Reuben Stringer Coyle was born in Bullitt County, Kentucky, in 1821. Family lore describes him as a “Man of Enterprise” with “movin’ on” in his blood. The Coyles moved to Peoria County, Illinois, when Reuben was a young man, and there he met and courted Hannah Carroll. They were married May 16, 1843, and had two children when they emigrated to the Oregon Country in 1847 — two year old Thomas Jefferson Coyle and four month old John Henry Coyle. Accompanying the family were Hannah’s brother and father and one of Reuben’s brothers.
Among the belongings which Reuben and Hannah packed away for the journey was a newly minted $10 gold coin. The coin was Reuben’s measure of last resort, to be used only in the event of the family being reduced to utter poverty and desperation.
It survived the journey to Oregon and was passed down through four generations of the Coyle family spanning 130 years, always with the understanding that it was not to be spent unless all else failed. Its last family recipient, Oda Coyle Hudson, was a widow with no children, and thus the coin was entrusted to the Oregon Historical Society in 1977.
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