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The Cox Family Part 3 - James Bonley ‘Fin’ Cox
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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 Cox's third child, James Bonley ‘Fin’ Cox was a sergeant in the Nebraska Cavalry during the Civil War. He returned to marry Lodusca Harrington on May 04, 1864 in Tekamah, Burt County, Nebraska. She was born in Wisconsin in 1846, the daughter of Major Olney and Hannah Cole Eldred Harrington. Her father was a hotel keeper and attorney.

Fin and Lodusca had one child, Phineas William Sherman in 1866 shortly before the small family traveled by wagon train to Colorado with his parents. Sherman was only a year old when his mother died on December 4, 1866 after their arrival in Chico, Colorado.

In 1869 Fin returned to Tekamah and married Lodusca's sister, Ellen C. Harrington who was born in Wisconsin in 1844. Fin and Ellen had three children: Birdie Pauline born in 1870; Claude in 1871; and Wade Hampton in 1873.

A “staunch Democrat; James B. Cox served as the county assessor for Pueblo for four years, having been elected in both 1874 and 1876.” Fin served as a Colorado State Legislator from Pueblo County in 1881 and 1882. Between 1873 and 1876 he co-owned a lumber mill called McPherson, Cox and Company outside of Pueblo.

In 1886 Fin moved his family and his parents to homestead land near “the Burnt Mill District.” “All the new settlements created a great demand for lumber, making saw mills one of the most profitable industries at the time. Fin partnered with Frank Benham and milled most of the lumber for the buildings in Rye.” “Benham and Cox ran a large logging camp between Beulah and Rye with some of the pioneer ranchers supplementing their income by working for them.” The J.B. Cox family is listed as an early family in what became Fairview; perhaps they summered in the mountain community.

James Bonley ‘Fin’ Cox died in 1899 at the age of 60. At the time of his death he still held a Timber Culture Act of 160 acres (Certificate #297). Ellen remained on the ranch until the early 1920’s when she moved in with her daughter in Bayfield, Colorado. She died in 1926 and both she and Fin are buried next to his parents in the Cox-Steele cemetery at what was the Cox Ranch.

Sherman Cox, Finn's eldest son, married Lenora Crawford in1891 and ranched in the Pueblo area. Fin and Ellen’s daughter, Birdie Pauline married Thomas Matthew Steele in 1890. He was the grandson of early Pueblo County pioneers Matthew Wilson and Harriet Rowland Steele. They moved to Bayfield, La Plata County, Colorado in 1920 with their five sons.

Claude Cox married Lou Anna Gill in 1897 and they too moved to Bayfield, Colorado. Wade Hampton Cox married Ethel Carole Patterson in 1907. They moved to San Marcos, California and had three children.

The Steele-Cox Ranch off of Burnt Mill Road was sold and became the Thomas Hankla Ranch. Later the land was sold to Mr. Ragulsky who later sold the property to Certified Concrete.

Other references in Rye history to those named Cox include Edna Maude Bowles Cox who was a teacher in the three-room Rye School and the new Rye School. She was married to Joe Cox. A different John Cox served as the minister of the Rye Home Church from 1930 to 1933, and was married to Suzy Sease from Beulah. These Cox families are of no relation to the descendents of John and Lydia Chastain Cox.

Sources:

‘The Real Pioneers of Colorado’ (1936), Vol. I, pp-249-250. Maria Davies McGrath, Division of the Denver Museum; Varies articles from ‘The Lore’; Chico, Pioneer and Cox Ranch Cemetery records; BLM homestead records; Federal Census Records


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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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