A Brief Story
James William Cox of
Ohio County, Kentucky
Father of Jasper
Cox and Newton
Grandfather of Gilbert Owen Cox
Pupils received much more attention from the teacher than is given today, even with all the modern methods and equipment.
Although times were hard, there was a closeness, as a rule, between teacher and pupils that we do not have today. They felt like a family and they learned to work together and they helped each other learn. Sometimes parents sent under age children to school with older brothers and sisters because they had to work in the field that day. Otherwise, the older children would have had to stay home to take care of the little ones. The older kids helped teach the younger kids if they needed help when the teacher was busy on the other side of the room. In this day and time, all of the teaching is left to the teacher. Not to be forgotten is the fact that some of the scholars might often be older and larger than the teacher in charge.
When James William Cox taught school they had a tradition at the end of school whereby the teacher took all the boys to the
Green River not far from Cromwell to swim in a favorite
swimming hole and have a picnic. The
area had a high bank overlooking the river and a few of the older kids who were
brave enough enjoyed jumping or diving off the high embankment into the
One summer when school had ended James Cox took a group of his boy students, who ranged in age from eight to fourteen or so, to the river near Cromwell. The boys had made it up in advance to gang up and throw or push their teacher in the river. So when they got near enough, they all crowded around him and began pushing him closer toward the edge of the bank. Realizing they would be strong enough to push him over - just as they got to the brink’s edge - he spread his arms wide and hugged them all close into him. When he went over the bank into the water, he took all the boys with him. The news spread far and wide because these boys told this story for years, even to their grandchildren. They considered it a big joke because their teacher turned the tables on them and they all got wet together. For a number of years afterwards, this became a “teacher/student” tradition of the school every year when school was out.
One of the duties and responsibilities for Jim Cox was to fill out the absentee report and make out academic reports on each student for the school trustees to go over. Teachers were the key to the success of the schools.
Dec. 2, 2002 ~~ by Janice Cox Brown,