Mathew and Mary Coudy
Including Mathew's father John Coudy and Brothers Oliver, James, and John Coudy
Along with other Coudys

Compiled By Great-Great-Grandson Edward K. Hine, Jr. ("Ted") - March, 2005
(Updated June 2007, July 2008, and March 2012)

   Mathew Coudy    

 Born:  Abt. 1813 in Ireland
 Died:  December 31, 1883 in St. Louis, Missouri
 Cause of Death:   Possible Heart Attack
Age at Death:  70
 Buried:  Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO
(GPS N 38 41.784, W 090 13.787  10 feet - WGS84 Datum)

 Father:      John Coudy (1775-1823)
 Mother:     Isabella (abt. 1780-1846) 
 Siblings:   John Coudy, Jr. (abt. 1801 - ?)
                   James Coudy (abt. 1803-1883)

Oliver Coudy (abt. 1810 - abt 1848)
                   A Sister - name not known (? - ?)


Mary Margaret Caroline Seward-Coudy

Born:  January 17, 1827 in Butler, Illinois
Died:  October 26, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri 
Cause of Death:  Unknown
Age at Death:  96
Buried:  Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO
(GPS N 38 41.784, W 090 13.787  10 feet - WGS84 Datum)

Father:  Israel Seward (1795-1869)
Mother: Margaret Slayback-Seward (1797-1877)
Siblings:  William A. Seward    Clarence S. Seward
                 George C. Seward    James G. Seward
                 Charles O. Seward   Francis H. Seward
                 Henry S. Seward      Cornelia L. Seward
                 Sarah M. Seward      Edward W. Seward



     Mary Caroline Seward-Coudy at age 90

        Married:  September 25, 1848 in Butler,
                          Montgomery County, Illinois


           Agnes Mary Coudy-Eilers (1849- 1933)
           Emma Lily ("Lillie") Coudy

(died in childhood around 1854)
           James ("Jimmie") Coudy
                            (died in childhood around 1855)

           Cornelia Coudy (1856-1857 in infancy)
           Margaret Coudy-Corneli (1859-?)
           Horace Resley Coudy (1862-1949)
           Upton Seward Coudy (1865-1947)
           Lee Mathew Coudy (1868-?)

Mathew Coudy

Not a lot is known about Mathew Coudy but what is known about him and his brothers is quite interesting.  Note that I've come across his name spelled as both Mathew and Matthew.  Since his gravestone reads "Mathew" and hand written instructions to Bellefontaine Cemetery (St. Louis) regarding the Coudy family plot there were signed by him also using the spelling "Mathew", I assume that this was his preferred spelling.

Until a few years ago when I was checking U.S. census records for my great-grandfather, Horace R. Coudy, I didn't know the name of his father.   1880 census records showed that Horace's father's name was Mathew Coudy, that he lived in St. Louis, and that he was a "retired builder".

This was all I knew about my great-great grandfather Mathew till I discovered several letters written to my mother by her grandfather, Horace R. Coudy (son of Mathew), in the mid 1940's.   These letters are priceless and in them Horace talks about a number of his ancestors.  Regarding his father Mathew he wrote on April 19, 1946:

"My father's family came from So. France, French Huguenots, and when they were expelled from France by the Catholics, they all went to Belfast Ireland for a short time & then to the US.   They settled in Hancock Md. where my father was born.   His parents died and he was raised by relatives till a young man.   He and his brother Oliver came west to see what they could do & went by river to Vicksburg Miss. then north to Alton as boats did not land at St. Louis, to small a town.   They heard of an academy to be built in Hillsboro (IL), "Wyman Academy" so they decided to try for the contract, missed the stage coach which made two trips a week so they walked.   Only 40 miles, grass taller than heads.   Arrived in Hillsboro in due time then had to go on to my grandfather Israel Seward who was in charge of building.   Father often told us when he went up to house, mother [Horace's], a young girl of about 16 was a riding pal [Mathew's future wife].   Anyway they built the academy - (still standing, saw it in 1938).   Abe Lincoln always stopped at grandfather's on his way Springfield to Vandalia which was then the capital of Ill.   Mother said he would drive up in a buckboard - dashboard cut out so his leg could reach around the horse's neck.   He'd jump out, throw her up and catch her in his arms.   Uncle Oliver married a Hillsboro girl and passed away some years later in the coach on his way from Springfield where he was a legislator from his district.   Later his widow married Judge Rice - grandchildren still living in Hillsboro.   Father and mother married in 1848, moved to St. Louis.   Bought half a block of land, built a home, went into contracting business and later built eight more houses.   When I was 12 yrs father retired.   Passed away Dec. 31st 1883.   I went to send a telegram to Uncle James at Hancock, Md. and when I returned mother had a telegram stating uncle James passed away at 1 p.m.   Father at 12:00 noon - 1 hour apart.   Father 70 - uncle James 80."

