Janet Elizabeth Simpson Coyle was born at Brownwood, Texas on April 7, 1910. She was the daughter of Dr. Charles Jefferson Simpson, a dentist, and Sarah Jane Hoge.  Her maternal grandfather left his home in Virginia and traveled by steam boat, working as a cabin boy, to Jefferson, Texas in 1869. Somehow he worked his way to Denton County, Texas where he learned to be a cowboy by being trained in a “Cow Camp”. He was given the nickname “Mac” because he took the place in the cow camp of a man named Mac.

William H and Janet Simpson Coyle

William H and Janet Simpson Coyle

Her paternal grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Simpson, served as a confederate soldier during the entire time of the Civil War. He was a member of Company A of the Fifth Calvary. He was promoted to captain in the summer of 1863 while at Cherokee, Alabama. He married Sarah Elizabeth “Sallie” Hewlett on August 14, 1867 at Hartselle, Alabama.

Janet Elizabeth Simpson married William Hunter “Bill” Coyle at her parents home in Greenville, Texas on September 10, 1932 after a two year courtship. They left immediately for a short honeymoon in Galveston, Texas before returning to their home on Liberty Grove Road north of Rowlett.

Bill was born at Rowlett, Texas on September 19, 1907. He was the son of James Eddie and Eula Lee Stovall Coyle. He had graduated from A & M at College Station, Texas in 1930, but was unable to find a job due to the Great Depression.

Janet started teaching for the Rowlett Independent School District in 1932. She received her B. S. degree at East Texas State Teachers College at Commerce, Texas in 1933. Bill was the county committeeman and supervisor for the AAA that same year. He worked in Dallas helping administer the federal government program formed by President Franklin Roosevelt to subsidize farmers for depressed cotton prices.

Bill entered another federal program in 1935. The Civilian Conservation Corps was another depression era program. Bill served as the second lieutenant and commanding officer. Janet resigned her teaching job in 1937 and moved to Mesquite, Texas. Their daughter, Nancy Ann Coyle was born that year. They moved back to their home on Miller Road south of Rowlett a few months later.

War clouds were forming over the European, Asian territory and Pacific Area. Commissioned reserve officers were called to active duty. Bill reported to active duty at Fort Knox Army Post in Kentucky on August 19, 1940. Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 and the United States declared war. Bill was granted ten days leave and we came back to Rowlett to visit Bill’s parents and then on to Iowa Park to visit my parents before he left for over seas.

Three additional children followed after Nancy. They were Susan, Rebecca Kay and William Hunter Coyle, Jr.

After the war, Bill served as Dallas County Commissioner from 1950 through 1959. He helped the Rowlett community develop a hard top road system from what had often been impassable mud roads. He also helped establish the Rowlett Fire Department.

Janet Simpson Coyle has left a lasting impression on the many Rowlett area students that she taught throughout her teaching career. The Rowlett city council appointed her to the Planning and Zoning Commission in 1979 making her the first woman ever appointed or elected to serve on any official city post in Rowlett history.
William Hunter Coyle, Sr. died on June 22, 1983. Janet Coyle still leads an active life. She was a charter member of the Rowlett Historical Society and remains an active member at ninety-three years of age (data from 2003).

By Lorene Coyle Schrade for A History of Rowlett