Joseph McCoy was born in Sangamon County on 21st December, 1837. A farmer and cattleman, he purchased a small hamlet called Abilene in 1867. The name, taken from the Bible, means "city of plains". McCoy decided that as the area was good source of water and grass it would make a good place as a terminus for Texas cattle drives. McCoy built facilities for pasture and hospitality. After an advertising campaign, 35,000 head of cattle arrived in Abilene in 1867.
McCoy also created the cattle trial to Wichita and played an important role in the Chisum Trial and other cattle routes. He was also the author of Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest (1974).
Joseph McCoy died in Kansas City, Missouri on 19th October, 1915.