Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Biographical Sketch - Elizabeth Jane McCormick Cox

Hi all! I was checking out records from Chant when I came across this short biography of Elizabeth and her husband, Tandy.
Here they are with their daughters, Myrtle Cox Gragg (sitting) and Maryann Cox Bennight (standing).

[Source: "History of the State of Oklahoma", Vol. II - By Luther B. Hill - Submitted by Cathy Ritter]
Elizabeth J. Cox
In the thriving and attractive little city of Chant, Haskell county, no person is better known or held higher esteem than Mrs. Cox, who has the distinction of having been appointed the first postmaster at this place, an office of which she is still capable and valued

incumbent. It was largely due to her efforts that a post office was established in Chant, and she waged a royal battle with the neighboring town of McCurtain before she was able to secure post office service for the town in whose development and up building she has taken a vital and helpful interest. She is the widow of T. K. Cox, who died in Chant on the 17th of November, 1908, having been assistant postmaster at the time of his demise. Mrs. Cox is a woman of distinctive culture and of gracious personality, is known as a specially able executive and business woman, and is well entitled to representation in this history of her home state.
Tandy K. Cox was born in the state of Missouri on the 19th of May, 1857, and was a child at the time of his father's death. His mother later became the wife of Franklin Tobey, and soon afterward they moved to Franklin county, Arkansas, being numbered among the earliest settlers in that section, where Mr. Cox was reared to manhood and where his marriage to Miss Elizabeth J. McCormick was solemnized in the year 1889. Mr. Cox devoted the major portion of his active career to farming, and was one of the early settlers of the town Chant, where he and his wife took up their residence in 1903 and where his death occurred in 1908, as noted in the initial paragraph of this sketch. He was a staunch Republican in politics and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, as are also his widow and daughter.
Mrs. Elizabeth J. Cox was born in the city of Topeka, Kansas, and is a daughter of Rev. Charles W. and Mary E. (Mock) McCormick, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Illinois, their marriage having been solemnized at Lawrence, Kansas. The father was a man of marked intellectuality and was one of the early clergymen of the state of Kansas, in Shawnee and Douglass counties, where he maintained his home until 1879, when he removed with his family to Franklin county, Arkansas, where he became the founder of the town of Vesta, where he established a mill, a cotton gin and a general store, and where he built up a large and prosperous business, becoming one of the prominent and influential citizens of that section of the state. After having assisted in the up building of the flourishing village of Vesta, where he continued in business for a number of years, his health became much impaired, and he removed to his farm in Sebastian county, Arkansas, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred on the 25th of January, 1893. His cherished and devoted wife, held in affectionate regard by all that knew her, died on the 24th December, 1900. Of the four children, Mrs. Cox is the eldest; Lucy E. died at the age of thirty-eight years; Annie is the wife of Robert Kersey, of San Antonio, Texas, and John H. is a successful businessman in the city of Seattle, Washington. The linage of the McCormick family is traced back to staunch Irish extraction, and the original representative of the family of which Mrs. Cox is a member came to the United States from County Cork. He was a relative of Cyrus McCormick, whose name is known throughout the world in connection with the invention and manufacturing of mowing and reaping machines.
Mrs. Cox was afforded excellent educational advantages, including a course in Lane University at Lecompton, Kansas. She turned her scholastic acquirements to good use when a young woman, becoming a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of Sebastian and Franklin counties, Arkansas. After her father founded the town of Vesta, that state, she was appointed its first postmaster, in 1884, under the administration of President Hayes. She retained this office for a period of seven years, at the expiration of which, in 1891, she engaged in teaching in the public schools of that section, having followed the pedagogic profession most successfully in Franklin and Sebastian counties, Arkansas, until 1903, in which year she came with her husband to Haskell county, Oklahoma and located in what is now the town of Chant. This place was then known as Panther, and was entirely unorganized as a village, the San Bois Coal Company representing the principal industrial enterprise of the locality. As the nearest post office was two miles distant at the time of the arrival of Mr. And Mrs. Cox, the latter, by reason of her present intimate experience in connection with post office affairs, discerned the imperative demand for an office at Chant. The people of the community rallied to her standard, becoming informed of her facility in postal work, and they valiantly supported her in her earnest and indefatigable efforts to secure a local post-office, in opposition to the insistent objection of the town of McCurtain, in which was established the nearest post office. The conflict between the rival towns waged vigorously for a year, and it should be a matter of recorded history that the laurels of victory were gained to Chant mainly through the effective labors of Mrs. Cox. After the post office department had given instructions to drop and receive mail pouches at Chant the railroad company refused to give this service for a period of fourteen days. In this emergency the valiant woman, who had responded to the general request to assume charge of the new office, proved well her fertility in expedients, for she secured a mail pouch at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and within the fourteen days noted she made several trips back and forth from Chant, where mail was to be dispatched. The Chant mail had been sent back from McCurtain to Fort Smith, and under these belligerent auspices Mrs. Cox finally succeeded in establishing the office in the thriving town which is now her home. It is a matter of record that no conflict and difficulty has attended the founding of a post office in any other section of the Union in many years. The Chant office is now the second in importance in Haskell county, and is the largest money order office in the county in volume of the business of the registry and mail order departments. It will undoubtedly soon be advanced to the position of an office of the third class. The postmaster's salary at the beginning was about seven hundred dollars, and by increase of the business it is now eleven hundred dollars, including money order work. No rural free delivery routes touch this office, but it supplies the demands of a large and appreciative service, all patrons having unstinted admiration for the able postmaster and according to her unequivocal esteem. Mrs. Cox is a member of the National League of Postmasters of the United States; is denied the right of franchise, but is well fortified in her convictions as to matters of public policy, thus placing her faith in the principles of the Republican party. She and her daughter are zealous members of the Methodist church, and are popular factors in connection with the social life of the community. Mr. And Mrs. Cox became the parents of two daughters-Mary E., who is now the wife of James E. Bennight, of Acme, Wyoming, and Myrtle B., who is deputy postmaster under the administration of her mother.
[Source: "History of the State of Oklahoma", Vol. II - By Luther B. Hill - Submitted by Cathy Ritter]

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