View Horace's Letters (PDF)

Mathew's Birth Place

Horace clearly indicates that Mathew was born in Hancock, MD however other information more convincingly indicates that Mathew was in fact born in Ireland.   Census records for Mathew as head-of-household (1850, 1860, and 1880) consistently indicate that he was born in Ireland while such records for Horace as head-of-household are inconsistent about where his father was born with the 1900 census showing Illinois and the 1930 census showing Pennsylvania.  Finally and most convincingly, the 1827 Maryland naturalization (citizenship) record for Mathew's brother James Coudy indicates that the family arrived in this country from Ireland in 1817.   Mathew would have been about 4 years old at the time.

About Mathew's Parents, Siblings, and the Family's Emigration to the United States

Horace's letter makes reference to the fact that, after emigrating from Ireland, his father's family settled in Hancock, MD which is located only a mile or two south of the Pennsylvania border in Washington County, Maryland.   As indicated above, James Coudy's 1827 naturalization record (which indicates that he was born in County Down, Ireland) shows that the family came to the U.S. in 1817.  It also contains a note which reads "Was 13 years old when arrived with his father and family.  Went first to Dauphin Co., PA.  Moved to Washington Co. 7 years ago."  This places James, and most likely all of his family, in the Hancock area starting about 1820 or more-or-less 3 years after they arrived from Ireland.

Recent research shows that Mathew's father was John Coudy.  There is an 1820 census record  for the John Coudy family in Bethel, Bedford County, Pennsylvania where John is shown as being a farmer.  Bedford County, PA is located only about 9 miles across the border from Hancock, MD (though "Bethel" is not shown on any current maps).  This is certainly the census record of Mathew's father and his family due, in addition to the geographic connection, to the fact that the age brackets indicated for John's 3 shown male children (no names are given) are consistent with the approximate known and/or calculated dates of birth for the Coudy brothers mentioned in Horace's letter (Mathew, Oliver, and James).   This census record also shows 2 females living in the household, one in the same age bracket as John and thus presumably his wife, and one around the same age as the 3 brothers and presumably a daughter.   There are also records which show that a John Coudy paid taxes in Bethel, Bedford, Co.  PA in 1820 and in January of 1821.

On page 665 of a book titled the "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" (published in 1884) text reads "The first school in Buck Valley was taught by Mrs. Isabella Cowdey, of Ireland, about 1824."  Buck Valley, PA appears on current maps and is only about 6 miles from Hancock, MD.  It is highly likely that Isabella was John Coudy's wife.  (Cowdey and Cowdy are common misspellings of Coudy in census records and elsewhere.)

A record shows that a John Cowdy, now believed to be the eldest of 4 sons of John and Isabella, married Catharine Bradley in 1819 in Allegany County, Maryland which starts only about 7 miles west of Hancock.   Almost nothing is known about John (Jr.) but an 1830 census records places him, Catharine, and several children living several hundred miles away from Hancock in western Pennsylvania.  (Catharine would later move with some her children to Butler/Hillsboro, IL in the mid-to-late 1850's where her husband's brothers Mathew and Oliver had come in the mid 1830's.)

Text on page 1253 of a book titled "History of Western Maryland" Vol. II by J. Thomas Scharf (originally published in 1882) reads in a partial list of those buried in early Hancock cemeteries:

"John Coudy, native of Ireland, died Sept. 8, 1823 in his 48th year."

St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery,
Hancock, MD -  2008 photo
(See additional photos and information in the
section below regarding James Coudy.)

(N 39 42.036, W 078 10.645 
35' - WGS84 Datum)

John Coudy (Sr.) is buried along with his son James and members of James' family in a Coudy plot in the historic St. Thomas Episcopal Church cemetery in Hancock, Maryland.

John's 1823 death is consistent with Horace's letter regarding Mathew which reads "His parents died and he was raised by relatives......".  Mathew would have been about 10 years old when his father died.   But Horace was apparently not correct when he referred to "parents" as plural.  An 1830 census record for Washington County MD (where Hancock is located) shows a "Widow Coudy" family unit of 3 with sexes and age brackets consistent with Isabella, son Mathew, and the un-named daughter all of who were shown in John Coudy's 1820 census record (the other children being old enough to have left home by 1830).

