LEARTIS W. COX
with his second wife (?)
ELIZABETH ANN CRAWLEY REYNOLDS COX
Morgan County IL
Contributed by Jerry McClure
Source: "Old Settlers of Morgan County" - 1894 Plat Book (It also contains an etching of the Cox farm)
LEE COX was born in Chesterfield county, within ten miles of Richmond, Virginia. His father, Higgason Cox, as well as his mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Cary, were born and raised in the "Old Dominion."
Higgason Cox was a farmer and accustomed to the raising of corn and other grain. When Mr. H. Cox was thirty years of age, he started, with his family (Lee was about nine years of age at that time), for Tennessee. He passed over the mountains and finally settled in Claiborne county, East Tennessee. This was a rough and broken country. It required great labor to procure a scanty crop from the unwilling soil, and after a while it failed entirely to produce even the ordinary grasses.
Lee went to school very little in Virginia, and still less in Tennessee. As regards books, about all knowledge was obtained rior to their emigration from Virginia. Lee's father was surety for some parties on promissory notes. The makers failing to pay the consideration, Higason lost nearly all his property in paying the debts. Being honest, he reserved nothing, and so, heart-worn and weary, he crossed the mountains to recruit his failing fortunes. This emigration was fatal to Lee's desire to obtain an education. In Tennessee Lee would attend school possibly for a week, and then be absent for three or four weeks. The boy Lee would also hire to various parties for the "munificent" sum of five dollars per month; yet this was considered high wages in those days.
When Lee was in his twenty-first year, he left Tennessee, crossed the Ohio at Louisville, the Wabash at Vincennes, and came to Morgan county. He had a brother an brother-in-law in Morgan, who had lived in this state three or four years previous to his arrival. He worked for his brother the following two years. He was then married to Miss Beccie Scott, daughter of William Scott, who had lived several years in the state, and was well known many years prior to the "deep snow." Mr Cox also purchased forty-two and a half acres of prairie land and thirty of timber,and for the first time in his career commenced farming on his own account. He was very successful, and was enabled after a short time to purchase more land, and to live more at his ease.
The pen fails to describe adequately the condition of the county at that period. The settlers were poor, and used every device to obtain credit and groceries. No money scarcely was in circulation, and bartering was the only method of obtaining articles necessary for use. The settling of the territories at the present time is child's play compared with the locating and improving this state prior to the opening of our great railroad thoroughfares and line of state canals. Ducks, turkeys, and, in fact, all kinds of game, were plenty, and easily satisfied the hunter's quest of prey, on account of their abundance. Wolves, also, abounded, and were hunted by mounted men, who slew them by the hundred. As parties came into the country, and new settlements were made, they disappeared before the advancing tide of immigration. Now and then an occasional bark may be heard, but we are safe in making the assertion that the game, as a rule, has disappeared, nevermore to return. At that time there was more brush land and less timber than at present. Mr. C. has eighty acres of land which, as brush prairie, cost him eight dollars per acre. This, as good timber, is easily worth seventy-five dollars per acre. The soil originally was very free from weeds and more swampy than at the present time. Corn was more easily raised, but yet the land is now in a better condition than formerly. Mr. C.'s property (as may be noted from a glance at his view) possesses many advantages for a stock raiser and grain producer. A fine row of black walnuts, of forty-five years growth, makes a cooling shade for the stock in summer.
Mr. Cox takes a great interest in educational affairs, having been a school director for over seventeen years. With the exception of this office, he has declined all engagements of a public character, preferring the peaceful labors of the farm, and a quiet home life, to the bustle and confusion of a public position. As to his domestic relations, we would state that he has had nine children, of whom eight are living. Mr. Cox's wife, after a long and lingering attack of consumption, died in 1848. He was again married, in 1849, to Mrs. Elizabeth Reynolds, widow of John Reynolds, an old settler, and daughter of Mr. Crawley, an old pioneer of Kentucky. Mr. C.'s children, spoken of above, are all boys, with the exception of two. Boys are an especial necessity on a corn-growing farm like Mr. C.'s.
The above are some of the incidents in the history of one of our oldest pioneers. The poor boy can read the same, and be encouraged to work more earnestly, with the assurance that success may finally perch upon his banner. We need not look to the field of conflict for the true type of a hero, for among the early pioneers of Morgan county the same could be found in large numbers. Their victories were not obtained through blood-shed, but were accomplished by a series of attacks against hunger, poverty, trials and distresses. They now can look with pleasure upon their laborious career, and receive the trite compliment, "well done, good and faithful servant," enjoy the fruits of your labors. The reputation of Mr. C. for honesty, enterprise, and faithfulness, is too well known to require any mention at our hands. Owing to press of other matter, we cannot enlarge upon them at this time. But we urge upon all to read carefully the incidents in his personal history, and resolve to imitate his example, and thus benefit the country at large by a good and useful career.
Following is a brief descendancy chart of Leartis...
Descendants of Higgason Cox, Jr.
1 Higgason Cox, Jr. 1785 - 1863
.. +Elizabeth Cary 1781 - 1870
. 2 Leartis Washington Cox 1816 - 1882
..... +Rebecca Scott 1821 - 1848
..... 3 Harriet Cox 1840 - 1871
......... +Benjamin Hardin Peak - 1910
..... 3 Augustus Cox 1842 - 1927
......... +Lydia B. Clendening 1852 - 1927
..... 3 William Cox 1845 - 1845
..... 3 Nero Cox 1847 - 1925
......... +Lauretta "Etta" Jordan 1851 - 1935
. *2nd Wife of Leartis Washington Cox:
..... +Elizabeth Ann Crawley 1819 - 1871
..... 3 Samuel T. Cox 1849 - 1930
......... +Julia Anna "Annie" Desper 1850 - 1914
..... 3 Adaline "Addie" Cox 1851 - 1928
..... 3 Infant Cox 1853 - 1853
..... 3 Albert Morris Cox 1854 - 1912
......... +Mary L. Lemon 1860 - 1934
..... 3 John E. Cox 1857 - 1892
......... +Ella Madoria Wright 1861 - 1942
..... 3 Leartis W. Cox 1859 - 1941
......... +Ella B. Shaw 1857 - 1933
..... 3 Lafayette L. Cox 1863 - 1913
......... +Alta Belle Clendenning - 1908
. *3rd Wife of Leartis Washington Cox:
..... +Sarah J. (Sallie) Crawley/Wallis 1819 - 1900
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