Biography - Jesse Cox

JESSE N. COX, who has been a resident of Burnside Township since 1855, and has lived on his present farm for the past twenty-two years, was born in Trigg County, Ky., in 1838. His father, Jeremiah Cox, was a farmer, and was born in Stewart County, Tenn., in 1806, not far from where his son was born. Jeremiah Cox married Obedience Holland, a native of Kentucky. They lived a few years after their union in Stewart County, Tenn., and then moved to Calloway County, Ky., where they lived on their own farm until the fall of 1855, when they sold out and came to Johnson County, bringing with them their family of nine children, seven sons and two daughters. The journey of one hundred and ten miles was accomplished with their own horse-team and covered wagon, and they drove before them their cattle. At that time they had but $800 and their stock, but managed to purchase two hundred acres of land with improvements, including a log house, in Tunnel Hill Township, for $800. This they made their permanent home, and there the mother died in September, 1855, one month after their arrival, aged forty-three years. The father was married the second time, to Sarah Biggers, of Illinois, and lived twenty-two years after the death of his first wife, dying in 1878, aged sixty-two years. One son, William B., who died in 1865, aged twenty-five, left a widow and three children. There are now living four male members of the family, viz: Perry, a farmer of Burnside Township; Jesse N., Richard S.; and Franklin, a farmer of Burnside Township.
Mr. Cox, of this sketch, had but little education in his youth, and that was obtained in the subscription schools. He was when a boy used to hard labor, and remained at home until he was twenty years old, and then worked on the farm summers, and taught school some eight winters, partly before and partly after his marriage. He was married when twenty-five years old, February 3, 1863, to Miss Caroline Rushing, a daughter of Nathan and Mary (Veal) Rushing, who came from Kentucky to Illinois before 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Cox first bought ninety acres of land in Tunnel Hill Township, where they lived six years, when, they sold and moved to Burnside Township to their present farm. At first this farm consisted of sixty-five acres, but five years later they added to it fifteen acres, and in 1881 eighty-five acres more were added, and since then twelve acres more, making a farm of one hundred and seventy-seven acres, which cost from $8 to $16.66 per acre. They at first lived in a small frame house, which was built in 1870, in the forest, and was a one story structure, 14x16 feet in size, containing a large fireplace with its chimney built outside. The house stood on pedestals of stone and had but one room, and as there was that winter a storm of sleet which so loaded the trees that there was danger of their falling on this little house. Mr. Cox came to his empty cabin and felled the trees that overhung it. The farm was all timber land, and the one hundred acres now under cultivation represent many hard days’ work and toil, most of which he has done himself. He has been a man of great strength and endurance, and is still well preserved and taking a merited rest. In 1890 he built his present commodious two-story frame house, 16x36 feet, having seven large rooms and a fine double porch the entire length.
Our subject's first wife, died April 14, 1872, leaving no children. His second wife was Miss Nancy Reeves, born in Texas and who came to Illinois in 1871. Her father was Absalom Reeves, and her mother Eliza C. Blaxton, both of Tennessee. She has two brothers, William Reeves, a farmer of Burnside Township, and Henry B. Reeves, a merchant of Mound City, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Cox have buried two children, William T., aged four, and Louisa E., aged one year, and there are now living four sons and two daughters, viz: Charles B., seventeen years old; Mary O., fifteen; Lloyd F. fourteen; Harvey A., thirteen; Orpha J., ten; and Henry Lee, nine; all are at home and attending school.
Mr. Cox is a Master Mason, and a Democrat. Religiously he is a free thinker, and he has been a very successful man in his lifetime, which he attributes to skillful management, economical living and hard labor.

Extracted 10 Sep 2009 by Vera Burnham from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 432-433.

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