Isabella is not buried with her husband John in Hancock.  An 1840 census record for Montgomery County, Illinois (where Butler and Hillsboro are located) show a woman of Isabella's age living with her son Oliver and his wife suggesting that Isabella likely followed him and son Mathew west sometime in the later 1830's.  A record shows she died on August 16, 1846 and is buried in the Bluff Cemetery (Methodist Cemetery) in Hillsboro.

Isabella Coudy's gravestone in the Bluff Cemetery (Methodist Cemetery) in Hillsboro, IL.  The readable upper part of the inscription reads:
"In memory of Isabelle Coudy who departed this life August 16, 1846"

I've been unable to uncover any ship records which would confirm that the John Coudy family emigrated from Ireland in 1817 or might indicate whether the family traveled with other relatives.

Regarding Horace's mention that his ancestors were French Huguenots who spent "a short time" in Ireland before coming to the U.S.:   A quick look at French Huguenot history suggests that the Huguenots spent centuries of hardship in France and that the most active period of the "Huguenot Wars" took place throughout the 1500's which ended roughly 200 years before the John Coudy family emigrated to the U.S. in 1817.   It's therefore hard to know exactly when the Coudy family came to Ireland from France.   Horace's letter suggests that it may have been not long before the family's emigration to the U.S. in which case the family would have been primarily French in origin.  On the other hand, history books suggest the possibility that the Coudys came to Ireland generations before they emigrated to the U.S. in which case the family would have been likely much more genetically Irish.   There is evidence that there have been, and currently are, Coudys in France which confirms the possible French origin of the name.  I came upon a book titled "The Huguenot Wars" edited/written by French writer Julien Coudy (and translated into English in 1969 by Julie Kernan).   I obtained a copy but it unfortunately doesn't mention how, if at all, the editor/author was connected to the Huguenots.

James Coudy's Naturalization Record John Coudy Census Record (1820)
John Coudy (Jr.) Census Record (1830) Isabella Coudy Census Record (1830)
John Coudy Burial Reference Isabella's Book Mention

Mathew and Oliver Coudy in Illinois
(Starting about 1835)

About Hillsboro Academy

Horace's choice of words in the above letter regarding the construction of "Wyman Academy" in Hillsboro, IL ("they decided to go for the contract", "they built the academy") combined with the arduous trip to get there and the fact that Mathew is later shown in census records as a "builder" suggests that the Coudy brothers (Mathew and Oliver) were more likely involved in the project as perhaps general contractors of some sort than as laborers or craftsman such as carpenters.

Hillsboro Academy was still standing in 1938 when Mathew's son
Horace visited.   In 2005 when I was in Hillsboro the building had
long since been torn down.

In December of 2004 I visited Hillsboro and obtained historical information on the town as related to my ancestors there.   I've learned that the building which Horace refers to as "Wyman Academy" was in fact known as Hillsboro Academy which for a time was headed by a fellow named Edward Wyman.   Hillsboro Academy was for many years a focus of great pride for the citizens of Hillsboro as it apparently provided some of the first and best advanced education in early Illinois and attracted students from all over Illinois and neighboring states.

The construction of Hillsboro Academy took place in 1835 and 1836.  This places the timing of Mathew and Oliver Coudy's arrival there to about 1835.   Mathew would have arrived in Hillsboro when he was about 22 years old and he is assumed to have spent about 13 years in or around Hillsboro before marrying Mary Seward in her home village of Butler (2 miles from Hillsboro) in 1848.  I would assume that Mathew and Oliver (who is believed to have been older than Mathew) were involved in other building projects in the area during this period.

In his letter Horace indicates that the Hillsboro Academy building was still standing when he visited Hillsboro in 1938 (it would have been over 100 years old at the time).   When I visited Hillsboro in December of 2004 the building was no longer around and I could find no information on when it was torn down.

About Hillsboro Academy

Land Records

Government land grant records show that both Mathew and Oliver owned land in the Butler/Hillsboro area of Illinois (Butler being a small village a few miles from Hillsboro).   Oliver obtained two 40 acre tracts on January 1, 1840 and Mathew obtained one 40 acre tract on March 3, 1843.   It's possible that both brothers had additional land holdings for which records are not available.   It is not known what each did with their land though they presumably lived on it and perhaps farmed it.

Mathew and Oliver's Land Records

More About Mathew's Brother Oliver

An 1840 Montgomery Co., IL census record indicates that Oliver was born between 1810 and 1820.  The 1820 census record for his father John indicates that Oliver was born between 1804 and 1810.   It is thus likely that Oliver was born abt. 1810 and therefore in Ireland prior to his family's 1817 arrival in the U.S.

