Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ghost Towns of McDonald County

Our classes are reading about ghost towns in reading this week. While on the Google looking for anything interesting about ghost towns I found a site that is about ghost towns in Missouri. I lost the link, but I remember that it identified two towns in McDonald County: Coy and Cowskin.

After thinking about these places I decided to email our local library to see if I could find out where these sites were and maybe learn something about them. I emailed Carrie Cline, the Library Director for the McDonald County Library, to ask if she could do some research. She forwarded the email to Retha Mitchell, the Genealogy Assistant for the McDonald County Library. She happens to live near the old site of Coy and is writing a history book. This is what she emailed me back:

Coy Community

Four and a half miles west on Hwy 76 and a
mile north, lies the remains of a community
known as Coy. It was here in the early 1880's
that Sterling Mitchell built a water mill and
platted out a town. Mitchell operated the
water-powered roller mill, producing flour
for awhile, but soon sold out. After that,
it changed hands several times, until Tom
Wimpey and George McCoy bought it.
These two men are reputed to have
operated the mill successfully for several
years. There was also a post office in the
community. Wimpey requested a U.S. post
office be established there, and the request
was granted Feb. 12, 1886, with the name
of it being Coy. Wimpey served as the first
postmaster. Succeeding postmasters were
William T. Cunningham, Lafayette Langley,
Thomas Murray, John D. Meares, Lester Drake,
and again Lafayette Langley. After seventeen
years of service, the post office was closed.
This had been the second post office in the
area, as John A. McMillen had previously
established the Orchard Grove Post Office
July 3, 1878, but it closed two months later,
reason unknown.
Two stores are known to have been at Coy,
perhaps more. The first store was started by
Tom Wimpey. Later storekeepers were Frank
Beeman, Howard Langley, W.G. Smith, and
William Cunningham.
John and Dallas Seabourn were the next
storekeepers followed by John B. Meares.
Meares' daughter, Grace, was young at the
time, but enjoyed working and helping her
father in the store. Many years later, Grace
married James Hutchinson, and they built a
new brick store building. Later, they had five
children. After James died
, Grace ran the store
for about five years. Mae Watson took over the
store next. Lastly, Logan Hatfield was store
operator. By this time, there was a tall gasoline
pump in front, and above the porch roof, was a
sign that read, "Coy, Mo., AG Food Market AG".
In addition to the feed mill, store, and post
office, there was a hotel, barber shop,saw mill,
gas station, canning factory, and a drug store.
There were at one time, two churches in Coy,
both Baptist oriented. One was the Freewill
Baptist organized and built in Coy, and the
Missionary Baptist Church, located about 1 1/2
miles west of town, along Patterson Creek Road.
The location of the town was enhanced both
aesthetically and business-wise, by Patterson
Creek, a well fed spring, which rises from Boil
Spring, east of Coy, and is fed by other springs
along the way in a westerly flow. A large spring
on the Jimmy Dalton place flows into Patterson
Creek. Below his place, on property once owned
by Leonard and Louise Alexander, are some lakes
that are fed by Patterson Creek. It was a conven-
ient water hole for baptisms. All of the churches
in that area used it for that purpose.
The Victory Road Church of God of the Apostolic
Faith was another church that organized in the
area in 1966. Being without a building, Elmer and
Clara Abercrombie allowed them to meet in the
McMillen School and church building which they
owned. After a year, the building burned, and
residents were saddened that an old landmark had
been lost. The Victory Road Church relocated to a
piece of land bordering Hwy. 43, and have a school
there, now.
The McMillen School had been organized many
years earlier, when the county was young. It not
only served as a school, but also as a polling place,
church, and meeting place for community events.
Elin White now owns the land where the building
once stood.
The Mitchell Cemetery is along Patterson Creek
Road in the Coy area, and is well maintained. Ronnie
and Retha Mitchell are the caretakers of the cemetery
now. His great grandfather, Robert Lee Mitchell,
originally donated the land for the cemetery.
During the 1920's or 1930's, Bob Chamberlain
operated a canning factory in Coy, as well as Anderson
and Tiff City.They had contracts with the growers for
all the tomatoes they could grow. Mr. Chamberlain
ended up losing in that venture, and soon closed the
There is very little to left to prove that a thriving
little town once enjoyed success at this location, but
Coy had it's day- a beautiful little community of good
neighbors and busy days of hard work. It is still a
beautiful area and one that I am proud to call home.

We are fortunate to have such knowledgeable and engaging people working out our local library. You are the reason libraries are the useful repositories of knowledge they are. Thank you ladies for your time and effort. My class appreciates your help.


jasmin said...

That was so cool.

Jose , Fidel said...

Thank you people who ever wrote the story the story was so cool!

Zack&Aaron said...

We think it is cool that we have Ghost Towns in our county.We wish we could see them.

yolanda said...

Thank all librarians for all there kindness of letting us borrow some books from the library. I think that all of you are doing a super job!!! Thank you so much!!!!

ashley and jeffrey said...

Jeffrey and I read it and we think that it is really cool,and we also think that it was interesting because we didn't know that there was so much history in McDonald County.

Macy and Courtney said...

Thank you for the information about the ghost towns. My partner and I raely liked it.

mckoy said...

the story about the ghost town was cool because how the city was vacant and no people was there and a lot of people left from there.

Elio said...

That it was sweet and tight.

Kenya said...

I thank all of the schools for having libraries and the libraries for letting us use their books.

jonathonj said...

I think it is cool to have a ghost town because if you are tiered of people you can go to the ghost town and camp.

Dillion,Kali said...

We did not know there were ghost towns in McDonald county.That is cool to know.

kiley said...

I just have one question...why was the town called Coy?

Colby & Francisco said...

Wow that was really cool but we wanna know if people are still allowed to go there?and if they give tours?

Wade said...

Why was it called cowskin?

Trystan S said...

why was Cowskin called Cowskin?

Trystan S said...

why was Cowskin called Cowskin?

Sarah said...

Are goast real