THE MATTHEW COX FAMLY

OF GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Submitted by Stevie Hughes

THIS FAMILY HISTORY HAS BEEN COMPILED FROM PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS IN GREENE COUNTY, HAWKINS COUNTY AND JEFFERSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE; MISSOURI; NORTH CAROLINA; AND VIRGINIA; THE 1807 WILL OF MATTHEW COX; THE 1813 WILL OF JAMES GRAHAM SENIOR; THE 1860 WILL OF ELIAKIM COX; HISTORIC GREENE COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE, PUBLISHED BY THE GREENE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY; POCKET NOTE HISTORY BY MR. T. ELMER COX; PATRIOTS INDEX PUBLISHED BY THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (D.A.R.); GREENE COUNTY MARRIAGES 1783-1868 COMPILED BY GOLDENE FILLERS BURGNER; GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE TAX DIGESTS 1809-1817, COMPILED BY GOLDENE FILLERS BURGNER; GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE DEED ABSTRACTS 1810-1822, AND HAWKINS COUNTY, TENNESSEE DEED ABSTRACTS 1801-1819, COMPILED BY JOYCE MARTIN MURRAY;  A GENEALOGY HISTORY OF THE COX FAMILY BY NELLE COX CARTER ARCHIVED AT THE T. ELMER COX LIBRARY IN GREENEVILLE; THE CIVIL WAR PENSION FILES OF WILLIAM A. COX; CEMETERY TRANSCRIPTIONS BY MR. BUFFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ASSOCIATES; PLEASANT VALE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AND CEMETERY (1842-2002) BY SHERRY LYNN BRITTON; THE BOOK, VERNON COUNTY, MISSOURI PIONEER FAMILIES, PUBLISHED IN 1887 BY THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY; AND FAMILY INFORMATION FROM DESCENDANTS OF ELIAKIM COX JUNIOR, MATTHEW COX,  HUGH DOUGLAS COX, MARGARET COX JOHNSON, LUCINDA COX JOHNSON AND MARIAH COX FOSTER OF GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE AND FROM DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM COX OF HAWKINS COUNTY, TENNESSEE.

THE MATTHEW COX FAMILY

OF GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE

 

Co-written with John Cox, jcox1@cox.net and Bob Singleton, bobsing@spencerpark.net

The Patriarch of the District 12 Cox Families is Matthew Cox (1732-1807) who is buried in Kidwell Cemetery near Baileyton Road.  Matthew was born about 1732  probably in Henrico County, Virginia where the “Coxendale” area was located.  Matthew Cox is believed to be a son of Matthew Cox who died sometime before 1753 during the Indian Wars. 

The younger Matthew Cox was a Revolutionary War patriot from the State of Virginia.  He was at the Battle of Great Meadows in Pennsylvania, and he received a land grant from Virginia for his service.  Matthew had previously served under General George Washington in Captain Peter Hogg’s Company of  Virginia during the French and Indian War in 1754.  In North Carolina, Matthew married Nancy Ann Smith, a daughter of Alexander Smith, also a Revolutionary War soldier, who died before 1784.  Nancy Ann Smith Cox received land grant #1352 for 640 acres of land in Sumner County, Tennessee for her deceased Father’s service.  The land was later sold in 1785.

Matthew and Ann came to what would become Greene County, Tennessee by 1783.  He is in the first Greene County Tax List.  Also in this Tax List are Benjamin, “Ephraem” and Thomas Cox.  Their relationship, if any, to Matthew Cox is not known.  Only Matthew Cox remained in Greene County.  In 1784, Matthew purchased 100 acres of land from Alexander Goodin.  Matthew’s children would later marry into the Goodin/Gooden Family.

Matthew and Ann Smith Cox were highly respected and prosperous citizens of early Greene County.  They farmed 900 acres of land on Roaring Fork in District 12.  Matthew was a Justice of the Peace, appointed by Governor John Sevier.  Matthew and Ann had seven children.  Matthew signed his Will on 2-23-1807.  The administrators of his Estate were Daniel Carter, William Cox a son of Matthew Cox, and James Gooden (Goodin), a son-in-law of Matthew Cox.  Matthew’s widow, Nancy Ann Smith Cox, died in 1831. 

Matthew and probably Nancy Ann are buried in Old Kidwell cemetery near their land.  A land deed in 1810 indicates the Cox and Kidwell families had adjacent farms, and as of that date, the Kidwell Meeting House (and Cemetery) already existed.  Matthew Cox, a Revolutionary War soldier, may have been among the first persons interred in this old, historic Cemetery located near today’s Baileyton Road.

