in the Observatory grounds.)

Theodore joined the Indian Civil Service in 1901, retiring from that organisation in 1929. In the 1901 census he is noted as being at Indian School - wherever that was. This was obviously some form of training for his career within the Empire - namely that of a member of the judiciary in Northern India. Various references in the letters from Ralph Copeland to Fred Holloway describe his advancement. One of the letters (Sep 10 1904) is written by Theodore on Ralph's behalf at the age of 26. There is also a record of him being in the army in India as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1906 and a Captain in 1909.

References to Theodore after his father Ralph's death in 1905 are to be found in Fanny's memoirs and the various official records. He appears in Who Was Who which lists his service in the Indian Civil Service. He married in 1916 - his wife Mabel dying in 1939. They had no children.

He signed his mother's death certificate in 1938 in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, when he was noted as living at "The Hatches, Finchampstead, Berkshire." There is a reference to him and his sister Fanny visiting their parents' and sisters' grave in 1946 and finding it in poor repair, making arrangements to have it maintained.

He died on 7 January 1952 in Cheniston, Compton, Winchester. leaving most of his money to his older sister Fanny. He also left sums to his brother's nieces and god-children.