Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 377
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Mrs Cornelia (Buckles) McVay, who has resided in Sterling for many years, is one of the most highly esteemed ladies of the community. Her husband, William Cecil McVay, was a very prominent and influential citizen here, and his death, which occurred in Kirksville, Missouri, November 17, 1897, when he was forty-three years of age, was deeply regretted. He was a native of Sidney, Ohio, and was the youngest of eight children born unto Henry and Mary (Cecil) McVay. His mother died when he was only seventeen months old, and when a lad of ten summers he was left an orphan by the death of his father. All of the children, however, reached adult age. William C McVay was reared by his maternal grandparents amide the scenes of rural life, and dthrough the summer months assisted in the work of the farm, while in the winter he attended the district schools. When a young man he removed to Illinois and in 1877 came to Kansas from Windsor, that state. He secured a claim ten miles south of Sterling, but for a short time carried on farming. He then turned his attention to merchandising, securing a clerkship. He had previously had experience in that line of work in Illinois. After several years spent as a salesman in different stores in Kansas he began business on his won account as a general merchant, forming a partnership with Aaron Keller. They opened their store in 1882 and later the firm name was changed to Keller, McVay & Cline, by the admission of a third partner. It afterward became McVay & Cline, and subsequently Mr McVay carried on business alone. In 1890, however, the firm of McVay & Guild was formed, and under this title business was carried on until the death of the senior partner. As a business man he was energetic, discriminating, diligent and reliable. His transactions were conducted along the line of strict commercial ethics and his honesty was proverbial. He was always genial and possessed an unfailing courtesy that made him popular and won him the warm friendship of many of his customers, who continued their patronage through the fifteen years in which he was engaged in business in Sterling.
Not long after coming to this place Mr McVay formed the acquaintance of Miss Cornelia Buckles, of Muncie, Indiana, a sister of Mrs Captain Lindsley and the youngest daughter of Judge Buckles. They were married at the home of the bride in Muncie, on the 11th of November, 1885, and began their domestic life in Sterling, where Mr McVay was then located. After her husband’s death Mrs McVay entered the store, where she remained for some months in order to care for her interests until the stock was sold and the business closed out. Four children were born unto this worthy couple, - Cecil B, Wayne L, Joe B and Virginia W. Joe died at the age of three years. The others are fourteen, eleven and eight years of age, respectively. In 1888 Mr McVay and his family took up their abode in a comfortable home on East Main street, where his widow and her children are yet living. Mr McVay always occupied a prominent place among the merchants and business men of the town and in social circles as well, and was a gentleman well posted on the affairs of the day. He took and active and abiding interest in civil and political affairs, and at his death he was president of the Sterling Republican Club. He also served as a member of the city council and was active in the fire department from its organization, serving as its chief for many years. Of various fraternal and benevolent societies he was a faithful member, belonging to both the lodge and encampment of the Odd Fellows organization and the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and all of these lodges participated in the funeral service when he was called from this earth. For two years he suffered from trouble with his liver and at last went to the Kirksville Sanitarium, but medical aid could do nothing for him, and with his faithful wife at his bedside he passed away. In the memorial published in the Bulletin and Gazette of November 19, 1897, appeared the following: “Those how knew W C McVay most intimately knew that in him they had what is sometimes hard to get and still more difficult to hold – a true friend. He never hesitated to vindicate a friend unjustly attacked and always gave good sensible advice when any one in trouble came to him.” To his family Mr McVay certainly left the priceless record of an untarnished name. Mrs McVay is yet living in Sterling, caring for her children, and in the community she is widely and favorably known.