William Coy (ca1760 - 1838)

md. 1st Milly --
md. 2nd Abigail Sutton

William Coy was born ca1760, possibly in Frederick County Maryland. He is generally accepted to be the son of John and Sarah Coy. John Coy received a land grant of 400 acres in 1782 in what was then Jefferson County Kentucky. The land was surveyed in 1786 and described as being in Nelson county on the Rolling Fork (original survey #1026, Book 2 page 1177 and Book 5 page 246). John Coy Sr. was enumerated in the 1787 Virginia tax lists as being in Nelson County Kentucky. Nearby are John Coy Jr. and Daniel Coy, believed to be sons of John Coy Sr.

Nelson County was formed in 1784 from Jefferson. The 1785 List of Tithables "on all the southern waters of Rolling and Beach Forks westwardly of the waters of Hardins Creek" includes: John Coy Sr. with 8 whites, 2 white tithables, no tithable negros, no negros under 16; John Coy with 5 whites and 1 tithe, and William Coy with 3 whites and 1 tithe.

The 1787 tithables for Atkerson Hill (Pottinger's and Bean's Company) list John Coy Sr., Daniel Coy, John Coy Jun, and William Coy with 1 tithable. The editor's note in the Nelson County Pioneer transcriptions indicate this area was probably in southwestern Nelson adjoining Hardin county. In 1788 in Atkinson Hill, Captain Charles Bealer's company, along the Rolling Fork River west of New Haven are found various Coys including William Coy with 1 tithable. In 1789 William Coy is listed with 1 tithe in Captain Beeler's company and the editors note this was the Rolling Fork River area of southwestern Nelson county. William Coy and Rowley Trace are listed together as having 2 tithables in Captain Beeler's company (again southwestern Nelson county) in 1790. The 1791 list names William Coy with 1 tithe in Ashby's, Willett's, and Masterson's companies by Atkinson Hill. The 1792 list for Nelson county south and west to the Rolling Fork River includes William Coy with 1 white over 21 and none aged 16-21.

Hardin County Kentucky was formed in 1792 from Nelson and the Coy family's lands were cut into it. Only the A and B names are extant in the 1793 tax lists and William Coy is not listed in 1794, but in 1795 he is listed with 1 white male over 21, no white males 16-21, no blacks, 5 horses or mares, 2 (?hard to read) cattle, and no stud horses. There is another 1795 list where William is listed on the "Rowling Fork" with 270 acres. In 1796 William has 270 acres taxed at the 2nd rate, on Rowling Fork, with 1 white male over 21, 5 horses, and 4 cattle. On 21 August of 1797 he is listed with 140 acres at the 2nd rate, on Rowling Fork, with 1 white male over 21 and 6 horses and all the "tax paid for 1792-1796" columns are marked "p". There is no book for 1798.

From 1799 to 1802 William Coy is listed on the Rolling Fork with 1 white male over 21; his acreage varies from 127 to 140, horses numbering from 4-6 in various years. In some the land is noted as having been entered, surveyed and patented in the name of Joseph Barnett. A researcher named Harris S. Coy said in "Kentucky Ancestors" that William bought 270 acres from a Barnett in Hardin county on 7 January 1797 (and that John Coy bought 300 acres at the same time). John Coy's 300 acres are also listed in the tax lists, but I have not been able to find the original sale in the deed books of Jefferson, Hardin, or Nelson counties. However on 15 July 1797 William Coy had dealings at court regarding a bond to Joseph Barnet, deceased. I have not researched this bond yet.
Around 1801 William Coy is in a list of notes and accounts in the estate of Andrew Hynes in Nelson County. Andrew Hynes had a "general store partnership with his nephew Wm. R. Hynes, located in Bardstown, Nelson County Kentucky."

Below are further entries in the Hardin tax lists.

Yearacres &
white male
white male
1803143a115 horses
Roling Fork
Roling Fork
1141 stud

William went to court and the following was recorded:
25 August 1806 Satisfactory proof being made to the Court that he William Coy stands charged with a stud horse rates of covering one dollar which he did not own It is therefore ordered to be certified to the Auditor of Public accounts that the said Coy ought to have a credit for the same.
(Hardin Court Orders Book B p. 98)
It is during these years we learn that William's wife was Milly, when they sign consents for some of their daughters to marry in Hardin County. Nelley, "daughter of William Coy", married Peter Kennedy on 16 February 1805. Drucilla, "daughter of William and Milly Coy", married John Kennady on 6 or 8 October 1809. On this bond the surety was Timothy Coy "who swore he heard Wm. Coy and Milly Coy say there was no objection." Later in Nelson County on 21 April 1810 Timothy Coy married Jemima Harp, the daughter of Mary Harp.