Horace's letter indicates that Oliver married "a Hillsboro girl" and that when Oliver passed away his widow married "Judge Rice".   Census and other records show that Oliver's wife's maiden name was Susan R. Allen, that they were married on May 09, 1839 in Montgomery County, IL (probably in Hillsboro), and that they had one child, Isabella Olive Coudy, who was born in 1847.   Susan married Judge Edward Young Rice in 1849, suggesting that Oliver passed away prior to this date.   Oliver's daughter Isabella Coudy would thus have been raised from about the age of about 2 by her mother and step-father Judge Rice.  Isabella would marry Festus Cone Bolton in 1865 and have two children,  Mary Cone Bolton born in 1867 and Edward Rice Bolton born in 1877.   (Susan and Edward Rice are buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Hillsboro, IL.)

A internet genealogy message board indicates that Oliver Coudy signed marriage licenses as the Montgomery County, Ill clerk (or perhaps the Hillsboro city clerk) in 1840.   Local records show that he was the postmaster of Hillsboro from 1845 till perhaps 1847.

The "Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac" at the Illinois State Library shows that Oliver Coudy served one term in the Illinois Senate (15th General Assembly) from 1846-1848.  He represented Bond, Christian, and Montgomery Counties (Montgomery being the location of Butler and Hillsboro.) A publication titled "Illinois Election Returns 1818-1848" shows that Oliver ran in the 1846 election as a Democrat and that his opponent was a Whig candidate.   Oliver won by 21 votes out of  the 1995 votes cast in the 3 counties and thus squeaked by with 50.5% of the vote.  Election Results

Oliver's service in the state legislature tends to corroborate Horace's mention that Oliver died "in the coach on his way from Springfield where he was a legislator from his district" and his dates of service suggest that he probably passed away in 1848 at around the age of 38.  I would expect Oliver to be buried in or near Hillsboro, most probably in the Oak Grove Cemetery, but I've been unable to find his grave site.  Oliver's 1840 Montgomery county census record show an unidentified older woman in the household of an age that could be his mother Isabella (who thus may have followed Oliver and Mathew to Illinois in the 1930's).  It is thus possible that she is also buried in the area, perhaps with Oliver.  (I note that the Oak Grove Cemetery contains some gravestones in it's older section which are no longer readable and which could therefore possibly be Oliver's and/or his mother's.  Oak Grove Cemetery interment records unfortunately don't go back this far.)

More About Mathew's Brother James (in Hancock, Maryland)

According to James' naturalization record he was born in County Down, Ireland.  Both Horace's letter and James' naturalization record agree that James Coudy was born abt. 1804 (though his gravestone reads 1803).  On the other hand, multiple Maryland census records and his obituary suggest that he was born between 1806 and 1808.   As mentioned above, James arrived in the U.S. from Ireland in 1817 (when he would have been about 13 years old assuming an 1804 birth).  He was naturalized and  became a U.S. citizen on Nov. 27, 1827.

As implied in Horace's letter, all records confirm that James stayed in Hancock, MD where his father John had brought the family by about 1820.  I've uncovered some information about his life there and he apparently became a well respected and prominent citizen.

An 1850 census record for Washington County, MD shows that James was married to a woman named Mahala and that the couple had an 18 year old daughter named Catherine.  Then on May 23, 1864 James married Susan Stilwell (b. 1829) who was around 25 years younger than he (depending on his assumed age)  Marriage Notice.   I suspect that his first wife must have passed away and that daughter Catherine would have probably married and left home by this time.   From several sources including census records I've determined that James and Susan had 5 children:  Isabel (Zella/Belle) E. Coudy (b. 1866), Edward M. Coudy (b. 1867),  Mary Caroline Coudy (b. 1868, died in infancy), Ellen M. Coudy (b. 1870), and Mary Agnes Coudy (b. 1871).

Numerous mentions of the Coudy name appeared in "The Herald and Torch Light" newspaper (Hagerstown, MD, not far from Hancock) between the 1860's and the 1890's.  They provide some information about the family in Hancock.  Most of the mentions are short and somewhat non-consequential but the most telling is James' obituary which appeared in the January 3, 1884 edition and reads:

"Death of James Coudy - James Coudy, Esq., one among the most prominent and respected citizens of Hancock, died at his residence on Sunday morning, the 30th [of Dec., 1883], in the 77the year of his age.  During his life he was an active Democratic politician in this county, by whom he was elected several terms a member of the Legislature, a member of the Board of County Commissioners, and of the Board of Directors of the C. & O. Canal.  In the days of staging on the National Pike, he was an associate of the firm of Mealey, Coudy & Co., proprietors of the stage line through Hagerstown.  At his death he occupied the position of collector of tolls of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at Hancock.  He was beloved by a large circle of acquaintances, who mourn his death."

