Joseph E. Cox vs. Joseph R. Cox

July 7, 2022

I have Cox cousins who still believe our great-grandfather Joseph Cox, born about 1836 in Indiana is more properly named Joseph R. Cox. They still think this despite knowing that both the 1850 US Census for Guilford Township, Hendricks County, IN and the West Union, Morgan County, Indiana Quaker Meeting Records indicate that Joseph R. Cox was born about 1825 in Indiana and additionally, the Quaker Records list the Joseph R. Cox who married Malinda Hadley, died August 25, 1852, and was buried at Fairfield, [Franklin County,] Indiana. I studied Joseph R. Cox years ago. After looking at the US Census and old Quaker records mentioned above, I quickly realized that he didn’t ‘fit’ for my great-grandfather because our Joseph’s children, my grandfather Christopher Columbus Cox and his sister Martha Cox were born after August 25, 1852.

I knew from our family genealogists and our family traditions which are backed by US Census records that in 1870 and 1880 our Cox family lived near Coatsville, a town in Schuyler County, Missouri located near the Iowa border. Mary, our Joseph’s wife, was born in Pennsylvania, his children Christopher and Martha were both born in Illinois and our Joseph’s step-daughters, Elina and Eliza Pennington were born in Pennsylvania. The 1860 US Census for Joshua Township, Fulton County, Illinois lists the family of Joseph and Mary Cox. Elina and Eliza Pennington had a younger brother named William and my grandfather [Christopher] Columbus Cox was just one year old. On that census, Joseph Cox listed his age as 24 which meant a birth year of about 1836. A decade earlier the 1850 US Census for Joshua Township lists a Joseph Cox, age 14, born in Indiana, an apparent orphan because he is living in a non-Cox household. The Fulton County, Illinois records show that Joseph Cox married Mary E. Pennington on May 13, 1858. Mary Ellen Allison Pennington was the widow of John Pennington from Pennsylvania. Later, I learned through the genealogical studies of a cousin that the 1883/1884 Appanose County, Iowa [adjacent, just across the state border from Schuyler County, Missouri] marriage registry for my grandparents Christopher C. Cox and Lillie M. Farnsworth listed Christopher’s father as Joseph E. Cox.

Using Autosomal DNA Triangulation, I have proved that Joseph E. Cox was the grandson of Stephen Cox, b. 1779, VA and Mary Robertson, born 1871. During the process, I discovered and proved a connection with several descendants of Joseph E. Cox’s brother Thomas B. Cox, born about 1826 in Ohio. By 1900, Thomas B. Cox was living in Cherokee County, Kansas. My newly-found cousins helped me complete the family proof which also includes descendants of Martha Cox Lee. Joseph and Thomas may have other siblings yet to be identified.

Fortunately, Stephen Cox’s family is well-documented by the folk at Brandywine Crucible, Inc. The next step was to determine which son was the father of Joseph and Thomas. Both Stephen and his wife were born in Virginia where they married and started their family. Shortly after 1800, the family moved to Knox County, Kentucky. In the US Censuses, Joseph E. Cox consistently identified Virginia as the birth state for his father. Stephen’s and Mary’s first son John Cox, born about 1800 was the only son born in Virginia. The 1840 US Census for Joshua Township, Fulton County, Illinois lists a John Cox household with suitable ages for my ancestor and his family.

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