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Family
Marriage: Children:
  1. Mary Ethel Cox: Birth: 2 FEB 1907 in Lee County, Virginia. Death: 22 AUG 2000 in Maryland

  2. Person Not Viewable

  3. William Frederick Cox: Birth: 23 JUN 1910 in Lee County, Virginia. Death: 31 DEC 1998 in Lee County Community Hospital, Pennington Gap, Lee County, Virginia

  4. Person Not Viewable

  5. Person Not Viewable


Sources
1. Title:   U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 (database)
Publication:   citing Social Security Administration, Social Security Death Index, Master File

Notes
a. Note:   years.
  1910 U.S. Federal Census Le County, Virginia Jonesville Cox, William C. head 34 Cox, Ida M. wife 30 Cox, Mary E. daughter 4 Cox, Walter R. son 1 6/12 (29-19A in file)
  World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Name: William Shelburne Cox County: Lee State: Virginia Birth Date: 20 Nov 1875 Race: White FHL Roll Number: 1984807 DraftBoard: 0 Age: Occupation: Nearest Relative: Height/Build: Color of Eyes/Hair: Signature: (in file)
  1920 U.S. Federal Census Lee County, Virginia Jonesville Cox, William S. head 44 Cox, Ida M. wife 39 Cox, Mary E. daughter 14 Cox, Walter R. son 11 Cox, William F. son 10 Cox, Winnie daughter 8 Cox, Emiline M. daughter 5 (37-6A in file)
  1930 U.S. Federal Census Lee County, Virginia Jonesville Cox, W. S. head 54 Cox, Ida wife 50 Cox, Roy son 21 Cox, Fred son 19 Cox, Winnie daughter 17 Cox, Mabel daughter 15 (2-18B in file)
  William Shelburne Cox The Little Professor By Bonnie Ball It may appear strange to begin a life story in the middle. However this one starts at the point where the subject was first introduced to the writer. My own formal education began in a dingy little gray schoolhouse in a crossroads rural community. It was well past middle age when it gave way to a new order. To a small child it was an exciting experience, yet in many ways it was a sad exodus. We carried with us many nostalgic memories - grapevine jumping ropes, spelling matches, the keen competition among older pupils to win the most "headmarks" of the term spelling classes, exciting "exhibition" programs that included graceful drills and sometimes were accompanied by the luminous stage effects of tableau lights, hilarious black-face comedies, dialogs, morning and afternoon re'-cess, sadly brought to an end by the clamor of the children in unison, "Books! Books!" Then there came all-day meetings at the little schoolhouse, with music, speaking, and a picnic lunch spread out on tables and long desks. As children, we knew that something important was happening, but its true significance eluded us at the moment. A number of county and state dignitaries were present. There was much discussion among school officials regarding "new educational facilities." A definite air of optimism was sensed among the local citizens. What really did happen was the school authorities and interested citizens for miles around were putting their heads together, and good heads they were. In less than a year's time we found ourselves entering a new white frame building with upstairs classrooms, a high school department, piano teacher, and a music room that contained a sliding partition to provide for an extension to be used as a large auditorium. The little faded schoolhouse was torn down and its materials converted into a school boardinghouse. The old site was turned into an athletic field for baseball and soccer. On the opposite side of the highway, near the new building were basketball, volley ball and tennis courts. There was even a trapeze. This marvelous new project was one of expansion which brought gasps from older citizens and happy adventure to the youngsters. It called for funds, and more funds. Truly it was a man-sized job, and everyone was in for something of a surprise when the "Little Professor" was seen riding in on his horse from over near Jonesville. He was a small man with impressive eyes and a sparse growth of hairs,that was covered by a black derby. But the Little Professor made up for the deficiency in size with his ever alert mind and capable hands and feet. He spoke in soft staccato-like tones. His public speeches, opening prayers, and announcements were always brief and to the point. Everyone liked the Professor. Patrons and pupils alike enjoyed playing little jokes on him. One favorite prank of the high school boys and girls was that of "accidentally" knocking off the black derby with the volley ball. It was a joke of high school boys that brought my father into the fun. A few miles from our school rose a tall oblong ridge called the "Buzzard Roost," that was said to be the highest elevation in Lee County. The Professor kept insisting that a large group of large boys familiar with the ridges take off early some afternoon and escort him to the Buzzard Roost, since it was not convenient for him to make the hike on weekends. Practically all the gang had at some time visited the Buzzard Roost. However, when darkness began to overtake them they pretended to be lost. One young fellow waded a marsh just to see the Professor splash in behind him. Eventually, even the Professor's enthusiasm waned. He