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McCoy Family Papers

Filing title: 
McCoy Family Papers

McCoy family papers

Summary Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
McCoy family
McCoy family papers
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1844-1919
Date [inclusive]
5.0 Linear inches 372 items
This collection contains papers and photographs generated by the McCoy and related families in Mecklenburg County, NC from 1796 to 2001. Most of the papers were produced by Albert McCoy (1843-1925), and smaller amount by his children. Other families related to the McCoys were the Gluyas, Houston, and Nisbet families. Because the McCoys owned slaves, some of the files in this collection concern a slave cemetery and traditional stories told by slaves that the McCoy family owned.

Preferred Citation note

McCoy family papers. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Biographical/Historical note

Ezekiel and Margaret (Alexander) McCoy moved from Cecil County, Maryland and settled on land along Gar Creek in northern Mecklenburg County in 1768, and their descendants have lived on and farmed this land continuously since then. Margaret was the half sister and half first cousin of Hezekiah and John McKnitt Alexander, and as descendants of Scotch-Irish immigrants the McCoys were Presbyterians. Their son, John, lived on the land with his wife Ester (Frazier) McCoy. Records from the historic Hugh Torance House and Store on Gilead Road show that John traded there in the early nineteenth century. In 1854, John’s son Marshall Rudolphus McCoy was killed in a copper mine explosion on the farm between Hopewell Church and McCoy Road. Marshall left three sons, John, Columbus Washington, and Albert. Albert (many of whose papers are in this collection) was born on September 1, 1843 and was educated at the Statesville Military Institute. Soon after the outbreak of Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate Army—37th North Carolina Infantry, Company C. John and Washington also served the Confederate cause, and John was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863. During a furlough from military service, Albert was accepted in the local Masonic Lodge, and he remained a life-long member, steadily rising through its ranks. After the war Albert lived with his widowed mother until he had his own house built on McCoy Road in 1886. This was the first complete house built by John Ellis McAuley (this house was restored in the 1990s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places). After the Civil War, Albert married the former Miss Kate Potts. This couple had one child—a daughter named Lura. Kate McCoy died soon after Lura’s birth, and a significant accumulation of documentation indicates that Albert was designated as the guardian of his daughter following Kate’s death. Why Albert McCoy would have to be designated as the guardian of his own child is not known. This documentation suggests that after her death, Lura may have inherited property from her maternal ancestors, and since the death of her mother Albert had a fiduciary responsibility in managing her inheritance. Not long after the death of his first wife, McCoy married again, this time to Mary Catherine Gluyas (“Gluyas” rhymes with “Lewis”) and with her had twelve children. The McCoy’s were instrumental in the founding of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church on Mount Holly-Huntersville Road in 1886. Albert, Mary and Columbus Washington McCoy were among the first communicants. Their reasons for leaving the Hopewell Presbyterian Church are sparsely documented, but according to family lore, it was because the Presbyterians would not allow dancing. Over the years McCoy accumulated large tracts of land in Long Creek Township in order to augment the size of the property. It was there where he died of pneumonia in 1925. By the time of his death, he had been one of the oldest freemasons in North Carolina, and one of the most respected citizens of Long Creek Township. In his will he decreed that his property would be divided up into portions for each of his twelve children from his second marriage—but none to Lura. Some of this land has remained with McCoy descendants into the twenty-first century. Several of the slaves that the McCoys owned continued to live on the McCoy plantation after emancipation. According to memoirs from some of the McCoys, they remembered their former slaves fondly, especially one named “Aunt Lizzie” who played an integral role in raising Albert and Mary’s large family. Her riddles and “Old Bad Man” stories remain part of the McCoy family oral heritage. After her death Aunt Lizzie was buried in the cemetery where McCoy slaves were buried on McCoy property. Funds for the perpetual care of the cemetery were provided through the estate of Thomas Marshall McCoy, second son of Albert and Mary. Two of Albert’s sons served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. These were Robert Oates and Joseph Bennett McCoy; and several of their letters are included in this collection. One of Albert’s daughters, Ella Letitia McCoy Nisbet, and her husband William, opened their home to a few of the American recruits stationed at the army training camp at Charlotte. These were Fred Guthery and J. A. Peterson; and the Nisbets carried on a correspondence with these two “doughboys” and their families throughout the war. A poem found among the McCoy family papers (unsigned, but probably written by Ella) elaborates about the Nisbets opening their home to these soldiers (see file 41). After Albert’s death in 1925, Ella and William Nisbet inherited the Old Homeplace, and it was there where they raised their children. Upon their deaths, the home passed to their son Thomas Gluyas Nisbet who practiced dentistry in Charlotte and raised polled Hereford cattle on the farm. In accordance with his wishes, his estate transferred the Old Homeplace to his mother’s brother’s grandson, Tom McCoy. Tom and his wife, Robin now live at the Old Homeplace with their son, Tom, Jr., and daughter, Arrington. [Sources: McCoy family papers, 1796-2001, Mss 409.]

