S. J. MCCOY - S. J. McCoy is a representative of one of the old families of Sangamon county and was born on the old homestead farm in Rochester township, May 3, 1850, his birth occurring in the house which he and his family now occupy. It is situated on section 15 and is pleasantly located about a mile east of Rochester so that the conveniences of the town are easily accessible. His father, M. D. McCoy, removed from the old place to an adjoining farm and is one of the leading agriculturists as well as one of the prominent pioneer settlers of Sangamon county. The history of his life is given on another page of this work.
Reared under the parental roof, S. J. McCoy spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farmer lads. He worked in the fields through the months of summer and pursued his education in the schools of Rochester, continuing his studies until nineteen years of age, when he began working for his father upon the home place. Four years later he began farming on his own account in Macon county, Illinois, but after a year he returned to Rochester township, Sangamon county, where he carried on agricultural pursuits for three years. On the expiration of that period he removed to Kansas, in 1885, and for six years engaged in farming near Wichita, but his love for his native state was stronger than for his adopted state and, returning to Rochester, he leased from his father the farm of one hundred and eight acres which he now occupies. In the cultivation and improvement of this property he displays excellent business ability and in his farming operations is now meeting with creditable and gratifying success.
In 1872 in Rochester Mr. McCoy was united in marriage to Miss Pauline Abel. Her father, R. P. Abel, came from New York to Illinois and located at Springfield, where he was connected with the old packing house as bookkeeper for many years. He was a well known factor in business circles here and for some time was a trustee of one of the savings banks of Springfield. About 1870 he purchased a farm three miles southwest of Rochester and when he sold that property to its original owner he removed to Wichita, Kansas, there spending his remaining days, his death occurring in 1888. His widow survived him but two years and passed away in 1890. During the Civil war he made considerable money in Sangamon county by selling horses, mules and feed to the government. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Abel were born two daughters, the sister of Mrs. McCoy being Mrs. Edward Lee, who is residing in West Pullman, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McCoy have been born eight children, who are yet living: Walter J., who was born in Rochester, March 6, 1876, and was married on the 4th of March, 1903, to Miss Alice Keyes, of Springfield, where they reside; Edward O., who was born in Sangamon county, December 29, 1878; Mary Nina, born in Christian county, Illinois, December 18, 1880; Evalenna, born in Rochester, March 16, 1883; Cleveland LeRoy, born in Rochester, December 16, 1884; Elmer Constant, born in Sumner county, Kansas, January 20, 1888; Lora Lee, born near Springfield, March 14, 1891; and Howard Sylvester, born in Rochester, June 8, 1893. All of these with the exception of the oldest son are still under the parental roof. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy also lost a son, Milton A., who was born in Rochester, November 8, 1874, and died August 20, 1876.
In his political views Mr. McCoy is an ardent Democrat, but has never sought or desired office. Fraternally he is connected with the Yeomen of America and the Court of Honor, and in both of these he has been called to official positions. His is a happy and prosperous family and he is a well known agriculturist of his native county. That many of his stanches friends are numbered among those who have known him from boyhood is an indication that his has been an honorable record, one worthy the confidence and respect of his fellow men.