Orville Mills Cox

Orville Mills Cox was born in Salt Lake City in the Territory of Deseret on the 29th day of November, 1847, being the first white boy born in Utah who lived to be a man. We are told two or three girls lived, and a baby boy, and a Smoot boy who died at age 13 had been born earlier. At the Pioneer Jubilee July 24, 1897, he was given a gold medal for being an 1847 pioneer, along with his brother Al, his sister Ada, and his mother. His father had died in 1888.

He was the son of Orville Sutherland Cox and Elvira Pamela Mills. They had reached Salt Lake October 2, 1847 in the Charles C. Rich Company.

November 1, 1849, they reached Manti with the pioneers led by father Morley. That winter they lived in a dugout in the south side of Temple Hill. The front was protected by woven willows: through the crevices the smoke could escape while the family kept warm and comfortable in the cave.

In the summer of 1850, the 2 1/2 year old boy liked to sit on the doorstep to eat his bread and milk supper. One evening his mother asked him to eat at the table. "I want to feed my nikkie", he answered. They had no kitty so they watched. A big rattle snake coiled up beside him. He ate a bite of bread and milk, then gave a spoon full to the snake, which drank the milk and he ate the rest. After the snake was killed, his health improved.

At age six, his scalp was almost torn off by a kick from a horse. His mother told them, "He will be all right." She sewed up his scalp while he was unconscious

In 1861 they moved to North Bend, now Fairview.

At age 20, "down on the Muddy" he was in the cabin loft in bed while his mother washed, dried, and ironed his only shirt. An indian tried to take the shirt but Elvira spatted him with a red hot fire shovel and he hurriedly left.

Back in Fairview, they raised excellent crops of wheat. Uncle Orville and the boys loaded wheat into extra large wagons, hitched on four horses, drove to the mines in Montana, and sold the wheat at $4 a bushel.

In 1874 he married Maud "Rosanna" Jones, daughter of Benjamin Jones and Rosanna, daughter of Jehu Cox. Jones was a convert from Wales. Jehu and his fathers had been Quakers in North Carolina and Kentucky.

Uncle Orv homesteaded 160 acres in Thistle Valley, just west of Indianola, and there Ida was born in 1875, Roy in 1876, Orville M. in 1878, and Vern in 1880.

There was threatened war between whites and Indians. Apostles came from Salt Lake and held a council with them. Finally the Indians said, "What Orv Cox say, we do." He drew the line between white and Indian lands, and the trouble was settled.

There was a big warm spring on Uncle Orvís land about 3 feet across, and no one could find how deep. They dug a swimming hole around it. At age 12 I went swimming there. The water boiling up held you so you could not sink.

In Thistle Valley, they had to be very careful not to catch lice from the Indians.

Their youngest child, Bessie, was born in Milburn in October 1882. Three years later the mother died in January 1886. When Aunt Rosanna died, her sister Sarah and Uncle Al invited Uncle Orv and his children to come and live with them in their three- room home, which was across the road from Grandma Elviraís old log house. 11 children and 3 adults were living in the three rooms. Orv built swings in a row of cottonwood trees along the sidewalk. He also built teeter-totters and a merry-go-round. The children loved him.

The Garlic children were left orphans and Uncle Orv raised them.

In Gooseberry Valley, Uncle Orv decided to build a reservoir so Fairview people could have more water. The ditch over the divide was about 6 miles long. After the dam went out twice, Uncle Orvís money was gone, and a company took over the reservoir.

Uncle Orv lived a mile north east of town near the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon. There the canyon breeze kept off the frost and he gave me the first watermelon I ever tasted. He planted seedlings and from the best, budded other apple trees. One apple looked and tasted just like a red delicious.

Bishop George A. Zabriskie told how Uncle Orv found out he had no meat for winter, and said, "My neighbor is not going to go without meat while live got some", and gave him a ham and side meat.

When I was convalescing from measles I lived for a time with Uncle Orv. All the children loved him. His 3 boys 1ived a year with Uncle Walt. The boys cleared 40 acres of sagebrush and planted alfalfa. They built a swing 60 feet high and girls came a hundred miles to enjoy it; also a merry-go-round. That winter they trapped 150 coyotes, 3 bobcats and an eagle that had a wing spread of 10 feet. They wired a rabbit solid in a cedar tree. Mr. coyote saw the trap but jumped for the rabbit. Again and again he jumped. Finally he became so eager he forgot, and one foot lit in the trap.

About 1903, Uncle Orv married Annie Brown, widow Chapelle. She was one of the kindest women I ever knew. In 1919 we all had the flu, father, mother and children. Mother Euphrasia came from Manti, but she got sick. Then Aunt Annie came and nursed us till we were all well. She was such a good nurse. Neighbors died that winter but we all recovered. Between 1912 and 1919 Uncle Orv moved to his new home on Provo Bench. He lived there till his death March 28, 1926, at age 77.

He was 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighed over 200 pounds and his head was bald. Neighbors all loved him.


Rosanna Harvey