View James' Obituary

In 2005 I asked Jim Kuttler (a Seward family researcher) if he could find anything regarding James.  He came up with the following in the Maryland State Archives:

"Delegates to the Maryland House from Washington Co.: James Coudy, 1860, 1861 (April Special Session, June Special Session, July Special Session [dns]), 1868 (D)."

Jim then indicated:

"The reason for the special sessions was that Maryland was deciding whether or not to secede from the Union. The Civil War started in April 1861.  Maryland was a border state that did stay in the Union, but had many, many Southern sympathizers, particularly from the part of Maryland around Hancock.  A little geography: the northern border of Maryland is the Mason-Dixon Line, the southern border is the Potomac River. At Hancock, which is on the Potomac, Maryland is at its narrowest, with Pennsylvania and Virginia only about 3 miles apart there.  Since James did not serve [dns] in the July session, and in 1868 is listed as a Democrat (D), it is quite possible that he was a Southern sympathizer. [This is just speculation on my part.]"

"In the 1880 census he is a 'collector on canal', which would be taking tolls on the C & O canal. The C & O [for Chesapeake and Ohio] canal runs parallel to the Potomac on its northern (Maryland) side. It still exists today, although not used as a canal, and is a very long, thin park, used for hiking and cycling."

Jim Kuttler's suspicion that James Coudy was possibly a Southern sympathizer is probably supported by records which show that James was a slave owner at the time of the 1850 and 1860 censuses.  In 1860 he owned 1 slave in Hancock (as apparently did many of his neighbors).

  1860 Slave Document

Local Hancock, MD census records (obtained from the Hancock Historical Society) show that in 1870, the first census after the Civil War, James and his family had 2 black employees apparently living with them.  By the 1880 local Hancock census there are no employees shown.

Local Hancock Census Records

After James passed away at the very end of 1883, ongoing newspaper mentions suggest that Susan and the Coudy children continued to live in Hancock into at least the early to mid 1890's.  Susan was the "executrix" of her husband's estate and short newspaper mentions suggest that it took till 1895 (over 11 years) to finally settle the estate though there is no indication that it involved anything out of the ordinary.  During this period Susan sold several pieces of real-estate including a "house and lot in Hancock" in 1890 and "the Coudy homestead, in Hancock" in 1893.  In 1889 and 1890 Ella Coudy, presumably James' daughter Isabel, is shown as a local school teacher.

James Coudy and Family Newspaper Mentions

By 1900 however, Susan and her family had moved to Baltimore, MD as indicated by a Baltimore census record which shows Susan living there with all of her children.    Belle (Isabel E.) is single at age 34, Edward M. is single at age 33, Mary A. is single at age 28, and Ellen M. is married to Walter L. Alexander (b. June 1869) who is living with his wife at the Coudy home.   (Mary Agnes Coudy would marry Robert S. Moffitt around 1902 and the couple would have one child that I'm aware of, Ellen Marie Moffitt.  Ellen Moffitt is the only grandchild of James and Susan Coudy that my research has found.)

A newspaper obituary for Susan Coudy indicates that she passed away in Baltimore in late February of 1905 and was to be buried in Hancock, MD.    Susan's Obituary

Hancock, Maryland has an interesting history.  Click here for a short summary.

A Brief History of Hancock, Maryland

Above:  Both sides of the Coudy gravestone in the St. Thomas Episcopal Church cemetery, Hancock Maryland.
John Coudy was James' father and Susan Stillwell James' wife.  All the other inscriptions are for James and Susan's
children except for Walter Alexander who was daughter Ellen Mar Coudy's husband.
(Photos by the author in October, 2008)
(GPS N 39 42.036, W 078 10.645 35' - WGS84 Datum)

More St. Thomas Episcopall Church Photos

Another Hancock Coudy Relative?

