Select Cox Miscellany

Here are some Cox stories and accounts over the years:

Concentrations of the Cox Name

Most of the people named Cox have been found in southern England during both the 1881 census and the more recent 1998 assessment. 

This leads us to believe that the name evolved in this area, probably in one of the two most highly concentrated areas of Dorset/Wiltshire or Oxfordshire/Berkshire.  The area with the highest concentration of people named Cox today is Oxfordshire, with the town of Abingdon being the most popular place for them to live

Cox and the Monmouth Rebels

There were 20 Coxes who took part in the West Country Monmouth uprising of 1685 and were later rounded up.  The largest numbers came from Taunton St. Mary, Axmouth and Musbury. 

These Coxes fared better perhaps than some others.  Only two of the twenty were hanged and only two were transported to the Caribbean.  William Cox, a sergemaker at Taunton St. Mary, escaped to Holland where he helped to manufacture English cloth.  He was pardoned in 1686 “if he should return with his goods and effects within two calendar months."

Tom Cox, Highwayman

Born in Somerset sometime around 1666, Tom Cox was the younger son of a west country gentleman who grew up into a startlingly handsome youth with a penchant for women and gambling, passions which soon swallowed up his meager inheritance.  Egged on by the shady characters with whom he spent his time, it was not long before he was persuaded to look to the highways to supplement his losses by relieving those more endowed of their guineas. 

Tom was just 25 years old when he met his Maker in 1691 on the gallows near Newgate in London.  He had been caught robbing a farmer on Hounslow Heath.  The crowd which gathered to witness his execution cheered this handsome highwayman, still immaculately dressed in his favorite white waistcoat and breeches and sporting a hat adorned with cherry-colored ribbons. 

Jonathan Swift wrote the following verse on his hanging:  

“And when his last speech the loud hawkers did cry   
He swore from his cart ‘It was all a damned lie.’   
The hangman for pardon fell down on his knee;  
Tom gave him a kick in the guts for his fee."

Sir Richard Cox and His Linen Venture in Ireland

The Gentleman’s Magazine of October 1749 had the following laudatory account of the activities of Sir Richard Cox:  

In the year 1733 Sir Richard Cox came into the possession of a large, fruitful, but uncultivated tract of land, inhabited by a race of beggars, grown by habitual wretchedness so hardened that, though sensible of the smart, they were not ashamed to prefer hunger and idleness to labor and competency.  

He therefore directed his thoughts to remedy this evil; and wisely concluded that nothing but the establishment of a staple manufacture on the premises would answer the purpose.  

He chose linen.  Having procured a quantity of flax seed in 1735, he prevailed upon them to sow it.  By the dint of perseverance, and a series of admirable expedients to rectify his own mistakes, to render sloth infamous, to excite emulation, and to increase his colony, he has at last fixed on such an establishment that bids fair to be perpetual.  

Already the little town has undergone a wonderful change.  In 1735 it contained at most but 50 houses, many of them fit only for beggars.  It now contains 117 houses, whose inhabitants are fully employed.”  

Cox was in fact much praised for developing this linen industry around Dunmanway in county Cork.

Daniel Coxe in New Jersey

Daniel Coxe was an eminent London physician who claimed an earlier descent from Daniel Coxe of Somerset in the 13th century.  He purchased land in New Jersey in the 1680’s but never went there.  He even later served nominally as the colonial Governor of New Jersey. 

His son Daniel did visit his father's North American lands in 1702 and after returning to England twenty years later published an account of his travels and a description of the lands that his father had claimed. 

This claim was in fact upheld in court in 1731 and hundreds of families were forced to repurchase their own property from Colonel Coxe or be forcibly evicted.  The ensuing scandal was one of many injustices that inflamed American anger against the British during the years leading up the Revolutionary War. There were lawsuits and riots.  Colonel Coxe was burned in effigy; but to no avail.  As a result, many Hopewell residents left New Jersey altogether, disgusted at what they perceived to be the colony's rampant political corruption.

The Coxes of Onslow County

Charles Cox arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1741 from either the Bahamas or Charleston, South Carolina.  He was soon granted by the English Crown 640 acres in the wilderness that was then Onslow county.   The consideration of this land grant was that he should clear eighteen acres within three years and make the property his home.   He met all of these conditions. 

Historical records show that Charles Cox began to operate a grist mill there in 1745.  This mill operated continuously until 1931 and the nearby mill-pond was a familiar sight for later Coxes on the property.   These Coxes were Loyalists during the Revolutionary War, as were most of their neighbors.  They did not fight in the conflict.  However, neither did they have to leave their home after it was over. 

The Cox family has lived continuously on the same farm in Onslow county through today.

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