The children of Matthew and Ann Smith Cox as named in Matthew’s 1807 Will are:

1.  Jene (Jane), born c. 1775 Jane married John Jones on 7-6-1798, bond by Christopher Bullard.   John Jones and Matthew Cox are in the 1797 Tax List of Captain Christopher Bullard, where  John Jones owned 200 acres of land.  On 12-16-1810, Lemuel Cox (child #4), released by deed to John Jones his claim to real estate of his father, Matthew Cox.  This John Jones is presumably the husband of Lemuel’s sister, Jane.  John A. Jones was a soldier in the Captain Robert Maloney Company, War of 1812.

2.  William, born c. 1777William, oldest son of Matthew Cox, first appeared on the Greene County Tax Rolls as a poll in 1798, Captain John Harmon’s Company.  He is in the 1799 Captain Edward Tate Company with his Father, Matthew Cox.  William’s year of birth can be estimated to about 1777, based upon when he became subject to the poll tax.  William married Mary Gass on 10-7-1797.  Mary is believed to be a sister of brothers, John Gass (1758-1840), James Gass (1773-1842) and Jacob Gass (died 1799), who along with their Mother, also lived in District 12 in Greene County, Tennessee.  Another brother is believed to be Samuel Gass (1764-1839), who resided in Greene County until about 1792 when he migrated to Jefferson County, Tennessee.  William Cox and his father Matthew are both found in the 1805 Tax List.  William remained in the District 12 Tax Lists through 1816.  By 1828, William was no longer in Greene County.  In 1830, William and his family were enumerated in the census of Hawkins County.

William Cox and his family lived near Bulls Gap in Hawkins County.  In 1830, after 33 years of marriage, William (age 50-60, born c. 1770-80) and his wife Mary Gass Cox had only three children who still lived in their household:  one daughter (born c. 1801-1810) and two sons.  Living two households away was John Cox, age 20-30, with a young family, who is also believed to be William’s son.   Another son, Matthew Cox had married in Greene County in 1823 and resided there in 1830.  Another son is believed to be James Cox, born about 1807, with whom William later lived in 1850.  By 1840, none of William’s children were living at home.  William’s wife, Mary Gass Cox, was deceased before 1840.   Living next door to William in 1840 was Lemuel Cox, age 20-30 (born c. 1810-20) who is believed to be William’s son. 

William and Mary Gass Cox are thus believed to have had at least six children:  (1) Matthew, born c. 1800, who is the only member of the William Cox family to remain in Greene County.  On 10-9-1823, Mathew married Rachel Milburn at the house of John Gass Junior (1784-1833) a son of John Gass Senior (1758-1840).  Matthew and Rachel are found in the 1830 Census of Greene County:  Matthew, age 20-30 (born c. 1800-1810), his wife and two young sons under the age of five.  One son was Lemuel K. Cox, born on 3-23-1827.   The other son is not known.  Matthew died shortly after the 1830 Census.  His widow, Rachel Milburn Cox remarried on 1-22-1834 to Martin High.  Matthew and Rachel’s son Lemuel K. Cox married in Greene County on 2-20-1849 to Ellen (“Nelly”) Anderson (1826-1891), a daughter of James and Rebecca Anderson.   In 1850, Lemuel K. and Nelly Cox lived beside Martin and Rachel P. Milburn Cox High.  In 1853, Lemuel purchased the Robert Foster 50-acre farm from Zopher Johns(t)on Junior.   Lemuel and Nelly had eight children.  Their children were:  William Alexander (1849-1920, buried Cross Anchor); Rachel (1851-1886 buried Cross Anchor, Mrs. A. R. Brown); James (1854-1861 buried Cross Anchor); Mary (1857-1949 buried Cross Anchor, Mrs. H. H. Brown); Franklin K. (1863-1951 buried Zion United Presbyterian Church Cemetery); Alice (1866-1950 who married N. W. Carter, both buried Pleasant Vale Cemetery); Martha born c. 1868; and Charles M. (1870-1951 buried Cross Anchor).  Lemuel K. Cox died on 1-8-1915.  Lemuel and Nelly are buried at Cross Anchor.  Lemuel’s mother, Rachel Milburn Cox High who died on 11-7-1897 and her second husband, Martin High, are also buried at Cross Anchor.  (2) James Harvey, born c. 1807.  James married Rachel Douglas.  At the time of the 1850 census, James lived in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and his father, William Cox, born c. 1776, lived in his household. James and Rachel Cox had nine children:  John D., William Matthew, Sarah Jane, Priscilla, George Arthur, Samuel T., M. E. (a female), M. A. (a female) one of whom is named Martha, and Nancy Elizabeth.   (3) a daughter (Ann?), born c. 1800-10, whose name is not known, although she may be Ann Cox, who married Greeneville Goodin/Gooden in Greene County in 1828.  (4) John, born c. 1800-10, who had married and resided in Hawkins County in 1840; and  (5) a son (William G.?), born c. 1810-20, whose name is not known, but who may be William G. Cox who married Elizabeth Foster in Greene County on 1-4-1836.  It is very possible that Elizabeth Foster is part of the family of Robert and Mercy Johns(t)on Foster.  William (Junior) and Elizabeth Cox lived in Jefferson County, Tennessee until they migrated to Newton County, Missouri about 1853.  They had 12 children:  Sarah J., William, James, Martha, John, Nancy, Elizabeth, Nepolion, Lemuel, Peter, Mary, and Emily.   (6) Lemuel, born c. 1816 who resided in Hawkins County in 1840.   Lemuel possibly lived on his father’s farm since he is enumerated next to William Cox.  Lemuel married Mary Ann Miller on 11-24-1841, security by Joseph Miller.  In 1850, the family lived in Hawkins County.  By 1860, they lived in Jefferson County.  By 1870, they had returned to Hawkins County and in 1880, they were enumerated in Hamblin County (Hamblin County was created from Hawkins County in 1870).  Lemuel and Mary had 11 children: John Newton, William, Lucinda, George, Samuel S., Malvina, James Lemuel, Mary, Martha, Rebecca, and Charles.  Lemuel Cox died on 3-17-1890 in Jefferson County.  Lemuel’s widow, Mary Ann died on 5-7-1899.  They are buried in the Russellville Community Cemetery.

