Wednesday, March 29, 2017


HENRY J. C. LINDLEY was born in Ohio County, Ky., January 31, 1822, and is a son of Daniel and Sarah (McGill) Lindley, the former a native of New Jersey, and the latter of Virginia; they were of Scotch-Irish and Irish descent, respectively. Daniel Lindley received his early education in his native State. In his eighteenth year, in 1805, he came to Ohio County, Ky., then almost an unbroken wilderness. Here he was afterward married, and here he bought wild land near Conditt's Ferry, now Point Pleasant, and subsequently improved a farm to which he added from time to time until he was the owner of some 800 acres. Here he resided and was extensively engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death which occurred August 10, 1866, in his seventy-ninth year. He was for many years postmaster at what was known as "Lindley's Postoffice" since removed to Point Pleasant. He was a remarkable man for gathering and preserving old relics, having in his possession a pair of tongs, an adze, and several other articles brought by his great-grandfather from Scotland. His eyesight was unimpaired to the last, having been preserved, it is said, by keeping his eyebrows trimmed. His father, Jacob Lindley, was a veteran in the war of the Revolution. Mrs. Sarah Lindley departed this life September 2, 1825, in her thirty-seventh year. She was a devoted member of the United Baptist Church. Henry J. C. Lindley received a limited education in youth at the primitive schools of Kentucky; he has, however, acquired a fair business education by his own efforts. He has always resided on the old homestead, which he now owns, and to which he has added and now owns well-improved farms, amounting in the aggregate to about 1,000 acres. He is extensively and successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, making the culture of tobacco a specialty, at which he is said to excel. He was married, September 8, 1846, to Ophelia M. Timmonds, a native of Ohio County. Two sons and one daughter have been left to them: Warren, Mary M. E., and Cincinnatus. Mrs. Lindley is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church youth. Mr. Lindley belongs to no church, but holds to the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal. At one time he was a member of the P. of H. In politics he is independent.

Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Mr. Henry John Coffman Lindley died 2 April 1904 in Ohio County and is buried in the Lindley Cemetery which is located about 6 miles west of Centertown on Highway 85.

Saturday, March 25, 2017




Thomas Hayden (black, age about 23). Murder. The crime was committed on October 20, 1897 in Ohio County. Handgun slaying of 16 year old Bena Logan (black female). Motive: because she had declined his advances. Hayden went to the gallows July 11, 1898. Source: Hartford Herald October 27, 1897; December 15, 1897; and July 13, 1898.


The only other Ohio County execution by hanging that I have been able to find was Frances Irwin (white) who was executed May 13, 1826; the charge was murder.


There was a lynching (by citizens who took the law into their own hands) in Ohio County 1 Aug 1892; Felix Poole (white), for alleged assault and rape.  I could not find any other reported lynching in Ohio County.

Also interesting is that the last hanging in Kentucky was at Owensboro in 1936.  See article here:
Last person publicly executed in the United States.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


JOHN W. LEWIS, Ohio County, was born November 17, 1817, in Jefferson County, Ky.; removed with his parents to Meade County, where he was raised. His father, Lieut. Henry Lewis, one of a family of twelve sons and two daughters, a native of Culpeper County, Va., was a soldier in the war of 1812; removed to Kentucky about 1816, and died in Meade County in 1845. He was the son of Capt. William Lewis, a Revolutionary soldier, who died in Culpeper County, Va., in 1845, at the age of eighty-four years. He was of Welsh extraction. Henry married Nancy, daughter of John and Elizabeth Nail, of Washington County, Ky.; she died in 1846; their union resulted in the birth of John W., Catherine A. (Nail), Linda G. (Ditto), Sarah M. (Foreman), Emily (Lewis), Nancy A. (Compton), and James S.  John W. Lewis has been twice married; first, March 2, 1847, to Omacinda J., daughter of William and Elizabeth (McFarland) Field, of Ohio County, born in 1835; died August 4, 1864, and to them were born Joshua F., Thomas L., Nancy E. (Coffey), and Henry W. July 17, 1866, Mr. Lewis married Beatrice, daughter of Willis and Louisa (McFarland) Field, of Daviess County; she was born in 1848 and to their union was born one son — John G. In 1837 Mr. Lewis commenced clerking in Hartford, and in 1839 entered into partnership with his employer in the mercantile business, in which he continued until 1848, and in 1861 he became a cashier of the Hartford Branch of the People's Bank of Kentucky, which was superseded by the National Banking System in 1865. He then again embarked in the mercantile business, which he continued for a period of ten years, and in 1876 located in Rosine, where he and his sons are now engaged in the milling business. He lost thirteen slaves by the late war, and in 1873 suffered heavily by the general depreciation of property. He has been for forty years a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was many times master of the lodge. In politics he is identified with the Democratic party.

Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Mr. John William Lewis died 3 Feb 1897 in Ohio County and is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Hartford.

Saturday, March 18, 2017



Note: S of H stands for System of Hauling; S of M stands for System of Mining

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<>- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Note: Wikipedia says that 266.72 million tons of coal have been extracted in Ohio County and 1,291.11 million tons remain. has the following:

Western Kentucky Coal Field -- 2004

The Western Kentucky coal field covers 6,400 square miles and contains over 35.67 billion tons of remaining resources.  (Part of this cannot be mined economically using today’s technology.)  The remaining resources and their locations are illustrated below.

There are 35 named coal beds, of which seven principal coal beds contain about 94% of the resources in Western Kentucky.

Over 5.32 billion tons of coal have been mined or lost due to mining, amounting to only about 13% of total Western Kentucky coal resources.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


JAMES STONE LEE, Ohio County, was born May 8, 1831, in Coffee County, Tenn., where he grew to manhood. In 1851 he removed with his parents to Butler County, Ky., and in 1877 to Ohio County, where he now resides. His father, Jesse Lee, was born in 1808 in Kentucky; removed with his parents to Tennessee; was constable and sheriff of Coffee County, Tenn., and assessor for eight years in Butler County, Ky., and died in 1882. He was the son of Thomas Lee, a native of Virginia, who died about 1837 at the age of seventy-eight years. Jesse was twice married, first to Sarah E., daughter of James and Mary Stone, of Coffee County Tenn.; she died in 1855, and to them were born Mary A. (Austin), one deceased brother, James Stone, Martha J. (James and Whitaker), Sarah E. (Pettigrew), Richard M., Thomas W., William F., Melinda (Fulton);, Nancy C. (Sampson), Isabel (Hoops), Jesse B., and David H.  By second marriage, Maria, Stephen A., Susan (Pqckett), Alice, Daniel B., Andrew, and Dora. James Stone Lee was married, November 1, 1854, to Sarah E., daughter of Robert and Nancy J. (Moore) Cardwell, of Butler County, born February 22, 1839, and from their union sprang Sarah Jane (deceased), born December 24, 1855; Mary Frances (Hunt), August 17, 1857;, a son (deceased), born June 17, 1859; Nancy Victory, June 27, 1860; Anderson Monroe, May 19, 1862; George Brinton, September 20, 1864; John William (deceased), October 5, 1866; Luveny Angaline (deceased), October 22, 1867; James Washington (deceased), June 13, 1869; Eliza Florence, October 27, 1870; Jesse Leonadus, April 24, 1873; Leroy Tilden, March 9, 1876; Linda Ann, January 19, 1879; Robert Estil (deceased), Jan. 6, 1882. In 1861 Mr. Lee enlisted in Company C, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, and was discharged at the end of eighteen months for disabilities. His three brothers served with him in the same regiment. His four brothers-in-law served in different Kentucky regiments. His grandfather Stone was a soldier in the Revolution. Mr. Lee is a farmer, and owns ninety-two acres of good land. In religion he is a Methodist, and in politics a Republican.

Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Mr. Lee died 6 Feb 1907 in Ohio County and is buried in Sunnydale Cemetery, Narrows, Ohio County.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Raymer Wendell Tinsley


Note:  Mr. Tinsley was listed as a Graduate Alumni – thus his identifying number started with a “G” for Graduate; the above shows the full name of the graduate; type and year of degree - – the A. M. stands for Master of Arts; date and place of birth; father; prior education;  present occupation; marital status; home and business address.  Source was a Univ of Illinois Alumni publication from 1919.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Granddaddy gazed across his pasture up to the barn, musing to himself, and he said, “I’ve got one more story I want to tell you about, and that’s about a football game that I played in when I was 19 years old in about 1903 or 1904.”  I’m not sure if he meant that the coal miners in the Army played the iron workers, or if this was after he finished his first tour of duty with the army.  Because I understood him to say he was working in a coal mine; if so, this must have been in Virginia or Maryland.  Anyway, he told it like this:

"The coal miners had a football team, and we had a big football game between the coal miners and the iron workers from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The football team rode the train from Baltimore, Maryland to Harrisburg and stayed at the Commonwealth Hotel.  Going up on the train, some of the boys liked their liquor and two of them had a little too much.  The game was about two o’clock in the afternoon and there was about 5,000 or 6,000 turned out to see the game.

All the boys were hard and had lots of muscles on account of coming from the coal mines and steel mills, and there wasn’t a flabby one in the bunch.  But they really shouldn’t have played the game because of the two players who had too much to drink on the train that night from Baltimore.  Two was in no shape to go out on the ball field, but the game had to be played because, as I said, there was a crowd of 5,000 or 6,000 watching.

Well, we played the first half of that game and we didn’t score.  When the signals were given, those two were so drunk they didn’t know if they were up or down.  But in the last half, we held them to the line, but they had scored thirty-five points and just run away in the first half.

One of our guards, named Polander, got hit on the head and knocked him dizzy, and he played either three or four more plays in that condition.  Then he got another lick on the head, and he said his head cleared up like a bell.

Anyway, we lost the game that we should have won.  After the game was over, people came up to me and told me that one of my kicks was the longest one they had ever seen.  I kicked it almost to the field goal from the other end of the field."

Then I asked Granddaddy if he would sing “The Preacher and the Bear” for me, a song he used to sing as he rocked us when we visited him at Arkansas Pass.  It always made us giggle, the way he sang it.  But first, he said:

"Jerri, tell me how you spell bird?  I don’t know if you have ever seen this bird, but you might of.  This is one that we used to sing when I was a boy in school.  We sang it to our teacher.

Down yonder in that school house,
Where the darkies used to go.
There was a ragtime pickaninny
By the name of Ragtime Joe.

When teacher called the class one day
To spell one kind of bird,
He called on everyone but Joe,
But they could not spell a word.

So when he called on Joe
To spell that word to him
He didn’t hesitate a minute,
This is the way he began:
“C – am the way it begins.
H – am the next letter in
I – that am the third
C – am to season the bird,
K – am to fill in the end
E – am nearer the end (N)
C – H – I – C – K – E - N
n      That am the way to spell chick-en!”

Now, I’ll sing you the song you asked me for: 

“The Preacher and the Bear.”

                        “A preacher went out hunting, ‘twas on one Sunday morn.
                        It was against his religion, but he took his gun along.
                        He shot himself some mighty fine quail,
                        And one little measly hare,
                        And on his way, returning home,
                        He met a great big grizzly bear.

                        The bear marched out in the middle of the road,
                        And walked up towards the preacher, you see.
                        The preacher got so excited, he climbed up a ‘simmon tree.

                        The preacher climbed out on a limb.
                        He turned his eyes to the Lord in the sky,
                        These words he said to him.

                        Good Lord, didn’t you deliver Daniel from the Lion’s den?
                        Also, Jonah, from the belly of the whale, and then,
                        The Hebrew children from the firey furnace,
                        The Good Book do declare.

                        Good Lord, if you can’t help me.
                        For Goodness Sakes,
                        Don’t you help that bear.”

In my memory, I can hear him now...just as he sang these songs, and he chuckled at the funny little songs he had remembered from his boyhood. 

As we sat there musing about the past, a mockingbird began to sing in the distance and trilled his repertoire of songs. His singing reminded me that Granddaddy always called his farm, “Mockingbird Hill,” because mockingbirds were everywhere.  One in particular used to follow him as he walked to and from the barn.  It flew over his head as he walked, back and forth, as if he were playing a game.  When winter approached, he disappeared, but for several years, he would always return every spring.  Until, finally, there was a time when he came no more.


