Birth: 23 Aug 1853.
Father: Frederick Walter Cox.
Mother: Cordelia Calista Morley Cox.
Blessed: 1853 by Isaac Morley, his grandfather.
Baptism: 8 Aug 1868 by Andrew J. Moffitt.
Confirmed by: Daniel Henry.
Elder: 13 Feb 1870.
Seventy: 8 Aug 1884.
High Priest: 8 May 1904 by Lewis Anderson.
Marriage: 12 Jan 1873, Elizabeth Ann Johnson, in the home of Isaac Morley by Bishop Andrew J. Moffitt.
Endowment: 10 Nov 1873 in the Endowment House, Salt lake City.
Sealing Husband & Wife: 10 Nov 1873, Endowment House.
Patriarchal Blessing: by Gardner Snow 11 Feb 1876.
Called to help settle Arizona by Brigham Young 16 Feb 1876.
Released June 1879.
Served as president of the Y.M.M.I.A.
Served as president of the Elders Quorum
First person to baptize in the Manti Temple 29 May 1888.
Served as one of the presidents of the Forty-eighth Quorum of Seventies
In 1890 he was elected a member of Manti City Council, and again in 1897.
Departed to England 16 Sep 1901 at age 48.
Set apart 17 Sep 1901 in the Salt lake Temple annex.
Left England to return home 1 Oct 1903.
He & Elizabeth received their Second Annointings in Manti Temple, 15 Dec 1903.
Called First Counselor to Bishop N.R. Peterson, 4 May 1904.
Second Counselor Joseph Hatten Carpenter.
Released from Bishopric 15 Feb 1921.


I was born in Manti, Sanpete County, Utah, on August 23, 1853. Our home was a room in the little stone fort. This room was in the southwest corner. The fort was built very near the present site of Sanpete County Court House and where the tithing office now stands. I was the fourth child, the only boy of a family of six girls, three older and three younger.

I stood in the west end of the fort and watched Johnston's army go by (this would be when Johnston's Army left Utah). It was on its way south to Salina. From there it went over the mountains and east to Green River. At Green River they left several wagons abandoned. An Indian came and told my father. Father took Archie Buchanan. Paddy the Indian led them to Green River where they found the wagons and brought them home to Manti. The wagons were a real blessing to the Cox Family.

As a youngster I herded sheep. While herding sheep one day, I saw a coyote, and swinging my hat and shouting, I frightened it. But I was caught between the fence and the coyote. Just then the coyote decided to go back to the dead sheep it had been feasting on. I was so frightened I ran for the fence and cried. But I was very young. (His mother Cordelia's history states that he began herding sheep at the age of six.)


Aunt Hattie Cox Reid, now 86 years of age, regards marriage as a very sacred and holy vow. When asked about pioneer courtship she replied with characteristic dignity, "I don't know about the courtship of anyone else, and after all these years mine is too sacred to talk about." In early days when homes were small in proportion to the number in the family, young people of similar age and interests went in groups to church, dances and for sleigh rides and walks. The parents encouraged this custom. The Cox home known as the "Big House" was one of the social centers in Manti. Uncle Henry Reid and Aunt Hattie were always lovers and treated each other with unfailing courtesy and consideration. Of their fifty odd years of companionship, she remarked, "While we didn't have the things we wanted, we always had love and that is, after all, the biggest thing."

Getting married with the sanction and approval of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant careful planning. Making the trip to Salt Lake City to have the ceremony performed in the Endowment House necessitated several days' journey. Five couples from Manti had been called to colonize in Arizona. Only one couple was married, FRANCIS M. COX and ELIZABETH JOHNSON COX. The other four couples made the trip as far as York in sleighs, which was then the railroad terminal.

When they reached this little town they found that two children had died of scarlet fever, making it impossible for them to stay at the homes, as they had planned. This made it necessary for the group to stay on the train all night. It was bitter cold and all the robes and quilts which had made them comfortable in the sleighs had been sent back home with the drivers. The boys were as gallant as Sir Walter Raleigh, and gave their overcoats to the girls to keep them warm. It seemed impossible to keep the chair car warm with the small wood stoves. In their efforts to keep warm, the boys ran up and down the tracks most of the long cold night.

