JAMES MADISON COX, a prominent and prosperous farmer of Mount Olive township, Macoupin County, owning a fine farm of 180 acres in sections 7 and 8, was born in the township in which he now resides, December 4, 1852, and is a son of Emanuel and Eliza G. (Biggs) Cox, and a grandson of Ezekiel Cox.
Ezekiel Cox, the grandfather of our subject, labored faithfully as a minister of the Gospel for many years. He was the father of five children, namely: Emanuel, our subject's father; Jackson; Betsy (Coalson); Jensey (Stilley); and Jerry.
Emanuel Cox was born in Stewart County, Tennessee, November 19, 1812, and when six years of age went to Trigg County, Kentucky, where he remained until he was 26 years of age. He came to Macoupin County in 1837, took up government land and engaged in farming. While a young man he engaged in the mercantile business. Before settling in this region he was employed as a steward on steamboats and remained at the occupation until he was married. Mr. Cox was a self-made man in every respect the term implies, being left fatherless when I or 10 years of age. When he first located in this region, he built a log house measuring 16 by 18 feet and endured many hardships for the first few years. He often went to mill at Edwardsville, Illinois, by ox team, the journey of 25 miles each way consuming two or three days. The neighbors often exchanged work and upon one of these occasions (when helping his brother-in-law, John Coalson) on his return home he became lost and spent one night on the prairie, fighting the wolves, being compelled to club them off with a wagon stake. Mr. Cox hauled all his produce to St. Louis as it was then the nearest market, making a trip of several days. Mr. Cox was a home loving man and never drank a drop of any kind of spirits, although he at one time conducted a saloon. He soon became disgusted with this business and finally gave it up wholly. His wife, Eliza G. Biggs, was born at Memphis, Tennessee, June 16, 1822. They were blessed with eight children, namely: Alisa A., of Mount Olive township, Macoupin County; Martha (Koontz), of Adams County, Illinois; William Alva, of Montgomery County, Illinois; Alfred, of Parsons, Kansas; Ezekiel, deceased; James M., our subject; Lillie Araba, who resides in Chicago and is a stenographer, having an office of her own; and Anna E. (Coalson). Mrs. Cox's death occurred in this county, January 23, 1893. Mr. Cox, who died January 31, 1898, was a member of the Democratic party. He and his family were members of the Baptist Church.
James Madison Cox has always resided in Mount Olive township and has always followed farming. He devotes his farm to general farming and stock raising, having cleared 160 acres for farming purposes while the remaining 60 acres is timber and pasture, affording good grazing for stock. Politically, our subject is a Democrat and has served as school director.
Mr. Cox was united in marriage, February 3, 1878, to Luella M. Purdy, who was born in Staunton township, Macoupin County, Illinois, a daughter of William C. and Susan (Best) Purdy. Three children were born to them namely: Maude, a pianist, who resides with her parents; Winifred B., a violinist, who married Mae Bruce, and has one child - Glenn Elmer; and Hallie, also residing with her parents, who is a graduate of the Mount Olive High School and a teacher and an accomplished pianist.