When this interview was taken, my grandfather, at age eighty-five, was slightly bent where once he had carried himself erect, a trait left over from his military days.  He still had a stout frame that age had altered but not covered up. (In his prime, he was nearly 5’ 9” tall, and weighed 175 pounds).  He had been married to my grandmother for almost sixty-one years.  Many times he was heard to say, “If I had my life to live over, I would still choose the same little girl for my wife.”

My grandfather loved his Lord, and spent hours quietly reading from his worn Bible.  He could answer almost any question we could ask, and more often than not, he could quote the exact verse or turn right to the page he needed.  He also tried to live by its highest principles.  He had a keen sense of humor, and he was always an optimist.  When we visited and asked after his welfare, he always replied with enthusiasm, “I’m sitting on top of the world!”


When I first asked Granddaddy to recount some of his life story, he seemed a little skeptical that anyone would be interested, but when I explained that it would be his gift to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he seemed to warm up to the idea of his legacy.  As his stories unfolded, he smiled and laughed in remembrance of other times. 

Before ending this narrative, I am compelled to put down one last thing – the words to a favorite song of all the children and grandchildren of Jasper Newton Cox.  My dad said his father taught him the words to this song when he was about ten, and explained to him that the story was about a young man who had become lost in the swamp in Louisiana, and finally reached the summit when he came out on the railroad.  We were about ten when daddy taught this song to us.  My aunts all remember it.  And once, Retha told me that she sang it to Beverly Kay when she rocked her as a baby.  I do have a tape of my dad singing, “On the Shores of Lake Ponchartrain,’ one Christmas as his grandchildren listened.  Lest it be lost to our memory, I set the words down here: 

“On the Shores of Ponchartrain”

 Through swamps and alligators,
I wound my weary way.
O’er railroad ties and crossings,
My weary feet did stray.

Twas then to reach the summit
And all around to gaze.
It was there I met the blue-eyed girl
On the shores of Ponchartrain.

She took me to her father’s house,
And treated me quite well.
Her hair in golden ringlets
Around her shoulders fell.

I tried to gain her beauty,
But I found it was in vain,
So handsome was this blue-eyed girl
On the shores of Ponchartrain.”

Adieu, adieu, fair maiden,
If I never see you more,
I’ll ne’r forget your kindness
In the cottage by the shore.

And when in social circles,
The sparkling bowl to drain,
I’ll drink to the health of the blue-eyed girl,
On the shores of Ponchartrain.”


There is much more to the chronicles of Jasper Newton and Eva Caroline Cox, but these few pages give the history exactly as it was told to me by my Grandfather in his own words, more than twenty-one years ago.  The porch was filled with fresh air and sunshine that morning, and Granddaddy and I shared a closeness I will never forget. 

                                                            ~ by Janice “Jerri” Cox Brown
                                                               Oldest grandchild of Jasper Newton Cox

                                                               November 1, 1990



Saturday, March 4, 2017



This is the second of  a three-part post.

Grandmother had come out on the porch and sat down in her rocking chair by this time and was listening to what Granddaddy was telling me.  When he said he went to work in the coal mines after they were married, she said:

“He only worked in the coal mines for about three months, as I didn’t like for him to work in there.  It was too dangerous.”

Then Granddaddy continued:

"In the coal mines, I ran a machine to cut boards.  Worked eight hours a day and went back lots of nights and worked extra blasting out the next day’s work so loaders could work next morning taking coal out."

At this point, it reminded Grandmother that she went down in the mines with him once, and she told this story:

“One time your daddy and I went down into the coal mines with him at night when they were to blast out a section so there would be coal to dig out for the next day’s work.  We wore carbide lights on our foreheads.  When the blast went off with a huge and deafening noise, we stood behind one of the coal pillars.  And after it was over, we were all covered with coal dust and were black as could be.  And I had worn my new red dress.” 

