MCCOY, WILLIAM FRANKLIN - The service the breeders of blooded stock have rendered Sangamon County cannot be lightly estimated, nor will their names be easily forgotten. One of the men who fro years have been intimately connected with this important branch of agricultural life is William Franklin McCoy of Section 11, Cartwright Township. He was born June 24, 1844, in Oldham County, Ky., son of Andrew Jackson and Ann (Carder) McCoy. The father was a native of Virginia, while the mother was born in Kentucky, in 1820. The father had been taken to Oldham County, Ky., by his parents, when a lad, and there grew up and married. His wife died when William Franklin McCoy was but four years old, in 1848. In 1858, the father again married and by the second marriage had two children: Milburn of Kansas City, Mo., and Ellen who lives in Emporia, Kas. William Franklin McCoy had an own sister, Mary Celesta, who married William F. Phillips, but later died, leaving three daughters, Ida, Eva and Bozza, all now of Plainfield, Ind.
In 1850, Andrew Jackson McCoy brought his family to Morgan County, Ind., where he carried on a building and contracting business, later becoming a merchant. His death occurred at Hall, Ind., December 24, 1863. William Franklin McCoy attended school in Morgan County, entering the Northwestern Christian University at Indianapolis, Ind., after he had served his country as a soldier. He located at Rome, Jefferson County, Ill., in 1866, and on August 29, 1867, he married Amanda Melvina Beesley, born in Hickory County, Mo., November 20, 1847, a daughter of Robert D. Beesley and Icephenia (Madison) Beesley, natives of Kentucky, who emigrated to Missouri and for a time lived in Hickey County, where the mother died in 1852. In 1862, the father removed to Rome, Ill., and then again to Missouri, where he sold his farm and removed to Texas, dying there September 6, 1890. They had five children, of whom Mrs. McCoy was the youngest, two others surviving: Albert H., of Fayette County, Ill., and Eleanor J., widow of Elisha Harlow.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. McCoy located on a farm in Fayette County, Ill., where they farmed, and from the first Mr. McCoy began buying stock for the market. In 1873, he came to Sangamon County, Locating on a farm near Lanesville, where he rented 160 acres for near Lanesville, where he rented 160 acres for a year, then rented 410 acres where he began breeding Clydesdale horses, commencing from a grade foundation, steadily building up to the present state of excellence for which he is now so famous. He has been very successful in his farm and stock raising. In 1904, he moved to Section 11, Cartwright Township, where he is operating 287 acres. During 1910, one field yielded 100 bushels of corn to the acre, and his other crops were equally good. He is now carrying thirty-two pure breed Clydesdale horses and colts. In 1906, four of his fillies took several prizes at the International stock show at Chicago. His stock has taken forty-seven premiums at the Illinois State Fair in 1906 and 1907. He exhibits every year, and his product receives prizes wherever shown. Graham Bros. Of Toronto, Canada had hard work to beat Mr. McCoy's horses. His success is all the ore remarkable as he has worked up the produce from a grade foundation. His horses always bring the highest prices. In addition to his horses, Mr. McCoy breeds about fifty head of the best blooded Berkshire hogs each year, and his product ranks with the best in the country.
Mr. and Mrs. McCoy have had eight children, seven of whom survive: Charles E., born in Fayette County, October 23, 1869, married Mable Schry; Albert Franklin, born August 29, 1871, a carpenter and builder of Springfield, married Gertrude Benedict, and they have three children, - Robert F., J. Floyd and Amos LaRue; Lodema, born in Fayette County, October 17, 1873, deceased wife of Christian Kautz, dying April 22, 1908, leaving two children - Catherine Amanda, who makes her home with her grandparents, and James McCoy Kautz, who lives with his uncle, Henry Kautz; Walter Clifton, born April 15, 1875, a farmer residing near Athens, Ill., married Jane Snow, - issue, Ora, Hazel and Lodema; William Robert, born November 1, 1878, married Mae Forsyth - issue, William R.; James H., born November 20, 1882, a school teacher of Idaho; Floyd Whitemore, born July 13, 1888, and Mary Pearl, born March 24, 1891, both at home. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy have given their children good educational advantages. They are active members of the Christian Church. Mr. McCoy belongs to the Masonic Lodge No. 333, Tyrian Lodge, the G.A.R. Post at Buffalo, Ill., the National Clydesdale Association and the National Berkshire Hog Association.
Mr. McCoy's war record is one of interest, he enlisting August 15, 1861, in Company A, Thirty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in September 15, 1861, for three years' service or until the close of the war. He was with his regiment, participating in the battle of Thompson Station, March 5, 1863, when he was wounded in the right leg and being captured, was sent to Libby Prison, where for a month he endured untold hardships, but fortunately was then exchanged, and went home in May 8, 1863. He then returned to his regiment and participated in Sherman's March to the Sea, was in front of Atlanta, and was wounded at the battle of Peach Tree Creek, in his right arm. He was then sent to Indianapolis. He was honorably discharged March 14, 1865. His regiment was in eighteen hard-fought battles, traveled by rail and on foot 7,462 miles, 2,917 miles being covered on foot. His regiment lost more men in battle than any other in Sherman's Army, the total enlistment having been 2,867. The total number who died of disease 156, killed sixty-one, died of wounds forty-seven, total death rate from all causes, 271, wounded, 269, total loss 540. After the expiration of his first enlistment, Mr. McCoy re-enlisted, and received his final discharge, March 14, 1865, after nearly four years of hard soldiering. He made a remarkable record while in service for in spite of the temptations of his surroundings, he never used either tobacco or liquor.
Coming of Scotch ancestry, Mr. McCoy has inherited much of the stubborn tenacity of his race, and has never given up, once he commenced to do anything, and as a result he has succeeded far beyond his fondest hopes. His association with the stock breeding interests of Sangamon County, is so well known as to require no further mention here.