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Cox Characters
Conclusions to Confusions

Part 3: Chapter 7

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Black Box or Constable Papers
of Michael Cox, Jr.

by Kenny Ray Cox

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The old black metal box is about the size of a small tool box. It measures perhaps twelve by eight inches, and has a hinged top. The wrinkled, weathered papers within, date back to over two centuries. They are often difficult to read: holes, heat and moisture damage, poor handwriting. But what joy to behold!

John and Emily have many other heirlooms from their Cox and Dorsch family ancestors. These include an old violin, an old wedding gown, and hundreds of old pictures.

John and Emily have provided us a notarized "Affidavit of Authentic Papers" which readers will find by clicking on the following link: * go to affadavit *  [use your navigator's "back button" to return to this page.

The papers pertain to the "Constable of Fayette County." I have left the spelling as written. Punctuation has been added for easier reading.

The original texts present a character shaped somewhat like a "J," which undoubtedly should be read as an ampersand (&). For readers' convenience, we have used the ampersand throughout these transcriptions. Likewise, an "s" replaces the eighteenth century character "f," which is indeed an "s," but is easily confused with an "f."

In this photo, John Cox shows the black box that was handed down to him by his mother. It contains the missing probate papers of the will of Michael Cox, Senior as well as many important papers and letters to both Michael Senior and Junior.

The small pill box (in front of John's hand) contains the splinter (placed on the paper in the foreground) that flew up his father's nose when he was about nine years old. It remained there over 50 years until a doctor was finally allowed to remove it. Actually, it was just outside the nostril, but under the skin. It is roughly half the size of a new crayon. Lightening had struck the house, came down the chimney and exploded the mantle, sending this splinter into Harry's face.

Photograph 16: John Cox and the Black Box

Handwritten on the back side of one paper, appears "DEED 1785." This was a tricky piece of writing to decipher. The name Junior was added in with a ^ above 'Michael.' Read closely. I believe Mr. John Rielly thought he was writing in legal terms.

Know all me by these present that I John Rielly of Luzerne Township County of Fayette and state of Pennsylvania Yeoman Do for and in consideration of one hundred and twenty pounds to me in hand paid the recpt where of I do here acknowledge do grant and sell a certain tract or parcel of land situate lying and being in Luzarn Township in the county and state of P joining lands of John Deem, Thomas Wilson, John Rielly, containing eighty acres be the same more or less. Know ye that I the sd John Rielly have granted, bargained and by these present for me my heirs executer administrators in free and open market according to law do grant, bargain, and sell to Eber Homan and Michel Cox Junior their heirs excutors and administratiors or asigns all and singular the above sd lands and all and singular the appurtenances there______ belonging together with all Deed evidences and writings consarned the same to have and to hold all and singular, the principal hereby granted, mentioned, or intened to be mentioned to the said Eber Homan and Michel Cox Junior to the only true and properute of the said Eber Homan & Michel Cox Junior the heirs, Executors, administrators, or asings forever by warinting and depending the same agains lawfull claims what soever the Chief & Lord of the soil there of only excpt in witness whereof The sd John Rielly to these present heave put my hand end seal this l0th day January Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and Eighty six sined and seal and delivered in presence of us.

Arthur Scott John Rielly
Lumial Miller
interlined be for sined

Fayette Cty

John Rielly came before me one of The commonwealths Justice the Peace for sd county the 16th day of Jany 1786 in his proper person & acknowledged the within Bill of Sale to be his act of Deed and Desired it may be taken of record as such

Witness my hand of seal the day & date above written

Nat'1 Breading

I do sine of _ allminey t and clame to_____ said _____ unto Mical Cox forever witnesses present for valey reseved of him six ______

Jesse Corwin
Eber Homan

Amos Mills

Note: The above writing which makes hardly any sense looks like Mr. Reilly's.