Grandmother laughed at her remembrance, and continued:

“I had to give all of us a bath in a zinc tub, and it took lots of scrubbing to get clean.”

By this time, Granddaddy had thought of another story he wanted to tell me about learning to box:

"I learned to box while I was in the army.  A man named Hackett from Boston, Massachusetts, who was our cook, taught me a lot about boxing.  And I got to be pretty good, too.  One time after I was out of the army, the brother of one of the boys in McHenry came to visit him.  He had just gotten out of the Navy.  Well, he started boasting around town that he sure wished he could find somebody to box a round with him.  But nobody would.  Finally, I told a friend of mine that if he kept on boasting what a good boxer he was that I was just going to take him on.  Well, that word got back to the Navy man, and so they rigged up a match for us to box each other in the Odd Fellows Hall for a percentage of the sales.  Neither one of us got knocked out, but people who were watching said I got in the most licks.  We got very little money for boxing.  We wore regular boxing gloves, but not like the ones we have now.  These were a lot thinner."

Grandmother had sat quietly while he was telling this story.  I asked her if she went to watch it, and she replied, emphatically:

“No mam, I did not!  I was so outdone with him for making that match that I didn’t go watch, and I told him I didn’t care if he got whipped real good.”  She chuckled to herself.  “But I helped nurse his bruises when he got home that night.”

I changed the subject here and asked Granddaddy to tell me about his marriage.

"Well, after I asked her to marry me, I went to our Baptist preacher by the name of Preacher Gordon and asked him to marry us at a certain hour of the day.  The preacher told me he was sorry but that he had already promised to marry somebody else at that particular hour.  Preacher Gordon said, “Could you wait until another time so I could have time to marry both couples that day?”  Granddaddy said he told him:  “No, I can’t change the hour, but I can change preachers.”  And I did, and so Pendleton Taylor, another Baptist preacher, married us.  We had a home wedding at her house with just family and friends there.  When the coal mines went on strike, I went to farming on Ben Amos’ farm.  Raised mostly corn and tobacco.  I did that for two or three years, and then went back to the mines.  Gilbert was a baby when we lived on that farm.  Eula Mae was born there."

When I asked how they met each other and about their courting days, Grandmother told this:

“We were raised in the same community, being neighbors, and we attended the Select School together.  The first date we ever had was to go to church.  Daddy did not have his own buggy and always hired one to go courting in.  I always thought he tried to pick the wildest horse he could get at the livery stable.”

"One time we had a horse that balked a lot hitched to the buggy.  He balked every time we came to a hill.  And there were lots of hills.  When the horse balked, it scared me and I would get out and walk.  One time when that old horse balked, daddy got so mad at the horse that he got out and jerked back on the reins and it scared the horse.  He reared backwards so far that he fell over into the buggy and broke the buggy shaft and turned it over.  But we righted it, and daddy fixed it together again with hickory bark that he stripped off a sapling tree." (Granddaddy called grandmother “mama” and she usually called him “daddy” because that is what they got used to calling each other when their children were small.) 

Granddaddy remembered another story about that balking horse:

"Another time, Jerri, at Easter time, we went up to stay all night with my sister, Delaney Duvall, and going home the next day, the horse balked…it was a gentle horse, but he just balked on level ground.  Eva got out to walk and told me she would just walk up the road a piece and if I ever got the horse started again, I could just pick her up when I got even with her.  When I got him started, I was afraid to stop the horse for fear he would balk again, so when I came alongside of her, she just jumped in while it was still going, and it was the wonder she didn’t miss her footing and get run over by the back wheels!"

I looked at Grandmother, surprised that she was so daring in her youth.  But she reminded me that when you are young, you are not afraid of anything much.  I asked her how old she was when this took place and she said she was about twenty years old at the time.  Then she continued:

“I remember that just like it was yesterday.  That was an old iron gray mare, and she tore up my daddy’s buggy once.  She kicked the dash board in with her hind feet, turning the buggy over and tearing it to pieces, until she stripped the harness and we had to walk home.”

