Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, p 527
Henry COX, deceased, was one of the pioneer residents of Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], and was chief of the old hand fire department of the city nearly a half century ago. He became well known here, his business interests and his activity in behalf of public progress making him a leading resident of Winnebago County.
Mr. COX was a native of Hampshire, England, and a son of James and Rebecca COX, who were also born in that country, in which they spent their entire lives, the father following the occupation of farming. At the age of 12 years Henry COX left his home in Hampshire and went to the city of Winchester, near London, England. He lived in the home of a minister there until 1865, when he came direct to Rockford, having an uncle, William COX, who was then living in Burritt Township, Winnebago County. [See also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of William J. COX.] It was this that caused Mr. COX to seek a home here, and he turned his attention to the milling business. He first worked in the Old Chick mill for several years, and later he purchased an interest in the old Shirley mill and was engaged in its operation for about seven months. He then returned to Rockford and was connected with D. L. Bartlett mill for several years, or until the plant was destroyed by fire. At that time he went upon the road as a traveling salesman, representing the Bartlett Company of Chicago for several years in the sale of crackers. He afterward traveled for a Milwaukee wholesale house, sellling crackers and candy, and he remained upon the road for 20 years, when upon one of his trips, while at Malta [DeKalb County], IL, in the winter of 1896-97 he fell upon the icy sidewalk and was badly injured, after which he ws brought to his home in Rockford. Other complications aggravated his injuries, and he passed away 27 Mar 1897.
Mr. COX was married in Rockford, Winnebago County, IL, to Miss Ann REW, a native of England, in which country her parents always remained. She is an aunt of Robert REW, the well known attorney of Rockford. She came to America to make her home with a half brother, John LAKE, now a retired capitalist of Rockford, who is one of the most prominent and best known citizens here. [See also the Winnebago County, IL, biographies of John LAKE.] Eight children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. COX: Alice, the wife of Hiram KAUFFMAN, of Rockford; Minnie, the wife of Alvin ELLSWORTH, of Chicago; Edith R., a stenographer residing at home; Harry, a baker of Rockford; Joseph R., who is a mail carrier in Rockford; Olive B., who is also employed as a stenographer; Herbert R., at home; and Grace, who died at the age of nine years.
Mr. COX was always interested in the upbuilding, growth and development of his city, and in the early days he became a member of the old hand fire department, of which he was chief engineer a half century ago. In politics he was a stanch republican, and socially he was connected with the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges in Rockford. He held membership in the Episcopal church in England, but in this city he and his wife attended the Christian Union church. He gave to his children good educational advantages, realizing the value of mental training as a preparation for life's work, and he was devoted to the welfare of his family, counting no personal sacrifice on his part too great if it would enhance the happiness and promote the welfare of his wife and children. His manner was always genial and affable, and he won friends wherever he went. The family at one time resided on Seventh Street, and the property is still owned by Mrs. COX, but in 1894 Mr. COX exchanged 160 acres of MN farming land for the beautiful residence which is now occupied by his widow and children at No. 307 Penfield Place.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.