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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
Samuel J. McCoppen


Samuel J. McCoppen, engaged in the undertaking business at Edmonton, came to the west from Ontario, his birth having occurred in that province, on the 6th of December, 1865. His father, James McCoppen, was a native of Belfast, Ireland, and was a son of Thomas McCoppen, whose birth occurred in Scotland, whence he removed to the Emerald isle and later came to Canada, settling in Ontario, where his remaining days were passed. He was a cattle drover in Ireland but never engaged in business in Ontario, for the profits of his previous labor enabled him here to enjoy well earned rest. His son, James McCoppen, was brought to the New World in early manhood and was married in the state of New York, to Miss Harriett Hanna, who was born in Welland district, Ontario, a daughter of Richard Hanna, who was born in Ontario, and there spent his life, his attention being devoted to farming. James McCoppen became a lockmaster on the Welland canal at Port Robinson and devoted thirty- five years to the duties of that position. He was a man of liberal education and his opinions carried weight among his friends, who always recognized the soundness of his judgment and the progressiveness of his views. His political support was usually given to the Liberal party, yet he voted for men and measures rather than for any political organization. Fraternally he was connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and his religious faith was that of the Anglican church, in which he served as warden. To him and his wife were born five children, four of whom are living, three of these being residents of Ontario.

Samuel J. McCoppen, the youngest of the family, was educated in the public schools of Port Robinson and attended the Thorold Collegiate Institute. He afterward took up the study of telegraphy and entered the employ of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, for which corporation he worked for a dollar per day. After a short time, however, he turned his attention to the tugboat business, towing vessels and barges from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. He was thus engaged for a period of twelve years, after which he sailed passenger steamboats on the Great Lakes, being captain of lake vessels for five years, during most of which time his home port was Sault Ste. Marie. In 1905 he came to Edmonton and for a year thereafter was in the real estate business, at the end of which time he turned his attention to the undertaking business in connection with H. W. B. Moffat. This relation was maintained for two years when Mr. McCoppen became associated with J. E. Lambert and afterward established business independently under the name of McCoppen, Limited. He is owner of practically all of the stock, however, and has built up a business of substantial proportions. He pursued a course with. the Edmonton Association of Embalmers under the instruction of a professor from Iowa. He now does all of his own embalming and in connection with the business operates an ambulance. He has a place thoroughly modern in its equipment and his methods are scientific to the last degree. Not only does he have a large undertaking establishment but also has a chapel in connection therewith, in which funeral services may be held.

In 1890 Mr. McCoppen was married to Miss Anna W. Campbell, who was born in Watford, Ontario, and was educated at Port Colborne, Ontario, and in the Welland high school. They have become parents of a son, Bruce Campbell, who is now in Crescent City, California, where he owns and leads an orchestra. He pursued a high school education and early took up the study of music. At the age of sixteen years he joined the Flying Corps of the Canadian army and was in training at Portsmouth, Ontario, when the Great war closed.

Mr. McCoppen is a member of the Anglican church and was the organizer of St. Andrew's church, being the first warden thereof and the only one for a time before the church was built. He is an equally loyal member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Edmonton Lodge, No. 7, and also to North Star Chapter, R. A. M. He is likewise a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is a past grand of the local lodge. He is interested in everything that pertains to the public welfare and his cooperation can at all times be counted upon to further any plan or measure for the general good. He was alderman of Edmonton for four years and during that period earnestly and efficiently supported every project which he deemed of vital worth to the community. He took a firm stand in the firemen's dispute when they appointed a new chief in 1918, being steadfast in support of his honest convictions, though opposed by eight other aldermen and the mayor, while the remaining alderman was absent at the time. Mr. McCoppen, however, won his point by placing the fact before the people. He stood firmly by the principle in which he believed, although he acted to some extent against his own interests. He has been a member of the Children's Aid Society since its organization in 1919 and throughout the period has served on its executive board. During the war it was left to him almost alone to manage the finances of the organization, and it was the only home in which the Next-to-Kin children could be placed at that time. Mr. McCoppen was a candidate for the office of mayor of Edmonton, in 1922. The last time he was elected to office on the laboring man's ticket and was the only man on the ticket elected, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him. He retired from office about a year ago. Mr. McCoppen is a member of the Rotary Club and while deeply interested in all matters of public moment he is nevertheless devoting the major part of his time to his business interests. He rents his office from the city and when he obtained possession thereof other tenants were paying but thirty dollars per month rental. Mr. McCoppen pays to the city seventy-five dollars per month and has built on the ground a nice modern garage at a cost of five thousand dollars, which property will be turned over to the city on the expiration of his ten-year lease of the ground. He is a most alert and progressive business man, a substantial and reliable citizen and one whose life in every relation has been actuated by the spirit of progress and successful achievement.


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