Before the train left in the morning many "Arizona missionaries" crowded the train, either to get married in the Endowment House or to receive instruction for their mission, or both. Upon their arrival in Salt Lake City these couples were taken to the home of Daniel H. Wells. The daughter, May Wells, had taught school in Manti for several years and had been a frequent visitor to the "Big House". Daniel H. Wells, whom they knew and loved, performed the marriage ceremonies in the old Endowment House on January 3, 1876. When they returned to the Wells home a fine wedding dinner was served. Two of the grooms, because of extreme shyness disappeared and ate dinner down town. They all remained in Salt Lake to receive several days' instruction regarding the Arizona trip and mission.

On their return trip they stayed overnight in Nephi and waited for the sleighs to come for them from Manti. Upon their arrival home they found the town busy making a big reception for this group of newlyweds. The upstairs in the old Council House was filled with long tables covered with favorite foods. Later they danced downstairs where the rooms were decorated with pine boughs and cones. During the evening there were solos, duets, and quartets as well as speeches and the usual benediction.

This group of young married people consisted of Sam Snow and Hattie Moffitt, Charley Moffitt and Mamie Snow, John Peacock and Serena Moffitt and Henry Reid and Hattie Cox. These young folks were popular in the community. The hearty congratulations and well wishes of the entire town gave them additional courage to undertake their mission to colonize Arizona. After less than two weeks of additional preparation the interrupted honeymoon was continued. Five wagons with extra horses, cows, pigs and chickens, as well as provisions and household goods started on the long and dangerous journey over hazardous mountain roads and desert country. Great credit must be given these courageous young people who endured hardships almost equal to those suffered by the members of the Mormon Battalion.


Brigham Young, in 1875, sent a party under James S. Brown to continue exploration of the Little Colorado. This expedition made headquarters at Moenkopi, a Hopi town that became an outpost and oasis for the soon-to arrive pioneers. Brown and two others traveled up the Little Colorado for a considerable distance, discovering a fine, open country with plentiful water and grass, good farming land and timber.

Following Brown's return to Utah in January 1876, arrangements for a colonizing party were quickly made. In a matter of two days calls were sent out for two hundred men with their families, who were organized into four companies of fifty men under the leadership of Lot Smith, William C. Allen, George Lake and Jesse O. Ballenger, with Smith assuming general leadership over all. Early in February some of the wagons began to move out. Other than the specification that Kanab was to be the assembling point, there was little attempt to keep the wagons together. Each member went southward as he could, to report to his leader at the Little Colorado.

One account of the journey was recorded by FRANCIS M. COX, who with Henry Reid, Sam Snow, John Peacock and Charles Moffitt, was selected to serve from Manti. He describes typical conditions that greeted the travelers and establishes the trail used by most of the northern colonizers:

It is fifty long years since we were called to go to Arizona, and many changes have taken place. But of those old times, we who are left do not forget. In 1876 there were none of our people living in Arizona, New Mexico, or Colorado. Now there are many of them in all of those states.

President Brigham Young called two hundred men or families to go into Arizona. This number was divided among the towns as far south as Manti. Bishop Maiben of the Manti Ward, after conference with other men of prominence in the towns, chose the following five as the allotment from that settlement. These men were: Henry Reid, Sam Snow, John Peacock, Charley Moffitt, and Francis M. Cox, myself.

On the 16th of February 1876 we began our journey. Henry Reid and myself had our wives with us. There was one wagon with horses, two with mules and two ox teams, after the rest were brought to Salina. I drove an ox-team. On the third day after starting, we having gotten a little south of Salina, the mail carrier came along from the south, traveling in a buckboard. It was Peter Clausen. He was also from Manti and we were well acquainted with him. Sam and John jumped on the buckboard with him. He popped his whip and away they went back toward Salina. We looked for them to jump off, but they went on. But toward night they came back and said we must stop here for they had sent for their wives. They had also sent for Charley's wife without even asking him. He appeared rather angry, but was glad anyway. We hardly knew how to take them, but we waited three days and all started out together.

On the 16 of February 1876 we began our journey. We started this time of year to be able to get to Arizona in time to plant crops. Henry Reid and myself had our wives with us. There was one wagon with horses, two mule-teams and two oxen-teams. I drove an ox team and had two pigs, 5 hens and a rooster.

