Among the many native sons of the Golden West, residing at Redding, California, none are more worthy of mention than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, nor can any claim a better ancestry. His great-great-grandfather was a Scotch judge, and his great-grandfather left Glasgow, Scotland, at the age of fourteen years, came to the American colonies, and settled in Virginia, where he resided until the time of his death. His grandfather, William W. McCoy, was born in Campbell County, Virginia, December 3, 1774. On the 26th of August, 1799, he wedded Nancy J. Goodrich, a native of Virginia. They removed to Boone County, Kentucky in 1810, and the following year, on the 14th of June, their son William Wirt McCoy, was born. He was reared in his native State, graduated as an M.D., in 1835, and afterward commenced the practice of his profession at Shelbyville, Indiana. In 1839 he was elected a member of the State Legislature, and served until 1841. Then he resumed his practice until 1847.
In that year Dr. McCoy raised a company of volunteers to aid his country in the war with Mexico. The Fourth Indiana Regiment was organized and he was commissioned its Major. He participated in the storming of the city of Huamantla, and the colors of his regiment were planted on its arsenal. He there so distinguished himself that General Lane tendered him his thanks and made honorable mention of him to the Secretary of War. While at Vera Cruz his skill as a physician was of great value to the soldiers, for, in addition to his other duties, he fearlessly treated the victims of the much dreaded yellow fever. At the close of the war he was mustered out of service with distinguished honor. He returned to his home and the practice of his profession.
In 1852 he was a delegate at large for Indiana to the United States Democratic Convention, which nominated Franklin Pierce for President.
He removed to California in 1852, and for some time turned his attention to the raising of fine cattle, on a large ranch in San Mateo County, his home being at that time in Santa Clara County. He afterward removed to San Jose, and, in 1858, was elected to the California State Legislature. In 1867 he was one of the organizers of the San Jose Savings Bank; was a stockholder in the street railway between San Jose and Santa Clara. He also gave his influence and aid to the construction of the first railroad between San Francisco and San Jose.
In 1869 Major McCoy removed to the State of Nevada and settled at Eureka, where he purchased a large number of mining locations. He had the honor of successfully operating the first furnace in eastern Nevada for the reduction of rebellious ores. In 1869 he located and platted the town of Eureka, and originated a system of water works for its use. He was soon afterward elected a State Senator of Nevada, and at the next session of the Legislature the county of Eureka was created and Eureka became the county-seat. While in the Senate he received the complimentary Democratic vote of both bodies of the State Assembly for United States Senator. The remarks of the members who nominated him were complimentary in the highest degree, alluding to him as a veteran soldier, ripe scholar and patriotic citizen. He was appointed by Governor Bradley United States Centennial Commissioner for Nevada, and was elected vice-president of that commission. He was placed at the head of the Committee on Mines and Mining, and his report on that subject was a valuable accession to that industry.
He purchased the Bells Bridge ranch, 3,000 acres, in Shasta County, in 1879. On it he made many improvements and resided there until 1881, when his death occurred. He met with a railroad accident, in which his hip was broken. After lingering for six months he passed away. Major McCoy was a man of rare ability, high moral character, and was possessed of a kind and gentle nature. He was a true gentleman, a loving husband and a most indulgent father, and his death was deeply lamented by all who knew him. This was the honored father of Albert Sydney Johnston McCoy.
His mother, nee Mary J. Walker, was a daughter of Hon. John Walker of Shelbyville, Indiana. She and Dr. McCoy were married July 2, 1839. To them were born nine children, several of whom died in infancy. Two sons and one daughter still survive. Their daughter Frances, married H.W. Chappell, of Jefferson City, Missouri; and another daughter, Nancy, married A.L. Fitzgerald, a district judge of Eureka, Nevada.
Albert S.J. McCoy was born in San Jose, in one of the original Spanish adobe houses, May 6, 1860. He received his education at the Pacific Methodist College and at the Boys’ High School in San Francisco. He also took a commercial course at Heald’s Business College. At the age of nineteen years he came to the farm which his father had purchased, and has been its manager since that time.
This ranch is a noted one in Shasta County. It was formerly a part of the Rancho Buena-ventura and was first settled in 1852 by J.J.Bell, who built and ran a ferry at a point near where Clear Creek empties into the Sacramento River. In the fall of the same year he moved to where the McCoy mansion now stands, and built a hotel and toll bridge, the immense travel of the early days making it a valuable property. Mr. Bell leased from Major Redding till April 18, 1859, when he purchased 1,337.64 acres of land. In 1860 he erected the hotel that is now used as a residence by the present owners. The California & Oregon Railroad passes through this valuable estate. A short line is soon to be built to the sandstone quarry, a distance of three and a half miles, west to Texas Springs, which will further enhance its value. Mr. McCoy has been raising cattle, sheep and Angora goats, but more recently he has turned his attention to horticulture. He has planted sixty acres to walnuts and chestnuts, thirty acres to French prunes, and ten acres to Bartlett pears, and intends to extend the work of tree-planting. All of his fruit trees are growing without irrigation.
Mr. McCoy is practicing law in the city of Redding. He is Senior Past President of the Parlor of Native Sons of the Golden West, at Anderson. He is also a Knight of Pythias, and Past Chancellor of Mount Shasta Lodge, at Redding.
In 1887 he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Klink, a native of Vallejo, California, daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel B. Klink. At the present writing (1890) he and his wife, his mother and his brother, Dr. J. W. McCoy, reside in Redding. Mr. McCoy’s political views are in harmony with the Democratic principles.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler, August 2004.
SOURCE: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1891. pg. 359-361