In 1844 William Cox sold part of his land in Hawkins County.  After this, he moved to Jefferson County where in 1850 William lived with James Harvey Cox (child #2), who is believed to be William’s son.  William Cox died after 1850 and before 1860.  It is not known where William and Mary Gass Cox are buried. 

John Cox a co-author of this article is a descendant of William and Mary Gass Cox.  John lives in Yorktown, Virginia.  He is participating in the DNA project for the Cox surname.  To date, there has been one DNA match found at the 37-marker level with another John W. Cox from Texas.  The John Cox from Texas has traced his family back to the Cox’s from Orange County, Virginia in the 1700’s time frame.

3.  Mahalah, born c. 1785.  Mahalah married James Gooden (Goodin) on 12-30-1806, bond by James Treim.  James Goodin was one of the three Executors of his father-in-law’s Estate.  James Goodin was a soldier in Captain Robert Maloney’s Company, War of 1812.  However, he is not found in the early Tax Lists.  Nor, are James and Mahalah Goodin in the 1830 Census.  James Goodin is shown in the Greene County 1836 Civil District Listings living in District 8.  It is possible the Goodin family were in nearby Hawkins County during the intervening years.  In 1840 James Goodin was enumerated in the Greene County census.  He was a widower, age 50-60, with seven children in his household.   Information on the Goodin Family of Greene County may be found in the book Historic Greene County and Its People, page 118.  This article gives the names of eight children of James and Mahalah Cox Goodin:  Benjamin, Catherine, Lemuel (buried Albany Cemetery), Amy (1821-1894, wife of Elliott Jones (1823-1884), both buried Albany Cemetery), Valentine Sevier, Mary C., Hannah H., and Matthew Goodin.  The son, Lemuel Goodin married in Greene County in 1842, and he served in the Civil War in the Union Artillery, 1st Battalion, TN Light Infantry.  Mahalah Cox Goodin was deceased prior to 1840.  Her burial place is not known, although she may be buried in an unmarked grave in or near Albany Cemetery (previously known as Carter’s Station Cemetery) where there are “hundreds of unmarked graves”.

4.  Lamuel (Lemuel), born before 1790.    In December of 1810, Lemuel and his sister, Leah, witnessed the sale of their father’s land, 184 acres on Roaring Fork, by the Executors of their father’s Estate.   To be a witness to the land transaction, Lemuel would have been “of age”, 21 or older at that time.   December of 1810, is the last record for Lemuel Cox in Greene County.  There is no marriage record for him, nor is he in any early Greene County Tax List.  He is not in the 1830 Census.  Because of the lack of land and tax records, it would appear that Lemuel either left Greene County very early, or he died very young.   His name was perpetuated by his siblings.  In the various Greene County records can be found Lemuel Cox, Lemuel Goodin, Lemuel Jones, and Lemuel Johnson.

5.  Leah, born before 1790.  Leah was one of the witnesses to the sale of her father’s land in 1810.  This infers Leah was “of age” by 1810.  Leah married James McCurrey on 6-1-1813, bond by “Isaiah” (Azariah) Doty.   On 1-30-1830, James McCurry married Nancy Burch, bond by Greeneville Goodin (see child #7, below).  If this is the same James McCurrey/McCurry, his first wife Leah Cox McCurrey was deceased before 1830.  In the 1830 Greene County census, James McCurry, age 30-40, had 5 sons and 4 daughters in his household.  Three of these children were under five years of age.  The ages of these children possibly date the year of death of Leah Cox McCurry to about 1828/29.  Her burial place is not known.