climbed upon a pair of rails that lay on top of a low rail fence dozing off to sleep while the boys went out to "borrow" some soft ears of corn form a new-ground corn patch to roast in a fire for their supper. In the struggle of the feast someone ran into the fence rails and woke the Professor, who joined them in eating roasting ears. Afterward the group started toward home, wandering about in the dim starlight. Finally they spied a familiar little Primitive Baptist church, crept inside and slept until early dawn, when they headed toward school, reaching the boarding house just in time for a hearty breakfast. When my father heard of the escapade he decided that it was too good to keep. So he mailed a written account of the unsuccessful expedition to the Pennington Gap News, adding that, if the Professor wished to try another trip to the Buzzard Roost, it would be well to take along a pair of wooden overshoes. Sometime later Father sent a request to Professor Cox that he select an interesting book from the school library for him to read. Even though the Professor had promised to wreak vengeance upon him for such publicity, he only retaliated by sending him a copy of "Peter Rabbit." It was a real adventure to be allowed to go to the Professor's room and sign a card for a book to take home. It was stimulating to march to music each morning into the room where chapel services were conducted, to learn hymns and patriotic and folk songs. It steadied us to hear the Professor read from the Bible and offer a quiet but earnest prayer for daily guidance. There was a large bell in the tower on the new schoolhouse that could be heard a half-mile. It was used to hurry us along and remind us that playtime was over. It rang promptly at 8:00 a.m. for chapel services and 4:00 p.m. for dismissal. We still remember how the Little Professor tolled it gently when two wagons approached, bearing two black caskets, in which were two members of the community's only black family. He continued tolling it until the white procession that followed it passed out of sight. (Both the father and a daughter has succumbed to a severe measles epidemic). The Little Professor stayed in the home of my uncle, where he slept in an unheated upstairs bedroom with an open window all through the winter. School Superintendent J. C. Boatwright once laughingly referred to the Professor as a "fresh air crank." And, indeed he was a stickler for health rules, aw well as for good English. My oldest brother had acquired a habit of replying when he failed to understand with the slang word, "Huh"? Once he used it when replying to the Professor, who said, "Here you are saying huh again!" He trained every boy in high school for a declamation at the close of school, regardless of the boys' timidity or speech difficulties. His debating clubs were unlike anything the little community ever saw before, or afterward. There was some real talent in his school group, and he lost no opportunity to make use of it. Among those with outstanding talent were the well-known Hall brothers who were born fifty years too soon, for their performances would have put some of the current country music shows to shame. The Professor's faculty included some capable people: the Misses Maude and Darepta Duff, and some excellent music teachers who helped to put our little community on the map. The three and four days of commencement exercises were attended by hundreds from long distances, and all this was in the horse-and-buggy era. William Shelburne Cox was born on November 10, 1875 at Jonesville, Virginia - the son of Nathan and Mary Gobble Cox. His mother died when he was quite young, and his early life was spent in the home of a relative on Wallen's Creek in Lee County. After his father married a second wife, Bertha Williamson, he returned to the home near Jonesville, where he grew to adulthood. He attended school at the old Jonesville Academy. Later he enrolled in Emory & Henry College where he received his B. S. Degree in 1900. Afterward he returned to the farm. On July 23, 1905 he married to Miss Ida Mae Roop. They had five children: Mary Ethel, Walter Roy, William Frederick, Winnie Williamson and Mabel Emeline. At the time of his death, Mr. Cox had twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. (Mrs. Rose Quiullen, whose Pridemore relatives were associated with Professor Cox, recently wrote a little story of Mr. Cox'ss that she remembered. When he was a small boy the Coxes and Rupes were neighbors. One day his mother dressed him a long homespun suit, and took him over to the Rupes' to see their new baby girl. His mother held him up to look at the baby. It must have been love at first sight, for she later became his wife.) His teaching career began soon after his graduation from Emory & Henry. He taught history and mathematics at the old Jonesville Institute in 1901 and 1904. He was also a leader in the Uranian Literary Society and debating. He spent thirty years in the teaching profession, and with the exception of two years, all were in Lee County. (One term was spent at Portsmouth, Virginia and one at Princeton, West Virginia.) His interest in education never lagged. During his early