Febuery the 12th 1784

Receve of Mical Cox and Jacob Cox Seven bushels otes two from Mical and five from Jacob upon John Peters acount Recived by me,

Peter Johnston


Fayette Cty SS

Whereas Judgment against sd Amos Mills was had before me on the 16th day of May last for this sum of Three Pounds 12/9 Debt & 3/4 cost at the suit of Leonard Clemans - These are to command you that of the goods Chattles & effects of Sd Amos Mills you Levy the afore sd Debt & cost & make sale thereof in which return to me in twenty days from the date here of - & for want of goods, chattles, & effects where on the Levy take the body of Sd Amos Mills & convey him to the common Gaol of Sd Cty the keeper whereof hereby commanded him to receive & in close (unreadable) to keep untill Sd Debt & cost together with cost of execution be fully paid or he be thence deliverd by (unreadable) course of hand given under my hand & seal the 12 day of aust 1788

Natl Breading

To Mc Cox Const'l


Edward Smith
Issac Lex (uen)

Michael Cox comes into court and undertook for the defendant that in case he shall be cast in this cause he will pay & satisfy the condemnation of the court and render his body to prison in execution for the same or that he the said Michael Cox will do it for him

Wm [or Bm] Chaplin V______



Fayette County The 13 day of november 1788

Ser Peles to let Armtstrong Porter have the sum of Six Pounds Ten shilling the same due to me on James Broombrall Execution and Nine Pence to Squire Breden and in so doing you will much ablige your friend

And this shall be your securyety

Job Harvey


I do Hereby testyfie to the Constabel of Luzarn that I will wait with Amos Mills for what he is in due me tell the first day of November Insuing the dat given under my hand this 15th day of March 1789



John Conwell


Mr Michael Cox Bal of George Thinner

1 1/2 ye scarlet cleath 15/ 18-9

1 ye sarge 2.0

1 stick twist 100 0.10



Note: the piece below is actually two sheets of paper stuck together
and marked front of paper, back of paper.

Novm 10 1785 Memorandem of Sundry act

Thomas Chalfant Receivd of Joseph Grable to Take to Kanetucke to be Delivered to George Close

VDK 1 Still

1 Pot

1 Side Saddle

1 Duch Broad ax

1 augur

5 small bits

1 Box iron

2 Pair of Door Hinges

Thomas Chalfant


Fayette Cty ss

Whereas judgment was had a_____afore me on the 16th day of April last against Samuel Swindler for the sum of six shillings debt & three shillings & six pence cost at the suit of James Hawkins - These are therefore to require & command you that of the goods & chattles & effects of sd Saml Swindler you levy the afore sd debt & cost & make sale ____ ____ according to law returning & ____if any & the money together with this sd recept return to me in twenty days from sd date there of -- for want of goods, chattles, & effects whereon to Levy take the body of sd Samuel Swindler & convey him to the common gaol of the s Cty the keeper whereof is hereby commanded him to receive & in close custody to keep untill sd debt & cost tegether with cost of execution be fully paid or to be thence delivered by due course of law

Witness my hand & seal this __ day of Sept 1788

Nat1 Breading


To Mc Cox Cons

Fayette Cty ss

Wheras Judgement had against Andrew Barts before me on the 5th day of June last for the sum of 2..9..10 Debt & 3/6 cost at the suit of Enoch Hand__ the are therefor to command you to Levy Di_____ on the goods & chattles of Sd Andrew Barts to & amount & make sale thereof according to law which return to me in 20 days from ___date ___ Witness my hand & seal the 20th day of Octobr 1788.

Nat1 Breading


To Mc Cox Cons

Sir This is to inform you that Samuel Swindler has fully settled with me that Execution that you had against, said Swindler on my account and do Desire and comman you to deliver up the said execution to said Swindler with with his paying the cost on said suit -
In Winteness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenith day of March Anno Domina 1789

Witnesses present

Charles Swan x his mark
Sarah Swan x her mark
John Mc Can


Recid May of 20th 1788 from Michael Cox one pound fourteen shillings on acount of an executon on Samuel Swindler in behalf of John Collins.

