WILLIAM A. COY. - A scion of families whose names have been identified with American history since the early Colonial era, a native son of Ohio and a pioneer of both Iowa and Kansas, there has been no dearth of incident in the career of this venerable citizen and still active business man of Kansas City, where he is senior member of the mercantile firm of Coy & Hitchins, conducting a well equipped general store in the Armourdale disvision[sic] of the city. His life has been one of consecutive industry, and he has been identified with normal lines of business enterprise at various places in Kanses,[sic] the while he has stood exponent of loyal and progressive citizenship and has so deported himself in all the relations of life as to merit and receive the high regard of his fellow men.
William Allen Coy was born on a farm in Portage county, Ohio, on the 30th of November, 1835, and is a son of Allen M. and Sarah (Bush) Coy, the former of whom was a native of Chenango county, New York, and the latter of whom was also born in that state, within whose borders the family was early founded. Shubel Coy, grandfather of him to whom this sketch is dedicated, was the youngest in a family of fourteen sons, and his father moved from Connecticut to New York in an early day. The genealogy is traced back to sturdy English origin and the original American progenitors settled in New England in the Colonial days. Representatives of the name were found enrolled as patriot soldiers in the Continental line in the war of the Revolution, and the name has ever stood exponent of the highest type of patriotism and loyalty, as well as of usefulness in connection with the productive activities of life. Allen M. Coy was reared to maturity in the old Empire state, whence as a young man he made his way to Ohio and numbered himself among the pioneers of Portage county, in the historic old Western Reserve. There he reclaimed a farm and also became a prosperous merchant and an extensive dealer in cattle, this stock being driven overland to the eastern markets in the early days. He was one of the honored and influential citizens of Portage county for many years, and he finally removed thence to Buchanan county, Iowa, where he died at the age of sixty-two years. Mr. and Mrs. Coy became the parents of three sons and three daughters.
Under the environments and influences of the pioneer homestead farm in Portage county, Ohio, William A. Coy was reared to years of maturity and after duly availing himself of the advantages of the common schools of the locality and period he pursued high academic studies for a time in a local seminary. In 1852, at the age of seventeen years, Mr. Coy severed the gracious home ties and set forth to seek his fortunes in the west. He went to Buchanan county, Iowa, where he secured a tract of land and instituted the development of the same. He platted the little pioneer village of Coyville, in association with his father, who came with other members of the family to that county somewhat later than did William A., and there the latter established the first general store. To his farm and store he continued to devote his attention until 1856, when he came to Kansas and purchased land near Valley Falls, Jefferson county. He had but recently attained to his legal majority and about a year later he found it expedient to augment his financial resources by assuming the position of traveling salesman for a large concern in Buffalo, New York, engaged in the handling of drugs and patent medicine. He thus continued to travel in the western states for a period of about four years, at the expiration of which he returned to his farm in Jefferson county, Iowa. He was soon afterward elected register of deeds of the county and he retained this office two years. Before the expiration of his term he was given further assurance of popular confidence and esteem by his election to the position of county treasurer. In the latter office he served two years. After his retirement he assumed a position as salesman for the wholesale dry goods house of Fairchild & Pierce, of Leavenworth, Kansas, and after having been thus engaged for two years he returned to Jefferson county, Iowa, and opened a general store at Oskaloosa, the county seat. There he continued to be actively engaged in the mercantile trade for nearly forty years, as one of the leading business men and influential citizens of the county.
In 1886, noting the industrial development and promising future of Kansas City, Kansas, Mr. Coy came to Wyandotte county and opened a general store at Armourdale, where he has since continued to be engaged in the retail mercantile business, with marked success and where the enterprise is now conducted under the title of Coy & Hitching, his coadjutor being likewise a progressive and reliable business man. Mr. Coy has also been interested in several other mercantile enterprises, both in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, and he has shown capacity, for the effective administration of business affairs of wide scope. He continued his business at Oskaloosa, Iowa, for several years after his removal to Kansas, but he has disposed of the greater part of his property in the Hawkeye state.
As a citizen Mr. Coy has shown the utmost loyalty and progressiveness, and he has contributed of his influence and co-operation in the upbuilding of Kansas City, of which he had the distinction of serving as mayor in 1891, in an administration of most excellent order. In politics he has ever given an unqualified allegiance to the Republican party, and he recalls with pleasure that he cast his first vote in support of General John C. Fremont, the first candidate of the party for the presidency, in the fall of 1856. His father, who had previously been affiliated with the Whig party, was by his side at the time and likewise cast a vote for the standard-bearer of the new party. Thus it comes that Mr. Coy has exercised his franchise in support of every presidential candidate presented by the "grand old party." He has been identified with the Masonic fraternity since 1864, and his maximum degrees in the same, taken about 1866, are those of the capitular body, or Royal Arch Masons.
In Illinois, in the year 1861, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Coy to Miss Julia Cole, who was born and reared in that state and whose father was one of its sterling pioneers. Mr. and Mrs. Coy have but one living child, who is the wife of a Mr. Sims, a representative business man of Armourdale.
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