Hancock cemetery records obtained from the local historical society for the name Coudy (and likely derived after-the-fact from tombstone inscriptions and not interment records) show a record that reads: "Memory of Hatie adopted daughter of Samuel ? Coudy who died Sept. 4, 1856 age 23 years".  The record suggests that the monument is in the Public Cemetery in town as opposed to the St. Thomas church cemetery which contains all the other Coudys (in the photos above).  This suggests the possibility that there was also a Samuel Coudy in the area at some point in time and this is the only area Coudy mention that I have been unable to place on the family tree.  If it is assumed that Samuel adopted Hatie when she was born about 1833 and that he was about 25 to 35 years old at the time of the adoption, Samuel would have been born between about 1798 and 1808, an approximate age range which would could be consistent with him being another sibling of John, Mathew, Oliver, and James Coudy.  This is of course pure speculation and, this record being the only evidence currently available, I have not placed Samuel on my Coudy family tree.

Hancock Cemetery Records

Mathew Coudy in St. Louis

I can only wonder if the loss of his brother Oliver in Hillsboro, Illinois may have played a roll in Mathew's decision to move to St. Louis soon after his marriage in 1848.   Mathew and Mary Coudy would spend the rest of their lives in St. Louis where all of their 8 children were born (the first 3 would die in infancy).

Mathew's handwriting and signature from Bellefontaine Cemetery Records.  (Click on image to enlarge.)

1860 St. Louis census records indicate that Mathew Coudy's occupation was "builder" and the 1880 St. Louis census shows him as a "retired builder".    A newspaper story following Mathew's death described him as "an old and esteemed resident of the northern part of the city" and that he "was quite a well-known contractor and carpenter".  His son Horace indicates in his above quoted letter that Mathew retired when Horace was 12 years old.   A little quick math indicates that Mathew therefore retired in about 1874 at the age of about 61.  Mathew would have then spent 9 or 10 years in retirement before he passed away December 31, 1883 at the age of 70.

From the New York Times - January 7, 1884.


The only mention of Mathew's death that could be found in the St. Louis newspapers was a death notice which appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on January 1, 1884 and read simply: "Coudy - On December 31, at 1 o'clock, at his late residence, Mathew Coudy, aged 70 years.  Due notice of funeral will be given."

View Death Notice

However, an article was recently discovered on the internet which appeared in the New York Times on January 7, 1884 and which had apparently been picked up by them from a St. Louis paper (who's back issues are currently unavailable) as a human interest story.  The article (at left) tells the same story about Mathew and his brother James passing away on the same day that Mathew's son Horace told in his 1946 letter to his granddaughter.  (This article indicates that Mathew was born in Maryland but evidence elsewhere more convincingly suggests that he was born in Ireland 4 years before coming to the Untied States.)

Mary Caroline Seward-Coudy

Among Horace Coudy's surviving artifacts (which were kept by my mother) is a small bound 32 page booklet written and published by Horace's brother, Upton Seward Coudy to honor the passing of their mother shortly after her death in October of 1923.  The booklet provides a wealth of information regarding Mary Seward-Coudy and reads in part:

"Mary Caroline Seward was born in Blooming Grove, now Butler, Illinois, January 17, 1827.   Her father was Israel Seward, a direct descendent of Col. John Seward of Revolutionary fame, and William H. Seward, Secretary of State under President Lincoln.  [Authors note:  W. H. Seward was a first cousin of Israel Seward.]

Her mother was Margaret Slayback, of the Kentucky family of that name and closely related to Alonzo Slayback, a prominent St. Louis lawyer of the early days.

Mrs. Coudy was one of a family of two girls and eight boys, her only sister, Mrs. Cornelia McGowan of Pana, Illinois, and her brother, Henry Seward, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Clarence Seward, of Hoopston , Ill.; Frank Seward, of Denver, Colo.; Charles Seward, of Farmington, Minn.; William Seward, of Butler, Ill.; Edward Seward, of St. Louis, MO.; James Seward, of Butler, Ill.; George Seward, of Butler, Ill.

Mrs. Coudy was the last of the family to pass to the great beyond.

Mary Caroline Seward was married in Butler, Illinois, to Matthew Coudy on September 25th, 1848, and came to St. Louis in a schooner wagon, crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

Their first home was on Seventeenth Street, near Washington Avenue.   Later they built a home on the block of ground bounded by Sixteenth Street, Wash and Franklin Avenue, and here their family was born and reared.   The family consisted of three girls and 4 boys; Lillian (deceased); Agnes (Mrs. A.H. Eilers); Margaret (Mrs. Ben P. Corneli), deceased; James, deceased; Horace, Upton, and Lee.

Mrs. Coudy had eleven grandchildren: Roy and Ralph Eilers; Clifford Corneli; Elmer, Norman, Harold, and Hazel (Mrs. Earl Hulburd) Coudy; Upton Seward, Jr., Culver, and Virgil Coudy; Mildred Coudy (Mrs. Eugene Coleman).

