04 August 2009

One of the Few Remaining Southern Dames of the Old Regime was Virginia Cope

Virginia Sullivan
Wife of John L. Cope
May 17, 1826
Mar 30, 1910
Blessed Are The Dead That Die In The Lord

Ainsley H. Wyche Lot
Eglantine Square

Virginia Cope sounds like somebody I would like to have known. She spent the bulk of her life as a single woman; she was a widow for about fifty of her eighty-three years. Blurbs in the local paper state she was a business woman, and she owned a shop on Third Street in Macon. I found one mention of a "fruit store," but have yet to ascertain what exactly she sold. "Domestic novelties" seems to be the proper phrase. A Macon Weekly Telegraph article about a fair in December 1860 states, "Mrs. Virginia Cope,...shows neat specimens of baby caps, toilet slippers..." An article entitled "Personal Points" in September 1883 states, "Mrs. Virginia Cope leaves this morning for New York, where she will secure her patterns and purchase her full [fall?] stock of novelties."

It is clear she was a kind and charitable woman, as well. A blurb in the 31 December 1881 Macon Weekly Telegraph states, "Mrs. Virginia Cope arranged a Christmas tree yesterday evening in the room back of her fruit store for the benefit of some of the little ones whom Santa Claus had neglected in his round. About thirty little ones were made happy by presents of dolls, confectionary and trinkets, and thirty little hearts were touched, softened and gladdened by the soft hand of Charity."

Her death and funeral notice:

31 March 1910
Macon Weekly Telegraph
"Deaths and Funerals

Mrs. Virginia Sullivan Cope died at the residence of her sister, Mrs. Harriet Wyche, 418 Walnut street, yesterday morning at 3 o'clock, after an illness of several weeks.

Mrs. Cope was the daughter of Capt. Daniel Zillette Sullivan, of Virginia, who was one of President Andrew Jackson's closest friends and advisers. She was born in Columbia 83 years ago, coming to Macon after the death of her husband, John L. Cope, of Savannah, in which city she lived her married life.

For fifty years she was a resident of Macon, endeared to all who knew her. Her life was one of sweetness and gentleness, and in the later years she was looked upon as one of the few remaining southern dames of the old regime. Although she would have reached her eighty-fourth year next month, she went about unattended, and hers was a familiar figure in her comings and goings to the First Presbyterian church, of which she was a devout member.

She leaves a sister, Mrs. Harriet Wyche, her niece, Mrs. Gertrude Freeman, and other relatives.

The funeral will be held at the residence on Walnut street this afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, and the services will be conducted by Rev. R. E. Douglas, of the First Presbyterian church; and Rev. Jno. S. Bunting, of Christ church, Episcopal. Interment in Rose Hill."

Harriet Wyche (May 22, 1823 - Feb 27, 1911), Gertrude J. Freeman (April 1, 1849 - Feb 28, 1934) and Virginia Cope are all buried in the same lot.

"And I heard a voice from heaven
saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the
dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth:
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they
may rest from their labours; and their
works do follow them." - Revelation 14:13

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