When we got to Hatch's ranch near the headwaters of the Sevier River, we were told that we were to leave two-thirds of our load because the grade of the road was very steep. We were getting into deep snow, and when we reached the top of the mountains the snow was between four and five feet deep. Those that had gone over the road before us had left some sleds to use. So three of us hitched to the sleds and went back for the other third of our loads. I went down to Orderville with the oxen and cows and was back the next day. It was so stormy that day that the boys didn't make their trip, so the next day we got the rest of our things.

We now had a downhill grade that was fine, but as soon as we got out of the snow we found mud that was terrible. I had to go back to Orderville and get two yoke of oxen to get through the mud. For three days I was going all of the time with the oxen from one wagon to another to pull them out. Just to here we were thirteen days getting 30 miles. It was very hard work. Several times I had to pull horses out of the mud. It was very hard work, especially for me, as I was used to oxen and had to take the lead and get much of the hardest work.

When we got to Orderville we were out of the snow and mud, but we then got into the sand. Our experiences seemed to be multiplying. The girls were sick, and when we got to Kanab we lost our oxen. We hunted three days for them, but could not find them. So we hired the Indians to find them and they did. We started out again but could not travel very fast. One day when we were plodding along, Charley Moffit said, "What damn fools we are to go away out here just because we were asked to." He had gotten discouraged, which was rather easy to do.

We traveled late into the night when crossing the Buckskin Mountains. There were lots of cedars and brush, and we lost Henry's riding horse. The horse went back to Navajo Wells. He was saddled and got caught by the reins. He was found by the Indians. In a few days he would have choked to death. They took him back to Kanab. George Potter knew the horse, and when he could he sent him out.

By this time we were pretty well out of the mountains. To look south we could see a long way without seeing mountains. We passed House Rock Spring, Jacob's Pool and Soap Creek. Then we went to Lee's Ferry, on the banks of the Colorado River. Here lived Emma Lee, and a better heart was never found in a woman. We crossed all right. The distance across the river, Brother Johnson said, was three hundred sixty five yards. After we crossed we began eating dinner. We heard a noise in the water. There was a cow and ox yoked together of Ad Hickings going back into the water. We could not stop them, and on they went. Soon they had to swim. The ox swam a little faster, so instead of going straight across, they swam in a big circle, going around three times. They got a little nearer the edge when the ox struck the bottom. He turned and pulled the cow out exactly where thy had gone in.

From the river to the top of the hill was nearly a mile long and it was hard to climb. We climbed to the top and found the road going down on the other side also very steep. There was just a narrow ridge going down and it was called Lee's Backbone. Down the ridge one ox team ran, but stopped further down on the level. From there it was eight miles to Navajo Springs, and we could not get all of our things there that night. One or two wagons were left, and some of our oxen and cows, but the next day all was got together, and then we rested.

We separated, the horse teams started out first, leaving the ox teams of Will Whipple, John Peacock and myself to come slower. But in a few days, on the first of May, we followed. We were now on the desert and could follow the road by the camp places of those who went before. The next watering place was called Bitter Springs. Here we had the worst water on our trip and on that day we had bad luck. The road was crooked with many ups and downs. The water was away from the road, and the only way to tell where to stop was to look for previous camp fires. It was hard to tell in the dark, so we looked and traveled on. By and by we concluded that we had passed the water, so we stopped. We didn't dare turn the stock out when they were so thirsty so we tied them up and went on afoot to see if we could find the place, but could not and came back to the wagon undecided what to do. So two of us started back on foot. We didn't have a horse. We traveled miles but could not find water. It was three o' clock in the morning, so we turned the stock out and herded them until morning, when we went again to find water, and found we had been close to it the night before when we turned back.

We drove to the next springs and rested there until one o' clock in the afternoon. It was forty five miles to the next spring called Willow Springs. It was such warm weather, it was hard for the oxen to travel in the hot sun. They could travel better at night, so we traveled on until sundown, had our suppers, then started on again to travel all night. As we had had little sleep for several nights we were tired and sleepy. But I had the cows and stock to drive, so I did not have time to get sleepy. I told John especially, to be sure and not go to sleep. I was on lead with Whipple next, and John last. So we traveled on for a time. But I missed John and decided he must have gone to sleep. We stopped and got the girls out to watch the oxen, Whipple watched the cows, and I started back to find him. I walked for about one mile when I came up to them. He was sound asleep lying back in the wagon, three of his oxen were lying down in the road chewing their cuds just as peacefully as he was. His wife had fallen asleep, too.

