Burned Out

On September 10, 1845 an armed mob entered Yelrome. Most of the men were gone. It was cowardly for the mob to strike at that time. One of the eighteen-member mob came to F. W. Cox’s wife and told her to get what she wanted out of the house in a hurry. She took nine-year old Fred, sick with a fever, to a near by tree. Six-year-old Louisa held her two year old sister. Bill, five, followed his mother. Emeline was five months pregnant. She moved her things out and the mob put straw on the floor and set fire to the home, hay stack, and stack of unthrashed grain. When F. W. Cox came back that evening he helped cook supper on the burning embers of his home. The next day, F. W. Cox took his family to Nauvoo in a heavy rainstorm, and there found someone to live with on Parley Street. There were three or four families living in one home. ³

At a conference in Nauvoo on October 6, 1845, William Smith, the prophet’s brother, came up for a sustaining vote as an apostle but Orson Pratt arose and gave two objections. A vote was called to sustain him but it was unanimously against him. At this same meeting John Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s uncle, was sustained as President of the Nauvoo Stake.

The families from Yelrome, now living in Nauvoo, needed food so the men decided to go back and try to get corn from their fields at night. The mob found this out and decided to stop this night harvesting. F. W. Cox and Ed Durfee were seen by the mob and one of the mob shot and killed Durfee. The man then aimed at F. W. Cox but a strange feeling came over him. The Mormons heard later that the mob man could not pull the trigger. Upon learning about this brother Cox acknowledged the power of the almighty in his escape and knew his work was not finished on this earth.

On January 27, 1846, in the Nauvoo Temple, Edwin Whiting was married for time and eternity to Elizabeth Tillotson, Almira Mecham and Mary Elizabeth Cox, the sister of F. W. Cox. Descendents of Edwin Whiting and Mary Elizabeth Cox Whiting therefore are blood relatives of F. W. Cox’s descendents, including the two sons Charles Edmund Richardson and Sullivan Calvin Richardson.

F. W. Cox and Emeline Whiting Cox knelt at the altar in the Nauvoo temple and were married for time and eternity. Cordelia Morley then knelt at the altar ready to be married to F. W. Cox. Heber C Kimball spoke to her and reminded her that Joseph Smith had asked her to marry him. While kneeling at the altar, F. W. Cox agreed she should be sealed to Joseph Smith. Brigham Young knelt at the altar and stood as proxy for Joseph Smith and Cordelia Morley was sealed for eternity to Joseph Smith. F. W. Cox was then married to Cordelia for time.

This same day, Jemima Losee was married to F. W. Cox for time and eternity. About a month later Emeline gave birth to a baby girl in the basement of a home in Nauvoo. This must have been a damp cold place because the water table in Nauvoo was very close to the surface. F. W. Cox, Emeline, five children, and his new wife, Jemima Losee Cox, left Nauvoo in March 1846. Cordelia M Cox remained in Nauvoo with her parents because she was not well at that time.

At Mt Pisgah, Iowa, a major settlement was established on the Mormon trail. F. W. Cox built two huts and one log cabin for his families. He cut trees and made benches and seats for a school in a grove of trees. Mary E Cox Whiting was the teacher. Many acres of ground were plowed and planted here. Other saints coming later would harvest some of these crops.

F. W. Cox and Emeline had two little girls, Louisa and Eliza, who died of a sickness in the camp. So many people in the camp were sick, including Emeline, that he made a little coffin, carried their bodies to a grave, and buried them by himself. Their names can probably be found today on the marker at Mt. Pisgah. They died August 18, 1846.

F. W. Cox’s wife, Cordelia, came to Mt Pisgah with her parents. On September 23, 1846, Cordelia gave birth to a baby girl in the little twelve by twelve foot cabin F. W. Cox had built. The cabin had an earth floor, no windows, and the door consisted of a quilt hung over the opening. F. W. Cox harvested his corn crop at Mt Pisgah.

F. W. Cox wanted to go to the new home in the west with the second company of 1847, in which families could go together. However Brigham Young assigned him to the job of inspecting wagons. No wagon was to start West without F. W. Cox’s permission.

In the spring of 1848, F. W. Cox was called to serve as first counselor in the Branch Presidency at Cutler Park in Nebraska. (This is part of Omaha now.) He was counselor to President Alpheus Cutler under the direction of Heber C Kimball. They soon, however, moved the branch across the Missouri river and established a town in Iowa called Silver Creek, not far from the east side of the river. (Silver Creek is no longer in existence.)

By now it became common knowledge that the Mormons were practicing polygamy. In the fall of 1851 F. W. Cox was summoned to court in Mills, Iowa. He no doubt told the court that polygamy was a religious practice and that his grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War for religious freedom. He told the court: “I will never desert those two young wives so help me.” The court agreed not to molest him if would move the two wives out of Mills County by January 15, 1852.

He found a deserted cabin in Carterville, Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Early in the morning of January 15, he hitched his team of oxen, loaded Cordelia, Jemima, five children and a few goods and started the 25 mile journey. They arrived at the cabin around 9:00 pm after a very cold January ride. The cabin was a fourteen by fourteen foot room with one window; it had been used as a stable. They took up the floor the next day, cleaned under the boards, washed the boards and put them back down. Amos Cox brought a stove for them. F. W. Cox cut a good supply of wood and arranged for a neighbor to cut more. He then returned to Silver Creek to continue to prepare to go to the West.

Cordelia Morley Cox went to bed crying one night thinking that maybe polygamy was not from The Lord. In her patriarchal blessing she was told “The Lord by His Spirit shall whisper unto thee comforting words.” That night she had a dream and Cordelia said “the spirit said to me, ‘do not ever change your marriage conditions or wish it otherwise for you are better off than thousands of others.’” Cordelia said that she never doubted about plural marriage any more.

Before F. W. Cox got back Jemimas time for birth had arrived. They needed help and Cordelia said that they knelt and prayed to God. Soon after a woman knocked on the door, came in and helped with the delivery of a baby girl. Three days later, F. W. Cox tried to find the lady, but no one knew of a woman by the description.

Prelude      Going West