1779 was the year that Samuel Compton invented the spinning mule, a major advance in the industrial revolution, it was the year that Captain Cook died in Hawaii, and it was also the year that Thomas was born in Lew near Bampton. He was baptised privately on 27 March before being received into church on 11 April. This suggests that he was unwell after birth and that his parents wanted a quick baptism in case he died. At the age of 6 his family moved to Neithrop and he probably walked the full 25.8 miles without shoes!
He married Hannah Austin of Bicester on the 8th September 1806 when he was 27, giving his occupation as "labourer". His wife gave birth 11 months later, suggesting that she wasn't pregnant when they married so it is a mystery as to why she came all the way from Bicester to marry into such an impoverished family. They had nine children, one still born, and one twin died in infancy, but seven survived into adulthood, a huge improvement on previous generations!
Thomas seems to have had a brush with the law on 15 Jan 1825 when he was acquitted of larceny at Oxford county court. Possibly it was a case of mistaken identity as his nephew Thomas Cox (b 29 July 1808) was regularly in Banbury gaol! Nevertheless, it is interesting that a working class labourer who could not afford legal representation could get acquitted in the 1820s!
The surviving twin, William married his first cousin, Hannah, with whom he had 13 children, including two sets of twins, but the 1871 census records three of the children as adult and still living at home: Thos Cox 44; William Cox 36; Elizabeth Cox 33, possibly evidence that first cousins shouldn't marry?
Henry COX, 1870
William COX, 1881
Their youngest son, James, must have been something of a local legend. Whereas most of the male Coxes died before their wives, James had three wives, surviving two of them, and fathered a total of 18 children. Unfortunately he was better at fathering than parenting, five died in infancy and two ended up in Oxford prison for stealing food.
Thomas died on 20th June 1834 aged 55 in Old Tan Yard, so he didn't appear in any census records, but Hannah survived until she was 93, living with her daughter Caroline after Thomas's death and appearing in the census 3 times:
- In 1841 she lived at "Pain's Yard"
- In 1851 she lived at "78 The Bank" giving her occupation as "bag mender and pauper"
- She is missing from the 1861 census
- In 1871 she lived at "98 Towns End", where she died on 5 Nov 1875 of "Senile Decay".