Orville Sutherland Cox

Note: This is a short sketch of Orville's life. See the O S Cox histories.

ORVILLE SUTHERLAND COX, fifth son of Jonathan Upham Cox, was born 25 Nov 1814 in Plymouth, New York. He was very young when his father died, so he was bound out to a blacksmith to learn the trade. His master, Deacon Jones, was to send him to school 3 months of each year and to properly raise him, but he was very severe, broke his agreement, loaned him no tools, and taught him nothing. The women had a dairy, but they would not give him any milk, which he loved. They made him tend the charcoal pits constantly.

Orville stayed with these people 3 years, but felt that his life was unbearable slavery and determined to leave them at the first opportunity, with his mother's knowledge if not her consent. The Deacon had official business that would take him away from home all day, so the boy decided this was the time to put long distance between him and the Deacon.

He traveled as fast as he could to the river Chenango and followed it along until he found a hollowed-out log that served as a boat. With makeshift paddles he started down the stream. As night came on, he was horrified to find that the log was filling with water and in danger of sinking at any moment. Luckily he found an old keller, or butter tub, that he could use to bail out the water and keep afloat. Knowing his danger, he kept near the shore so that if it sank, he could swim ashore.

Next morning he was tired out from bailing and rowing. When a man hailed him and asked to be taken along, he said, "Yes, if you will bail". So they went along together to where the Chenango and the Schuylkill Rivers joined. Here there was a boat landing and a steamboat about ready to leave. Using all their remaining strength they caught the boat, and Orville climbed aboard. The man called after him, "What shall I do with your boat?", and Orville answered back, "Let 'er sink".

He made his way to one of his brothers who was logging for a lumber company. Orville went to Far West in 1837. When driven from there, he located in the Morley Settlement near Lima, Illinois. Here he met his wife, a Mormon girl. He was not a Mormon, and declared he did not propose to become one to get a wife; if she married him she must marry a gentile.

They were married 3 Oct 1839 in Father Whiting's house. On 6 Oct 1839 they visited Nauvoo, 20 miles away, where he was baptized by the Prophet Joseph. So, it did not take his girl-wife long to convert him.

He was a forester, a lumberman, a brave frontiersman, a splendid blacksmith, a real engineer, and a natural genius. They have a large posterity of stalwart sons and daughters scattered throughout Utah and Idaho to carry on the work and name.