6.  Eliakim, born c. 1790 Eliakim married Nancy Long Graham about 1813.  There is no marriage record in Greene County for them.  Nancy was the widow of George Graham (Senior), a son of James Graham (died 1813).  Nancy had two known children with her first husband.  These sons were George Graham Junior (born 3-29-1810; died 11-22-1875) and James Graham (born c. 1808; died 7-2-1880), both of whom are buried in the Cross Anchor Church Cemetery on Old Baileyton Road at Babbs Mill Road.  Eliakim and Nancy Graham Cox are believed to have had 11 or 12 children, including four sons.  Some of these children stayed in Greene County, while others migrated to Missouri.  Only two of Eliakim’s sons stayed in Tennessee.  Only one son, Matthew Cox (1815-1884), left male descendants.  For further information please refer to the separate article on The Eliakim and Nancy Long Graham Cox Family of Greene County, Tennessee.    Bob Singleton a descendant of Eliakim and Nancy Cox’s son, Hugh Douglas Cox (1839-1921) who migrated to Vernon County, Missouri in the late 1850’s is a co-author of this article.

7.  Ann, born c. 1800.    There are two marriages in the Greene County records for Ann/Anna Cox.   On    3-26-1818, Anna Cox married John Gass (born 1788 in Greene County; died 1871 in Jefferson County), a son of Samuel Gass (1764-1839), bond by John Gass Junior (1784-1833).  The Samuel Gass Family lived in Greene County until about 1792 when they migrated to Jefferson County, Tennessee.  Ten years later, on 12-11-1828, Anna Cox married Greeneville Gooden (Goodin).   The first marriage would appear to be for Anna Cox, the daughter of Matthew and Nancy Ann Smith Cox.   The second marriage would appear to be for another Ann Cox, who is possibly a daughter of William Cox (child #2).   It is said that John and Ann Cox Gass had nine children:  William B. (1822-1865), Dorothy (1824-1836), Mary Melzinia, Martha E., Nancy A., John C. (1830-1899), Margaret, James L. (Lemuel??) and Juliet Emily Gass.

 

Persons who are interested in the Samuel Gass Family of Jefferson County, Tennessee should contact the East Tennessee Historical Society to request a copy of their publication, Tennessee Ancestors, issue December 1992, Volume 8, Number 3.

WILL OF MATTHEW COX

TRANSCRIPTION BY W.P.A. FROM THE GREENE COUNTY COURT RECORDS, PAGE 171:

“TUESDAY, 28TH APRIL 1807

“The last Will and Testament of Matthew Cox Deceased, was produced to Court for probate, whereupon came Isaac Armitage and John Ross two of the subscribing and concurring evidences thereto, and made oath, that they each saw the said Matthew Cox Sign, Seal, publish and declare the same to be his last Will and Testament, and he was at the time of signing and publishing the same, of sound and perfect mind and memory to the best of their knowledge &c whereupon it was Ordered, that the Same should be recorded, and is as follows towit “In the name of God amen, I being of parfect mind and sound of memry tho afflicted in body I made this my last Will and Testament &c that this my last Will shall revoke all Will or Wills that hath been maid by me heretofore, and that this to be my last Will and Testement &c after I resighn my Soul to God who give it & my body to a decent burel by my Executors then after all my just Debts is paid, I will unto each one of my Dere & loving children, to be paid by my Executors out of my estat as they shall come of age One horse Sadle & Bridle, to be valued to One hundred Dollars, One feather Bed & Furniture, my Daughter Leah & my Son Eliakam & my Daughter Ann, then I will & bequith to my beloved Wife Ann, the remainder of all my property that God hath given me boath rail and persenel for her support so long as she remains my widow, then to be put to sail by my Executors & then the money equely divided to my loveing children Only my Son Wm hath receved eighteen pound Seven Shillings more than the others hairs, which to be paid when the money is divided & Lemuels colte is to be fed at the expence of the estate till fall insuing this date  these are the names of the Legetees, Wm Lamuel, Eliakim my sons, Jene, Leah, Mehalah Ann my Daughters.  I Do hereby appoint Danel Carter, William Cox & James Gooden as my Executors to execute this my Will, I do hereby acknoledg this to be my last Will & Testament, whereunto I set my hand & fix my Seal this 23 day of Febery 1807.

                                                                                                                Matthew Cox   Seal

Isaac Armitage
John R. Ross “his mark”
William Jones

Whereupon came Daniel Carter, William Cox and James Goodin, named in the said Will and having taken A Oath well and truly to execute the Same, It is thereupon Ordered, that Letters testamentary issue to them accordingly.”

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