From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 344-345, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
George W. McCoy, an extensive farmer of Mt. Sterling, Illinois,
was born in Adams county, Ohio, January 1, 1831. His father, Samuel
McCoy, was born in Cecil county, Maryland, in 1796. The grandfather of
our subject, Alexander McCoy, was born in Ireland, of Scotch ancestry.
His parents were poor and he commenced very early to earn his own
living, being brought up to work in a factory. He was a lad in his
‘teens when he came to America and located in Maryland, where his
parents who had preceded him to America were then living. He learned
the cooper's trade, which he followed for some time. He was twice
married but lost both of his wives before coming to Ohio. After the
death of his second wife he removed with his children to Ohio and lived
in that State some years, and then spent his last years in Brown
county. The father of our subject died in 1882, in the eighty-fifth
year of his age. He was about eighteen years old when he went to Ohio.
He was very industrious, saved his earnings and finally purchased land
in Adams county. He then turned his attention to agricultural pursuits
but still followed his trade a portion of each year. He resided in
Adams county until 1839, and then sold his farm there and came to
Illinois. He was accompanied by his wife and three children, and the
entire journey was made overland. After about fifteen days' travel they
landed in Brown county. He purchased a tract of land near Versailles,
and there devoted his time to farming. He was a resident of Brown
county until his death, which occurred as before stated.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Sarah Pilston.
She was born in Virginia, a daughter of William and Easter Pilston. She
died in Ohio in 1834.
The subject of this writing was in his ninth year when he came
to Illinois with his parents. At that time the country was wild and
deer, wild turkeys, and other game were quite plentiful. Farming was
conducted in the most primitive manner. All the grass was cut with a
scythe, and the grain was either cut with a reap hook or a cradle and
trampled out with horses or with a flail. There were no fanning-mills,
and in order to clean the grain one man would take it in a seive and
hold it high and two others would stand by with a sheet with which they
fanned the air and in that manner separated the grain from the chaff.
Mr. McCoy remained with his father until nineteen years of age,
then commenced farming on rented land. When he attained his majority
his father gave him $250, and with that and his earnings he had enough
to pay cash on 120 acres of land, which is now included in the farm he
now occupies. The whole price of the farm was $680, and he paid six per
cent interest on the balance. He lived in a log cabin and in that
humble abode himself and wife commenced housekeeping. They occupied
that dwelling about eighteen months and then built a brick house. Since
that time he has erected a commodious frame house and other buildings,
planted fruit and shade trees and placed the land in a high state of
cultivation. He has been very successful as a farmer and has purchased
other land at different times and is now the owner of about 500 acres,
all in Brown county.
The marriage of Mr. McCoy took place January 27, 1853, to Sarah
Harper. She was born in Ohio, August 29, 1835, and was the daughter of
Elder James Harper. Mrs. McCoy died November 2, 1868, and Mr. McCoy
subsequently married Lucinda, a sister of his former wife, October 28,
1869. She was born in Brown county, Illinois, April 17, 1847, and died
May 7, 1890. He was married to Laura J. Putman, October 28, 1891. She
was born in Ohio, August 7, 1841. Her father, William Putman, was born
in Bourbon county, Kentucky, October 16, 1797, and was the son of
Zachariah and Winnifred (Collins) Putman. The parents of Mrs. McCoy
moved to Ohio and resided in Champaign county for some years, coming
from there to Illinois in 1841, at which time the father purchased a
farm in Mt. Sterling township, which he occupied until his death, July
24, 1880. Mr. McCoy has five children by his first marriage: Elvira,
Mahala, Mary Jane, Turner and Martha. Of his second marriage there are
William and Arthur. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy are members of the Primitive
Baptist Church and are good pious people. In politics he affiliates
with the Democratic party. He has served long as Supervisor and has
been Chairman of the Board.