William Theaker Coyan (1805-1891)

"A brother to my gggg-grandfather Hugh Coyan"

Pictures of the family graves in the McKeesport-Versailles, PA. cemetary

William Theaker Coyan's obituary

Family tree info for William and family

Link to Edward and Sarah Coyan - parents of William T. Coyan

William's last will and testament   6/17/2000

6/17/2000: William Theaker Coyan (could Theaker be the surname of William's mother Sarah?) was - most likely - the youngest child of  Edward and Sarah Coyan. His obituary reveals much, but there are a few things I'd like to add. While at the McKeesport Heritage Center in 1998, I explained to the caretaker there that I knew that William was involved in steamship building in the early 1800's in the Elizabeth, PA. area near McKeesport.

A few minutes later, she brought out 2 copies of "Centennial" editions of the Elizabeth Herald (PA.) newspaper from June 1900, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ship building industry there in 1800. I knew that William had been part owner of a ship building company there in the 1840's, so I was anxious to browse through these copies. Sure enough, one issue set aside a portion devoted to acknowledging the fact that the first steamship built west of the Allegheny mountains was built in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. Another issue devoted a section to profiling the owners of the early ship yards. As I scoured the pages, I found several mentions of our William Coyan. I was noting the fact that there were many PICTURES of these past owners - even one of Isaac Hammitt, whom with William was a co-owner. I frantically started turning the pages (each issue is about 15 pages in length), just knowing that I would get to see the face of my gggg-grandfather's brother from 125-150 years ago!

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Here is a copy of the introduction that explained the newspapers attempts at locating all past ship yard owners. Note the fact that all of them (or their families) had been located, except for one - our William Coyan. Personally, I don't think that newspaper could have looked THAT hard because in 1900, 9 years after William's death, there were still several children of his still in the McKeesport area!  Oh well...

More later