Next, I asked about how they happened to move to Texas, and Granddaddy summed it up:

"Well, you know, Auntie and Uncle lived at Edgerly, Louisiana.  And one time when they came back home for a visit, we all got to talking and I decided to move my family up there and go to work in the oil fields.  I worked on a drilling rig, twelve hours a day for $3.00 a day.  Steak was thirty-five cents a pound.  We went by train from Kentucky to Louisiana. It was a long trip for the children. Gilbert had his sixth birthday in Edgerly, which was about seventeen miles from Lake Charles."

"While we lived in Edgerly, it was the time of the great flu epidemic and all of us had it except Eula Mae.  We were very sick.  Lots of people died, including the mother of Gilbert’s playmates next door.  Gilbert had a relapse with the flu and almost died…and he thought he was going to die.  The doctor was called, and he came and convinced Gilbert that he wasn’t going to die like he thought he was.  We called Dr. Brooks, who was a good doctor, and he told Gilbert that he couldn’t die, even if he wanted to."

Grandmother remembered that while they were living in Edgerly, the school children had to dress up for the Mardi Gras in costumes, and Gilbert didn’t have one.  So when he came home from school, grandmother got some soot out of the stovepipe and blacked his face and hands, and gave him some old ragged clothes to wear, and he went back to school dressed as a tramp.

She also told the following story about “Ole Meaness” which she used to tell us, many times, when we were children and had to take naps.  She would say, “Now come lay down and be real still and I’ll tell you a story about your daddy when he was a little boy.”

"When we lived at Edgerly, Gilbert, Eula Mae and Joye used to go down to an old pond of water that had a buggy sitting out in the middle of it.  They liked to wade out in the water and sit in the buggy and fish from it.  They tied pieces of bacon on a string and tried to catch crawfish.  Now, there were lots of snakes and lily pads in that waterhole, and I was afraid for them to go down there.  Because I was afraid a water moccasin would bite them.  But every chance they got, they would sneak off down there anyway.  Finally, I told daddy he was going to have to do something about those kids getting out in that water." 

"So, he hired an old gray-haired Negro to scare them away from the water hole.  His name was Ole Meaness and he took a gunny sack and walked down the path to the water, shaking that sack open, and declaring he was going to catch them and make soap out of them.  And they jumped out of that buggy, splashing out of that pond and ran for home as fast as their legs would carry them.  They were hollering and crying, they were so scared.  They didn’t even take time to open the gate, but went over the top of the fence as fast as they could go.  And Ole Meaness was chasing them, kind of slowly, all the way to the fence."

"Those kids ran into the house, Joye was the last one coming.  And Gilbert ran and hid under the bed, and Eula Mae jumped right in the middle of the bed, muddy and mossy as she could be.  She was almost hysterical she was so scared.   It was a wonder she didn’t have a heart attack.  I liked to never have got her calmed down.  Them that wasn’t crying was as white as a sheet.  And it broke those kids from going to that waterhole.  And after that, I never did…not once…have to tell them not to go down there fishing again, because they never went back."

Granddaddy took up the story again and told about moving from Edgerly to another oil boom town where work was supposed to be plentiful.

"From Edgerly we moved to Burkburnett, Texas and Iowa Park where I worked in a refinery on a pipe machine.  While we were living there, your grandmother had typhoid fever and was in bed for 121 days.  She nearly died.  About that time, I had a chance to buy a wagon and a team of two horses from a man who was selling out.  But the team cost four or five hundred dollars and that was a lot of money then.  Anyway, I told Bob Counts that I sure wished I had the money to buy the team and wagon.  And, Jerri, Mr. Counts knew how sick my wife had been and what a hard time we were having.  And he told me if I wanted that team and wagon to go tell the man and he would loan me the money.  I made a note for it and bought the team, and hired another man to drive it for me, and I kept running my pipe machine.  The man drove the wagon eighteen miles to the North Field every day, loaded with oil field equipment.  I got paid $12 a day for my team and two horses."

"And I worked all over the oil fields in Texas, the East Texas Oil Field, down in the Valley in South Texas, Mexia, and the Panhandle, and just wherever there was a boom going and there was work for me.  And then I worked once at Fort Hood, where I was a carpenter’s helper.  Then I quit there, and went to work at the prison camp in Mexia during World War II, so that I would be able to live at home."