Yearacres &
white male
white male

In the 1810 census William and Milly are listed as 45 years or older, with 3 males aged 16-25, 2 females 16-25, 2 males aged 10-15, 3 males under 10, and 1 female under 10. Timothy is not listed, so he and his wife might be living with them, accounting for one of the females 16-25. Returning to the Hardin tax lists we find:

Yearacres &
white male
white male
Rolling Fork
1812143a271 stud
1814143a16$6.92/acre$1000 totalland entered in
name of B. Shaw
1815143a16$6.62/acre$1000 totalentered/surveyed/patented
in name of Bennum Shaw
1816143a1$5.50/acre$1000 total
1817no entry

There is no tax book for 1818 and in 1819-1820 there is no William listed with the 143 acres. On 4 June 1818 William Coy had sold to James Ross for $1050, 216 acres on the south side of Rolling Fork. This deed was recorded on 6 June 1819 and William Coy personally appeared to acknowledge it (Hardin County Deed Book G, p. 152). I have not found what happened to the other 56 acres that made up the original 270 acres.

William Coy moves to Caldwell County Kentucky

In the meantime William Coy "of Hardin County" had purchased 167 acres on the Muddy Fork of Little River in Christian County for $800 from James Cannon and Rachel his wife of Christian County. This land was originally patented to Robert Smith and described as adjacent to Goodwin's corner. The deed was executed and recorded on 21 August 1817 (Christian County Deed Book G p.495). This land was almost immediately cut into Caldwell County where William and his family will be found in the census and tax lists. He is not listed at anytime in the Christian County Tax Lists of 1797-1823. The boundary between Caldwell and Trigg, which was formed in 1820, was not settled until sometime in the 1830s, but ultimately William Coy was placed in Trigg.

The first listing of William Coy in Caldwell is in the 1819 tax lists; he is called William Senr, with 167 acres on Muddy Fork, land entered and surveyed for J. Jennings, patented to R. Smith. He is listed with 1 white male over 21, 3 horses, taxed at $6.00 per acre, and a total tax value of $1200. Also listed are William Jr. and Timothy, neither with land, 1 white poll each, and 1 horse. In 1820 William Senr is listed with 166 acres on Littleriver, entered by J. Jennings, surveyed for and patented to S. Ashby. He has 1 white male over 21, 2 horses, a tax rate of $6.00 per acre, and a total tax value of $1096. William Jr. and Isaac are also listed, Timothy is not. The 1820 census of Caldwell shows William, over 45, 3 males 16-25 (one is 16-18), 1 female 16-25, and 2 males 10-15.

Milly must have died, but it is not known exactly when. However, it seems probable that it was back in Hardin County, because at some point William Coy, in his travels back to Hardin from Christian/Caldwell met and married his second wife, Abigail Sutton, the widow of Alexander Brown, of Washington County (formed from and bordering Nelson and Hardin counties). William was approximately 60 years old and Abigail probably in her mid-20s.

Abigail Sutton was the daughter of William Sutton and Winnifred Peak. Her mother gave the following consent in Washington County on 8 August 1814: "This is to sertify that Ellaxander Brown hath consent of me Winferd Sutton to marry my darter Abby Sutton and I hope you will grant him lisens gien from under my hand and seal this day and date above ritten." The consent is signed Winford Sutton, Mr. John Reed was the Clerk, the testators were William Peak Junr. and Charles Bracken.

Alexander and Abby Brown had a son and a daughter, but Alexander died 4 years into their marriage and Abby administered his estate:

12 October 1818 "On the motion of Abigail Brown widow and relict of Alexander Brown decd she having made oath and with Samuel Phillips and William Phillips her sureties executed and acknowledged bond in the penalty of $1000 conditioned as the law directs letters of administration of the estate of her said deceased husband is granted her." It was also "ordered that Thomas Garner, Raphael Garner, John Smock and William Hayden or any three of them being first sworn do appraise the slaves if any and personal estate of Alexander Brown decd and report." (Washington County Court Order Book C p. 80)

On 26 February 1820 in Nelson County William Coy married Abigail Brown, widow of Alex'r Brown. The surety was Edmond Sutton, the witness to the bond was Ben Grayson (Grayson is witness on many of the neighboring bonds, he probably worked at the court). Abigail does not appear on the 1820 census with William: she may not have moved down to Caldwell in time for the census, William may have still been in Nelson or Hardin taking care of other business and his children or a neighbor gave the information. Another of William and Milly's daughters married in 1820, Phebe Coy and Peter Kennedy. The bond was issued 29 September 1820 with Isaac Coy as security and consent of William Coy for his daughter. There is another bond for the marriage of a Phoebe Coy and John McAtee, issued 28 August 1821. The security was William Coy Jr., and "Phebe was proven of age by oath of William Coy Jr." I do not know what exactly happened; other researchers seem sure that the Kennedy marriage is for the daughter of our William Coy and that he did not die. Some have proposed a second daughter named Phoebe, or perhaps the name is entered incorrectly.

