Past Tense

Imagine being awoken each morning at 4:30 a.m. to the sound of a dairy truck horn, honking as it heads off to deliver milk. That was the experience of Jane Anderson Autry and her family, growing up at the corner of Mount Vernon and Tilly Mill roads.

Jane Autry contacted me to share her memories of the Copeland family farm and dairy. John and Mary Donaldson Copeland owned the dairy in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Their home sat where Sprouts and CVS are today in the triangle formed by Mount Vernon, Jett Ferry and Dunwoody Club Drive. Dunwoody Club Drive was a dirt road known as Old Lawrenceville Road at that time.

The dairy operation was on the side of Dunwoody Club Drive where Orchard Park Shopping Center is located today. This included a pasture, large barn for milking and another barn for bottling and storing milk. There was a small rock house that sat in the corner of the shopping center parking lot, which was home to John and Mary’s son and daughter-in-law. Another house sat where Chick-Fil-A sits today and was home to a daughter and her family.

The Copeland family dairy sold milk to a few local customers who visited the dairy, but their deliveries were to Atlanta. John and Mary’s son Clifford handled deliveries with that early morning truck.

John Copeland was one of nine children of Obediah and Salina Copeland. Their home was where Dunwoody Springs Elementary School is today, along Roberts Drive. At one time, Obediah and Salina operated a cotton gin, general store, and the Grogansville Post Office at their property. Their well was also a popular stopping place for travelers.

Another of Obediah and Salina’s children, Larkin Copeland, operated a store in the early part of the twentieth century on Chamblee Dunwoody Road, where Walgreen’s and Fresh Market are located today.

Jane Autry also has a family connection to the Copelands. John and Larkin Copeland’s sister, Mary Jane Copeland, married Calhoun Spruill and they were the great grandparents of Jane and her two siblings, Carolyn Parker and Ken Anderson. However, the family didn’t get their milk from the Copeland Dairy. As mentioned in the last Past Tense, most families in Dunwoody had a cow and that was true for Jane and her family.

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