There are nine great-grandchildren; Agnes, Roy, Fern, and Ray Eilers; Florence Eilers; Harriet Nan, and Betty Seward Hulburd; Dorothy Jane Coudy; Edith Coleman.

The writer can recall many an evening spent in the old home, around the open fire place, listening to Mother entertain all the children with weird stories of the Indians, who were camped within a block of home.   The Indians were quite friendly in those days, making neighborly calls to sample Mother's cooking and, finding sample satisfactory, taking a goodly portion back to the wigwam.   The old-fashioned peacock feather duster was their special delight, and many a brave buck would plant himself on the kitchen floor and, moving his fingers scissor-like, demand that Mother dismantle the same feather duster and braid the feather in his long black, shining hair.   At times their visits were occasioned by a desire to trade - their bear and venison meals were enjoyed by all; but one time, a proposal to swap Indian blankets for a white girl papoose for a time occasioned some uneasiness, but no attempt was made to steal the child.

Among the many pleasant memories of her happy childhood, were the frequent visits of Abraham Lincoln to her father's home at Butler, Illinois; how, as a little girl, she would run down the hill to meet father's friend.   Mr. Lincoln would reach out his long arms and lift her to a seat beside him in his old well-known buggy, with holes cut in the dashboard to allow for his unusual height.

Mrs. Coudy for years made her home with her son, Upton, and passed away in his home, as the golden sun was setting on the evening of October 26, 1923.

Her birthdays and wedding anniversaries were always an occasion for the gathering of her family and friends.   She had a remarkable memory, entertaining at all times with selection from her storehouse of poems. The following is a copy of an invitation sent out on her ninetieth birthday, January 17th 1917:

I am glad to meet my friends so dear,
From near and far away;
you must not think I am growing old -
I am Ninety years old today.

Perhaps you think that I am old,
Tho my hair is streaked with grey,
But I am as young as any of you-
I am Ninety years old today.

I have two daughters near me,
My three sons close at hand.
I have all the comforts one should ask;
Now don't you think that's grand?

So please come round and seem me oft;
Please do not stay away,
I love to see your smiling face -
And I am Ninety years old today.

And so each day of the fleeting years,
Please think of me. I say,
And let all pleasures banish tears,
'Cause - I am Ninety years old today.

I was raised way off in Illinois,
Away from care and harm;
I have always looked at the bright side,
Both on and off the farm.

I came here away in the Forties,
When the City was a Town,
When Grand Avenue was a wilderness,
With her fields of golden brown.

I want to live just ten years more -
To reach my hundred mark.
You know I am a young girl yet
That lovers like to spark.

And may the Lord His measure give
To each of you, I pray;
And may you always happy be,
'Cause I am Ninety years old today.

I still can sing and recite for you,
Entertain you in my way;
So don't forget me in the days to come -
I am NINETY years old today."

Many called during the day and evening.

The funeral services of Mrs. Mary C. Coudy were conducted at Third Baptist Church, Sunday, October 28, 1923 at 3:00 p.m. Dr. Samuel E. Ewing officiated.

Dr. Ewing spoke as follows:

Mrs. Mary C. Coudy was born near Butler (Montgomery County), Illinois, January 17th 1827.  She lived to the unusual age of 96 years, 9 months and 9 days. She was one of ten children; all the other members of her family have entered into rest.   We have here this afternoon four children (one daughter and three sons), eleven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.   Four generations mourn the departure of the good woman.   Mrs. Coudy was converted at the early age of twelve and united with the Presbyterian Church.   She, with the other members of her family, came to St. Louis in 1848.    In 1851 Mrs. Coudy and her husband, Matthew Coudy, were baptized into the membership of the Third Baptist Church by the pastor, Rev. Jos. Walker.   At this time the Third Church was worshipping in the hall at the corner of Thirteenth and Market streets.   There was no baptistery in the building and it was necessary for the services to be held at the Second Baptist Church.   At that time there were thirty-five members of the Third Church.   We have time to mention only a few outstanding characteristics of the noble woman.   The age to which our sister Coudy was spared was quite remarkable.   Her's was not a strong, robust body, but wonderfully gifted with endurance, and during all these decades she was exceedingly active in service to her family and community.   Mrs. Coudy was especially noteworthy in the realm of the mental.   God endowed her with wonderful gifts of mind, and it was her happy privilege to cultivate those gifts and store her heart and mind with the richest treasures that could be found.   From earliest years of her life she loved the Scriptures.   It would be difficult to estimate how much of the Old Book, "The Bible," she had stored in her heart.   She put it there for use.   God gave her a good memory, and she did not select a verse here and there, but memorized the Scriptures by paragraphs and chapters.   At any time during the day or night she could recite them most fluently.  Just a little while before she passed away she recited the entire 23rd Psalm.

