JUDGE JOHN C. COX was one of the pioneer settlers of Jasper county, locating at the present site of the city
of Joplin in June, 1838. He was born in Burke county, North Carolina, September 6, 1811. His parents were David
and Lucy (Branch) Cox, both natives of North Carolina. When Judge Cox was eight years old his parents removed to
Jackson county, Tennessee, locating on a farm. Judge Cox was raised on a farm and received a fair education in
the neighborhood schools. His father was sheriff of Jackson county for six years, during which time the son served
as deputy. After coming to Jackson county, Missouri, fudge Cox entered a large body of land in the southwestern
part of the county, which he improved as a farms, continuing to live there until his death, except that during
the latter years of the Civil war he was compelled to reside temporarily at Neosho, Newton county, returning in
the fall of 1865 to find his house and other improvements destroyed. He immediately set about reimproving his place
and erected the brick residence which still stands (now in the city of Joplin). He soon had the postoffice, Blytheville,
reestablished at his place and started a country store. Lead had been discovered on his farm prior to this, but
no active mining was done on his land until in 1871, when Moffett & Sergeant procured a mining lease from him.
From that time Judge Cox's income from royalties on lead and zinc became quite large, especially for a man of his
simple and frugal habits of life. He laid off Joplin City on his land and saw it grow to become a leading city
of southwest Missouri. His manner of life, however, changed but little, and he and his family continued to occupy
the old homestead without any elaborate changes.
Judge Cox was a man of integrity and business sagacity, and possessed the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.
Although taking little active part in the Civil war, he remained firm for the Union cause. In 1840 he was elected
a justice of the peace for Center Creek township, and he served thirty years as postmaster of the Blytheville postofflee.
At the reorganization of the county after the war he was appointed county surveyor and was subsequently elected
to that office. In the fall of 1873 he was elected one of the associate justices of the County Court of Jasper
county. He filled all of these offices with credit to himself and with a high regard for the interests of the public,
whom he served with fidelity.
August 23, 1837, Judge Cox married Sarah A. Mercer, in Jackson county, Tennessee, and they became the parents of
eleven children, viz.: Lucy J., David S., Edward M., John C., Jr., Minerva J., Cassius E., William F., Sarah A.,
Samuel B., James J. and Benjamin F., who all lived to manhood and womanhood and all but Lucy J. and David still
survive. Judge Cox died January 23, 1890, and his wife died within two years after the death of her husband. Both
had attained to a good old age.
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Jasper County, MO
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