We traveled on until nearly morning. The girls had been asleep, so we got them up to watch the stock while we men slept. But dawn came soon and it showed a streak of green willows ahead. It was Willow Springs & we soon drove on. This 45 miles was the greatest distance we had between water. We were resting there when Charley Moffitt came up. I almost hated to hear him speak, for I was so afraid something was wrong, for I thought they were a hundred miles ahead of us. But they had had sickness and were afraid they would never see us again. We went to their camp which was only three miles ahead of us. This was Saturday. Sunday came, and Brother Brown with others came down from Moenkopi, a spring where many of our people were. (James Brown had been sent back to Arizona to aid in the colonization.)

The next morning the horse teams started, leaving the ox teams to follow. It was about twenty five miles from there to the Little Colorado. We traveled the distance easily. In the morning after the first night on the Little Colorado we found some of our oxen fast in the quicksand, but we got them out.

We followed the Little Colorado River as best we could, but at times, because of bends in the river, it might take all day to reach the river. We were like the Indian who was lost. He said, "Indian right here, but wickiup lost." On the twenty second of May we saw a horseman crossing the road. He went to a high peak, then went in another direction. When we got to the place where he had crossed the road, we turned toward the river. When we got close, we could see among the cottonwoods and brush some covered wagons and tents. This was the place. We were with our Manti folks again. We had been a little over three months on the road.


The leading teams, with about thirty men and a few women, reached the Sunset crossing of the Little Colorado, March 23, 1876, the migration continuing for some time thereafter. Apparently it had not been the plan to form one large settlement into which all four leaders and their groups could pour their energies. Instead, each captain chose a different spot. Allen went upstream where he established Allen's Camp, later to be known as Joseph City. Lake's company chose a site across the river from Allen's, naming it Obed. BALLENGER set up his camp near the river crossing, and Lot Smith's group settled across the river, calling their camp Sunset. The four colonies were situated within a radius of twenty miles.

The pioneers set about immediately to build homes, dams and canals. In BALLENGER the dam was built near the settlement, and by July 13, 1876, Jesse Ballenger was able to report to Brigham Young that the dam and ditch were nearly completed, with fifty acres of ground plowed and ready to be seeded to corn. Other crops eventually planted were squash, melons, tomatoes, oats, barley and wheat, the latter being ground in a coffee mill until the gristmill was operating. Sullivan C. Richardson of Ballenger noted, "Cane did extra well, and when molasses was made, citron and melon rinds added would make a batch of surprisingly delicious preserves, a greatly appreciated addition to those "big table" meals already made so tasty not only by the finest of butter and cheese, a few potatoes raised in the mountains, etc., but also by appetites put almost beyond limits by hard work, struggle and hardship."

Sunset constructed a dam near the mouth of Clear Creek, but it was of short duration. Frequent washouts made it necessary to borrow irrigation water from Brigham City (Ballenger). Within a year they abandoned their own dam and purchased a one-half interest in their neighbors' more stable supply.

Because the colonists were situated between two fierce bands of Indians, they were advised to build forts. In Ballenger, the largest colony at the time, there arose a fort two hundred feet square, with rock walls seven feet high. Inside were thirty-six dwelling houses, each fifteen by thirteen feet. On the north side was the dining hall, with two rows of tables to seat more than 150. Meals were prepared in a community kitchen.

A dining room of such large dimensions was the result of instructions from Brigham Young that the colonists organize themselves under the rules of the United Order, a plan found to work very well in settling new country. Some were to work at farming, others to build the houses, and even the tasks of going to and from Utah and New Mexico for provisions were to be included. As soon as possible, the colonies banded together to establish a common sawmill and gristmill, a tannery and dairy.

Brigham Young and other Church authorities were keenly interested in the new settlements. Two months after the first arrivals reached the Little Colorado, President Daniel H. Wells and a party that included Erastus Snow and a number of other leading Church men paid them a visit. And despite the difficulties of travel, the colonists met together often to discuss their business affairs and problems. In July 1877 they all met at Allen's Camp to celebrate Independence Day, and on the Twenty-fourth, Pioneer Day was honored at BALLENGER'S CAMP.

