1833 – 1866
Alfred Cox has been a resident of Texas from his boyhood, is familiar with the various phases of life in this state from its early settlement to the present time, and is now ranked with the prominent farmers and stockmen of Erath County. It is therefore of signal consistency that a resume of his life history be given place in this volume.
Mr. Cox is by birth a Missourian. He was born November 21, 1833, son of Edward and Hannah (Williams) Cox, his father a native of Tennessee and his mother of Kentucky. Edward Cox was a farmer all his life. About 1849 he emigrated to Texas and settled in Hopkins County. Later he moved to Johnson county, spent six years there, and then came to Erath county, this county at that time being on the frontier and having but few settlers within its borders. Here he engaged in the cattle business, started with a fine herd and had excellent success until the opening of the war. During the war he sold beef cattle to the government, took Confederate money in payment and in the end lost heavily. For several years during the war and following it the Indians were troublesome on the frontier. They made numerous raids on the unprotected settlers, stole their cattle and horses, killing or driving them off, and sometimes even killed the settlers themselves. After one of these raids had been made and a number of cattle stolen Mr. Cox was one of a party, composed chiefly of boys, who went out in pursuit of the red men and to secure the stolen stock, and while on this mission bent he was killed by the Indians, and his horse, saddle and bridle stolen by them. At the same time they killed a young man by the name of Hollis. That was in July 1865, in Hamilton County. He was buried in that county. After his death his family sold the stock they left and quit the business. He had been married twice. His first wife, the mother of our subject, had died in Johnson County in 1855, and his second wife survived him. The children of his first marriage, eight in number, are as follows: Alfred, who is the subject proper of this review; Sarah E., deceased, was the wife of Gasham Bills; Ann, wife of E. Miller; Jane, who became the wife of Mr. Bills after her sister’s death; Alzai, wife of Daniel Moore; Zilsa, wife of Thomas Lane; Derinda, wife of L. Evens; and Lucy, wife of J. Lane. His second wife bore him four children: Mary, wife of John Dowty; and John, Hall and Frank, all farmers.
Alfred Cox was in his teens at the time his parents emigrated to this state. Here he found novelty and adventure enough to satisfy even the most daring nature. His youth was spent in the saddle in caring for his father’s stock and in consequence he had but little opportunity for securing an education. However, he picked up a varied and valuable knowledge of men and business as he passed along and on arriving at mature years he was better qualified to do business than are many whose advantages were superior to his.
He remained with his father until 1853, when he married and made a home for himself. It was at that time that he bought the land upon which he now lives, or, rather, a part of it, for his first purchase was of one hundred and seventy-seven acres. To this he has since added an adjoining one hundred acres, and now his farm comprises two hundred and seventy-seven acres, one hundred and forty of which are under cultivation. He gives his whole time and attention to farming and stock-raising and his efforts are being rewarded with fair success.
Mr. Cox married Miss Martha Bills. She was born in Tennessee, February 2, 1837, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Walker) Bills, natives of North Carolina who removed from there to Tennessee and in 1846 to Texas. Their first settlement in this state was in Hopkins County. In 1860 they came to Erath County and subsequently removed to Hood County. He died on his farm in Hood County in 1866; his wife passed away in 1879. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Bills were ten children, namely: Ellen, Mary, Jonathan, Asa, Walker, Susan, Thaney, Deborah, Viley and Martha. Mr. and Mrs. Cox have been blessed with a large progeny, thirteen children in all, three of whom died young. Those living are as follows: Daniel, Elizabeth, wife of B. Havens; Susie, wife of Ed. Jackson; Ed.; Reed; Violet, wife of A. Shaw; Robert, William, and Cy and Ellen at home. The sons are all farmers and the daughters are farmers wives.
The parents of both Mr. and Mrs. Cox were members of the Christian church and both maintained a membership in the church in which they were reared. Of Mr. Cox’s political affiliations, it may be said the he is a Populist.
Published by Lewis Publishing Co. of Chicago, 1896