The year 1820 also sees the beginning of an interesting series of land transactions between William Coy Senior and his son William. On 15 July 1820 William Senior executed and recorded a deed in Caldwell (Book C p. 303), conveying to William Coy Jr. for the

"sum of one two [sic] thousand dollars [sic]"..."the tract of land which I now live on containing about one hundred and sixty seven and 1/2 acres, and lying and being in the County of Caldwell and State aforesaid, Also all my goods and Chattels consisting of two horses all my sheep & hogs and all my household and kitchen furniture & all my farming utentials, and all my goods and chattels whatsoever to him his heirs and assigns forever...". There are no witnesses and William Coy Senr acknowledged the deed in person.
The 1821 Caldwell tax lists are damaged and hard to read, but I could not find any Coy entry, nor any 167 acres in the C surnames. On 11 June 1821 there is another deed executed and recorded in Book C p. 466:
William Coy Senr of Caldwell and William Coy Junr of Caldwell, for $2000, "and that the said William Coy Senr did by deed bearing date the 15th day of July in the year 1820 and recorded in the office of Caldwell County Kentucky convey a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Caldwell, and it being the same tract of land on which the said William Coy Senr then and now resides on as described in said deed to William Coy Junr for the consideration of the sum of two thousand dollars as mentioned in said deed for the aforesaid consideration, the said William Coy Junr doth by these presents convey the aforesaid land with its apurtenances to him the said William Coy Senr him his heirs and assigns forever and it is to be expressly understood that the object of this conveyance is to recind [sic] the conveyance aforesaid from William Coy Senr to William Coy Junr and to place him the said William Coy Junr in the same situation he was in before the conveyance was made to to him by said William Coy Senr, and the said William Coy Junr doth by these presents relinquish all rights and title to said tract of land to him the said William Coy Senr"...signed William (x) Coy Jr. acknowledged by William Coy Junr in person.

William Coy Jr. had married shortly before this reconveyance. His wife was Polly Hutchison and they were married on 15 March 1821 by Fielding Woolf. The bond was issued on 13 March 1821 with William McDannel as security. He also made oath that Polly Hutchison was of age. Polly must have been the widow of a Hutchison as William McDannel's will names her and her children by William Coy. The marriage must have had a bit of trouble at first for William published the following in The Kentucky Republican on 4 August 1821:

"Caution: Hereas [sic] My Wife Polly Coy, has left my bed and board, without any just cause of complaint, I hereby caution all persons against crediting her on my account, as I am determined to pay no debts of her contracting; and I will avail myself of the benefit of the law, against any person who will harbor her about their house, or elsewhere. William Coy"
But things worked out as the couple were together thereafter. Mary "Polly" Coy relinquished her dower rights to the Coy land as recorded on 17 March 1823 in Book D p. 76:
"I do hereby certify that the foregoing indenture of Bargain and Sale from William Coy Jr. and Mary Coy his wife to William Coy Senr was on this 15th day of March 1823 exhibited to us and acknowledged by the said William Coy Jr. and Mary Coy his wife to be their act and deed and the said Mary Coy being examined privately and apart from her said husband declared that she did the same freely voluntarily and without the threats of persasions [sic] of her said husband and that she freely relinquished her rights of dower to the within conveyed land and premises and that she is willing the same should be recorded. Test: Isaac Gnibby J.P., Richard B. Chiles J.P."
In the 1822 Caldwell tax lists show the situation is "back to normal", William Senr has 166 acres, 1 poll, 3 horses, a tax rate of $3.00 per acre and a total tax value of $578. William Jr. and Benjamin are listed with no land. From 1822 through 1825 William Sr. is taxes for the 167 acres and his sons variously show up as well: William Jr., Benjamin, Isaac, and John. Starting in 1826 and beyond William Coy Sr. is no longer listed in Caldwell, although William Jr., John, and Isaac are. Isaac married Elizabeth Combs, daughter of Richard Combs in Caldwell on 3 April 1828; they later moved to Missouri.

William Sr.'s land was settled into Trigg county and he is listed there beginning in 1826. William, Benjamin, and Isaac Coy are listed in the Poll Book for Cadiz Precinct in August 1826 and William again in August 1829. In the Trigg tax lists from 1826 to 1837 Willliam Sr. is listed, but generally with about 130 acres on Muddy Fork. In a later land deed he acknowledged that he had given about 50 acres to his son William, but that title had not yet been conveyed. Isaac, Benjamin, and William Jr. also appear in these tax lists.

