An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 352.

* A portrait of Mr. McCoy appears between pages 352 and 353.

* A portrait has been posted on-line at

HENSON McCOY, deceased. Among the most honored citizens of Wasco county is to be placed the gentleman whose name heads this memoir. He was born in Illinois, on November 17, 1833, and died in Wasco county, at Dufur, on October 27, 1898. His parents, James M. and Mary A. (Moore) McCoy, were natives of Kentucky. The father's people had been pioneers for several generations previous. They were frontiersmen in Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. He died in Texas. The mother's family also were pioneers for generations. Our subject was but four years of age when they came to Missouri, where he grew to manhood and married, and thence he, with his wife and father, went on to Texas, his mother having died in Missouri. In 1858 they made the trip across the plains with ox teams to California, subject and wife, and had a hard time, losing much of their stock. Although others were very sick, still they were not sick, themselves. Two years were spent in Los Angeles and there he lost eight hundred dollars in buying a bogus Spanish grant piece of land. With low funds they started north and finally landed in Yamhill county, Oregon. They bought and sold land, and rented some then returned to California, settling in Tulare county, where they purchased seven hundred acres of land. After eleven years of labor there they sold that property and came back to Oregon in 1878. Here Mr. McCoy bought school land, took a timber culture and so forth until he had an estate of five hundred and sixty acres a little way out from Boyd, where the widow resides at this time. Just before his death sold eighty to one son. Here he bestowed his labors until the time came for him to lay down the burdens of life. This he did with the same assurance of the faith which had buoyed him through a long Christian life. Formerly, he was a member of the Methodist church but in later years was with the Baptist denomination.

On January 29, 1853, in Linn county, Missouri, Mr. McCoy married Miss Clarissa Rusher, who was born in Chariton county, Missouri, on November 5, 1832. Her father, William Rusher, was born in Kentucky from an old Virginia family, which came in early colonial days. He married Mary A. Sportsman, a native of Kentucky. Her mother was born in Virginia and her father in Ireland, whence he was brought to the United States when seven, being an orphan. Mrs. McCoy's father died when she was four and her mother died in Los Angeles, having crossed the plains with them. Mr. McCoy had four half brothers, Benjamin F., Joseph, Francis M. and Abner, and one sister, Mrs. Mary A. Fogle. Mrs. McCoy has one half sister, Mrs. Ellen Neal, one sister, Mrs. Sarah A. Shakely, and one half brother, William L. Barnes. To Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, ten children were born: Thomas, a barber in Seattle; William, a physician in Salt Lake City; John, at Cripple Creek, Colorado; Joseph H., near by on a farm; Dennis R., with his mother; Mary A., the wife of John H. Sternweis, near by; Ellen, the wife of Abraham Mowery, in Portland; Sarah J., the wife of Isaac Fowler, a carpenter in Portland; Nancy, the wife of Herbert Powell, at Rockland, Washington; Zoodie B., the wife of Albert Connelly. Her death occurred at The Dalles, in 1892. Mr. McCoy was for forty years a member of the I.O.O.F., had passed all the chairs, was at the grand lodge many times, and took a prominent part in fraternal circles. He was a prominent man in the community, had always taken an active part in politics, public matters, and educational affairs, had held various offices and was greatly respected and beloved. He was a man of marked integrity, and his influence was always for good. He did much, both in person and by example, for the building up of the community in every way, and his death was a great loss. His widow resides on the farm, and is a devout Christian lady, whose life has been a light to many.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2005 by Jeffrey L. Elmer. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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