Witness Redid by me

Martin Varner
Thomas Rayle



This is to Inform you that Samuel Swindler has letters with me for that Execution that you have against Sd Swindler in behalf of James Champbell Scoll Master for one pound Eighteen shilling and hereby Desire you to give up said execution to said Swindler with his paying the cost Given under my hand this 17 day of March 1789.

A n cholio Bettz

Fayette county ss


Whereas Wm Conwell Collector of Taxes in Luzerne Township agreeable to an act of assembly proper the 16 day of _______1785 has made action to one sd James Gamble Taxable in G Township has been deliquent in paying the sum of fifteen shillings his assesment in the ______Tax of Year 1788 within forty days after demand made these are to Command you that forthwith you proceed to demand the_______ from sd James Gamble at his place of abode or if he shall not be found or shall refuse or neglect to pay sum together with the cost sd of his goods Chattles & effects you levy the sd sum with costs as ______the same Goods Chattles & effects to_____ _____within six days after _____giving due notice thereof as required by law & that for want of suffiesant witness whereon to levy take his body into your custody & convey him to the comnon gaol of sd cty the keeper wherof is herbuy required to recieve & safly keep him untill the aforsd demand of tax & cost be fully paid & satisfied.

Witness my hand & seal the 9th day of March 1789

Natl Breading


To M Cox Cons

Fayette cty ss

Judgement had on 18th day of January

Samuel Miller for the sum of Nine Pounds - ten shillings Debt and 3/10 cost at suit of George Smith given under my hand and date the 30th day of September 1788.

To Mc Cox Cons
Natl Breading SEAL


Fayette Cty ss

Judgement had on 11th day of March last Amos Mills at the suit of Alexander Crawford for the sum of Sir Pounds seven shilling & 1/6 cost given by my hand & seal the 3rd day of Jany 1788.

To Mc Cox Cons


Fayette Cty ss

Judgement against Tom or Sam Miller at the suit of James Dowel L 8 - 14 - 4 Debt Interest 5/5 cost 4/6

[same as above, bottom of page missing]


Fayette Cty ss

Judgement had on the 16th day of August last

Amos Mills at the suit of Leonard Clemons for the sum of Three pounds 12/9 debt & 3/4 cost given by my hand & seal the 2nd day of Aug 1788.

Mc Cox Cons

Natl Breading


For Valey receved I promise to pay unto Eber Homan ______order or _____the just and full sum of eight Pounds good and lawfull money of Pennsylvania to be paid in good and Marketable wheat at fore shilling per bushel on or before the first day of November next and witness my hand and seal this 11 day of March 1789 Witness ________

Peter Cox



Sir I did not intend to Call on you for any more money untill I ________ on your work further But as my son John is strained for a Boute Eight Dollars if you Please you may Let him have it as he manse to help me to chang on your bilding as soon as the wether is fitten and by so doing you will oblige_____

Th'd ______ild


To Mr Michel Cox

For value Received I promise to Deliver or cause to be Delivered unto Jonathon Jones or his or for the quantity of twenty six bushels and a half of good merchant wheat in Abraham Mervels mill at or against the first day of November Next Ensuing the sale hereof it ____ as Witness my hand and seal this 23 day of Febuary 1791

Witness Present

John Star


this 10th day of July 1791 Saml Miller one of the overseears of the poor has assumed to pay fifteen shillings Debt for Levi Merrell towards an judgment against Michael Cox Junior obtained by James Dearth Junior together with one shilling & six pence cost

Thos Gregg


Note: The piece of paper below looks like it was folded and then torn when it was opened. A hole is in the center.

A memorandem of A bargain made & concluded on this twenty sixth day of march 1791 between Charles [Carter] ________of The one part and John Star of the other part both of Fayette County and State of Pennsylvania Witnessith that Charles [Carter] letteth unto John Star the Braery field by the lower barn for _____ year from this date to put in spring and fall crop of which a portion _____one fourth in the _____ and one third part of the fall grain _______ and sd parten ________ to sd Star the meadow adjoining _____ above field forth______ years for_____ [illegible] Star is to have the whole produce for three _______ ground he clears and is to have the house_____ Ruben Brashing now live in and a garden for his own propose _____ this ensuing______ and is to hav liberty ______his grain

[bottom part of page missing. no signature]


Mikel Cox Sir please to let Enock ganse have five bushels of good sound indian corn and this shall be your receipt for the same and in so doing you will oblige your frind Samuel Smith


Sir Be please to let Richard Knott have ten bushels of wheat

To Mical Cox

Eber Homan


Memorandem of a bargain this day agreed upon between William Oliphant of Luzarn township one part & James Carlow of Germantownship of the other part both of the county of Fayette & state of Pennsylvania _____ that the said Oliphant doth agree to let or leass unto the said Carlow fifty acres of land a part of the tract laying or being in germantownship ajoining lands of Tom McWilliams John M Wilms & others containing 150 acres on the side next John McWilliams with the dwelling house & clear land ____ for the full term of four years from the 15th day of May last Part of said Carlow into have the privilege of all the suggar trees on the side of the run next to John McWilliams and other on said tract--------------------- And for the consideration money the said Carlow doth promise to clear fourty seven acres of land with what is now cleared on the said place in the boundries as above & to leave sufficient good & lawfull fences on the said land as he is so bound to clear 7 what is now clearnd at the __ expiration of the said term afore said & to give up a quiet & profable positon of _______ & for the true perfomance we on both _____ so bind and ____on him Exeetor & administrator firmly by these presents in the sum of fifty poounds lawfull money of Pennsylvania & to be paid by the part not complying as above in _____ when at we have hum_____ set our hnads & seal the 21st day of December 1792.

witness present C Graham Stewart Wm Oliphant

James Carlow his mark


December 23th 1793 Received of Michal Cox one hundred Bushels of Corn at by 2/5/L12-10

by William Oliphant


Recd Augt 3 1793 of Mical Cox fourteen Pounds 8/3 in pence & fourteen pounds 10/ in part of ____ first payment of the land as per the article___ even date herewith

Wm Oliphant


Michael Cox

September 2d 1793 Received of Michael cox twenty six pounds 11/10 a part of the first gail of his land by me Wm Oliphant


September 7th 179? mark

Micael Cox to Anthony Swan Sr O.2.77

Recieved by Me Anthony Swan



To Michael Cox

Pay unto Abraham Stewart Seven pounds ten shilling in Specy payable first day ____ on acct of to Oblige
James his Carlow


Received of Mical Cox the sum of Fifty pounds in cash it being apart of the second gale by me

10 November 1794 William Oliphant



Received of Mical Cox Sr 15/0 & say
Received by me Gat. Henry


Recd of Michel Cox Twelve Dollars for Moses Mc fandross as witness my hand this __day of Jany 1800

James Caldwell


Fayette Cty ss

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania to William Tome & Jim McWilliams Greeting. we command you that all _____and ______ you and each of you be and appear in your proper person before our Judges at Union Town at our court of commonpleas then to be held for the court of Fayette the fourth Monday of September next to testify the truth according to your knowledge on behalf of Michael Cox defendant in a certain plea of trespass and ejectment at the suit of James Carlow plantiff. ______ herein fail not under the penalty of one hundred pounds. Witness Nathaniel Breading Esquire at Union Town the twenty eighth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven houndred and ninety Eight.

Ephraim Douglas


July 11th 1798 An acount of days work

sammel mcwilliams de to two days mowing

jacob huber de to one day mowing 0∙5∙0

james willson de to done day of mowing 0∙5∙0

jacob huber de to two and a half of reeking

de to one day of goping 0∙3∙9

thomas wilson de to one half days reeking 0∙2∙6

August the 6 1798 jacob huber de to two days mowing 0∙10∙0


Apryle 1 h 1798

Recevet eleven pounds four shilling and four pence it being in part pay for bilding a hous of Michall Cox by me

Intaze --mom (illegible)


October the 9 1800 hennery nevel got a hous of me for three months at four dollars for the time


October the 25 1800 hennery nevel de to one

gallon of hunerey--------------------------------------------------- 0∙6∙0

de to three paynhes of glas---------------------------------------- 0∙2∙3

crddid by one dore cock-------------------------------------------- 0∙6∙0

by one pount of powter--------------------------------------------- 0∙5∙4

by making dore and hanging it------------------------------------ 0∙10∙0

by cash payd fabruor the 7 1801--------------------------------- 0∙15∙0

by one pount and half of powter------------------------------------ 0∙8∙7




1800 Michael Cox to Richard Weaver ∙S∙p

Dec 12 for Sundry expenses--------------- 1∙0∙3

Cn by Cash---------------------------------- 1∙0∙3


Fayette County ss

_______of Edward Green Did 1800 ____ and judgt for plaintiff

vs for plaintiff

Michael cox Tenant

Clerk----- $3.79
Atty------ $4.
Sheriff----- 1.95
Jury-------- 1.50
D 11.50

Plantiff's bill 6.48


Did27th 1800 Recd___above costs of Michael Cox

Ephraim Douglas ______


September the 1th 1800

Received of Peter Coxe for direct tax one dollar & thirty four cents.

Benj Wells


Issue of Green

  March 11th 1801
Recd from Michael cox thirty dollars as a fee in this case
bal 30-00

Parker Campbell


[Note: right hand corner of the follow piece of paper is missing.]

To Ephraim Douglas

______   ________ petition sheriff _________ ___________

________ of appraisment-----------------------

copy of proceeding------------------------------

Seal of Certificate--------------------------------



Received the above cost of William Ewing Esquire
21 June 1802

Ephraim Douglas ___thy


Received Novm 5 1811 of Michael Cox sen. three dollars & thirty eight cents in full to this date

for A Ridgely

Wm Ridgely


Received June 11th 1814 of Mikel Cox Sen thirty nine Dollars and twenty five cents on account of his son Mikel for note Sd Mikel lifted from me & for what Mikel Cox's Jr horses sold for by Harvey Constable Absalom Ridgely




__Michael Cox & Wm Wilson in act with William McKinley

Octb 2th To an order for Wm Foot_______________$7.25

I am in want of money and will be Thankful for the above mentioned same.

Wm McKinley


Michael Cox D__ to J Duncan

To 86 days Schooling 2 per day 2.15

Firewood------------------- .20



M. Cox in act with Wm McKinley 21st March 1815



2 crocks 2/4 by butter 1/0





3 yd clothe 26/3




by Bees Wax





by butter








by cash 7/6 butter 2/7



? 9 yds binding 4d




button 4d silk 5 / 4 yd cloth 6/7





by butter





1/3 doz buttons 4/2




silk & Inerst 1/6





1/3 doz buttons 4/2




by straw 11 bundles




by cash in full



Recd the above in full

Wm McKinley




Received Novm 5 1811 of Michael Cox Sen. three dollars & thirty eight cents in full to this date for A Ridgely

Wm B [or R] Ridgely


1792 [or could be 1782]


Please to let Mr Samuel Bofs have eight bushels of wheat I told you I wanted but I was dissappointed where it was promised therfore I hope you will not fail and ths order shall stand good against the note for the quantity here mentioned Complience will much oblige

To Mr Michal Cox Junr
August 6th 17??

your humb Sert
Saml Swindler


1800 Michael Cox to Richard Weaver

Dec 12 for sundry expenses__________ 1∙0∙3

Cn by cash ______________________ 1∙0∙3



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