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Scope and Contents note

The McCoy family papers include primarily the papers of Albert McCoy, his in-laws (the Gluyas family) and some of Albert’s children. Most of the papers were generated as a result of the daily activities of Albert McCoy and include such things as receipt for the consumer goods that he bought, checks that he wrote, promissory notes that he made with friends and family members, letters that he sent and received, and deeds for land that he bought. Because the McCoy family owned slaves during the antebellum years, there is a slave cemetery on the McCoy property and the family has carefully maintained it into the twenty-first century. Written and printed material about this cemetery is found in file 36. Also, traditional stories told by McCoy slaves have become part of the McCoy family tradition and written notes of these stories are a part of this collection (see file 37). Two of Albert McCoy’s sons served in uniform during World War I and a daughter, Ella McCoy Nisbet, opened her home to some of the soldiers who were training at the military base in Charlotte during WWI. The letters, papers and photographs that the McCoys generated and accumulated during the war constitute one of the more interesting aspects of this collection. An appendix of war-time correspondence (itemizing the authors, recipients, dates and files where those letters are located) is included in this inventory. There is also a copy of the November 10, 1918 issue of the Charlotte Observer, and is stored in oversize storage. This issue is especially significant because it has articles concerning the abdication of the German Kaiser and the armistice. One item, removed from this collection and placed with the UNC Charlotte rare book collection is a flier entitled “The Brother Jonathan.”

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte May-July 2009

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Acquired from Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Robin McCoy, in April 2009. Photo of Robert M. Oates family donated by Vera Oates Holt, date unknown.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert A. McInnes.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Freemasons. Long Creek Masonic Lodge, No. 205 (Charlotte, N.C.).

Family Name(s)

  • McCoy family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Mecklenburg County (N.C.)


  • Plantation life--North Carolina--Mecklenburg County
  • Real property--North Carolina--Mecklenburg County
  • World War, 1914-1918--North Carolina--Charlotte

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Collection Inventory

 Series I Family Papers 

Box Folder

Houston family: Houston, Margaret T. : Letters sent (concerning family matters) 1844-1847 

1 1

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Bank records 1898-1919 

1 2

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Damage Agreement with the Southern Power Co. 1907 

1 3

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Estate of Rebecca McCoy 1897-1903 

1 4

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Guardianship of Lura McCoy 1872-1888 

1 5

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Letters received 1861-1870 

1 6

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Masonic papers 1897-1900 

1 7

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Obituaries 1925 

1 8

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Post Office Papers 1849-1851 

1 9

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Promissory notes 1887-1915 

1 10

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Receipts 1871-1912 

1 11

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Receipts - Consumer goods 1875-1917 

1 12

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Receipts - Medical 1867-1870 

1 13

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Receipts - Taxes 1906-1917 

1 14

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : St. Marks Episcopal Church 1907 

1 15

McCoy Family: McCoy, Albert, 1843-1925 : Will 1915 

1 16

McCoy Family: McCoy, Esther : Essay, entitled Memory Dwells on Days Gone By undated 

1 17

McCoy Family: McCoy, Esther : Letters received (concerning family matters) 1848-1852 

1 18

McCoy Family: McCoy, John : Slave bill-of-sale for “Judy” (photocopy) 1817 

1 19

McCoy Family: McCoy, John, 1830-1863 : Letter July 23, 1862 

1 20

McCoy Family: McCoy, Joseph Bennett, 1886- : Banking records 1910-1911 

1 21

McCoy Family: McCoy, Joseph Bennett, 1886- : Letters sent 1918-1919 

1 22

McCoy Family: McCoy, Joseph Bennett, 1886- : Papers 1905-2001 

1 23

McCoy Family: McCoy, Marshall, 1807-1854 : Letters received 1844-1846 

1 24

McCoy Family: McCoy, Marshall, 1807-1854 : Power of Attorney for Jemima S. Alexander 1844 

1 25

McCoy Family: McCoy, Mary : Letter received 1892 

1 26

McCoy Family: McCoy, Robert Oates, 1893- : Letters sent 1918-1919 

1 27

McCoy Family: Deeds and Land Surveys 1796-1986 

1 28

McCoy Family: Homeplace 1878-1998 

1 29

Nisbet Family: Nisbet, Ella Letitia McCoy : Essay entitled Idleness undated 

1 30

Nisbet Family: Nisbet, Ella Letitia McCoy : Letters received 1897-1919 

1 31

Nisbet Family: Nisbet, Ella Letitia McCoy : Receipts 1935-1936 

1 32

Nisbet Family: Nisbet, Thomas G. : Letters sent circa 1990 

1 33

Nisbet Family: Letters received (re: WWI) 1911-1919 

1 34

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 Series II Genealogical notes concerning the McCoy and Gluyas families 


