ROBERT NICOLSON FAMILY BIBLE
Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia
BS 185 1706 L6
||Married John H. Brown to Maria Copland on Thursday the 25th
This Bible was originally the property of Robert Nicolson/Nicholson (1725-1797),
the grandfather of Maria Copland Brown. Robert Nicolson was born in England;
his emigration date is not known. He was a successful tailor and merchant and
built a home
at the east end of York Street, below the Capitol Building sometime between
1751-1753. He married Mary Waters in 1747. They had eight children; daughter
Rebecca was the sixth child and the first girl. She married Charles Copland
February 4, 1786 and Maria/Mary was born March 16, 1787. The following year
the family moved to Richmond where Copland practiced law.
Charles Copland kept a diary, excerpts which were printed in the William
and Mary Quarterly. In it he mentions trips, some of which Maria accompanied
July 17th, 1796. Set out with my wife and two of our children, Maria and
Alexander, for the Louisa Springs . . .
May 18th, 1802. I set out with my three daughters for New York on board the
schooner Lyoness, commanded by and belonging to Capt. Secaman, and arrived
at New York on the 23rd. After a week's stay we proceeded on to Bethlehem
[PA], where I placed at school my daughters Elizabeth [age 14] and Margaret
[age 10], and I, with my daughter Mary [age 15], returned in the stage to
Richmond where we arrived on the 21st of June.
July 2nd, 1804. Today, in company with Mr. Tho. Nicolson, my daughter Mary,
. . . I set out for Bethlehem.
The Bethlehem Female Seminary was founded in 1742 and was renamed Moravian
Seminary and College for Women in 1913.
The marriage is the only personal information that was recorded, and that was
written on the verso of the New Testament title page. John and Maria's daughter
Margaret Copland Brown was born June 30, 1809. John H. Brown died two years
later on March 19, 1811. Her
mother, Rebecca Nicolson Copland, died in 1800 at age 33; Charles Copland,
father, November 24, 1836. Maria
died November 30, 1845. None of these dates is recorded in the Bible.
The Bible was given to the Rockefeller Library in 1988 by a descendant of Robert
"Extracts from the Diary of Charles Copland," William and Mary
Quarterly, Vol. 14 (1905-06), #1 pp 44-50; Vol 14, #4, pp 217-230 and Vol.
15, #1, 57-64.
Reichel, William C. A History of the Rise, Progress, and Present Condition
of the Bethlehem Female Seminary with a Catalogue of its Pupils 1785-1858.
Philadelphia: LIppincott, 1858. [Google Books, viewed 4/4/2011]