Sometimes your day is going along perfectly well, just doing the regular activities, but then you get a simple request that sends you on a much longer journey than you expected to take. Your Uncle Gib got such a call from Mr. Dale Welch, Putnam County historian, asking how the Mayland Community got its name. This seemed like a very simple request that could be answered with a minimal amount of research. Wrong.

We all know this area was called Johnson, for the Johnson’s Stand or Inn that was one of the famous Inns that dotted the East-West passage through this area in the early days before Cumberland County was established.  The railroad stop at the community was called Johnson’s Station; however, in 1895, the post office was called Goodwill, and the postmaster was William Cooper. The Post Office records show that April 4, 1900, the name of the Goodwill post office was changed to the Mayland post office, and William Cooper was still the postmaster. No reason was given for the name change, and unless someone else has a record to prove the name change, we still don’t know for certain how Mayland got its name.

The Mayland research then turned into a study about Postmaster William Cooper, quite an interesting fellow. In the Chronicle newspaper transcription books done for genealogy, two by Michael Boniol and two others by Patricia Kirkeminde, the only information found was that Mr. Cooper was listed many times in the land transaction records and court cases. Looking in the cemetery records and on Find A Grave, a death date and burial location were found for William Cooper. This is the point at which the Chronicle becomes an invaluable tool.

Our community is so fortunate to have the wonderful County Archives and all the family research records located there. We have outstanding personnel including, Archivist Joyce Rorabaugh and Loreda Davis, archival assistant, and the many other volunteers who are ready to help those seeking family records. Calling and making an appointment for me to go into the archives, wearing my mask, Joyce was able to assist me with the newspaper microfilm for 1913, in order to locate the obituary for William Cooper.

CROSSVILLE CHRONICLE. Wednesday, April 9, 1913. MAYLAND. April 7, 1913, at 4 a.m., the angel of death claimed for his victim Maj. William Cooper, of this place. Maj. Cooper was of Irish descent, his parents having come from Ireland to this country before his birth and settled where Scranton, PA, now stands, at which place William was born Mar. 2, 1843. 

In 1845, he, in company with his father and mother, went back to the old country where his father was employed as a ship carpenter. His father died in Belfast, Ireland, in 1853, leaving the mother and four children who returned to this country shortly after his death. One of the four children died at Jamestown, TN, while young, another, Mrs. Mary Ann Cooper Sparkman, died at Quebeck, TN, in Jan. 1913, (four months before her brother William Cooper) the other, Hon. John Steele Cooper, of Quebeck, TN, is still living. John Steele served as a State Representative in the 55th and 57th Tennessee General Assembly from White County. 

Stay tuned, more to come.

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Old Uncle Gib is a weekly historical feature published each week. Old Uncle Gib is a pseudonym that was used by S.C. Bishop, who founded the Chronicle in 1886. Bishop actively published the Chronicle until 1948.