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Cox Characters
Conclusions to Confusions

Part 1: Chapter 2

 
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Judging
Judge Isaac Cox

by Kenny Ray Cox

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Regrettably, no relationship between the famous Justice Isaac Cox and our Michael Sr. can be established, nor with any of the many other men of this same name. Regrettable, because Justice Isaac was a real character, and played an important role in frontier history.

The name Isaac Cox appears frequently in the early history of our country in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and finally, in southwestern Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Two different Isaacs had wives named Susanna. The Isaac who lived and died in Delaware was a "chaisemaker" (lightweight carriages). The Isaac Cox who went from Hampshire County, (West) Virginia to Pennís southwest had a son by the name Isaac. These two men are easy to distinguish from each other, even though they did not use Junior or Senior with their names. The elder Isaac had at least a dozen children while the younger Isaac had none at all.

This elder Isaac had brothers who also named their sons Isaac, who in turn gave the name to their sons, and so on. Not surprising then that researchers might slip up and follow the wrong path. According to some folks, the elder Isaac had a son named Michael, and this has made it easy for a few researchers to jump to the conclusion that this Michael is our ancestor. I can find no proof to support this claim; it does not appear to me in any way that he was my ancestor. The temptation is understandable as this Isaac was born about 1714, just the right age to have been the father of our Michael Senior (born circa 1736). Nonetheless, far too many accounts state that our Michael came from Hamburg, Germany, and spent 7 years of indentured servitude (probably to pay for ship passage). Furthermore, it is geographically unlikely. Michaelís marriage to Elizabeth took place in Bucks County Pennsylvania, while Isaac Cox, his brothers and their offspring were all on the south side of the Potomac river in Hampshire County, (West) Virginia.

Records of these Hampshire County Cox folks abound, but no record of any Michael is to be found. However, a certain Michael Cox stated that he had been born there, when he filed his veteranís pension application (number S-5020) in 1832. Although he could not accurately state his year of birth, he claimed this western Virginia county as his place of birth. This turns out to be the very man who lived close to our two Michaels in Pennís southwest before moving on to western Ohio.

This Michael Cox served in the Revolutionary War, as did both our Michaels. Revolutionary records confirm this, using "Jr." and "Sr." to denote our two guys. Was this other Michael Cox a son of Isaac Cox, the elder? Beats me! Frankly, I donít think so. I suspect he was the son of John Cox, born 1740 and buried at the old Marianna, Pennsylvania cemetery. So, who was this John Cox? He could have been Isaacís brother for all we know.

Isaac Cox is written about extensively in the Horn Papers. A descendant of Christopher Horn (court clerk and recorder during the Virginian domination of Pennís southwest), said he had found documents in an old trunk in one of his relativesí attic. This Horn descendant, William F. Horn, then living in Wichita, Kansas, proceeded to tell folks in southwestern Pennsylvania about these old papers, and eventually convinced the Green County Pennsylvania Historical Society to help him put them into book form. They are now in two volumes, plus a third oversized volume of maps of the lands of the first settlers.

The Horn Papers contain many historical and genealogical errors, and cannot be relied upon without other corroborating documents. But, they do give a great picture of what life was like during the last years of the 1760s and through the 1780s.

One particular chapter, "The American Revolution," gives a view from the backwoods of all the events from the Virginiansí period of loyalty to the British, to the great animosity against the British, and ensuing revolts led by Governor John Cannon and Justice Isaac Cox.

After Pennsylvania won the tug of war with Virginia over the territory now in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, most all of Isaac Coxís folks moved to the Virginia colony of Kentucky, where the younger Isaac Cox again set up a survey business and became a district court judge, just as his father had. Coxes Creek, Kentucky is only a few miles north of Bardstown, and south of Louisville, Kentucky. Indians scalped him and mutilated his body while he was out surveying. His widow, Mary Enoch, later married his partner, William May.

I truly wish that I could prove the Justice Isaac Cox, the elder, was my ancestor, as he was quite a "Cox Character."

 

 


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