Cox Family Members
Missing for 70 Years Located

by William G. Prince, Jr.

In 1989 the Alextress Foster Cox reunion was organized in Horry County by the grandchildren of Alextress Foster Cox and Jennie Eva Newton Cox. The reunion met the first time on Saturday after Thanksgiving 1989 at the Sweet Home Baptist Church Fellowship Hall and has met there each year since then.

During the past five years, birth dates, full names, and current addresses have been collected and recorded for the eleven children, forty-six grandchildren and sister of Alextress Foster Cox. All through the years, the mysterious loss of a brother of Alextress Cox was a concern of the older family members. Alextress in the "fifties" is remembered as saying that he would give anything to know what happened to his brother, Grover Cleveland Cox. His belief was that his brother and his family were destroyed in a hurricane in Florida during the 1920s, when a bad hurricane hit the southern part of Florida.

Mr. and Mrs. Alextress Cox passed away in 1965 within three months of each other and the concern for the missing family remained dormant until the reunion was started and the missing brother, Grover Cleveland Cox, became a big void in the family records.

I, William G. Prince, Jr., grandchild of Alextress Foster Cox, and researcher for the reunion, set out to determine if there were living descendants of the missing brother that could be located. The only information available was a few notes I made when visiting my grandparents while I was in College during the fifties. This information was a follows:

My grandmother stated that Grover Cleveland Cox left Horry County to go to Florida when Edna, my aunt, was about one year old (1906). He and his family were living near Green Cove Springs, FL, and had five children. She stated that letters stopped about 1923 and that no one was ever able to contact them again. She was convinced that they had been destroyed in the big hurricane in the twenties.

In 1989, I visited the Clay County Court House at Green Cove Springs and discovered records verifying that Grover Cleveland Cox was married to Lelia Johnson in 1906 and various land deeds for property that he received through the land grant program. The family was listed in the Clay County 1910 census and two daughters, Aileen and Anna were named. At this time the 1920 census was not available.

Further study indicated that he had sold most of his property to the government for an air base that still is in the area and all the records ended in the twenties.

The daughters could not be further tracked due to marriage. It appeared that the search had come to an end with no finding of any of the family. One last thread of hope hinged on the fact that I asked some of the senior folks at the courthouse if a hurricane had come through the area in the twenties and they stated that one had not. So this left the possibility that maybe they had moved to south Florida and sure enough had been destroyed.

Another assumption was made that maybe a male child had been born after 1910 and, if so, maybe he was named Grover Cleveland Cox, Jr. Then it was assumed that he or his children might have moved to the Jacksonville, FL, area in pursuit of work over the years and may still be living there.

A review of the Jacksonville phone directory revealed that a Grover Cleveland Cox did live in Jacksonville. A call was made to him in 1989 and, after a long discussion, as to his ancestors, it was concluded that he was not part of the Horry family as he descended from the Waycross, GA, area.

During March 1994, another visit to Green Cove Springs did not reveal any new information as they were not in the Clay County 1920 census records. A review of the 1910 census tape indicated that the wifeís father had migrated from Georgia to Florida. This was overlooked during the search in 1989. It was then reassumed that the Grover Cleveland Cox in Jacksonville must be involved as a descendent. On March 17, 1994, I called him a third time and we again concluded that he was not my relative. Near the end of the conversation, he stated that, during the previous month, he was in a contractorís office in Fernandina Beach, FL, and when he told his name to the receptionist she became very amused. She stated that she was an acquaintance of a Grover Cleveland Cox who lives in the development that they were working on. She went on to say that maybe this Mr. Cox was the person I was looking for.

After talking to Mr. Cox in Jacksonville, I decided that I would try to contact the Grover Cleveland Cox in Fernandina Beach and sure enough the directory assistant gave me a phone number. I made the call and after a short discussion as to why I was calling, and who I was looking for, this Mr. Cox told me that he was the one I was looking for. Needless to say, this was the greatest thrill of my family research experiences.

Further discussion revealed that he had eleven brothers and sisters and that ten of them were still living. He said that his parents had lived to be old and were buried in Hampton, FL, which is in the next county to Green Cove Springs. I concluded that each family group moved to different areas of their respective counties and lost touch, rather than the Florida family being lost in a hurricane.

Further contacts were made during the summer of 1994 and records of names, ages, and addresses of the Florida group were obtained for the reunion records.

The 1994 Cox Family Reunion was dedicated to the find of the Cox family of Florida, with special recognition of the living children of Alextress Foster Cox, his sister Jennie Cox Barrineau, and the found brother, Grover Cleveland Cox. They are:
Alextress Foster Cox

  • Mrs. Elma Cox Stevens* Loris, SC b. 1912
  • Mrs. Lena Cox Martin Loris, SC b. 1916
  • Mrs. Myrtie Cox Vaught* Loris, SC b. 1919
  • Mrs. Nell Cox Prince Loris, SC b. 1921 Jennie Cox Barrineau
  • Mr. Hiram T. Barrineau* Linden, AL b. 1923
  • Mrs. Catherine B. Harter* Georgetown, SC b. 1926 Grover Cleveland Cox
  • Mrs. Anna Cox Tyre* FL b. 1910
  • Mrs. Mary Jane Hicks* FL b. 1911
  • Mr. Woodrow W. Cox FL b. 1918
  • Mrs. Evelyn Cox Hicks FL b. 1920
  • Mrs. Inez Cox Coleman FL b. 1922
  • Mrs. Zelma Cox Courley NJ b. 1923
  • Mr. James Earl Cox FL b. 1925
  • Mr. Grover Cleveland Cox, Jr.* FL b. 1927
  • Mr. Ray Alvin Cox FL b. 1928
  • Mr. Charles Robert Cox* FL b. 1931

    * In attendance at the reunion on November 26, 1994, at Sweet Home Baptist Church near Longs, SC. There were approximately 100 relatives present at the reunion with nine of the children of our grandparents, great aunt and great uncle. This is the first time the local group had ever met the Florida group and the joy was overwhelming on both sides, as some of them are past 80 years in age.

    This Cox family descends from:
    John Cox and Sarah. ( 8 children) John fought in the Revolution, died February 3, 1830
    Their son, Josiah Cox married Elizabeth Willson (8 children)
    Josiah and Elizabethís son, Alexander John Cox m.
    (1) Martha Elizabeth _____ (6 children)
    (2) Lavina Sarvis (5 children)
    (3) Susan Elizabeth Byrd Evans (5 children)

    Alextress Foster Cox, Jennie Frazer Barrineau, and Grover Cleveland Cox are children of the third marriage. Two children did live to adulthood and marriage. Their descendants extend to great-great-great-grandchildren.

    John Cox and Sara lived on land grant property near the Tilly Swamp Baptist Church on Highway 90, north of Conway, SC. John or his father was one year old when he departed from England to come to America. Should anyone have further information on Johnís ancestry, I would appreciate a contact for sharing information.

    Address: William G. Prince, Jr., 2413 Robin Crest Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169.

    The Independent Republic Quarterly
    Vol.29 No.2; Spring 1995; pp 16-18

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