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 Series III Papers Concerning the McCoy Slaves: Papers Concerning the McCoy Slaves 

Box Folder

Slave cemetery documentation 1933-2000 

1 36

Slave Stories (see also file 19) undated 

1 37

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 Series IV Miscellaneous undated 

Box Folder

Essays undated 

1 39

Fairy or Lucky Stones undated 

1 40

Poem concerning WWI circa 1918 

1 41

Oversize Items 1877-1918 

Scope and Contents note

Photocopied indenture by and between Beaty McCoy and John McCoy (1901) ; Charlotte Observer, November 10, 1918 ; Indenture between Thomas R. Alexander and Adaline, his wife (1877 November 27).

OF10 10

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Box Folder item

Photograph of an indenture for the purchase of land in Mecklenburg County, purchased by John McCoy, from Beaty McCoy. 1801 

P38 10 P409/1

Martha McCoy Whitley 

P38 10 P409/2-3

Alice McCoy 

P38 10 P409/4

Lura McCoy Furr 

P38 10 P409/5

Marshall McCoy 

P38 10 P409/6

Albert McCoy 

P38 10 P409/7

Mary Gluyas McCoy 

P38 10 P409/8

Photo of a cemetery with the caption, “Monument to the Extreme left is Aunt Mary’s and Uncle Albert’s.” 

P38 10 P409/9

Mary Nisbet circa 1920 

P38 10 P409/10

John Gluyas 1796-1858 

P38 10 P409/11

Thomas and Letitia Melinda Beeson Gluyas 

P38 10 P409/12

Joe McCoy and an unidentified man 

P38 10 P409/13

Unidentified man in an army uniform 

P38 10 P409/14

Joe McCoy? 

P38 10 P409/15

Group of five unidentified men in army uniforms circa 1918 

P38 10 P409/16

Fred Guthery circa 1917 

P38 10 P409/17

J.A. Peterson circa 1917 

P38 10 P409/18

Joe McCoy, Clifford McCoy, Lamar McCoy with 3 children: Edwin, Katherine, Edith, at the McCoy Homeplace, Huntersville. 

P38 10 P409/19

Albert McCoy Homeplace, McCoy Road, Huntersville, NC. 

P38 10 P409/20

Lamar Alexander McCoy with children: Edwin, Katherine & Edith 

P38 10 P409/21

Clifford McCoy, Katherine McCoy, Uncle Ford Haik (Clifford’s brother) at Old Homeplace 

P38 10 P409/22

Lamar Alexander McCoy, son of Albert McCoy with Edith McCoy Powell at Old Homeplace on McCoy Road, Huntersville, NC. 

P38 10 P409/23

Cliffford & Lucille Haile McCoy, Katherin McCoy & Edith McCoy. Backyard off McCoy Homeplace, Huntersville, NC. 

P38 10 P409/24

Katherine McCoy Byrne at Old Homeplace. 

P38 10 P409/25

Clifford McCoy with Katherine & Edith 

P38 10 P409/26

Edwin & Katherine McCoy at Lamar McCoy house 

P38 10 P409/27

Edwin McCoy at Lamar McCoy house behind slave cemetery 

P38 10 P409/28

Clifford McCoy with Edwin & Katherine at Lamar McCoy house behind slave cemetery 

P38 10 P409/29

Lamar & Frankie McCoy 

P38 10 P409/30

Two unidentified men in army uniforms circa 1920 

P38 10 P409/31

Glenn Powell and R. Owen John Byrnes at old Homeplace 

P38 10 P409/32

Photograph of a newspaper clipping, showing the reunion of Company C, 37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, at their 50th reunion. Picture includes Albert McCoy. 

P38 10 P409/33

Photograph of a land survey, depicting the division of Albert McCoy’s property among his heirs. circa 1920 

    Box Folder item
Mixed materials   P38 10 P409/34
    Box item
Mixed materials   PCD P409:1/6

Box Folder item

McCoy Homeplace circa 1995 

P38 10 P409/35-36

Photograph of an indenture for the purchase of land in Mecklenburg County, purchased by John McCoy, from Beaty McCoy. 1801 

P38 10 PL409/1
Box Folder

Home of the Robert M. Oates family, circa 1915, located at 8th and Tryon streets in Charlotte. 

OF10 10

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