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FE Coyne                Biographies

Biography of Frederick Eugene Coyne
a summary of my search of my great grandfather for more than a decade

Frederick Eugene Coyne, born around September 27, 1860 in East Orange (Essex County) to James and Martha SNOW Coyne, their third child. Little is known of his childhood. I do know when he was 5, he accompanied his older brother George to the train station to pick up their father, who was returning after being discharged from the Civil War. He had no memory of his father and had no idea what he would look like.

Frederick, who was known as FE, first saw Chicago in 1879 on his way out west to find his fortune. Unsuccessful, he was on his way back home to New Jersey when he decided to stop in Chicago. He stayed there for a time, touring the city and was in awe of the hustle and bustle of the wondrous city. He returned to East Orange and worked for a couple more years before deciding he was going back to Chicago.

In 1883, he obtained his first job at Fulton Markets (a meat and vegetable market), with proprietor John Wilson, on the corner of Throop and Madison Streets, and worked there for 2 months. His next job was with Z C Peck of N Franklin St (the North Side), who was a milk and dairy wholesaler. He worked for him for 3 months. He then learned the wholesale bakery business through baker E Peters on N Clark St.

I am not sure when he met bride-to-be Pauline Niehaus, but he proposed to her on New Year's Day 1886, during a performance of "The Mikada". They were married May 11, 1886. In the same year, he was running a restaurant, while living in the flat above, expecting their first child, Jeanette. This dwelling was around the corner from the courthouse and jail, and might have been the bakery and lunchroom he started on State Street.

By 1887, he purchased the old Dennet Restaurant on Madison near La Salle, opposite the Hotel La Salle. The first club he joined in Chicago was the Sunset Club which met in the Grand Pacific Hotel for a 6 pm dinner every other Thursday. Another club he belonged to was the Forty Club. He was President of the 12th Ward Republican Club. Senator William Mason and FE were long time friends since 1887. Some time between 1887 and 1888, he sold the N State restaurant to buy a house on Warren Ave, on the west side. In 1888, acting as a consultant, he went to Washington to assist someone starting their own lunchroom visit. While there, he decide to go to Jersey City to visit his mother, 3 brothers and a sister. He also went to East Orange to visit his old home. This is the same year his father disappeared. His father James visited him in Chicago from 1883 - 1888 and disappeared shortly after that. He was last seen in New Jersey. It's possible that FE visited his family to see how they were doing because of this situation.

In 1889, son Frederick Eugene Coyne, Jr was born. He met Jane Addams, shortly after she founded Hull House, while on the Daily News lecture staff.

From 1897 - 1901, he was the collector of Internal Revenue, appointed by President McKinley. In 1901, talks of candidacy for mayor and postmaster were all over the papers, mostly in political cartoons - although I have not been able to find evidence of this, thus far. They bought a summer home in Lake Beulah, Wisconsin, where they were at the time of President McKinley's assassination on September 6, 1901. He was always said to have been a staunch Republican, and very active in politics.

From 1901 - 1905, he was Postmaster of Chicago - by appointment of Presidents Mckinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He went to New York with his wife and sister Ann, though I am not sure why, might have been just a vacation.

Other children born were Edna, Mason (born June 6, 1897), Richard, and Pauline (in 1904). All of the children attended Calhoun School in Chicago, with principal Charles Ford.

The end of the World War found FE in Camp Beauragard in Louisiana as an Assistant Camp Quartermaster. He had transferred from Camp Meiggs, DC. He was in Walter Reid Hospital for fractured ribs. He was in the hospital for 28 days when he developed Pneumonia. He was transferred to Louisiana the day after his hospital discharge. Sons, Fred and Mason were stationed in France at this time. Later he became Camp Commander. succeeding Major McConnell. He was discharged October 30, 1919 and promptly joined the Officers Reserve Corps. His last commission was for 5 years in March 1940, as Captain, Inactive, under Section 37, National Defense Act.

While in Louisiana he was a member of the Thibodeaux Presbyterian Church, a local agent for Mutual Life Insurance Company in LaFouche Parish, under a Mr Ballard. He lived in Larose, Louisiana.

Frederick Eugene Coyne died at the age of 88 on November 24, 1948 - 10 days after wife Pauline. At the time of writing this, cause of death of either Fred or Pauline is unknown. Pauline, however, died at home. They were residing at 4857 N Talman Ave in Chicago. He was pre-deceased by daughters Pauline and Jeanette, brothers Theodore, Robert and George and sisters Jane (Jenny) Middleton, Helen Ewald and Anna. Surviving children were Frederick, Jr, Edna Vance, Mason and Richard. Fred's surviving siblings were Ernest and Will.

Pauline was pre-deceased by sister Margaret Schmidt and surviving siblings were Joseph B Niehaus and Anna Mason.

Frederick and Pauline had 9 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


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