William Theaker Coyan (1805-1891)

This important obituary appeared in the McKeesport, PA., Daily Times newspaper on August 4, 1891

To me, this vital obit is quite revealing of our ancestors in a number of ways. First, William's boyhood "training" in Hanover township of Washington county, Pennsylvania as a "tanner" shows the simplicity of life of the pioneer settlers of early America. The vast majority of families were farmers - by necessity - but there was a definite need for the "trained " individual (blacksmith, joiner, rope-maker, cooper, wagon-maker, tanner, etc.) who often bartered his services to neighbors in exchange for work from a friend skilled in another craft.

Also, in dissecting the statement in this obituary that "the family were all Presbyterians, excepting deceased...", I have come to the conclusion that the author (almost certainly one of his children) had to be referring to the PARENTS, BROTHERS and SISTERS of William Theaker  Coyan. Why? Because "were" is in the past tense - which eliminates the children - and it is virtually certain, with evidence collected to date, that all of William's family had died by 1891. Also, at least one of William's children (Nellie) was a confirmed Baptist, further eliminating the children as the ones being referred to in the obit.

Lastly, the term "were ALL", tells me that William certainly was not an only child and that likely there were SEVERAL children - again confirmation of the evidence that Edward and Sarah? Coyan were the parents of a number of offspring, William Theaker Coyan being one of those. 

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