Mary Elizabeth Allen Cox


Mary Elizabeth was born 15 August 1836 at Clay Co. Missouri. Her father, Joseph Stewart Allen had previously received the gospel in Thompson, Ohio in 1831, and had moved to Kirtland among the saints. He went on to Clay County in Missouri with the Company known as "Zion's Camp", and it was there where he married Lucy Diantha Morley, September 2, 1835. Elizabeth was their first child.

They moved to Far West in 1838, then were driven from Missouri to Illinois, where they settled in Lima, Hancock County. They were threatened by the mobs there~ and were advised by the Prophet Joseph to move to Nauvoo, (1839 ). Her father took part in defending the lives and property of the Saints by acting as picket guard. They were good friends of the Prophet and he sometimes came to their home to escape the enemy and ask for protection and rest. Although the Prophet was martyred before she was eight years old, Mary well remembered sitting on his knee, and the terrible gloom succeeding his death.

In 1846 Mary’s parents started for the West with the other Saints being driven from Illinois by mob violence. They stopped at Pisgah, and her father got in a crop there. They left and went to Council Bluffs, then on up to Summer Quarters and raised a crop. Her father was councilor to the Bishop there. He and his wife buried four children while they were staying there on the Missouri River.

They emigrated to the Rocky Mountains in 1848 in President Young's company. Mary, being the eldest child had the responsibility of driving the oxen team most of the way across the plains, at the ago of 12. On one occasion, her oxen were worn out and she was walking. When they came to the Weber River, she waded it, anf from that she contracted an illness from which she has always been lame. Being all heated up and wading in the cold water gave her Rheumatism, and she was laid up six weeks and had to ride. It caused one leg to be shorter than the other. She suffered quite a lot the rest of her life. (Quote Almeda Cox) She was partly restored from Rheumatism by obeying the advice of Heber C. Kimball by bathing and drinking water of a sulphur spring.

They wintered in Salt Lake Valley after their arrival there, and in October 1849 her father was called to help settle Sanpete County, so their family moved to Manti, and it was so bitter cold that first winter that her feet were frozen.

During the grasshopper farmine, she did fully her share of gathering greens and digging segos, the latter being used for making gravy for their bran bread.

Mary married Orville Sutherland Cox, 3 July 1853 at Manti. She was his second wife, he having previously married Elvira P. Mills, in 1839 while living in Illinois. He took a third wife, Eliza Losee in 1859. They lived in Manti until 1860, then moved part of the family to Fairview, and part to Gunnison. Four children were born to her at Manti: Philena, Amos, Allen, and Theressa Elnora, and two were born at Fairview, Theodore and Lucy Elizabeth.

In 1864 part of the family moved to Glenwood and raised a crop. It was at Glencove, while visiting her parents that she narrowly escaped a cruel death by the savages. The Indians made a raid upon the settlers. Her parents lived in the outskirts of town and while she was fleeing to a place of safety, only half dressed and carrying her infant in her arms, an Indian shot at her, just as stepped across a small ditch. Fortunately the bullet intended for her missed both herself the and babe and splashed in the water at her feet. Theodore was the baby. Philena, about 12 years old then, was with her mother and well remembered the incident.

In 1865 her husband was advised by Lorenzo Snow to move to the Muddy Mission, a branch of the Virgin river running through Moapa Valley, there to assist in surveying and making irrigation ditches, as he was somewhat of an expert along this line. The first trip he took his third wife and her one child, Lucinda, and a son of his first wife. The next year, after crops were in and the spring work was done he returned to Fairview after Mary and her 5 children. While he was gone, Lucinda was drowned in the quicksand on the Muddy. Then Mary 1ost her little daughter, Lucy, for whom she grieved many years.

They stayed for six years in Nevada, calling their settlements St. Joseph and Overton. It was at St. Joseph in 1868 when another daughter, Viola, was born to Mary. They had planted a large orchard, and a vineyard that was just coming into bearing. They had nice homes and the land was very rich and fertile. Also they had made ditches and dams which would hold and irrigate without washing away the soil. But a new line was run between the states of Utah and Nevada, and they were in the Nevada section, and Nevada demanded back taxes which amounted to more than their homes were worth. Brigham Young told them to go back to Utah, so they went.

Elvira and her children returned to their old home in Fairview. The others stopped at an abandoned settlement in Long Valley, southern Utah. They cleaned out the deserted cabins, and Orville, her husband, and the boys began engineering the ditches and canals. They named this town Mt. Carmel. Mary gave birth to a daughter, Eleanor, while they lived here. And it was the same year that their daughter, Viola, died.

It wasn’t long until the former settlers learned that they had built dams that would stand, so they came back and claimed their homes, so the Cox group moved on up the valley into a pleasant narrow cove, where the men went to work again to build more dams, ditches and cabins. They named this new town Orderville. They had accepted the principles of cooperation and a commonwealth as taught by President Brigham Young, so they organized into the united order of Enoch, and named their town accordingly. They lived there 12 years. The women all worked together in love and harmony, and also the men worked unitedly. Mary bore her last child here. It was a son, Arthur.

When the Order broke up, Mary, and Eliza, second and third wives of Orville, each received a team and wagon, and Mary and her family settled in Huntington, Emery County. Orville was quite old. and his health was broken, so he went to live with Elvira at Fairview. He died in 1888 on July 4th. Mary and Elvira and many or his descendants were with him.

Then Mary lived in Huntington with her two unmarried children, Eleanor and Arthur, until the fall of 1893, when they went to Orderville to visit with her oldest daughter, Philena Esplin and family. They spent the winter there, and during this time Mary met and married Thomas Blackburn, a widower who years before had come from Australia. She then lived with him at Orderville until his death about 1898. He was a very kind good man and they had been happy.

After Mary became a widow again, Eleanor continued to live with her and kept up the home. Eleanor had married James Matthew Payne, but he deserted her before their son was born. Mary was an invalid for her last 6 years. She was paralyzed on one side and had to be cared for like a baby. She died from a stroke 25 Dec. 1916, aged 80, at Orderville. She was a mother of 9 children---4 sons and 5 daughters.

"One thing I remember about Grandma Cox (Mary)", writes Mamie Chamberlain, ”she was always busy. She and Aunt Ella (Eleanor) lived together and made quilts for themselves and others. Grandma knit stockings and socks--she also knit lace and did mending. She was a good cook. She walked with a cane as she was quite lame." A1meda, her daughter-in-law, remembers this about her: "She was short and chunky, had a medium complexion, light brown eyes and hair. She gardened quite a bit. She was rather touchy, always getting after kids as they went by the fence or through the lot. Some of them pulled out her head gates to tease her. She was a very industrious woman, amd would card, spin, and make yarn.”

Taken from the histories of her father,Mother, husband, and from those who knewand remembered her.
Prepared by Lenna Cox Wilcock, great grand-daughter, andMary E. Chamberlain. April 17, 1958.