A Short History of Frederick Walter Cox

by Farrin and Enola Johnson Mangelson (now deceased)

This short biography is a tribute to the great heritage of the descendents of Charles Edmund and Sullivan C Richardson.


In the town of Marblehead on the west end of Massachusetts Bay George Washington recruited mariners and fishermen to haul his army across the Delaware River attempting to surprise the British army. This area of America had been settled 150 years before the revolutionary war.

Robert Cox or Robert Cock, an ancestor of Frederick Walter Cox, lived in Marblehead. Robert Cox was wounded in a war with the Indians in December 1675, approximately 100 years before the Revolutionary War. Robert Cox’s will reflects that he was a religious man. He moved to Boston close to the famous Old North Church where the lights were signaled in the belfry during the Revolutionary War. Robert accumulated considerable property. In 1705 he married Agnes Okerman Kent, his second marriage. Their son Matthew Cox was born March 23, 1717

At age twenty two. Matthew Cox married Elizabeth Russell. Her line goes back to the King of England, Edward III. The Russells were a prominent family in Cambridge. They had a son who was christened Walter Cox on October 7, 1744. A Boston newsletter states that Mr. Matthew Cox from Cambridge fell from an apple tree and broke his neck on February 19, 1756. He died instantly leaving a widow with eight young children.

Walter Cox married Judith Deland. He became a tanner in Boston. Walter and Judith Cox moved during the Revolutionary War from Cambridge to Lexington for safety. Judith’s father, John Deland III, from Charleston, fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He died on a British Prison Ship. After the Revolutionary War, Walter and Judith Cox had a baby boy, Jonathan Upham Cox, on March 5, 1785.

Jonathan Upham Cox became a carpenter in Boston and married Lucinda Blood from Charleston, about August 1807. The record indicates that the Bloods were a family of large stature. In 1809, Jonathan Upham and Lucinda Cox moved from Boston to Plymouth, New York. Lucinda gave birth here on January 20, 1812, to a boy, Frederick Walter Cox, who eventually came to Manti, Utah. On November 25, 1814, Lucinda gave birth to Orville Sutherland Cox. (Some of Orville’s descendants live in Fairview, Utah. There are Coxes in Fairview, however, who are not closely related to either Fredrick Walter or Orville Sutherland Cox.) On December 13, 1826, Lucinda gave birth to a girl, Mary Elizabeth Cox.

Fredrick Walter Cox became a close friend to a young man Charles Whiting. F. W. Cox met the Mormon Elders in Windham, Ohio, and was converted to the Church. On September 16, 1835, Joseph Smith performed the marriage of F. W. Cox and a sister of Charles Whiting, Emeline Whiting. (Joseph also married Charles Whiting to Martha M Hurlburt the same day in Kirtland, Ohio. F. W. Cox and Charles Whiting were twenty three and Emeline was eighteen.) About two years later, Emeline said they hitched a wild steer and an old cow to a wagon and headed for Missouri, arriving at Far West, Missouri about November 1837. Charles Whiting and his wife probably traveled with them.

Here, F. W. Cox was introduced to Isaac Morley’s daughter, Cordelia, whom he would later marry in the Nauvoo temple. F. W. Cox was probably among the Mormons who were asked to give up their guns for peace and then were double crossed by the army mob at Far West. F. W. Cox was taken prisoner but was held only one night in Missouri. After being driven from Missouri, F. W. Cox was ordained a Seventy at Quincy, Illinois, on May 19, 1839. He was about twenty seven years old.

After being driven out of Caldwell County in Missouri and across the Mississippi river, the Coxes, Whitings, and Morleys pitched their tents in the backwoods where they lived until cabins could be built. F. W. Cox and Emeline had two small children. Walters’s brother in law, Edwin Whiting, and his wife, Elizabeth, also had two children. Cordelia Morley described their living conditions: “The tents in the back woods were our homes. It was cold weather and snowing. This was about 8 miles east of the Mississippi river and about 25 miles south of Nauvoo.”

The little group soon grew to three or four hundred people and was named Morley settlement. Church leaders from Nauvoo made Isaac Morley Branch President and F. W. Cox and Edwin Whiting his counselors. They held church in a little grove of trees. In October of 1840 the Morley settlement became part of the Lima Stake, and Hyrum Smith organized the stake with Isaac Morley, President, John Murdock, first Counselor, and F. W. Cox, second Counselor. Morley settlement was later named “Yelrome.” (Morley written backward with an “e” added.”

F. W. Cox, now in the Stake Presidency, lived with his wife and three children in a one room log cabin. The cabin had a dirt roof, split logs on the floor, and one small window with a cloth across it--no glass. In the fall the family gathered wild walnuts, butternuts, and hickory nuts and stored them for winter. F. W. Cox was called upon to marry two young couples in June, 1841. He was one of the many brethren who were called on missions in 1842 or 1843 to counteract the falsehoods made by John C Bennett who had been excommunicated for sexual sins. While living in Yelrome, F. W. Cox operated a chair making shop.

Brigham Young came to Morley settlement for Stake Conference on September 11, 1842. Elder Young taught the principles of plural marriage at this conference. Members of the stake were pledged to give one tenth of their time or money to build the Nauvoo temple. Another conference conducted by Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff was held in the Lima Stake about April 21, 1844. F. W. Cox and Edwin Whiting, along with 24 others, volunteered to go out and preach the gospel and speak for the election of Joseph Smith to be President of the United States. F. W. Cox was called to New England. Edwin Whiting was called to Pennsylvania. On May 4, 1844, before F. W. Cox left for this assignment, he took his wife and children to see the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. Cordelia Morley, the town school teacher, described F. W. Cox at this time as tall and well appearing,

Cordelia Morley, now twenty years old in the spring of 1844, said that her parents introduced plural marriage to her when Joseph Smith asked their consent for her to be his wife. (Apparently the prophet Joseph Smith went in a similar manner to Benjamin F Johnson when he married Benjamin’s sister.) Cordelia said intimate friends of the Prophet, after the Prophet’s death, came and talked to her about accepting the Prophet’s wishes, of course, now to be sealed to him.

Around this time, Mary Elizabeth Cox, who had been living in Ohio, was induced by her brother Fredrick Walter Cox while he was still on his Presidential Election assignment, to join his family at Morley, or Yelrome, Illinois. At a conference held in Nauvoo on April 6, 7 and 8, Mary Elizabeth Cox was baptized in the Mississippi River.

Burned Out