Friday, December 2, 2016

Circa 1914 Harley Davidson Motorcycle

My dad recently sent me this photo of my grandmother's "Uncle Charlie & Uncle Ed Coppenbarger circa 1914." I love seeing the old photos of these two uncles, but I am particularly happy to see them posing with this old Model T and Harley Davidson, both of which are about 100 years old! I also love Uncle Charlie's riding outfit, and the way Uncle Ed is posed.

"Uncle Charles & Uncle Ed Coppenbarger circa 1914" from the Stewart Family Photo Collection
My dad did some research on these early Harley Davidsons. The 1914 to 1916 models looked very similar. He believes this bike had a gas headlight, which was an option. The Harley-Davidson museum site shares the following information:

Early bikes offered gas lamp headlights as optional accessories. These had an annoying tendency to catch fire or explode. (Talk about “burning up the road”!) Later models offered battery-powered lights that dimmed as the battery drained. 

In 1915, Harley-Davidson’s Model 11-J introduced an electrical system, uniting headlight, taillight, ignition, and horn. Its generator kept the lights bright all night. Touted as “the most powerful motorcycle lighting system” around, it vastly improved safety, letting riders see and be seen.

Charlie and Ed were brothers of my great grandmother, Myrtle Mae (Coppenbarger) Peters (1880-1970) who married Emil Wilhelm Peters (1877-1955). Charles "Charlie" Edgar Coppenbarger was born on August 9th, 1875, in Sumner County, Kansas making him about 40 years old in this photo. He died on March 30th, 1936, in nearby Cowley County, Kansas at the age of 60. Edward "Ed" Bennett Coppenbarger was born on April 19th, 1886 in Sumner County, Kansas making him about 30 years old in this photo. He died at the age of 53 on March 14th, 1940, and is buried in Cowley County, Kansas.

Are we related? I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment or email me at


  1. What a great, great photo! The car, the Harley, the men - GREAT!


Color Clustering: Top 25 Fourth Cousins

For more on Color Clustering & DNA, please visit my new website at:  For another look at how Color Clustering works...