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Cox Characters
Conclusions to Confusions

Part 4: Chapter 13

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Celestial "Lizzie" Cox Vaught,
daughter of Wm. N. Cox I

by Kenny Ray Cox

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My great-aunt’s and my grandpa’s family history was long shrouded in mystery. However, thanks to her records, I was finally able to unravel the puzzle of my own origins.

Begin to unravel’ would be more appropriate, for there is still much more work to be done.

Aunt Lizzie left behind few records, but very precious ones. I never got to meet her, at least not that I can remember.

She died before I turned. 16. Her place of burial is in Sherman, Texas, far away from my home and family in Oklahoma City.

Facts found in the records:

Celestial E. Cox
Photograph 31:
Celestial Elizabeth "Lizzie" Cox Vaught

  • Lizzie stated in all census records (1880, 1900, 1910, and. 1920) that she was born in Ohio in 1880. But the main key to solving the mystery of who my great grandparents were was the birth certificate for her son Edward.
  • Otho and Lizzie were wed in November 1897 in McAlester, Indian Territory. He was 28; she was just 17, although she claimed to be 18. Their marriage record was found in the U.S. Court Records of McAlester (at the time South McAlister, with an i not an e).
  • Otho had one sister listed in his obituary, named Corda McCrary, reported as living in Altahoma, Texas.
  • Otho stated that he was born in Missouri and his parents were born in Kentucky. His father, Otho de Frederick Vaught, served two one-year hitches in the Civil War, Company D of the Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.
  • The last of their eleven children were twin girls. Otho and Lizzie’s children gave them some twenty-three grandchildren.

Curiously, Lizzie’s obituary indicates that she was born in Caddo, Oklahoma, but we now know with certainty that she was born in Dalton, Ohio. Another strange point: Otho’s obit reads that he was a longtime resident of Pauls Valley, and died while he was visiting relatives in Dallas, and his wife resided in Sherman Texas. Why was Otho buried in Pauls Valley and Lizzie in Sherman?

Apparently, Lizzie and Otho never told their children any family information, or they didn’t know themselves. After reading all the Choctaw Indian History books and articles that I could find, I searched the pre-statehood U. S. Court records of southeast Oklahoma for any clue that would lead me to Lizzie and found a marriage record for Lizzie Cox and Otho Vaught of South McAlester, February 15, 1897. Lizzie was from Boggy Depot in Atoka County.

The 1900 Census shows an Otho Vaught of Eufaula, Creek Nation, Indian Territory, with a wife Lizzie (born in Ohio) and daughter Bertha, age 7, born 1899, (this must mean seven months, as her birth date was Nov 1899) and a brother-in-law, Major Cox, age 16, born May 1884, in Ohio. Lizzie must have lied on her marriage record as the 1900 census states that she was 19 years old, had been married for three years and birthed two children, with one living. She gave her age as 18 on the marriage license when in fact she was 20. Walter Vaught age 13 and Fred Vaught age 62 were living in the house. These two individuals were respectively: Otho’s brother, and his dad, whose complete name was Otho Fred Vaught.

The 1910 Census of Eufaula, McIntosh County, Oklahoma did not show a Major living with Lizzie. I’ve never found any other records of Major. I’ve concluded that he must have drowned, as my grandparents always said, between the years 1906 and. 1910. In a search of the Eufaula Cemetery, we discovered the graves of Lizzie’s father-in-law, Otho D. Vaught and her brother-in-law, Walter and his wife Maggie.

With the tiny Ohio clue, I was sure I’d be able to find them soon, but it was not to be. The 1890 Census for the entire United States burned in a major fire. A few records do exist, but none that help. I thought that the 1880 Census of Ohio should at least show Lizzie as a baby. I searched it, but found only older children named Lizzie Cox. I wrote to all 88 county courthouses in Ohio to see if they had any records of Lizzie and two younger brothers. Eighty counties used my sase to reply "sorry". The other eight counties were searched by using hired local historians, but no records were found.

It seemed apparent that Lizzie was a nickname. I tried Elizabeth, Mary E, Susan E and various other combinations. In the 1880 Census of Wayne County Ohio, a Celestial E., age 4/12 (i.e. four months old) was found with her father, listed as Newton Cox. The girl was the exact right age, as the census was taken in June of 1880. Going backwards to the 1870, 1860, 1850 census, we found her father was named William Newton Cox—the same name as my grandfather, Papa Cox!

It was Darlene Guerra, then living in Victoria, Texas, who suggested looking at Texas probated birth certificates. When Social Security was set up, folks had to have a birth certificate. Texas allowed people living there who could prove where and when they were born—no matter where it took place—to apply for a Texas Certificate. Darlene sent me a list of all Vaught folks who had applied. It included three of Lizzie’s children. Lizzie signed these applications giving her full name as Celestial Elizabeth Cox Vaught.

I sent for a certificate for Edward Vaught. His mother was Celestial Elizabeth Cox, born in Ohio. Edward was born in Eufaula, Oklahoma in 1902. This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Lizzie was the daughter of William Newton Cox of Wayne County, Ohio.

