McLean County, Illinois
JAMES H. COX, who has retired from an active business career, has resided in this county for upwards of thirty-six years. He is now living at Hudson, where he is highly respected. He was born at Norway, Oxford Co., Me., April 21, 1822. His grandfather, William Cox, was a native of Wales, and our subject's father, William Cox, Jr., was born in Massachusetts, and was a merchant by vocation, and as such, met with signal success. He died in Oxford County, Me., in the seventy-second year of his life, having done business there for many years. Elizabeth (Phipps) Cox, our subject's mother, was born at Chatham, N. H., and there lived until her marriage. She also died in Oxford County, Me., and was seventy-two years old at the date of her demise.
Fourteen children were born of the union of our subject's parents, twelve of whom grew to attain the age of man and womanhood, and six are living at the present writing, namely: Caroline E., widow of Capt. W. A. Sweetzer, resides at Boston; Mary, widow of A. Sweetzer, is a resident of Bloomington; William is a farmer by calling, and a resident of Oxford County, Me.; Samuel P. resides in Bloomington; Rowena C. became the wife of C. A. Noies, and they are living in Boston, Mass.
The subject of this notice was the twelfth child born to his parents, and next to the youngest of those now living. He received his education in the common schools, and during his early life worked on his father's farm, preferring such labor rather than clerking in his father's store. In 1851 Mr. Cox came to Bloomington where some of the family had previously made a settlement. His intention at that time was to purchase land and engage in farming, but, in accordance with the advice of his brothers, he abandoned his plans and engaged in mercantile pursuits at Hudson. That place was then without a store, and Mr. Cox purchased an empty building in the village, which had been previously occupied by an unsuccessful merchant, and in it placed a stock of general merchandise and was the only merchant in that place for several years. His motto was never spend more than you earn," and by fair and honest dealing he soon established a well-paying business.
He soon associated his sons with himself, and continued in active business until Jan. 1, 1885. Being of a nervous temperament, our subject found that it was impossible for him to be idle after he had turned his business over to his sons, and soon thereafter established a large apiary, to which he attends for his own amusement, more than the profit he derives therefrom, although the latter is not insignificant. The home of our subject is one of the most pleasant within the boundary of McLean County, and it is a great comfort to Mr. Cox to know that his children have all grown up and occupy honorable positions in the busy world, and are well-to-do financially.
In early life Mr. Cox was an old-line Whig, and continued to vote for the success of that party until 1856, when the Republican party sprang into existence, since which time he has voted and worked for its success. For almost thirty years he held the position of Postmaster at Hudson. He was also the first Supervisor of Hudson Township, and was the incumbent of that office for several terms. Religiously he is a Baptist and has been a Deacon in a congregation of that denomination at Hudson, for over thirty years, and has also done good work in the Sunday-school.
Feb. 5, 1846, at Waterford, Me., the marriage of our subject with Miss Mary Chadbourn was solemnized. She was born in Oxford County, Me., Oct. 16, 1824, and is the daughter of James and Mercy (Scribner) Chadbourn. Their union has been blest by the birth of five children: Charles E., Flora S., wife of J. W. Aldrich, and Nettie, wife of Rev. F. M. Smith, a resident of St. James, Minn., and Harry W. and Herbert M., twins. For over forty-one years Mr. and Mrs. Cox have lived together as man and wife. Together they have toiled and struggled, always lending an attentive ear to true charity, and doing their part toward the advancement of the cause of the Master. Now in their old age they are enabled to pass their lives in peace and quiet, and in the enjoyment of a competency earned through years of honest toil, and, looking back over the record of the history of their lives, none can point to pages darkened with deeds of unkindness or wrong to their fellowmen. Accompanying this brief personal history, we present the portrait of Mr. Cox, as that of a leading and representative man of the county.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 424. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.
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