We were united in our work and endeavors in the United Order. We all had work in farming or working on a dam. Some wheat was sown, but there was no harvest. Some corn was planted and we got some ears to roast. The Little Colorado went dry, and there was no water to irrigate with. By fall there were few of the people left. They went back home. For eighteen months we lived on a small amount of food that was rationed to us.

I was assistant manager in the farming. I was especially assigned to look after the water, and Isaac was the manager of the farming. For protection against the Indians we built a nine foot high wall around a square acre of ground. We built a porthole every 16 feet in the wall. Inside the fort we built a room 16 feet long of cottonwood. Our roof was willow with dirt as an outside covering.

While making a trip for the settlement, I was sent with three other teams from camps above us on the river. I was the only one from our settlement. I shoed an ox by myself. I was 150 miles from our settlement and had a tender-footed ox. I tied the oxen's three feet to each other, and tied the fourth foot to the wheel of the wagon. I boiled tar and put the oxen's foot into the tar, and then into the sand, and so I drove home without any sore-footed oxen.

The year 1878 was climactic for the northern Arizona settlements. Two years of colonization had seen a flow of pioneers enter the valley of the Little Colorado, and others leave to return to Utah or elsewhere.

John W. Young, first counselor to President Brigham Young, arrived at Sunset on January 26, 1878, and called a conference of all the settlers in the colonies. The Little Colorado Stake was then organized, with Lot Smith as president and Jacob Hamblin and Lorenzo Hatch as counselors. Sunset was to be regarded as headquarters.

Obed, twin community of Allen's Camp, had completed its outstanding fort, built a schoolhouse and established a school. But the settlement, with its constant water problems, proved to be malarial and had been abandoned by 1878, many of the settlers moving to BALLENGER.

IN 1878 BALLENGER WAS RENAMED BRIGHAM CITY in honor of President Young, and Jesse O. Ballenger was succeeded as leader by George Lake of the now defunct Obed Camp. Two hundred seventy-four acres were under cultivation, more than half of it in wheat. A pottery in charge of a Brother Behrman was providing kitchen ware as excellent as any produced in Utah. One family was operating a sawmill in the mountains, and school was being taught by J.A. Woods. But there had been failures too; the wheat crop of 1876 had not even paid for the seed and food had to be hauled from Utah.

BRIGHAM CITY and Sunset, known as the lower settlements, had cooperated in their water problems, but perhaps they, like Obed, had been tempting fate by settling so close to the implacable river, for Lot Smith of Sunset later wrote, "The Indians told us that if we are indeed to live where we are encamped, we had better fix some scaffolding in the trees."

In August 1878 a report reached the Deseret News saying that "for a week the rain had been pouring down almost incessantly; that the whole bottom was covered with water; that some of the farms were submerged and grain in shocks was flooded. That the gristmill of BRIGHAM CITY was inundated and the grain stacks there were deep in water, with the inhabitants using boats and rafts to get around their farms!"

The water problems were not only devastating to the land but to the spirit of the pioneers. One settler said, "Many are very careless and do not care whether they work or not and are sitting down or talking most of the time." George Lake, in speaking of the situation in BRIGHAM CITY, remarked: "The Saints, as a rule, were very earnest in their endeavors to carry out the principles of the Order, but some became dissatisfied and moved away. Discouragement became general, and in 1881 all were released from the mission. The settlement was practically broken up, the people scattering."

The Sunset settlers held on until 1885; after that the Lot Smith family was the only one left upon the ground, and they departed in 1888. Writing in a poetic vein, Lot lamented, "This is a strange country, belonging to a people whose lands the rivers have spoiled."

Thus it was that of the five earliest Little Colorado River settlements, only Allen's Camp--renamed St. Joseph, then Joseph City--survived.

(But PIONEER COX was not entirely dispirited over the failure of the three settlements.) There were a lot of good people out there who did all they could, but of course we had it hard. But I believe the object for which we went there was accomplished, because our little camps acted as recruiting places where we could care for and feed the people that came after us, who were on their way to other parts of Arizona, which was probably what the Church leaders had in mind when they called us to help settle Arizona. In this way other parts of Arizona became settlements, and thus the beautiful deserts of Arizona came to blossom and become prosperous because of the foundation laid by these Mormon Pioneers.

