CHARLES FOSTER COX - This gentleman, now a resident of Dorchester township, was born at Mt. Holly, New Jersey, October 21st, 1830. His ancestors were residents of West Jersey from the time of the first settling up of that country. It is said that three brothers by the name of Cox emigrated from Scotland to America, one of whom settled in East Jersey and another in West Jersey. Some of the early members of the family were Quakers. His grandfather, Jesse Cox, was long engaged in the mercantile business at Mt. Holly. The firm of Jesse Cox & Sons (of which his father was also a member) carried on a large store, ran a flouring and paper mill, and stood high in mercantile circles. His father, John Wood Cox, was a leading business man of Mt. Holly. He was gifted with strong, natural executive ability, and managed business with marked success. He was engaged in the banking business and by disposition and training was fitted for the position of a successful financier and careful capitalist. He was frequently called upon to conduct public business and act as administrator and executor of estates; he was appointed by the governor of the state as commissioner to assist in the division of counties. Although he had numerous opportunities to go into public offices he always declined to leave his personal business to accept public station. He was in business in Mr. Holly from the time he was nineteen till his death, which occurred at the age of sixty-nine. Mr. Cox's mother's name was Hannah Rush. His maternal grandmother's name was Foster, a half sister to William Foster, at one time a prominent and wealthy business man of Philadelphia.
The subject of this biography was raised in Mt. Holly, where he attended school. He afterward entered Marshall College at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, since removed to Lancaster. After leaving school he was farming at Cream Ridge, in Monmouth county, New Jersey. He subsequently became interested in the manufacture of the "Union Repeating Gun," and in 1856 went to New York to superintend business connected with it. Cyrus W. Field became associated also in the enterprise, and he and Mr. Cox visited Europe in its interests. A company was formed known as the American Arms Company, of which Mr. Cox was president. The gun proved a valuable weapon, and several batteries were supplied to the Union army during the recent war of the rebellion, and several to foreign governments. After his father's death Mr. Cox purchased the farm in Monmouth county, New Jersey. After the close of the war he invested in raising cotton in Mississippi and Louisiana, but the speculation did not prove particularly successful. His father at one time was interested in the banking business at Kankakee City, Illinois, and also at Madison, Wisconsin. His brother also had property in the West, to see after which as administrator Mr. Cox first came to Illinois. He became interested in the fruit business in Madison county, and, in partnership with Noah S. Hart, erected near Melville, four miles from Alton, a large fruit distillery, which has since been in successful operation, and has a capacity for manufacturing forty thousand bushels of fruit annually. The firm of Taylor & Cox now carry on this establishment and manufacture all kinds of fruit brandies. In March, 1878, he moved to his present residence, a mile and a half east of Bunker Hill, where he intends erecting machinery to evaporate fruit according to the Alden process. He was married in New York, January 16th, 1856, to Miss Lillie M. Miller, daughter of Rev. William Miller, who was a native of Nova Scotia, but was preaching in Connecticut at the time of this marriage. Her death occurred from congestion of the lungs, on the 11th of January, 1864. His second marriage was on the 5th of December, 1865, to Miss Bashie Pease of Carrollton, Montgomery county, Ohio. Her family came from Suffield, Connecticut, and settled at Dayton and Carrollton, Ohio. Mr. Cox has not been an active politician, but came from a family of old line whigs and he himself is inclined to support the principles and policy of the republican party, though he is conservative and independent, and inclined to vote for men who will advance the interests of the country rather than further party ends.