DR. LEONARD THOMAS COX
May 3, 1843 – June 21, 1906
Leonard Thomas Cox, born
May 3, 1843, was the second son and third child of Thomas Jefferson and Susannah Miranda (Leach) Cox. He had one sister, Elizabeth Mary, and two brothers, James William and John T. B. Cox. He grew to manhood while living with his parents on their farm in . As a young man, Leonard became a member of the Cromwell Home Guard, along with his father and many of his friends. He later volunteered for Civil War service in Company H, Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry, which took part in six major battles. He remained in service until his regiment was mustered out three years and four months later. Ohio County, Kentucky
According to Leonard T. Cox, while he was still in the army, he cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln against George McClellan, when
Lincoln ran for a second term as President of the in 1864. He took great pride in relating the story about casting his first vote at age twenty-one while serving his country as a Union soldier. United States
Almost six weeks after
’s inauguration on March 4, 1865, the President was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth, April 14. He died the next day. Lincoln
This news must have stunned the young soldier Leonard Thomas Cox as it did much of the country. In all the young nation’s eighty-nine year history, no other event had ever sent such shock waves, as news of
’s assassination rolled across the country. Lincoln
Like his brother James, Leonard Cox and his bride chose Christmas Eve for their wedding day. On December 24, 1865, at age twenty-two, he married Emma E. Iler, eighteen, the daughter of Henry L. and Mary (
) Stewart Iler. They had three children: Ola T., who married Leonard C. Leach; Mary “Mollie,” who married Musker Louis Heavrin; and Ada Cox, who married Cicero Maxwell Heavrin. Campbell
About 1870, Leonard moved his family to Rosine and became the first merchant of that community, specializing for thirteen years in the drug business there, compounding his own medicines. Most likely, he proved both the safety and palatability of each bottle by shaking it briskly and tasting it a bit himself. In that day and time people had herb gardens and used home remedies when trying to cure themselves; when they could not, they called on the local drug merchant.
While a resident of Rosine, Leonard also served as a police magistrate and was active in the Masonic Lodge and a member of the IOOF. Shortly after moving to Rosine, his wife Emma gave birth to their fourth child. What should have been a happy event turned very sad, when twenty-four year old Emma and her infant child died on September 21, 1871. She and her newborn babe are buried in
on the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Rosine-Mt. Pleasant Road, about two miles south of Rosine.
After Emma’s death in the fall of 1871, Leonard Thomas Cox found a wife and a mother for his three motherless young daughters. He married Frances “Fannie” E. London the following spring on March 12, 1872. She was the daughter of Henry and Louisa London of
. Butler County
Leonard T. and Fannie had five children of their own: Arthur L., born 1873; Elmer Osker, born 1874; Carrie, born 1876, Bertie, born 1881; and Emmett. The first two sons, and then daughter Bertie, died when they were less than two years of age. Emmett, born in 1878, died when he was eighteen on May 7, 1897. Carrie E. Cox later married Lyman B. Rosenfeld and they had one daughter, Carolyn. Fannie Cox, second wife of Leonard T., died September 8, 1885. She was only thirty-eight. Fannie and three of their children are also buried in
County. Mt. , Pleasant Cemetery Ohio
According to a report in The Hartford Herald, August 31, 1881, in the “Rosine Racket” column dated August 24, 1881: “Mr. J. J. Tilford, one of the most intelligent and honest young men in the country, has taken a position in the drug store of Hon. L. T. Cox.”
While still operating his drug business in Rosine, Leonard became interested in the study of medicine. He attended lectures at the Medical University of Louisville during 1883 and 1884. Later, he became a physician and served the Rosine community for a number of years, before moving to
in the fall of 1892 where he pursued his practice until his death. Daviess County
Leonard Cox had reason to give deep thought to the study of medicine and healing methods. Growing up, he was ten years old when his little brother, John T. B. Cox, died from a “fever” in 1853, as recorded in the Ohio County, Kentucky death records. His little brother was surely his “buddy” and best playmate. His death must have had a very upsetting impact on Leonard. Ten is a very impressionable age for such a sad family event. By his first wife, Emma, they had three daughters, and then he lost Emma and his fourth child in childbirth. How sad – medical wisdom was relatively primitive and unsophisticated, and apparently there was no treatment that could have saved them.