career he organized and conducted teacher institutes in which men and women were prepared for the teaching profession. He initiated the establishment of high schools at Flatwoods, Stickleyville, and other new schools throughout Lee County. After his retirement from teaching he kept in close contact with the promotion of education. He did much writing and carried on correspondence with hundreds of former students, which consumed many hours. He loved the Church and served his Master well throughout his life by teaching and living the principles of Christianity. He served as Sunday School Superintendent, teacher of Bible class, and in other church offices during the major portion of his life. Even though he was unable to attend Sunday School during his last years, he always prepared his Bible lesson on the Sabbath. After he passed his 90th birthday Mr. Cox became an associate editor of The Lee County Sun which was published at Jonesville during the 1960's. In his column he gave a vivid description of the old Methodist Camp Meeting, near Jonesville, which he attended all his life. He wrote in detail about the portions of the old camp meeting site which were still parts of the original structure, and the approximate years in which other features were added. He described the old stone wall that was built in 1886, and how sections were subsequently removed to make room for additional buildings and features. In a column devoted to weather topics he related that he could remember back as far as 1886, when they had 18 inches of snow and the thermometer registered 20 degrees below zero. He added" I have seen snow hang on for two months, but it didn't seem so cold; and I have trudged to my school for a distance of two miles. That was before we had good roads, school buses, and limousines. I don't remember of ever dismissing school on account of the weather - wet, dry, hot, or cold." Other columns were written following his 90th birthday in 1965. Some of his congratulatory letters referred to a series of corn huskings at his home one week - during his busy years of teaching. These corn "shuckins" parties were shared by members of Mr. Cox's Bible class. They not only proved helpful to him, but there was much fun in sharing his responsibility, which was later rewarded with homemade ice cream, pies, cakes, hot coffee, and music. Then Mr. Cox conceived the idea of hiding all sorts of articles among the ears of corn. Some were worthless things such as old tin cans and bottles, while there were also apples and a jug of buttermilk. One this occasion almost the entire Bible class came to husk corn, and there were two freezers of ice cream, and an abundance of refreshments. The party after the husking was over became so interesting that no thought was taken to the time until the mantel clock struck 1:00 a.m. A small group of lawmen from the St. Charles area had been on a raid near Cumberland Gap in an effort to snare some booze offenders, but had failed. As they drove out on the east end of Jonesville's Main Street they spied a stream of cars traveling down Highway 58, and decided that this could be their chance for a seizure. Watching until all cars turned up the Town Branch Road, they hurriedly drove down and formed a road block. They proceeded to search the cars for booze. In the darkness they failed to recognize any of the men until they came to the car of W. L. Davidson and Robert B. Ely, who assured them that there was no booze in any of the cars, and that all of them were sober. One of the lawmen had discovered the preacher (R. G. Farmer) with his jug of buttermilk and thought it was booze - until he had sampled it. They were at the point of making a wholesale arrest, and taking all of them to jail. Having discovered their mistake, the lawmen went on their way, "whilst the members of our hilarious party had a good laugh and went home. But it was a long time before we heard the last of that episode." During his long life Professor Cox was an outstanding a farmer as he was an educator. He constantly worked to improve the soil, establish orchards and woodlands, promote good seeds, and improve cattle herds. His goal was to leave the world a better place in which to live. He loved people and enjoyed conversation. On July 4th 1968 he spent the day visiting with friends at Cumberland Bowl Park. On July 6th, while writing his diary and the accounts of the previous days, he rested his head on his writing table to collect his thoughts. He entered into "eternal sleep" with his pencil still in his fingers. His greatness of heart, tireless energy and utmost integrity remind us of another great American who "now belongs to the ages." Long live the indomitable spirit of the "Little Professor," who seldom, if ever, had a superior in religious and educational realms of Lee County, Virginia. [Source: Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Published by the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, Publication 8, June, 1974, pages 47 to 51; online http://www.rootsweb.com/~vawise/HSpubl58.htm]
Note:   William was a graduate of Emory & Henry College and was a teacher for 32


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