PA Civil War > Biography > Cox

James David Cox

James David Cox Photo

Family Lore:
He owned a store in Williamstown, Pennsylvania which was eventually taken over by Charles Nash (Cox's son in law). The Cox Store and homestead was located next to the Ebeneezer Church. He once out shot Annie Oakley in a marksmanship contest.

From his January 1909 obituary:
James Cox was a son of the late Samuel and Hannah Podmore Cox and was born Nov. 15, 1833, at Abersychan, Monmouthshere, England. Four years later he emigrated to America with his parents, settling at Minersville, PA.

The deceased had a splendid military record, such as any soldier might be proud of. In August 1861, inspired by love for his adopted country, he being a resident of Schuylkill County at the time, enlisted in Captain J. Claude White's company which eventually became attached to the 3rd Penn. Cavalry whose Colonel was W.H. Averill, a West Point graduate and an officer of commanding ability. The company originally enrolled numbered 108, 108th Regiment, all residents of Schuylkill County and numbered, amongst others, many who after the war became residents of Williamstown amongst them David Challenger, Holden Chester, Daniel Jones and others. The company "L", under its brilliant and dashing commander, J. Claude White, a native of England and a son of an Episcopalian minister, soon made itself conspicuous for its dash and daring and soon was recognized at Headquarters as the "Old Reliable."

No man in the company shone more resplendent than the deceased and whether on scout, skirmish, or the charge of battle, he was always prominent, his actions winning the plaudits of his comrades and the encomiums of his officers. His services throughout his term of enlistment, his hair breath escapes from desperate situations, his horse on one occasion having been shot dead from under him, his coolness under fire, his various soldiery escapes some of them ludicrous in the extreme, would, if collected together fill a volume of no mean proportion, but now he is gone, and, like a knight of old his body is entombed, his sword is rust, and his soul has gone to the God who gave it.

Upon his return from active service he became outside foreman of the Swatara Schuylkill County colliery and later had charge of the inside workings. In July, 1875, he removed with his family to Williamstown where he secured employment at the colliery. His knowledge and experience in mining brought him to the notice of the Summit Branch mine officials and upon the resignation of the late William Thomas who left at that time for Colorado, Mr Cox was made inside foreman. For twelve years he served the company most efficiently and would no doubt have remained in its employ for a much longer period had he not resigned in order to devote his entire attention to the general store business which he had established several years prior to this.

His business career like that of his war an mine record was honorable. Hones and reasonable in his dealings with his fellow men he held the confidence and esteem of all. As a husband and father, those who know him best, love him most. Mr. Cox, in his palmy days was a skilled marksman and for a number of years was acknowledged as the champion wing shot of Schuylkill and Dauphin Counties.

Always active in all that pertained to the welfare of his home and town, Mr. Cox made no pretensions toward a religious life until three years ago, when, in the presence of a large congregation in the M.E, Church one Sunday morning he deliberately walked to the alter and affiliated himself with that denomination. The writer well remembers the incident and the effect it had upon the audience as the gray haired veteran gave the responses in a clear soldiery manner. From that time on he became an earnest seeker after the truth and rarely absented himself from the services. He was a close friend of the pastor's. Rev. A. M. Witwer, and the able and masterly sermon preached by the latter at the obsequies bore evidence of the love he felt for the aged father in Israel.
His deep religious faith, his manly principles, his liberal and broad-minded policies, his natural gentleness, his lack of vindictiveness, his moral strength, his domestic virtues and his upright,. Sturdy qualities caused him to be respected and admired by all who know him.

Submitted by his great-granddaughter Jane.