The 1830 census for Trigg county shows William Coy age 50-59. This appears to be in error and should read 60-69 based on the 1810-1820 census entries. In the household is 1 female 30-39 (Abigail), 1 male and 1 female 10-14 (these should be Abigail's children by Alexander Brown), 1 male 5-9, 1 female 5-9, 1 male under 5 and 1 female under 5. The younger sons are identifiable, but I have not found record of the daughters.

There are several mentions of William Coy in the Trigg county records, but it is not always possible to distinguish between William Coy Sr. and Jr. Again, the Trigg-Caldwell border was not well established and William Jr. was at times listed in both counties. A William Coy was a buyer at the estate sale of John Faulkner on 18 April 1831, and at the estate sale of Charles Kenady on 8 Dec 1834. William Coy Sr. is in the list of buyers at the estate sale of Robert Kenady on 9 February 1835. On 9 March of 1835 the estate sale of George Daniel was recorded and lists William Coy as buying one pair of geer [sic, gear or geese?] for 93 and one quarter cents. The estate sale of Miles Kenady was recorded on 10 August 1835 and lists William Coy as buying one bay colt and one sheep.

On 6 December 1837 William Coy Sr. sold his land to William Coy Jr., but the deed finally reveals the interesting fact that William had named two sons William, one the son of Milly born 1792, and his first son with Abigail born 1820. Abigail's father was William so she would traditionally name a child after him. In Trigg Deed Book G p. 182 is the following [some abstracted and some quoted]:

William Coy Sr. to William Coy Jr. son of said William Coy Sr., written 6 December 1837, recorded 15 Jul 1839, "for natural love and affection and $1.00", 167a on Muddy Fork of Little River, "containing 167a - out of which number of acres said William Coy Sr. has sold a piece to William Coy his eldest son who lives at this time upon said piece of grounds which contains 35 acres which has not yet been conveyed to him, but is hereby reserved and is not to pass by this deed but is to be taken from the whole tract of 167 acres", bounds west bank Muddy Fork and Goodwin's corner,..."containing as aforesaid 167 acres out of which the aforesaid thirtyfive acres sold by said William Coy Senr to his son William, the eldest son of his of that name, he now having living two sons both named William. To the youngest of them this deed is intended to be made....But this deed is made with this express proviso - that the said William Coy Jr. is not by himself or agent to take possession of said tract of land or any part thereof or to exercise any act of ownership whatsoever over the same until after the death of said William Coy Senr, unless by and with his especial consent and permission - the said William Senr hereby reserving until his death all the rights & authority of owner of said land - this being merely a voluntary deed of gift from father to son". William Coy Senr (his mark and seal). Witnesses: John F. Kenady, John Ashby

The court records show that William Coy Sr. died not long after executing this deed. In the Court Order Books are found the following:

Book B p.425: Monday 14 May 1838 - Ordered that Daniel Coy infant son of William Coy Senr. deceased, who is represented to be ten years of age in the month of March last, be bound an apprentice to James Gilfoy, to learn the art and trade of a Cabinett maker, to serve until he shall arrive at the age of 21 years, that said Guilfoy enter into an Indenture of apprenticeship with the clerk of the Court containing the stipulations required by law.

Book B p.430: Monday 4 June 1838 - An Indenture of Apprenticeship entered into between the Clerk of this Court and James Gilfoy, In pursuance to an order made at the last term of this Court binding to him said Gilfoy, Daniel Coy, infant son of William Coy, Senr decd. to learn the business of a Cabinet maker, was this day returned into Court and the same having been examined and approved by the Court Is ordered to be recorded.

Book B p.431: Monday 11 June 1838 - William Coy Jr. infant son of William Coy Senr deceased, being over fourteen years of age came into Court and with leave thereof made choice of William F. Smith as his Guardian, who is accordingly appointed as such, whereupon the said William F. Smith together with Moses Thompson his security entered into and acknowledged a Guardians bond in the penalty of one hundred dollars conditioned according to law.

I have not found any information as to what happened to Abigail Sutton Brown Coy; she does not show up in any guardianship for her youngest children, she does not remarry in Trigg County and does not show up on the census of 1840 in her own name or living with one of her sons as far as I can tell. That her youngest son was bound out rather than having a guardian appointed, especially in a family relatively well off, suggests that she may have already died. There has not been found any gravesite for old William or Milly or Abigail Coy. Some of their children remained in Kentucky, some moved to Missouri and Texas and elsewhere.


The following are sources from William Coy's and Milley's and Abigail Sutton's times and places, but which didn't yield information specific to them (lateral or descendant info which I didn't include in this write-up may be in these sources):

Go to William Coy and Abigail Sutton in the Ahnentafel.

Go to William Coy and Abigail Sutton's family group sheet.

Go to the Table of Contents.