When I opened the mail and found that name I was very excited. My yelling woke up all the sleeping welfare folks on my block. It was surely difficult to wait over the Memorial Day Holiday until Tuesday to get to the library.

Celestial E. Cox was found in Wayne County, Ohio, 4 months old in June of 1880. Her father was "Newton" on this 1880 record, but turned out to be "William Newton Cox" on older records. This meant that my grandfather was a Junior. A courthouse record gives us February 6, 1880 as Lizzie’s birth date. There is no record for Will Newton, nor for Major. This indicates that they were born elsewhere.

How the three Cox children got to Boggy Depot, Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory is still a mystery. Some clues have been found, but not enough proof to be sure of. I suspect they may have got there with the help of the peddler, G. A. Maxwell.


Photos graciously contributed by Margie Vaught.

Photograph 32:
Lizzie Cox Vaught 
and (grand?)daughter

Celestial E. Cox (r.)


Unfortunately, we have no photos
of Lizzie with her husband Otho.
Any reader able to make any contributions
is cordially invited to contact us.

Photographs 33a and 33b:

Jesse James Vaught with baby Charles Vaught
Above: Jesse James Vaught and son Charles

Below: Jesse James Vaught's WWI portrait

Jesse James Vaught


Record of Funeral: Mrs. Elizabeth Vaught

Residence: 409 S Elm Street
Occupation: Housewife
Date of Birth: Feb 6, 1880 age 76 yrs, 2 mos., 12 days
Date of Death: Feb. 18, 1956, 12:30 a.m.
Services at Central Baptist Church
Rev Lloyd Ledbetter, Sherman, Texas
Religion: Baptist
Birthplace: Caddo, Okla.
Place of Death: residence
Cause of Death: natural causes
Contributory causes: acute heart attack
Name of father: unknown
Name of mother: unknown
Date of Funeral: Feb. 19, 1956, Sun. 2:30 p.m.


Standard Certificate of Death

Otho Vaught
Place of Death: Dallas, Texas
Residence: Pauls Valley, Garvin, Oklahoma
Occupation: Farming
Date of Birth: Sept. 9, 1871, age 82 years, 1 mo., 14 days
Date of Death: Oct. 23, 1953
Birthplace: Missouri
Name of father: Otho D Vaught, Tenn.
Name of mother: don't know
Cause of death: Heart, intestinal Obstruction
Funeral Director: Stufflebean Funeral Home, Pauls Valley, Okla.
Burial: Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Informant's signature: Henry Vaught of Dallas, Texas

Facts found in records: Lizzie stated that she was born in Ohio; Otho stated that he was born in Missouri and his parents were born in Kentucky. Apparently they never told their children any family information or they didn't know themselves. Otho's obit reads that he was a longtime resident of Pauls Valley, visiting relatives in Dallas, wife in Sherman Texas. Which son is the Tom reported living in Pauls Valley? Why was Otho buried in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma and Lizzie in Sherman, Texas?




Mrs. Elizabeth Vaught, 76, a native of Caddo, Oklahoma [sic], died in her home, 409 S Elm, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Funeral service will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Central Baptist Church.

Burial will be in the West Hill Cemetery. A member of the Central Baptist Church, she was born in Caddo, Oklahoma, and moved here 20 years ago from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

The Rev. Lloyd Ledbetter will officiate. In charge of arrangements is the Dannel Funeral Home. Survivors are six sons, Edward Vaught and Vern Vaught of Sherman, William Vaught of Lubbock, Henry Vaught of Dallas, three daughters, Mrs. Myrtle Brians of Monkstown, Mrs. Aline DeCordova of Dallas, and Mrs. Geraldine Jackson of Hannibal, MO and 26 grandchildren.

24 Oct. 1953

VAUGHT, OTHO, Pauls Valley, Okla., passed away Friday. Survived by sons, Edward, William, Henry, Howard, Vernon and Thomas Vaught, daughters Mrs. Myrtle Bryan, Mrs. Geraldine Jackson, Mrs. Aylene DeCordova: sister Mrs. Corda McCary: twenty-three grandchildren, one great-grandchild. Remains sent overland to Pauls Valley for services and interment.

400 West Jefferson W0-5134



Oct. 29, 1953

Funeral rites were held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Stufflebean Funeral Chapel for Otho Vaught, 82, a long time resident of Pauls Valley. Burial was in Mt. Olivet Cemetery Rev. Alva Hutchinson officiated at the rites. Vaught, who was in Dallas, visiting relatives died October 23, in St. Paul’s Hospital, Dallas. Survivors include his wife of Sherman, Texas; three daughters, Alene Vaught of Dallas, Myrtle Bryant of Monkstown, Texas and Geraldine Henderson of Hannibal, Mo.; six sons, Edward of Sherman, Bill of Lubbock, Texas, Henry and Howard of Dallas, Tom of Pauls Valley and Vern of Sherman; one sister Corda McCurry of Altahoma, Texas: twenty three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.



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