The burial was in Bellefontaine Cemetery beside her husband."

View Booklet About Mary C. Coudy (PDF)

Final Resting Place

Mathew and Mary Coudy are buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri in a plot purchased by "Mathew and Charles Coudy" in, or prior to, 1858.   Also buried in this plot are many of Mathew and Mary's descendents including their son Horace R. Coudy and several grandchildren, as well as Charles Coudy and some of his descendents (see below).

The "Lillie & Jimmie" recognized on the grave marker (see photo below) are children of Mathew and Mary who died in infancy and were interred in or prior to 1855 and subsequently moved to the Coudy plot in 1860.   Mathew and Mary had another daughter who died in infancy, Cornelia (1856-1857), who is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Hillsboro, IL right behind the graves of Mary Coudy's parents Israel and Margaret Seward.   Why Cornelia is buried with her grandparents and not in St. Louis with her younger and older siblings is a mystery.  Her Hillsboro gravestone appears to read "Cornelia - daughter of Matthew and Mary Coudy -  born in St. Louis, Mo. May 27 1856 - Died April 25, 1857".  Perhaps Cornelia died while visiting the Sewards and it was simply more convenient to bury her there.

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis Missouri
(December 2004 Photo by Ted Hine)
(GPS N 38 41.784, W 090 13.787  10 feet, WGS84 Datum)
Oak Grove Cemetery, Hillsboro, Illinois
(December 2004 Photo by Ted Hine)

In December of 2004 I visited the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, photographed the Coudy plot there (plot 727, block 117) , and obtained interment records for it.   I noted that in spite of 22 interments having taken place on the plot between about 1858 and 1949, only one grave marker is present: that of Mathew and Mary Coudy.  I find this a little strange but have come up with no explanation for it.  For more information on this Coudy plot and to view the interment records, follow this link:

Bellefontaine Cemetery Records

The Eilers Plot in the Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis is located in a different part of the cemetery than the Coudy plot.  Mathew and Mary Coudy's daughter Agnes Mary married August H. Eilers in 1874.  This plot contains the
graves of August H. Eilers (1844-1932), wife Agnes M. Coudy-Eilers (1850-1933), son Roy M. Eilers (1877-1949),
son's wife Fern Eilers (1892-1981), and grandson Roy A. Eilers (1915-1932).
(June 2005 Photo by Ted Hine.)

Who was Charles Coudy

When I wrote the first edition of this biography in  2005 I was confronted with a couple of mysteries.

First, 1860 St. Louis census records show that Mathew and Mary Coudy lived right next door to Charles and Jane Coudy (along with their respective families).   In addition, Bellefontaine Cemetery records show that the Coudy plot was purchased jointly by "Mathew and Charles Coudy", presumably sometime in or before 1858 when the first interment took place on the plot.  Charles Coudy was clearly related to Mathew Coudy but I had been unable to uncover any records which indicated how.  Charles was apparently not Mathew's brother so I suspected he may have been Mathew's first cousin.

Second, I'd found a Coudy gravestone marking the final resting place of Catharina Coudy and Alexander Coudy near my Seward ancestor's plot in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Hillsboro, IL.   I couldn't connect either to the family tree but suspected that they were likely connected due to the rarity of the name and the fact that brothers Mathew and Oliver Coudy first settled in the Butler/Hillsboro area of Illinois.

In early 2007 I ran into 2 descendents of Charles Coudy (my 4th cousins twice removed) on the Internet and, with their considerable help, put together a pretty complete family tree of Charles Coudy's descendents (along with his mother and siblings) which included the formerly unconnected Coudys in Hillsboro, IL.  In addition, we were able to make the connection between Mathew and Charles Coudy.  Charles turned out to be Mathew's nephew, the son of Mathew's previously unknown brother John Coudy.

For a more complete discussion of what I've learned and information on Charles and his descendents click on the following link:

Who Were Charles and Catharina Coudy?

Miscellaneous Information

Coudy Descendents List

Click below for a list of known Coudy descendents as I show them as of April, 2012. 

Coudy Descendents List

Census and Other Records

A number of the original census and other records I've accumulated regarding the Coudys are included on this CD/DVD but you will need to use your own photo viewing software to access and properly size them.  Point your photo viewing software at the following folder in the disk file directory structure of this biographical web site:


The contents of the records found in this folder are generally described in the file names (which are stored mostly in date order).