P. A. COAL, proprietor, editor and publisher of the daily and weekly Gibson City Enterprise, the leading Republican journal in the western part of Ford County, is a native of Washington, Pa., and was born November 28, 1856. His father is Dr. W. P. T. Coal, a retired physician, now of Bloomington, Ill., but formerly of Washington County, Pa. He still owns the old family homestead in Steuben County, N. Y., that has been in the possession of the family since the patent was obtained from the Government in Colonial days. He was born in Steuben County, N. Y., on the 16th of November, 1818, and is of German descent, several generations remote. He was graduated from Bath Medical College and practiced his profession for forty years. He is a thorough scholar, though largely self-educated, and is a contributor to several Eastern magazines and periodicals. His wife, the mother of our subject, was born in Breckenridge County, Ky., in May, 1819, and was descended from one of the oldest and most prominent of Kentucky families. She passed to her final rest many years ago, her death occurring in December, 1859.

The subject of this sketch came to Illinois in 1858, and was educated in the High School at Tremont and at the Normal University, at Normal, spending about two years as a student in the last-named institution. On completing his term at the University, he engaged in teaching school and was employed in that vocation for nine years. He taught the Sibley School, the Elliott School and what is known as the Dixon School, to the south of Gibson City. During a part of this time, he taught two different schools in the same year, so that he really taught twelve months in the year.

In December, 1879, he started the Sibley Index, and on the 5th of June, 1883, established the Gibson City Enterprise, a straight Republican weekly paper, still continuing the publication of the Index a year and a half later. He started the daily Gibson City Enterprise in December, 1889, a six-column folio, still carrying on the weekly Enterprise, a six-column quarto. He has continued the publication of both to the present time, having made a success of the venture and built up a prosperous business. He has in connection with his newspaper publishing a well-appointed job office and does an extensive business in the line of first-class commercial job work.

On the 29th of December, 1879, Mr. Coal was married, in Gibson City, to Miss Sadie E. Black, a daughter of William and Sarah J. Black. Her father is deceased and her mother is now the wife of J. H. Dungan, of Gibson City. Mrs. Coal was born in Clinton County, Ind., and came to Illinois in childhood. She has become the mother of one child, a son, Earl H. D., who was born on the 26th of June, 1888. The parents are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the work of which they take an active interest.

Mr. Coal is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of Gibson Lodge No. 733, A. F. & A. M.; of Gibson Chapter No. 183, R. A. M.; of Gibson Council No. 72; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. He is an active and earnest supporter of Republican principles and is a potent factor in campaign work. His acquaintance is extensive throughout the county and his friends are many and among the best of his fellow-citizens. He possesses a genial and fraternal spirit, is always courteous and cordial in manner with strangers as well as friends. He is a fluent, easy writer and his papers are among the best published in this part of the State. He and his wife rank high in social circles and are numbered among the prominent and worthy citizens of Ford County.

Extracted 14 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, ages 207-208.

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