Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Robert Cox

Robert Cox, son of Jeremiah, Jr., and Ruth (Andrew) Cox, was born Oct. 1, 1814. He learned the trade of a millwright with Nathan Hollingsworth, of Richmond, and when twenty years old he constructed a mill east of where his present mill now stands, where he did an extensive business for twenty years. During this time he purchased a farm six miles west of Winchester, Randolph Co., Ind., where he erected a grist-mill and remained several years. He constructed a mill in Illinois costing $12,000, which is now operated by his son Joseph. Selling his property in Randolph County, he bought and removed to the homestead, and was engaged for several years in the dairy business south of Richmond, with his son-in-law, W. H. Cook. It is known as the Quaker City Dairy. He was one of the stockholders and incorporators of the Second National Bank, and is still one of the Directors. He was also extensively engaged in a general mercantile business at Cox's Mills, under the firm name of Cox & Boyd. In 1860 he built a fine brick mill, fitting it out with improved machinery, where he does an extensive business. Mr. Cox served as Postmaster at Cox's Mills, Ind., for many years. In 1834 he was married to Elvira, daughter of Joseph and Celia Addington, who died in 1837. They had three children — Joseph, of Illinois; Celia, wife of J. C. Boyd, and Elvira, who died in infancy. Mr. Cox was again married in 1840 to Narcissa, daughter of Henry H. and Rachel Way, who were natives of Nantucket Island, Mass.; afterward went to North Carolina, and were settlers of Wayne County, Ind. To Mr. and Mrs. Cox have been born five children — Angelina, wife of William C. Cook; Elmira, deceased, wife of Dr. William Graham; Melinda, at home; Linneus, who died at the age of six years, and Elma, deceased, wife of Charles E. Nicholson. Benjamin Cox came with three brothers from England in an early day, and settled in Pennsylvania, where he was married. His youngest son, Jeremiah (our subject's grandfather), when seventeen years of age constructed a small grist-mill on his father's farm in North Carolina, which furnished meal for the family and neighbors. He next constructed a saw-mill on Pine Creek, but the power not being equal to his desires, he purchased lands with more water-power, and built a saw and grist mill and blacksmith shop. A few years later his mills, shop and crop were washed away by the floods in August, but he rebuilt and was successfully engaged in milling and farming till 1806, when he sold his property, and not wishing to bring up his large family in a slave State, he moved to Richmond, Wayne Co., Ind. He was first married to Margery Pickett, of Randolph County, N.C., by whom he had seven children — Elizabeth, Mary, Hannah, Amy, Ruth, Margery and Jeremiah, our subject's father. Mr. Cox's second wife was Jemima Rhodes, and to this union was born one son — Elijah. His third wife was Catherine Morrison, of Randolph County, N. C. They were the parents of seven children, of whom three survive — Robert, Catherine and William. All the family belonged to the Society of Friends. Jeremiah Cox, Sr., on coming to Richmond in 1806 entered a quarter section of land (southwest part of what is now Richmond), and the family camped the first night near the site of the present court-house. A Kentuckian, who had preceded Mr. Cox, entered a half section of land on which he built a log cabin. Mr. Cox purchased this land and moved his family to the log cabin, which is now north of Main street, Richmond, and erected the first grist-mill in this vicinity. He gave land for a Friends' church and was one of the organizers of the first society. He entered another quarter-section of land in 1807, which he gave to his son Jeremiah, and in 1828 he sold his property in Wayne County and settled five miles east of Winchester, Randolph Co., Ind., where he owned three quarter-sections of land, and there he erected a grist-mill for the accommodation of his neighbors. He also invested largely in land in Montgomery County, Ind. He was one of the Representatives from Wayne County who assisted in framing the first Constitution of the State of Indiana. He died in Randolph County in 1830 aged seventy-six years. Jeremiah Cox, Jr., was born in Randolph County, N.C., in 1790, and came to Wayne County, Ind., in 1806. In 1811 he settled on the land now owned by his son Robert, and soon after constructed a mill. He soon increased the mill facilities, and made and used the first flour elevator in the county. In 1827 he erected a stone mill, which he operated as long as he remained in business. He was first married to Ruth Andrew, who died in 1843. They had eight children, of whom four survive — Robert, Elihu, Jeremiah and Margery. His second wife was Jemima Coburn; his third wife was Hannah Moore; his fourth wife was Phoebe Hinshaw; his fifth wife was Mary W. Doyle. Mr. Cox survived his last wife nine months. He died in his eighty-sixth year. He was for many years an Elder in the Friends' Society.

History of Wayne County, Indiana. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co. 1884. Volume 2