Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

William B. Coughenour

WILLIAM B. COUGHENOUR. Some of the important commercial developments in Ness County during the past twenty years have been largely forwarded by William B. Coughenour, a prominent merchant at Brownell. Mr. Coughenour has been a factor in that town since 1895.

His first experience in Kansas was as a young and single man and as an employe of his brother, Joseph W. Coughenour, one of the pioneer merchants at McCracken, Kansas. He clerked for his brother there and then in 1895 the brothers established the firm of W. B. Coughenour & Company and opened a store at Brownell. Eighteen months later William B. bought out his brother and continued the ownership by himself for seven years. In 1903 Mr. Hartley bought an interest in the business, and the firm of Coughenour & Hartley now conduct one of the leading general merchandise establishments of Ness County. They have erected a first class business house for their store, and Mr. Coughenour is also a stockholder in the local hotel company.

The Coughenour name is said to be of Scotch origin, though the family lived for a number of generations in Pennsylvania and became intermingled and closely associated with the Pennsylvania German stock, and in that state at least have usually been referred to as representatives of that hardy and virile people. Mr. Coughenour's grandfather Coughenour, a native of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, married Rebecca Baker. She was a granddaughter of Jacob Baker, who once owned a large amount of land near Philadelphia. It is said that he leased his land to the city for ninety-nine years, and while this lease has long since expired nothing has been done by the family toward reclaiming possession of it. Grandfather Coughenour and his wife Rebecca had the following children: Harmon, who spent his life in Somerset County, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Mary Waugaman, who died in Fayette County, Pennsylvania; Levi and Isaiah, twins, the former of whom died in Somerset County; David, who died in Fayette County. Of these children Harmon served as a soldier in the Civil war, but otherwise their lives were spent in the capacity of private citizens.

Isaiah Coughenour, father of William B., was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, spent his career as a farmer, and died in Fayette County in 1872. He married Susan Blough, a daughter of Jacob Blough, a Pennsylvania German farmer. She died in 1888. Their children were: Benjamin F., of Kansas City, Kansas; Joseph W., who died at Downs, Kansas, leaving a family; Mollie, wife of J. M. Hastings, of McCracken, Kansas; David R., of Spottsdale, Pennsylvania; Jennie, who died at the age of twenty, unmarried; William B.; Harry S., of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; and James A., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

William B. Coughenour was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, June 29, 1861, was educated in the common schools, later attended a normal, and for one term taught a country school in the mountain district of Fayette County. Afterwards he found employment at wages around the coke ovens in Southwestern Pennsylvania. That was the general sum of his business experience until he came out to Kansas. He made the journey by railroad as far as McCracken.

Politically he has always been identified with the democratic party. His first presidential vote was cast for Grover Cleveland in 1884. He has always been willing to put his shoulder to the wheel of progress, but as an office holder his service has been only as a member of the Council at McCracken. Since 1892 he has been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

At McCracken, Kansas, in September, 1892, Mr. Coughenour married Miss Linn Simmons. Mrs. Coughenour was born in Wisconsin December 4, 1868, came to Kansas from Broadhead in her native state, and before her marriage was a teacher in Rush County.