Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
William G. Covey


WILLIAM G. COVEY, editor and proprietor of the Moultrie County News, has had that paper under his control since December 15, 1887. It is a six-column quarto and a spicy weekly, issued at Sullivan, Ill. Mr. Covey succeeded J. H. Dunscomb in the management of this paper, which had its origin December 10, 1884, under the management of Messrs. Hollingsworth & Green, being the successor of the Sullivan Journal which had a checkered experience. The gentlemen just named entitled their sheet the Sullivan News until December 25, 1886, when it became full-fledged as the Moultrie County News, having in the meantime become the property of Mr. Dunscomb, who changed its political color from Independent to Republican, the position which it now holds.

The News has a good circulation and a large advertising patronage and it is having an admirable success under the hand of Mr. Covey, who was a novitiate in the newspaper business when he took it in charge. He had formerly been an agriculturist in Coles County for some ten years and also taught for about three years in the public schools of the county. He came to Illinois in March, 1875, and taught for one year in Douglas County before settling in Coles County.

Our subject was born in Brattleboro, Vt., November 6, 1852. His Welsh ancestors were early settlers in Vermont during the Colonial days and the family was prominently identified with the early history of that State. For generations the old stock was content to remain among the Green Mountains, but during the present half century the younger members of the family became imbued with the Western fever and have scattered west of the Alleghanies. Most of the family who remained in Vermont are adherents of the Baptist Church.

Clark Covey, the father of our subject, was born and grew to manhood in Somerset, in the Green Mountain State, and after reaching his majority was married at Brattleboro to Lestina A. Farr, a native of the adjoining State of New Hampshire. She came of an old and highly respected New Hampshire family who had for generations farmed in Chesterfield. The early wedded home of this couple was in Brattleboro, where Mr. Covey conducted a meat market and later farmed for a while before coming to Illinois, in 1855. They settled in Bloomington, McLean County, and during the winter the wife and mother was stricken with typhoid fever and died in the prime of life. Her remains were subsequently taken back to New Hampshire and laid in the old cemetery at Chesterfield. She was a Universalist in religion.

The husband and father then returned to the old home in the East and some time later contracted a second marriage, being then united with Mrs. Mary J. Cook, nee Layborn, a native of Pennsylvania who became the mother of two children, Cora L. and Walter E. Cora died at the age of three years and Walter is residing in Nebraska where he teaches vocal and instrumental music.

The mother of these children died in Vermont at the age of thirty-six years, leaving besides these just mentioned, two children by her previous marriage. At the time of her death Mr. Clark Covey was a soldier in the Civil War and the then acting Governor of Vermont, Mr. Holbrook, requested the Secretary of War to grant Mr. Covey a furlough that he might come home and look after the interests of the six little children who were left without anyone to care for them, and on this account he was also ultimately granted a discharge from service. While in service he had acted as cook for Gen. Stoughton.

Mr. Covey was some few years later married in Vermont to Harriet A. Stowe, a native of Massachusetts, but within a year he died after a short sickness, succumbing to an attack of diphtheria. He was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church and in politics allied himself with the Republican party. His youngest daughter was born some five months after his death. This child Lillian by name, was separated from the family and for eighteen years her whereabouts was not known, but the subject of this sketch, through information given him by a local biographical writer was recently able to locate her in Massachusetts. She had in the meantime become the wife of Edward Green. now of Leominster, Mass.

Our subject is the first born of the two children granted to his mother, his brother Arthur, being foreman in a large tape factory in Worcester, Mass., and having taken to wife Miss Lenora Lawrence. William G. Covey was well and carefully educated in his native State and Massachusetts, being granted an academic education, thus preparing him for the profession of a teacher, which he followed for five years in the East. He was married after coming West in Coles County, Ill., to Miss Emma R. Martin, who was born in that county August 20, 1852. She became a teacher before her marriage and bears a high reputation as a cultured and intelligent woman. She is the daughter of John and Martha (Cassady) Martin, natives of Kentucky who came to Illinois with their respective parents when quite young and were married in Edgar County where they were early settlers. They afterward did pioneer work in Lafayette Township, Coles County. In that home all of their children were born and there the father died in January, 1875, having completed his threescore and ten years. He was a pillar in the old-school Baptist Church and a man who was honest from principle and the love of right. His widow, who still survives, is a member of the same church and resides at the old homestead in Coles County.

Mrs. Covey, the wife of our subject, had an excellent training and education and was ably fitted for the responsible position of wife and mother. Of the six children who have crowned the union of this couple, two have passed to the other world Lillian B. and Lettie Lee - both of whom passed away while young. Those who still remain under the parental roof are Iva S., Walter S., Jessie B. and Hazel G. Mr. Covey while in Coles County was for some time in the office of Township Clerk. He is a sound Republican in politics and is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and is also an Odd Fellow.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 704/705

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb