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Cox Characters
Conclusions to Confusions

Part 3: Chapter 15

 
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Memories about
my Cox Clan

by Shirley Cox Larson

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I found it extremely interesting that Ken, in his introduction, reports that he was exhorted to watch his behavior because of his family's reputation and roots. When I was growing up, I was told that since I was a Cox, I had to be careful what I said and did. I also understood that I was to apply myself to my school work and "amount to something".

Perhaps all parents use this tactic. But as Ken says, of course it worked and we are all now practically perfect in every way, just like Mary Poppins.

It seems to me now, looking back, that my Cox uncles were a literate bunch. My great uncle Arthur (Milton Arthur) with the help of his wife Julia and their daughter, published the Ayrshire Chronicle, a weekly newspaper. My uncle Roy was a minister. My father, Stanley, had little formal education, only a few semesters beyond his eight grade diploma, yet I still consider him one of the most intelligent, literate men I've ever known. He was an avid reader of the Des Moines Register at a time when it was Pulitzer Prize material, he could do math like a whiz, and he was interested in the world and its politics. I know that my great Uncle Arthur was a dyed in the wool Republican while my father was a Roosevelt/Truman Democrat. My father often stopped in the print shop to talk away an evening with Uncle Arthur. I surely wish I could have been a mouse in the corner for those discussions.

My Uncle Roy served in both World War I and II. An excerpt from a recorded memory of his experience in World War I (he was twenty-three) reads:

In 1918, I was drafted into the army and served in the 313th Engineers. After six weeks of training, my regiment boarded a ship for France. After fourteen days, we landed in Liverpool, England. We then traveled across England and crossed the channel to France. We slept in pup tents and barns and traveled at night. Sometimes we slept in deserted houses. We were on twenty-four hour alert when the armistice was signed. I then played cornet in the Regimental Band from January of 1919 until June at which time I was discharged as a Musician Third Class.

In 1942, he was pastor of the Methodist Church in Spirit Lake and, at the age of forty-six years, he certainly would not have had to serve again. Yet he says:

I was [...] Chaplain of the Spirit Lake American Legion. One of my duties was to see twenty-five to thirty draftees off on the train each month. As I saw them leave [...] I felt I should be doing more myself. I went to see Bishop Magee to get his consent to go also. He objected, saying I would lose my promotions, and he didn't think at my age that I would be sent overseas.[...] I kept up my work seeing the men leave, but the conviction grew that I should go myself. So I again went to see the Bishop and this time he endorsed my application. I was sent to Omaha where I passed my physical. On August 10, 1942, I was sworn in as a First Lieutenant. [....] My first airplane ride was across the Atlantic Ocean. We landed in Scotland, went by train to London, and then flew to Paris. I was then assigned to the Quarter Master Group stationed at Rennes, France.

The story now shifts to Mr. Egbert Peters, a man who had met Miriam, Roy Cox's daughter, at Morningside College and asked her to marry him. Mr. Peters says:

I was in the European Theater for 21 months directing artillery fire from over the front lines in a little Piper Cub. When the war in Europe ended, we were in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. When in a staging area in France, I was able to meet for a few hours with Roy before leaving for home. The story, as I told it, was that I asked if I could marry his daughter and he said no, but I beat him home and we were married anyway. I arrived in the States 20 July 1945 and left for home via troop train from Camp Shanks where I started. We were married on 29 July in the Methodist Church in Spirit Lake, Iowa, with "Uncle" Stanley giving the bride away. We honeymooned in a little cottage on Lake Okoboki (Iowa) and while there the atom bomb was dropped, ending the war in the Pacific.

Uncle Roy arrived home safely from World War II and, presumably, gave his belated blessing to his daughter's marriage. He served as pastor in Methodist churches in Iowa until his retirement in 1961. He died in 1986 at the age of 91.

Uncle Homer was a "tinkerer" and was the first man in Palo Alto County to get his amateur radio license. Uncle Homer had the first "home recording studio". He was also one of the first people to sell television sets in the late 1950's and also, I believe, one of the few people who could-or would-climb the roof on a big, old, two-story farmhouse to install an antenna. I remember our first television set. We were so far from any major station that mostly we sat about watching dim outlines of people covered by snow. Uncle Homer and Aunt Elsie were also among the first "snowbirds". They journeyed regularly to Arizona to escape the cold Iowa winters. Unfortunately, during one of their winter sojourns, their RV was hit by another vehicle which failed to stop at a stop sign and both were killed in Mesa, Arizona in 1971.

Grandfather Franklin also "tinkered". His specialty was violins. He made over a hundred in his shop during his lifetime, always trying to get each one to sound better than the last. He would have been extremely interested in the new discoveries about the Stradivarius violins, that the wood had been soaked for years, and that the varnish was a special preparation that contained minute quantities of stones.

If Grandfather played the violin, it must have been early in his career. I never remember him picking up the instrument. My father was the musician. How he loved music. He played the violin, the trumpet, and had a passing understanding of the baritone, the trombone, and the tuba. I remember that he says he went to Emmetsburg, the county seat town in Palo Alto, and learned to play from a man who used to play with John Philip Sousa. He also sang in quartets, both male and mixed. He could read music and hold a part very well, and it frustrated him to try and sing with people who could not read or hold the pitch. He passed along both his love of words and music to all three of his children. I have a degree in music education, as does my daughter. All three of my children are active in music; Kara and Kris play professionally in bands, and Keith is a regular member of the Cocoa Village Playhouse where they present four musicals a season.

As for literacy, I have written twenty six romance novels, modern and historical.

As I have been working on Ken's book with him, it has been revealing to me to look at the women's signatures on the deeds. Notice how many women's signatures have "X" as their middle name? Perhaps the reader has already deduced the truth. That X indicates that the women could not write their name. More and more, I become eternally grateful to those women-and men-who fought for the right to be educated, fought to win the vote, fought for equality. We owe them a debt that is much larger than we can repay.

Photograph 20:
Lottie Elmira Phillips
& Franklin Pierce Cox

Photograph 21:
Bertha Long Cox
& Stanley Pierce Cox,
50th anniversary

 

 

Biography of Milton H. Cox
from Past and Present of Iroquois County, Illinois
by J. W. Kern, M. A. [published circa 1906]

Milton H. Cox, who has retired from agricultural life and makes his home in the village of Chebanse was born in Marshall county, Virginia, October 17, 1850, and is a son of Samuel and Rhoda (Gray) Cox, who were natives of that county and in 1865 became residents of Belle Plain township, Marshall county, Illinois. The father departed this life in 1880, since which time the mother has lived with her son, Milton H. Cox, and is now eighty-three years of age.

In the state of his nativity, Mr. Cox of this review spent the first fifteen years of his life and then accompanied his parents on their removal to the middle west. He was afforded a common-school education but he started out in life with very limited financial resources. He was reared to the occupation of farming and resorted to that department of activity as a means of livelihood, continuing to engage in general farming pursuits up to the time of his retirement from active life. He worked persistently and energetically, placing his fields under a high state of cultivation and adding many modern improvements to his farm. As the years passed he harvested good crops and thus added to his income from the sales of both grain and stock. He is still the owner of five hundred and seventy-five acres of rich and productive land in Lincoln township, Calhoun County, Iowa.

Mr. Cox was married on the 10th of November, 1869, in Belle Plain township, Marshall County, Illinois to Miss Cynthia Perry, a resident of that place, and they have become parents of eight children: Franklin P., who is operating one of his father's farms in Calhoun county, Iowa; T. Willard, who is farming in North Dakota; Gertie B., the wife of J. H.. Nordhausen, who is operating a part of her father's land in Iowa; Mary, who makes her home with her parents; Cora, the wife of George Blaney, a farmer of Chebanse township; Lillian, the wife of Harvey Allen, who is farming a part of her father's land in Iowa; Arthur M., a printer of Chebanse; and Oma, still at home.

Mr. Cox has always given his political support to the democracy but in more recent years has had strong prohibition tendencies because of his attitude on the temperance question. He was police magistrate of Chebanse in 1903 and 1904 and served as school director for eight years. In early life he held membership with the Christian church but, as there was no congregation of that denomination in this part of the county, after his removal to Illinois he placed his membership with the Congregational church, of which he is now a trustee. He affiliated with the Knights of Pythias lodge, No. 570, of Chebanse, and passed through all of the chairs but the lodge has since been disbanded. He belongs to Iroquois camp, No. 994, M. W. A., in which he has also filled most of the offices. His life has been characterized by the performance of each day's duty as it has come to him and, brooking no obstacle that honest effort can overcome, he has steadily worked his way upward until, having long since left the ranks of the many, he today stands among the successful few.

 

 

Map 10: From Ohio to Illinois

While Peter Cox settled just outside Dalton in Wayne County, Ohio, his brother Jacob Cox settled in Darke County, Ohio. Eli Cox (Peter's grandson by son Jacob, not to be confused with the above Jacob) took his wife Margaret and children westward to Kendallville, Indiana. Thus, northeast Indiana became the home of Eli Cox and the Echard(t)s. Eli's wife Margaret had a sister named Susanah who also married an Echard(t). They too settled in Kendallville, Indiana.

Samuel Cox, son of Michael Cox Jr., moved to Illinois with his son Milton Hupp Cox.

 


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