Brad Phillips has lived in the Roberts Drive area, north of Spalding Drive, since he moved here with his family in 1971. He remembers the old home and the well that once sat where Dunwoody Springs Elementary School is located. It was known as Obediah’s Plantation, because the original owners were Obediah and Salina Copeland.
In the 1970s, when Brad was riding the school bus to Mimosa Elementary School and later Woodland Elementary School, the bus passed the old home. Granddaughter of Obediah and Salina, Lee Eula Copeland Hembree lived there at the time with her husband. The couple would wave at the bus full of children from their front porch or from their garden. They had a local nursery business, growing shrubbery on the property.
Lee Eula Copeland Hembree shared the stories of her pioneer family in an early issue of the Dunwoody Crier. Her grandmother Salina told her how Native Americans and gold prospectors stopped at the Copeland well for a drink of water and how wagons and horses sometimes formed a line along the road.
The Copelands also ran a post office from their home. At the time, the area was known as Grogan’s District and the county was Milton County. The post office went by the name of Grogansville.
Salina Copeland also told of the trials and tribulations of the Civil War years. Obediah Copeland was away fighting with the 38th Georgia Regiment, Company A. In July of 1864, Union soldiers raided some area homes, including the home of Salina Copeland. Salina begged a Union lieutenant not to take all their food and was thankful and impressed that he returned a large bag of food for her and the children.
Obediah was captured and held at Camp Douglas in Chicago until he was released in 1865. By the time he made it home from the war, Salina’s hair had turned white from grief, thinking that her husband had died.
When Obediah Copeland died in 1895, Lee Eula’s father, Robert Lee Copeland purchased 50 acres, the house and the well for $200. Later, Lee Eula became owner of the home and property.
Brad Phillips remembers the historical marker on the Copeland property. It was moved to the Sandy Springs Fire Station at Roberts Drive and Spalding Drive when Dunwoody Springs Elementary was constructed. The marker describes how three federal armies of General Sherman crossed the Chattahoochee River at the Shallow Ford near Roswell and were moving toward Atlanta and Decatur, taking them past the Copeland home and along what is now Roberts Drive and Chamblee Dunwoody Road.
The Copeland well continued to be a popular stopping place for many years after the Civil War. A few years after Dunwoody Springs Elementary was built, the old stones of the well were retrieved by Dunwoody developer and builder Bill Grant from behind Bulloch Hall. A replica of the well was constructed in the courtyard behind the school.