By his second wife, Fannie, he had five more children, and out of those five, he lost three sons and one daughter, Bertie. Three died before they reached the age of two. Then he lost his second wife, Fannie, not yet forty. Emmett was only eighteen when he died from pneumonia while the family lived at
Stanley in . Leonard must have been devastated to lose his only son and surely had a difficult time recovering from that! One daughter - one child of this marriage - was left, out of five children from his union with Fannie, leaving only Carrie, who lived to be grown and married. The father must have felt completely helpless as he watched, first hand, how dramatic and destructive children’s illnesses and disease could be. Daviess County
There’s no way for us to know what his little children died from – it could have been any number of serious threats which struck fiercely and frequently in that era. He also saw his own mother die an untimely death at fifty-two, as well as his beautiful young niece, Bertha Bell Cox, daughter of his brother James, who died at sixteen with typhoid fever in 1903. And then to lose Emmett at eighteen must have been nearly unbearable to him. In spite of the tremendous grief and sorrow he experienced in his own life though, somehow, he managed to hold his world together and go forward. Too many people were depending on him! What a courageous man!
Because there were no vaccines in that era, many children suffered from outbreaks of scarlet fever, mumps, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, typhoid fever, diphtheria and even small pox. Frequently, these maladies spread and became community epidemics at schools and at home from being in close physical contact. In some families, medical attention was limited by its cost. The combination of such factors left the ordinary population open to many infections. The weakening effects of one illness often opened the door for the spread of other illnesses. It was not uncommon for pneumonia, respiratory problems, and other varied and serious complications to follow another illness and then turn fatal.
In that day and time, epidemics or isolated outbreaks of disease and problems of health were a constant fact of life for children, families, communities, school teachers and physicians.
Leonard Thomas Cox ultimately became an old-fashioned doctor who kept his saddlebags packed with pills, powders, and potions. No matter what kind of weather prevailed, he climbed into his buggy, shook the reins, clicked his tongue, said “Giddy-up” to his horse, and briskly trotted off whenever and wherever he was needed. On cold
nights when he was called out, he hitched up his rig by lantern light, covered his legs with a heavy lap robe, and rode off into the frosty air without a grumble. Many times, he came home late at night or in the wee morning hours, even when it was foggy, rainy or cold. Kentucky
Dr. Cox brought several hundred babies into the world. It was not uncommon when, during a child birth, he might spend the night, depending on how the patient got along. He never refused to treat anyone; whether or not they could pay didn’t matter. If they needed something done for them, he treated them the best he could. He allayed symptoms and fears alike, and he cut and sutured whenever it was necessary. Many hardships and diseases occurred in that day and time – typhoid fever caused by severe infection, and scarlet fever, were common, especially in children. He always claimed that he treated his patients, but God healed them.
In those years, physicians accepted goods for services, and more often than not, doctors often received produce, meat, and labor in return for their administrations. No doubt, some debts in his ledger were never collected, but most patients tried to pay something – by cash or barter. Bushels of peaches, a slab of bacon, a quarter of beef, poultry, shoeing horses, garden work, hoeing…were just some of the items or kinds of labor he willingly accepted from patients for his services. For some people, it was their only means to pay their debts. It is difficult now to conceive the hardships people faced in those early days.
After his second wife, Fannie, died, Leonard Cox next married Mattie B. Layton at the home of her parents, John J. and Miriam Layton, in
. He was forty-four and she was almost thirty. They were married July 3, 1887 by Rev. James W. Taylor. It was her first marriage. They had no children, but Mattie helped raise Carrie and Emmett, who were eleven and nine years of age when she married Leonard. Over the years she became a grandmother to all of Leonard’s grandchildren. Ohio County
Leonard Thomas Cox eventually opened a drug business at
Stanley, nine miles northeast of Owensboro in , where he lived for several years. His name was listed in an 1878 business advertisement in the Souvineer (sic) edition of the Daviess County Examiner. Owensboro
In 1880 when he applied for a military pension review for his service in the Civil War, Leonard Cox was described as being 5’7” tall and weighing 160 pounds. Eleven years later, on October 14, 1891, when applying for an increase in his pension benefit for military service, his examining physician reported that Leonard T. Cox at age forty-eight had lost sight in his left eye, had lumbago, but had a general appearance of being robust.
