J. B. McCoy is a native of West Virginia,
born at Wheeling in 1829. He is the son of William and Elizabeth (Bushfield)
McCoy, the former a native of Scotland, born twelve miles from Edinburgh
in '79', and the latter a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1793. When J.
B. McCoy was five years old his father died, his mother surviving him
only two years, thus leaving him an orphan at the tender age of seven
years. He is one of a family of seven children, four sons and three
daughters, of whom three are now living. Thus thrown upon his own
resources at an early age and having to work for the support of his
younger brothers and sisters, he entered a foundry at Steubenville,
Ohio, doing the most menial service for small pay. He continued in the
foundry three years, when, at the age of sixteen, he went to
Pennsylvania, and was there engaged in farming and attending school
alternately--running the farm in the working season and attending school
winters. In this way he obtained a thorough English education and
received a good knowledge of the classics. He was offered a collegiate
education but preferred depending upon his own resources to receiving
help from any one, and he faced life for himself, with the determination
that whatever he should accomplish would be through his individual
efforts. At the age of twenty-four he removed from Pennsylvania to
Burlington, Iowa, and began clerking in the store of Barton T. David,
which position he held for a period of about two years, when the store
was removed to Henderson county, Illinois, where our subject was given
the entire management. Here he remained for about three years. In the
autumn of 1860, he removed to Louisiana and stopped with T. C. Chacheré,
making that his home for some time. Here he was engaged in carpentering,
which trade he had learned in Illinois. About three years subsequent to
this he purchased a small plantation, upon which he erected a residence,
where he has since lived, devoting himself exclusively to planting. Mr.
McCoy, through the adverse circumstances from which he has arisen, has
been eminently fitted for a business life, and to his untiring energy is
due what he has accomplished. He married, in 1867, Mrs. Odelia Anders, a
native of St. Landry parish and daughter of Jno. B. and Mary L. Bighm.
To this union has been born one son, Allen.
Southwest Louisiana Biographical and
Historical, Biographical Section, p. 64. Edited by William Henry Perrin.
Published in 1891, by The Gulf Publishing Company.