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The Cox Family
James Bonley ‘Finn’ Cox and Frank Henry Benham operated sawmills in the mountains around Rye. According to several sources they provided the lumber “for most of the buildings in Rye.” The Cox family homesteaded off of what is now Burnt Mill Road and contributed to the growth and prosperity of Pueblo County in many ways.
John and Lydia's daughter Wilmirth Jane (Jenny) married George Miles Chilcott in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa in 1850. He was born in 1828 in Pennsylvania and moved with his parents to Iowa. They had four children: Kate, Henry Clay, Melvin Scott and Grant.
George became sheriff of Jefferson County in 1853. “In 1856 they moved to Burt County, Nebraska, and George was the state representative from that county. He moved to Chico, Colorado in 1859, and in 1860 returned to Nebraska to retrieve Jenny and their children to begin prominent lives in Pueblo County.”
“George was a member of the constitutional convention and of the territorial legislature during the first two sessions, 1861-1862. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1863. In 1865, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but was not admitted. In 1866, he was again elected, and served a term as a Republican Delegate to the Fortieth Congress.”
George became a member of the Colorado House of Representatives in 1878. “On April 11, 1882, he was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Henry M. Teller, thus becoming part of the Forty-seventh Congress as a Republican. The term expired in 1883, and after serving the short year he retired from public service.” (Not before he was credited with making the handlebar moustache popular.)
Between 1863 and 1867, George served as register of the United States Land Office for the Colorado district. He later succeeded in having the appropriations for government surveys in Colorado increased and was instrumental in passing an important bill regarding the St. Vrain and Vigil land grant.
The Chilcotts became well-known Pueblo residents. George built the first good hotel building, called the ‘Fifth Avenue’ and was part-owner of the Chilcott-Wells block on the lower part of Santa Fe Avenue. He was a principal in The Pueblo Chieftain. The family later donated their large home and surrounding land to form the Colorado State Hospital.
Jenny Chilcott died from stomach cancer on December 24, 1887. George was in ill heath and died on March 06, 1891 in St. Louis while he was seeking medical treatment. They are both buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Pueblo. "A codicil to George’s will provided a monthly stipend of $40.00 to his in-laws, Gran and Daddy Cox, whom he dearly loved (despite their being such staunch Democrats!)"
Their only daughter, Kate married Albert L. Price; Henry Clay married Zoe C. Jennings; Melvin Scott married Angie; and their youngest, Grant died as a young man in 1879.
William T. Cox
John and Lydia Cox's second child, William T. Cox, left his family to follow the Oregon Trail west in about 1854. He was living in Wasco County, Oregon in 1855, but by 1858 had moved to Walla Walla, Washington. By 1860 he was in Nez Perce County, Idaho, where he lived until he died in 1893. “His homestead became the location of the present town of Lewiston, Idaho. He married twice, both times to members of the Nez Perce Nation. His first wife was named Julia, and his second was named Touis. He and Julia had three children, and with Touis they had six more.” (to be continued)