In 1897 Leonard Thomas Cox had one of the deepest and most tragic heart breaks of his sixty-three year lifespan. This occurred with the death of his only son, Emmett, born to him and Fannie, who lived to be nearly grown. Emmett contracted a severe form of pneumonia that summer of 1897. It had to be heartbreaking for the father to sit by his bedside only to see his beloved son suffer, slowly worsen, and grow weaker each day. Without the antibiotics we have today, there wasn't a thing the physician-father could do to restore his son’s health and help him live to do all things father and son had planned to do together.
According to his beautiful old monument, standing tall next to that of his father, Emmett was born October 24, 1878 and died at eighteen on May 7, 1897. Emmett was buried at
Elmwood Cemetery, Section "A", in the family plot, in . Dot Smithson, a library volunteer in the Kentucky Room at Owensboro and member of the West Central Kentucky:Family Research Association, researched this family for me. Dot sent me a colored photo of Emmett’s beautiful old headstone, and the epitaph his father had engraved on it. Much thought and agonizing must have gone into the commemorative writing of his ode, which to me, expresses all the pride, deep feelings and love that Leonard Thomas Cox felt for his son: Owensboro
"What Hopes Vanished With You My Son."
In the 1900 census, Leonard, fifty-seven, and Martha, forty-two, who had been married for twelve years, were living in
Owensboro, Ward 2, . Daviess County, Kentucky
A news item in TheHartford Republican, issue of Friday, July 29, 1904 mentioned that – “Mrs. Dr. L. T. Cox, Owensboro, is the guest of her daughter, Mrs. M. L. Heavrin this week.”
Also, by the time of the 1900 census, Leonard and Fannie’s daughter, Carrie E. Cox, born September 1876, had married in 1899 to Lyman B. Rosenfeld, born
, a druggist, who later owned his own drugstore. In 1910, this couple was living in Indiana , with Carolyn, their little two-year old daughter. Henderson County, Kentucky
By 1920 the Rosenfeld family had moved to
Louisville, . Their daughter Carolyn was twelve. She was their only child. When Carolyn Rosenfeld grew up, she married Frank Serman, a medical doctor. According to the 1930 census, Carrie (Cox) Rosenfeld had died, and Lyman, a widower, age fifty-four, was living in Jefferson County, Kentucky , with his daughter Carolyn and her husband Frank Serman, a physician. Carrie died after 1926 (but before 1930) because she attended the funeral of her youngest sister, Manhattan, New York Ada (Cox) Heavrin, in December 1926, according to the obituary of . Ada
Ola, the oldest daughter of Leonard Cox and Emma, married Leonard C. Leach, in
on February 18, 1886. Leonard C. was the son of Leonard Washington and Rosanna A. (Morris) Leach. Ola and her husband had five children, three of whom lived to maturity: Bertha Mae, Merlin L. and Oscar Carlisle. Ohio County
In 1900 Ola’s family was living in
Upper Town, . Ola reported she and her husband had been married fourteen years, and that she had borne five children, of whom three were then living. In 1910, they were living on Daviess County, Kentucky Henderson Road, in , and by 1920 the family was living in Magisterial District No. 2. Leonard reported his occupation as a sexton of the Catholic cemetery. Bertha Mae, twenty-two, was a school teacher, her brother, Merlin L., nineteen, was listed as a photographer, and Oscar, eighteen, was listed as a laborer, living at home. Leonard and Ola were not found in the 1930 census. Leonard died November 20, 1932 and Ola died February 29, 1948. Daviess County
Mary “Mollie,” the second daughter of Leonard and Emma, born May 4, 1869, married Musker Louis Heavrin, September 3, 1888 in
. Musker, the son of Francis Marion and Atelia (Felix) Heavrin, became a respected attorney in Ohio County . They had no children. Hartford
In the 1900 census of
, Musker, forty, and Mary, thirty-two, had been married twelve years, owned their own home, and Musker had a law practice. Two of his brothers were living with them: Oscar B., twenty-two, a dentist, and Roy R., eight. In 1910 this couple was living by themselves on Ohio County Clay Street in County, and told the census taker they had been married twenty-one years. Hartford, Ohio
