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William B. McKoy Collection

Identifier: LCF-MS-001

Scope and Contents

This collection is the property of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society and is housed in Randall Library Special Collections as part of a long-term loan agreement between the Society and the Library.

This collection contains materials pertaining to Wilmington real estate transactions and landownership, organized by block within the original city limits, as well as Eagle Island, Wrightsville Beach, and Masonboro. Material originally belonged to William B. McKoy (1852-1928), a prominent attorney and historian in Wilmington from the 1880s to the 1920s, who was also chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee during the Wilmington Coup d’état of 1898. Materials include envelopes, plat drawings, single sheets of notes, maps, correspondence, mortgage certificates, deeds, Mechanics' Home Association documents, newspaper clippings, indentures, court documents, estate documents, tax documents, and ledgers. Also included is a metal printing plate honoring Woodrow Wilson. Materials date from 1801 to 1928, with the bulk of materials dating from 1845 to 1921, although most documents are undated and may reference real estate transactions from as early as the mid-eighteenth century.


  • Creation: 1801-1928, bulk 1845-1921


Conditions Governing Access

Access to some materials in this collection has been restricted by Special Collections in order to preserve the original materials. Contact the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History at for information on access to this collection.

Copyright Statement

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

William Berry McKoy was born December 24, 1833 in Wilmington, North Carolina to William Henry McKoy and Francenia Eliza Berry McKoy. He attended private schools in Wilmington, including the school of Reverend Daniel Morrelle and Cape Fear Academy. He attended Princeton University from 1872 to 1876, graduating with a degree in chemistry. McKoy then read law with George V. Strong in Raleigh, North Carolina. Upon his admittance to the North Carolina bar in June 1879, McKoy returned to Wilmington to practice law, specializing in title law until his retirement in 1922.

In 1876, McKoy organized the Historic and Scientific Society of Wilmington. He was a Democrat and was a member of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce in 1897 and elected as an attorney for the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners in May 1898. McKoy was a chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee during the Wilmington Coup d’état of 1898. McKoy organized the Mechanics Building and Loan Association and was their attorney. He was also a member of the Wilmington Light Infantry. In 1913, McKoy was appointed by N. C. Governor Locke Craig as a delegate to the Southern Sociological Congress in Atlanta.

In 1879, McKoy was initiated as a Mason at Wilmington Lodge #319 A. F. and A. M. and was elected Secretary in 1882 and Master of the lodge 1898, 1899, and 1904. In 1912, McKoy was elected Grand Master of the Masonic order in North Carolina. He was also a member of Sudan Temple of the Shrine. McKoy was interested in local history, genealogy, and Masonry and conducted research, wrote articles, and delivered speeches on related topics.

McKoy married Katherine Bacon on December 15, 1886, with whom he would have five children. William B. McKoy died November 16, 1928 in Wilmington.


24 Containers (Contains 18 bankers boxes, 2 document boxes, 1 oversize box, and 3 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by numerical block within the original Wilmington city limits. Other locations include Wrightsville Beach, Eagle Island, and Burkirmer’s tract at sound.

Acquisition Information

This collection is on permanent loan from the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society as of September 18, 2020.

William B. McKoy Collection
Caroline Waller
Spring 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository