David Kent Coy is a retired social worker, having a career of over 40 years working with people with developmental disabilities, severe mental illness, and also senior citizens. He is a Life Member of the Coles County Historical Society, the Coles County, Illinois Genealogical Society, and the Association for the Preservation of Historical Coles County. He is a Past President of the Illinois State Genealogical Society and was awarded their highest honor, the Lowell Volkel Medal of Honor.
Tell us a little about your background. How did you become interested in genealogy and local history?
When I was born, I had 12 living ancestors. I had both parents, one grandmother, two grandfathers, all four great-grandmothers, two great-grandfathers, and one great-great-grandmother. I can remember them all, except for one great-grandmother, who died at 86 when I was just a few months old. Two of my great-grandmothers lived until I was 16 and I started writing down their stories a little over a year before they both died in Oct. 1969. They each remembered a few of their great-grandparents – so that got me started. Going to college at E.I.U., in Charleston, Coles County helped, because several of my ancestors had pioneered there at an early time.
What do you think makes Coles County so unique?
The first thing I think of was that the boundaries of Coles County once were much larger and included Cumberland County and Douglas County. I think the presence of Eastern Illinois University has made a big impact on the county. The connections to Abraham Lincoln have always fascinated me also.Continue reading “Interview with Local Historian and Preservationist David Kent Coy”