On Sept., 3, 1878, I, Francis M. Cox, my wife, and baby son Frank, who was born in Brigham City, in company with Addison Hickens and Elijah Jones, with their wives, started back for home. We were going home for supplies and necessary clothing. We reached Manti October 6, 1878, the greatest day of our lives. Home Sweet Home, to meet fathers and mothers, and all of those brothers and sisters. In the evening most of the town was there, brass band and the choir all bidding us welcome home. Before I could sleep that night I promised myself that if the authorities or the people of Manti required anything of me, I would do it. So far I have kept my promise. In August 1879 I was released from going back to Arizona by Erastus Snow.

(Verona's comment: FRANCIS MORLEY COX, our ancestor, was released from his mission in 1879 after his father, Frederick Walter Cox, was killed in a logging accident in June 1879. Francis was the only living son of Cordelia and he had the responsibility to care for his widowed mother.)


He built a nice home and was a representative citizen. His occupation was farming and woolgrowing.

Speaking of Manti Cemetery: In the early eighties many pine trees were planted. Francis M. Cox and his brother Byron planted some of the first trees and guaranteed them to live. They were paid one dollar each for each tree planted. The month of June proved to be the best time of the year for transplanting. James Tatton and Christian Hemmingson went to the mountains with their teams and wagons and filled the wagon boxes with rich mountain soil. Into this soil the young pines were set.

Frances wrote: I spent my 49th and 50th birthdays in England as a missionary. I crossed the ocean on a ship called the Commonwealth. There was a large company on board. Lorenzo Snow was President of the Church when I was called to my mission. I went to London, and was then sent to Birmingham.

On 23 Aug 1903, the fiftieth birthday of Francis Morley Cox, while he was on his mission in England, his family met at his home to honor him and to leave money so he could make a trip to London before he came home. His mother Cordelia wrote in his honor--this is recorded with her history.

DUP, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 20, Old Cemeteries, Sanpete County, p. 164
DUP, An Enduring Legacy
YOUNG COLONIZERS, Written by Jean Cox
History of Sanpete County by W.H. Lever, 1898, p. 113, 114
Some details as told to his granddaughter Alice Smyth King
Most of this account was originally recorded by Frances Morley Cox. The DUP edited the original account for publication. A copy of the original was in possession of Verona Blackham Balle, who included details from the original account not included in the DUP material, for the interest of the family.

The modified account, plus information from the above mentioned sources, was rearranged and edited Carl Cox, July, 2007


A Patriarchal Blessing offered upon the head of Francis, the son of Frederick W. & Cordelia Cox, born Aug 23rd 1853, Manti City, Sanpete Co., Utah

Bro. Francis, I place my hands upon your head to give you a blessing, & by virtue of my office as a Patriarch I bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, & I seal upon your head the blessings of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. And inasmuch as you are of the blood of Joseph, through the loins of Ephraim, thou art a lawful heir to the blessings of the Promised seed. Thy name shall be enrolled with the sons of Jacob, thou shall be blessed with flocks & herds like Jacob of old. Thou shalt obtain the riches of the earth & the dew from on high shall bless thee. Thou shall receive the choice fruits of earth. Thy table shall be crowned with plenty. I seal and confirm all your former ordinations, sealings & blessing and endowments which you have received in the House of the Lord. Through your faithfulness in keeping your covenants, you shall receive every blessing your heart can desire in righteousness. You shall live upon the earth to see an house built unto the Lord in Jackson Co., Missouri, & a cloud to rest upon it by day & a pillar of fire by night, & gather in and receive the blessings the Lord has in store for thee. Thy name shall be enrolled with the Church of the First Born & if thou desirest it, thou mayest live to behold the coming of the Son of Man. I seal you up together with your companion & posterity unto Eternal lives to come forth in the morn of the first resurrection to meet thy Saviour in the clouds of Heaven to receive a celestial crown in the mansions of thy Father, & through your faithfulness I seal all these blessings upon your head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Even so Amen.

Gardner Snow, Patriarch
William Bench, clerk

Given Feb. 11th 1876
Manti City, Sanpete Co.
Vol. 124, p. 10

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