Answer Man: Legion post’s namesake lost his life in France

November 9, 2018

Dear Answer Man: I’m pretty sure you weren’t around 100 years ago for the first Armistice Day, which ended World War I, but what can you tell us about William T. McCoy, the Rochester man who died in France just before the end of that war? — History Buff

Yes, Buff, I have the wisdom of ages, but I’m still a relatively young man, at least compared to Methuselah. Great Grandpappy Answer Man used to tell the story of young McCoy, who was born in Madelia, Minn., but moved to the Rochester area with his family when he was 4 years old. We’ve claimed him ever since, and as you know, his name now adorns Rochester American Legion Post 92.

McCoy was manager of the Postal Telegraph Co. in Rochester and a ticket agent for the Great Western Railway when he joined the Army in 1917. He was sent to Chicago, where he was assigned duty as, sure enough, a ticket agent and telegraph operator, until his unit was shipped overseas.

In France, McCoy served as a train dispatcher and station agent for a military rail line. By all accounts, his service was honorable, but he became seriously ill and died in October 1918, just before the end of the war. McCoy was buried, like so many young men, in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France, according to information provided by the American Legion post that bears his name.

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