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Biography of William MCCOY


Submitted by Sue Schell <ms_schell@hotmail.com>

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II,
Pg. 390 & 391

BIO: William McCoy, Pendleton Co., WV

William McCoy. In the family of McCoy the traditions of ability, honor and worth left by those who have gone beyond set a worthy precedent which the present generation, and that from which it sprang, have followed, to which they have added a life chapter that must prove as inspiration and a positive incentive to those destined to come after them. Among the notable exponents of the family’s integrity and professional and business capability is William McCoy, of Franklin, a lawyer, successful proprietor and editor of the Pendleton Times, a former representative of the State of West Virginia in the House of Delegates, and present prosecuting attorney of Pendleton County. He was born at Franklin, June 2, 1878, and his life has been spent in the city of his nativity.

The McCoy family is one of the oldest in this region, and dates back in the history of Pendleton County to pioneer days. The American progenitor of the McCoys was William McCoy, who came to the American Colonies from Scotland, settling at Doe Hill, Virginia. He had two sons, John and William, and several daughters, whose names are not matters of record. William McCoy, the younger left his father and brother and went into North Carolina, where this branch still flourishes.

John McCoy, son of William McCoy the American progenitor, commanded a company of volunteers in the French and Indian war, and his son Robert, when war was declared against England, marched on foot into North Carolina to join General Greene, and thus became a soldier of the American Revolution. As such he participated in many engagements, including that at Guilford Court House. After the war was over he returned in safety to his home in the vicinity of Franklin, where his father, John McCoy, Jr., was a soldier under General Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe," and was killed at the battle of Tippecanoe, at Battlefield, Indiana, in 1811. The only sons of John McCoy to accompany him into the Pendleton District were Oliver and William, the former settling on the South Branch, near Byrd’s Mill. There he built a home that is still standing, of brick. William McCoy, son of John McCoy, became a merchant at Franklin, and was an extensive land owner in both Pendleton and Highland counties. In 1811 he was elected to Congress, and was returned for eleven consecutive terms, serving until 1832. During his long period of service he served o many committees, among which was the important one on ways and means, of which he was long chairman.

John McCoy, the pioneer, married Miss Sarah Oliver, a daughter of Aaron Oliver, an immigrant from Holland, who married a daughter of Colonel Harrison of Rockingham County, Virginia. The children born to John McCoy and Sarah Oliver, his wife, were as follows: Robert, Oliver, William, John, Benjamin, Joseph and James and four daughters, Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah and Jemima. William McCoy, the congressman, married as his first wife Elizabeth McCoy, and she bore him a son, William, who died in service as a Confederate officer. The second wife of William McCoy was Mary J. Moomau, who bore him the following children: Margaret C., who is unmarried and lives at Franklin; Caroline H., who married William H. Boggs, is deceased and so is her husband; Mary V., who married William A. Campbell and died, as did her husband; John, who became the father of William McCoy, of this review; Pendleton, who married Catherine McMechen, and lived and died in the Franklin community, but his widow is residing at Moorefield, West Virginia; Lucy, who is the widow of Frank Anderson, resides at Franklin; and Alice Virginia, who died at Franklin, married Charles Chamberlain, now a resident of Salida, Colorado.

John McCoy, of the above family, was born in Pendleton County, in 1850, and was reared at Franklin, where his father had large business interests, and was one of the leading factors of the place. He was very carefully educated, and took a classical course at the famous Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia, at the time that Gen. Robert E. Lee was its president. After completing his course in that institution John McCoy returned to his home and took charge of his father’s farm and stock interests, and it was the need for assuming these responsibilities which kept him from continuing his studies and preparing for a professional life. He continued in the same lines of business throughout his life, and died June 19, 1919, universally respected. A loyal democrat he gave his party a faithful service, and was its successful candidate as representative to the House of Delegates in 1890, and he was twice re-elected to that office on the same party ticket. While he was adverse to practical politics, his service in the House interested him and he regarded it as time well spent. For many years he served the Presbyterian Church as an elder, and was a member of it from early youth.

John McCoy married Martha Price, a daughter of James Price, who survives him and is living at Franklin. They became the parents of children as follows: Katie, who is the wife of Byron Boggs, of Franklin; William, whose name heads this review; George P., who is a practicing physician of Neodesha, Kansas; Richard C., who resides at Montrose, Louisiana; Cortland, who is also a resident of Montrose; and the youngest child, Alice, who is connected with the Farmers Bank of Pendleton.

Growing to manhood in his native place William McCoy attended its public schools and Hoge Academy at Blackstone, Virginia, for two years before entering his father’s alma mater, Washington and Lee University, and he graduated from its law department in 1902, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Immediately thereafter Mr. McCoy entered upon the practice of his profession at Franklin, and while carrying on its work took a prominent part in politics as a democrat. In 1906 he was elected to membership in the West Virginia House of Delegates, and served for one term. As the House was overwhelmingly republican, the only committee appointment he received of any importance was that on the judiciary. The speaker of the House was James A. Seaman. His experience as a legislator did not incline him to seek re-election, but he did consent to be the nominee of his party for the office of prosecuting attorney, was elected by a handsome majority, and assumed the duties of the office in January, 1909, succeeding H. M. Calhoun. The record he made was of such a character that he was returned in 1912, again in 1916, and in 1920 was elected for the fourth time, he having served longer than any other in this office during the history of Pendleton county. The service he has rendered has been endorsed repeatedly by the voters of the county, and it has been and is of a high order.

In February, 1913, Mr. McCoy began his identification with newspaper work when he founded the Pendleton Times, a weekly paper devoted to county matters and published as an independent organ. Its object is to record the local news and furnish a medium of advertising for the business men of this locality. The paper is a four-page folio, issued every Thursday. The circulation is 1,775, and it is the only paper published in the county, occupying as it does the field as the successor to the South Branch review.

On October 27, 1918, Mr. McCoy married at Washington, District of Columbia, Miss Grace Hedrick, a native of Pendleton County, and a daughter of Robert e. Hedrick, postmaster of Franklin. For several years prior to her marriage Mrs. McCoy was a teacher in the schools of Franklin, and was very popular. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy have two children: Martha and William, Junior. Mr. McCoy is a Master Mason and Modern Woodman. Reared in the faith of the Presbyterian Church, he long ago enrolled his name on its membership books. In addition to his professional and newspaper work Mr. McCoy has contributed generously to movements calculated to promote the public welfare and those having for their object charitable purposes.


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