In The Hartford Republican, issue of Friday, July 29, 1904 a news item mentioned that – “Mrs. Dr. L. T. Cox,
, is the guest of her daughter, Mrs. M. L. Heavrin this week.” Owensboro
In a later issue, a news item in The Hartford Republican, on Friday, September 2, 1910, made mention that: “Mrs. M. L. Heavrin and sister, Mrs. L. B. Rosenfield and daughter,
, are spending a few days at Grayson Springs.” Henderson, Kentucky
Musker Heavrin’s name was often in the local newspapers in
Ohio County, such as this one from The Hartford Republican on July 22, 1904: “Honorable M. L. Heavrin attended a meeting of the Committee, of which he is a member the first of the week.” Republican State
Ten years after the 1910 census, Musker and Mary, in 1920, were still living in
, ages sixty and fifty-one. In the winter of 1925 on February 25, Mary (Cox) Heavrin died at fifty-six, in Hartford . She was laid to rest in Ohio County Rose Hill Cemetery, . Daviess County
Musker, in 1930, at age seventy, was listed as a boarder in the home of Carlisle Oldham. Whether or not Musker was related to the
Oldham family in some way is unknown. Carlisle Oldham was a salesman for an auto company. After Mary’s death, Musker lived nineteen more years and died at eighty-four of apoplexy (a venerable term for stroke), on February 8, 1944, while living in , Owensboro 402 Jefferson Avenue. O. B. Heavrin was the informant on his death certificate. He was buried beside Mary at Rose Hill Cemetery in . Owensboro
In the 1900 census of Owensboro, Ward 3, in Daviess County, Cicero and Ada were listed with six other members in their household, three sons, Marin L., age three; Cecil H., one year, and Percy G., eleven months. Also living with the family was Charly E. Heavrin, twenty-nine, and Jessie B. Heavrin, twenty, the brother and sister of
. Ada Ford, twenty-eight, lived in the home and was listed as a servant. The name was mis-spelled as Hevrin in the 1900 census and again in 1910, which made it a bit difficult to find the family, but in 1910 they were still living in Ward 3, and by that date, son Marion was fourteen; Cecil H. was twelve; Percy G. was ten; and another son had been born, Earl M(axwell), age seven. Martha B. Cox, fifty-two, listed as mother-in-law, lived with the family, along with Georella Moore, a seventeen year old listed as a servant. Cicero
By the time the 1920 census was enumerated, the family had moved to Hawesville,
Hancock County, Kentucky, where was in practice as a physician. Three sons were still at home: Marion L., twenty-four; Cecil H., twenty-two, and Earl M., seventeen. Cicero died December 15, 1926, at age fifty-seven, less than a year after the death of her sister, Mary. She was buried in Ada Elmwood Cemetery in . Owensboro
Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox died at age sixty-three in
, June 21, 1906. According to a newspaper article in The Owensboro Messenger, edition of June 22, 1906, page five, “He died of appendicitis at his home on Daviess County Triplett Street. He moved to Stanley in Daviess County in 1891, and then to in 1898.” He was buried in the Owensboro Elmwood Cemetery at . At the time of his death, he and Mattie had been married almost twenty years. Owensboro
About two weeks before he died, Dr. Cox wrote his will, dated June 9, 1906. It was probated August 20, 1906. In it, he left one-fifth of his estate in lieu of homestead and dower to his wife, Mattie.
He also gave his medical books and instruments to son-in-law, Dr. Cicero M. Heavrin, with the remainder of his estate to be divided equally between his four daughters: Ola T. Leach, Mary M. Heavrin, Ada Heavrin, and Carrie Rosenfeld.
In addition, he left Mae Leach, his granddaughter, his set of 20th Century Inclocypedias (sic), and all his other books not named therein to Mattie Cox.
He appointed his son-in-law, M. L. Heavrin and wife, Mattie B. Cox, as executors without bond. Witnesses to the will were: M. L. Heavrin, C. M. Heavrin, L. C. Leach, and Lyman B. Rosenfeld. All were his sons-in-law.
