Cox family may hold national record for family reunionsPublished 12:00am Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Cox name appears in early records in South Alabama. In 1821, a voting precinct was established at the home of Edward Cox in Henry County on the Choctawhatchie River. During that same year, William Cox was appointed Commissioner of Pike County. These events occurred about the time Covington County was being established.
A John Henry Cox was born in Alabama in 1830. His oldest son, Elijah Cox, was born in 1854 in Geneva County to John and his wife, Delaney Kilpatrick, who was born in 1834 in South Carolina. By 1860, the growing family had moved to Clayton in Barbour County. In 1870, they were in the Rose Hill community of Covington County, but they had moved to Old Town in Conecuh County by 1880. John Henry and Delaney both died in 1886 and were buried in the Sepulga River Baptist Church Cemetery in Conecuh.
John Henry and Delaney Cox reared at least the following children: Thomas, b. 1848; Elijah, b. 1853; James Jackson, b. 1855; John Henry, b. 1858, d. 1940; Queen Ann Margaret, b. 1858; John Henry Jr., b. 1860; Mary Ann, b. 1866; Jesse, b. 1869, m. Ella Cox; James Pinkney “Pink,” b. 1872, d. 1946, m. Eliza Jane ?; and Thomas Jackson, b. 1874. (There is some question on the John Henry names for two of the sons, but one source listed both.)
The fourth son, John Henry Cox, was born in Red Level and lived most of his life in that community. He was married three times with Linnie A. ? being the first wife. Ancestry.com lists a son for them, Mack David (1900-1963), but there is a son named Max, b. 1900, listed by the second wife, Sarah Kervin. He and his third wife, Louvice Almedia Hooks, had the following children: Arious Coleman, b. 1881, d. 1961; Willey Walter, b. 1883; Henry Robert Burt, b. 1884, d. 1973; James Algerinon, b. 1887, d. 1967; Kathryn Delanie, b. 1889, d. 1977; Clara C., b. 1892, d. 1972; Allie Virginia, b. 1894, d. 1990; Hettie Leota, b. 1896, d. 1989; John Hilton, b. 1898, d. 1969; and Linnie Carolyn, b. 1903, d. 1966.
A younger son, Jesse Cox, and his wife, Ella Cox, reared four children: Mary, b. 1890; Lena, b. 1892; John, b. 1893; and General Lee, b. 1896.
Next to the youngest son, James Pinkney “Pink” Cox, and his wife, Eliza Jane, resided mostly in Red Level and reared the following children: The first two’s names were not provided; George C., b. 1895; Thomas J., b. 1900; and Frank J., b. 1903.
The descendants of Elijah Cox, next to the oldest child, will be featured from this point. This family has had a long and prominent influence in the Florala community. The descendants are proud of their heritage and have enjoyed assembling for a family reunion through the years.
Elijah was a farmer and reared a large family of 13 children in the Florala community. In 1896, he homesteaded 40.40 acres of land in the area south of Florala.
Elijah Cox was married in 1875 in Florala to Florence Eugenia Parker, daughter of Daniel and Sara (Wise) Parker. Florence was born in 1859 in Walton County, Fla., and died in 1931 in Florala. Elijah was born in 1854 in Geneva County and died in 1943 in Florala.
Elijah and Florence reared the following 13 children: William Elijah “Will,” b. 1876, d. 1936, m. 1901 Matilda Chestnut (1880-1934); Annie Elizabeth, b. 1878, d. 1966, m. 1900 Daniel William Royals; John Daniel, b. 1880, d. 1962, m. 1906 Nancy Ida Fountain; Esther, b. 1882, d. 1903, m. 1902 Thomas Russell Johnson; Julie, b. 1885, d. 1938, m. 1901 Zachariah T. Blackman; Fannie, b. 1886, d. 1917, m. 1903 Henry Lancaster; James Franklin, b. 1888, d. 1973, m. 1914 Alice Elizabeth McGehee; Robert Lee, b. 1890, d. 1954, m. Nettie Garvin; Ollie L. Sr., b. 1891, d. 1965, m. 1916 Frances Clifford Johnson; Bertha, b. 1893, d. 1979, m. 1928 Cleveland L. Harrison; Ella, b. 1895, d. 1965, m. 1956 Thomas Russell Johnson (1880-1959); Neal Royce, b. 1857, d. 1967, m. 1920 Elizabeth Josephine Clements; and Curtis Lynwood, b. 1897, d. 1981, m. 1919 Eva Lois Whitehurst.
The first child was born in 1876 and the last one in 1897. That means all 13 were born in the 1800s, and most were born in Florala. According to family records, this family has been scheduling an annual reunion since about 1875 when Elijah and Florence were married. The two currently coordinating the reunions, Mamie (Cox) Clary and Rita (Lancaster) Moseley, report that the 2012 Reunion was the 137th consecutive annual one. Someone has suggested that the Cox Reunion is the oldest of its kind in the entire United States. Someone has reported that it is actually listed in the Guinness World Book of Records. It is certainly true that the record of 137 continual annual reunions is exceptional.
The 2012 reunion was held as usual on the first Saturday in July, which was July 7, in the cafeteria of Florala High School. In the future the location will probably be changed. For this reunion some 87 descendants assembled for an enjoyable period of fellowship and renewing of family relationships. More than 100 announcement letters were mailed to various family members in an effort to reach as many as possible.
Those attending began to arrive around 10:30 a.m. and were registered where each person updated his contact information for future communication. Following a period of visiting and reviewing family records, a business session was conducted. During this period, anyone who wished to share bits of family history, and each one who was deceased since the last reunion was acknowledged. Special recognition was given to the oldest in attendance, the family having the most relatives present, and the relative who traveled the farthest, which for this year was from Michigan.
The program was concluded with an invocation for the success of the reunion as well as thanksgiving for the meal about to be enjoyed. Following the meal, the visiting continued until the final goodbyes were concluded. Plans are already underway for the 138th reunion of this prolific Cox family.
Genealogical data are available on the next generation of this family, so there will be a continuation of the review of this family in next week’s column.
Sources for today’s writing include Ancestry.com, Cox Family Tree: Descendants of Elijah Cox and Florence Eugenia Parker Cox, which was shared by Michele Gerlach, a Cox descendant, and an interview with Mamie (Cox) Clary.
HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, in the Memorial Room at the Andalusia Public Library.
The descendants of Daniel Dozier and Elizabeth (Taylor) Dozier will hold their annual reunion on Sun., July 29, at the American Legion Building in Andalusia.
All relatives are encouraged to attend from 9 a.m. until after lunch, with will be provided by everyone bringing a “covered-dish” dinner.