"When Bob Smith, Eula Mae’s husband, left to go into service in the Navy on a mine sweeper, we moved to Leoti, Kansas where Bob and Eula Mae had a grocery store, and I helped Eula Mae run the store while Bob served his time in the Navy.  And from there we came back to Texas and bought this place where we are living now.  And you know the rest."

Part III will be posted in a few days.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


This is the first of  a three-part post. This is another great article from Janice Brown about her grandfather.


May 10, 1884 – September 21, 1974

When I told my grandfather one Sunday morning in May 1969 that I wanted him to tell me something of his parents and his early history, he invited me to come sit with him out on his screened-in back porch where it was quiet and peaceful.  This was a time before I had a tape recorder, and for the interview, I had brought a pen and shorthand notebook.  We sat down in two white-painted wooden rockers and sipped our coffee before getting started with his story.  We looked out over a lush green blanket of St. Augustine grass covering the back yard.  A cement bird bath filled with rain water beckoned two blue jays that were having a squawking match in the row of tall crape myrtles lined up against the back fence.  Just in front of the porch was a newly planted bed of petunias, and the scent of freshly mowed grass floated on the summer breeze.  Inside the kitchen, we could hear grandmother as she finished up her morning chores.

In response to my first questions about when he was born, his parents, and his brothers and sisters, my grandfather paused for reflection, then answered:

"I was born on May 10, 1884 at Cromwell, but near the old Select neighborhood, about nine or ten miles south from Beaver Dam in Ohio County, Kentucky.  My parents were both born in the county, too.   My great grandparents were some of the first to come into the county.  The Coxes and the Leaches.

What education I have I received in the common schools at Cromwell and Select.

My mother named me Jasper Newton after two soldiers who were heroes in the Revolutionary War.  She read about them in a book, she told me.  It was a popular book of the day.  One soldier was a corporal and the other was a sergeant and they made a daring rescue of some other soldiers who were about to be hanged.  The name of the book was “The Life of Marion.”  It was my father’s book.

My father was James William Cox and my mother was Mary Elizabeth Cox.  She was a Mitchell before she married.  They were married about a year before the Civil War started, and my oldest brother was twenty-two years old when I was born.  I was the youngest son and the twelfth child of the fourteen children of my parents.  I am the last one living of my generation, that is, my parent’s children.

My father was crippled and wore a size six shoe on one foot and a size ten on the other foot.  He had an education, and in his younger days, he taught school.  And then he was a farmer, a blacksmith, and he had the post office.  When he left Rough River he bought a farm close to Cromwell.  My brothers ran the farm and he had the blacksmith shop.  He studied and learned to temper iron and was one of the best horse-shoers in the country.  At first he didn’t always have the money to buy the iron he needed for his blacksmith shop, but his word was his bond, and he would get the iron he needed and pay for it when his customers paid him.  The man he bought his iron from told him he could buy all the iron he wanted and he would ship it to him.  And when my father got it worked up and got his money, he paid for the iron.

My father voted in the elections every year, but he was not a party man.  You know, he voted for the man he thought would make the best candidate; therefore, he was an independent.  He was ninety-three years old when he died.

I heard my father tell about his Grandfather Leach, who came from Maryland.  He traveled down the Ohio River in a boat, bringing whiskey, just drifting along and stopping along the way to sell this to the Indians who wanted to buy liquor from him.  They gave him some money, and he would go draw the whiskey, and when he went to cut the spout off, the Indians would slap his hands and let a little more go in their jug.

Thomas Jefferson Cox, my grandfather, didn’t like dogs in the house.  And when he used to come to our house to visit, he would always make the dogs go outside.  One time when he was visiting, us kids had let Old Hunter in the house because it was winter, and we wanted him in by the fire.  And my grandfather kicked the dog, and Old Hunter turned around and snapped at him.  And when he did, his teeth caught the toe of my grandfather’s shoe and made him fall down.  Us kids all laughed.  It tickled us because the dog made him fall and paid him back for kicking him.

