Biographical Information on

Uriah Coy

Born 1826  -   Died 1909 at 83 years



Comfort's son, was born in New York and at the age of 25, he married Abigail CHAMPLIN, December 3, in 1851, (she was 20 years old) at Smyrna, NY.  They left the East and headed for the Mid-West and then were headed for Kansas, arriving about 1863 at Coffey County and Bancroft, near Iola where Uriah bought himself a sizable farm.  He got settled and developed his farm.  (Wheat and Sheep?)

The farmhouse itself was fairly large and part of the living room was set up as a post office. There was a stage coach run from Burlington and Bancroft, Kansas was the end of a stage coach line, a distance of 40 miles.

When it was necessary, his son Clarence even drove the stagecoach run himself.  Clarence was about 12 years old at the time (1874).  They would put up stage passengers at their house which had also become a hotel.

There is a book written, "The School House at Prairie View, about Burlington & Coffey County, Kansas."  Uriah Coy's farm is mentioned in the account as follows:

"Eventually a murder was done within a mile of the school and it made no end of a sensation. It happened at the residence of our neighbor Mr. Uriah Coy, who was postmaster and kept a sort of overnight hotel for stage passengers.  Two of these, Hedges and Cook were partners in business but were on bad terms;  it came out in the trial that Hedges was mortally afraid of Cook, a big strong man who had threatened to take his partners life. Hedges thought to forestall the other man; so he got up in the night, went out to the Coy woodpile and got possession of an ax. He stealthily returned and struck his sleeping partner on the head.  The blow was eventually fatal.  Cook breathed noisily for a time, being such a strong man. How that detail impressed us."

"The murder house took on a most shivery atmosphere.  We felt it when we went after the mail, and the impression was heightened by Steve Coy, who used to take us to the barn and show us the blood-stained blankets and the murder ax.  We used to enact the murder on an improvised stage in the schoolyard. Steve was Hedges and approached the boy who impersonated the postmaster with the very words use by the real Hedges." "I've killed my partner."

"Steve was the prominent juvenile in public meetings.  He was a good wholesome boy but could not help being "show-offish".  His father, Uriah, was the community postmaster and kept his lodging house used by state passengers.  Uriah Coy was something of a public character himself, so that Steve came by his show-offishness naturally."

Uriah did have a high profile in Iola.  This fact was learned in 1976, from a funeral director in Iola.  It was Uriah who also started the town band and that was an important thing in those days. Uriah did a number of things in his life.  We know that in 1870 he was worth $1600 according to that census in Kansas.  This was a tidy sum of money in those days. The family was also listed in the 1880 Census.

As an overview, it would appear that Uriah located in Kansas as early as 1863 and was active in the area for 25 years until he sold his farm. They then returned to Smyra for a visit in 1887, but returned again to Kansas in the mid 90's.  At that time he and Abigail then lived with his son Clarence who was a practicing dentist there at 505 S. Buckeye, in Iola.  Clarence moved back to Chicago but his parents continued to live in that house until, Uriah's death in 1909. Abigail lived there until she passed away in 1922.

Excerpt from the book:
"North of that school yard and immediately adjoining it was the community cemetery.  That in the earlier years was a desolate square of prairie enclosed by a rude wire fence.  It received less care, perhaps, than an ordinary pasture and contained but few mounds scattered about in the wild grass." This was a description of the Prairie View Cemetery where both Abigail and Uriah are buried. Uriah died 14, Nov 1909.  Cause of Death:  Apoplexy.

In 1997 Clifford COY, a great-grandson stopped at the Prairie View Cemetery. It is a small cemetery but well maintained. Coy headstones, and relatives, dominate that little cemetery.  Pictures were taken of other Coys buried there for identification.

In 1976 Cyndy Coy, a great-great-granddaughter visited with Mrs. Ida Williams who was then age 91.  She reports that she remembers when Uriah & Abigail had moved to Iola, and recalls how they used to drive a buggy up from Iola to see the neighbors. They would visit with them, have supper, and stay overnight.  On time Uriah came to visit she was skimming milk.  Ida remembers him a  "jolly old man."

Ida remarked about Uriah's farm and said, "When the Coy's lived there, "the mail came through the prairie". "Pony express and the riders would stay overnight at the Coy's."  She also mentioned a killing at the house.  Ida said before the Coy’s lived there, a bachelor named Jones occupied the house.   Jones had a lot of sheep and Walter (her husband) herded sheep for him when he was about 9-12 years old. (Walter born 1882)  Jones lost his money and lost the farm.   She said that John Johnson built 2 bedrooms on the house.  Ida said at that time the mail went to Halls Summit.  One other bit of information, Ida provided, "Uriah was also the Justice of the Peace and married husband Walter's mother and dad right in his home."


 supplied by Clifford L. Coy --

Coy Family Genealogy Page



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