My mother died while I was in the service in 1903.  Her daddy was Martin Mitchell and her mother was an Acton.  We never saw them very much.  They lived over around Sulphur Springs and Dundee.  My mother and daddy separated when I was about five or so, and my mother later remarried.  She died from pneumonia in Obion County, Tennessee.  My brother Ira attended the funeral to represent the family.

My father married Aunt Becky Patterson, and after she died, he married Aunt Pru.  Prudence Taylor.  We called her Aunt Pru.  She prepared a wedding supper for us, and we spent the night at my father’s house after we were married, before going to the mines the next day."

When I asked Granddaddy to tell me about the earliest thing he could remember, he looked down at the floor and studied a minute, then said: 

"Well, now that would be going quite a ways back.  You know, the first thing anybody can always remember is his mother.  I used to like to play little dirty tricks, and my mother would say, “Now, don’t you do that again or you’ll catch it.”  And you knew you had better not do that again that day, or you would.  So I would just wait a day or two until she kindly forgot about it and then I would do it again to see if I could get by with it."

For a few minutes we sat there silently.  The scent of spring was everywhere.  A spider was busily weaving her web in the corner above the little clothesline erected across one end of the porch where grandmother hung her cup towels out to dry.  Granddaddy was rolling the years back in his mind.

The next thing he told me about was his military career.  He served two different tours in the U. S. Army – one in the artillery division and the last in the infantry.

When I was fifteen years old I left home and enlisted in the Army, giving my age as eighteen.  It was in August and I was living in Cromwell, Kentucky, but I enlisted at Leitchfield, Grayson County, Kentucky.  From there I was sent by train with a big bunch, about eighty or so other boys, to Louisville, and from there I was sent to Fort Howard, Maryland.  Fort Howard was just twelve miles down the bay from Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem.  We went by boat from Fort Howard to Fort McHenry during the Spanish American War.  Actually, the main war was over, and at the time I enlisted, the war was called the “insurrection period.”

I was a gunner in the heavy artillery section where they shot twelve-inch, three-foot long guns.  I had to stand directly behind the gun where it went out over a concrete parapet.  It had a long lanyard with a leather stock.  I had to stand on my tiptoes, and stuff cotton in my ears because the gun was so loud and the recoil was so hard.  The gunner had to stay there and he would do the shooting after the gun was loaded and everybody else took cover.

You know, Jerri, this affected my hearing and finally I had to wear a hearing aid.  I got my first hearing aid through the VA when I was eighty-four years old on September 30, 1968.  Gilbert drove me to Dallas to get it.  We got up at 4:30 in the morning, so we could get to Dallas in time to beat the heavy traffic.

I got out of the artillery on August 4, 1904, but in October 1905, I went back in again for three years in the infantry.  The 18th Infantry had orders to go to the Philippine Islands and I requested to go because I wanted to go very bad.  They sent a bunch there, but my orders were changed and I was sent instead to a Military Prison, which had once been a Federal Prison.  So I applied for a guard in the “D” Company of the 18th Infantry and became a prison guard and stayed on that for six months.  The 18th got orders to go to the Islands again, and I tried to transfer back so I could go, but they wouldn’t let me go.  I stayed there eighteen months, and bought out my discharge.  At that time, you could buy your way out of the service.  I think I paid $85 to buy my way out.  I made $13 a month while serving in the Infantry Division, but two bits of that was taken out to support the Old Soldier’s home.

Now, I remember that my discharge papers came back and a man told me they had been laying on the First Sergeant’s desk for three days, and he had not even told me.  So I went to him and asked how come he had not given my papers to me, and I threatened to write Washington about it.  So I didn’t have to go out to the field the next morning, but was discharged that day.

Upon leaving the army, I went to Atchinson, Kansas and went to work on the Missouri Pacific Railroad in the roundhouse.  Harvest time came and I liked to wander, so me and Dr. Carroll’s son went to Beloit, Kansas for harvest time.  When that was over, I went back to Atchinson and worked in the roundhouse again for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  I finally quit that and went home to Kentucky and went to work in the Broadway Coal Mining Company.  I married while I was working in the coal mines.

To be continued.