The Owensboro Messenger newspaper of Friday, June 22, 1906, published the following obituary:
“DR. COX DEAD
Ohio and Daviess Counties
For Twenty-three Years – Was
Dr. Leonard T. Cox died of appendicitis at his home on
three weeks’ duration. During the past several days he has been
very low and was reported to be dying on Wednesday night.
Dr. Cox has been a practicing physician in
for eight Owensboro
years. He was a devoted member of the Third Baptist church,
and an active lodge man, being a member of Brothers lodge,
I.O.O.F. and also a Mason and Knights Templar.
Dr. Cox joined the I.O.O.F. in 1884 at Hartford, transferred
his membership to Brothers lodge, No. 132,
, in 1898. Owensboro
He had filled every office in the lodge with credit and has acted
as representative to the grand lodge of
on several Kentucky
He was on the committee which has charge of the Odd Fellows
building at the present time. Dr. Cox was also an active worker
Encampment No. 24, which he organized, and a Owensboro
member of the J. B. Hinkie lodge of Rebekah.
Dr. Cox was born in
county on May 3, 1843. He attended Ohio
the county schools near his home and then went to the medical
, from which he was graduated in 1883. He Louisville
began the practice of medicine at
county, and later Rosine, Ohio
removed to Beda. About fifteen years ago he moved to Daviess
county and settled in
Stanley, from where he moved to Owensboro
He was married three times and his last wife survives him. She
was Miss Mattie B. Layton of Cromwell. His two former wives
were Miss Emma Iler of
county and Miss Fannie London of Ohio
Heavrin and Mrs. L. C. Leach, of
; Mrs. M. L. Heavrin of Owensboro
The funeral will take place at the Third Baptist church this afternoon
at 4 o’clock under direction of the Odd Fellows. Dr. W. D. Nowlin
will officiate, assisted by Rev. B. F. Jenkins. The pallbearers will be
J. R. Laswell, Dr. T. H. Turner, E. R. Ford, J. A. Harris, Charles Story
and J. L. Miller. The interment will be at Elmwood.”
Another obituary for Leonard Thomas Cox was found in the June 29, 1906 edition of The Hartford Republican,
: Ohio County
“Death of Dr. L. T. Cox
Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox died at his home in
Thursday night after an illness of three weeks, from appendicitis.
Dr. Cox was born and reared in
and practiced his profession at Rosine and Beda until about eight years ago when he Ohio County
He was one of the leading physicians in this county for many years
and stood high as a citizen. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and was buried by that order. He was also a Knights Templar.
Dr. Cox is survived by his widow and four daughters, one of
whom is Mrs. M. L. Heavrin of
After Leonard’s death, Mattie applied for her widow’s pension of $8.00, commencing September 4, 1906, for her husband’s military service in the Civil War. At the time she made her pension application, Mattie gave her address as
417 Daviess Street, Owensboro, Kentucky.
Martha B. Cox, fifty-two, was listed as mother-in-law in the 1910 census, and was living in
, with Cicero and Ada Heavrin and their four children: M. L.; C. H.; Percy G.; and Earl M; also Georella Moore, shown as a servant. Owensboro
In The Hartford Herald, August 2, 1911 issue, a news item appeared in the community column from Prentiss: “Mrs Mattie Cox of
has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. W. J. French, the past week.” Owensboro
By the time of the 1920 census, Mattie was living at
County, with her older sister, Nancy J., sixty-six, and her husband, William J. French, age seventy-three. Their son, Davey French, age twenty-three, was also listed in the home. Prentiss, Ohio
Mattie B. (
Layton) Cox, the third wife of Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox, after his death, lived for a number of years with the family of Cicero Maxwell and Ada (Cox) Heavrin before moving to to live with her sister. Mattie died in Ohio County in April 1926. She was buried beside her husband in the Ohio County Elmwood Cemetery at . Earl M. Heavrin, son of C. M. and Owensboro , remembered her as the only grandmother he ever knew. Ada
Mattie’s obituary was published in the Friday, April 16, 1926 edition of The
“Mrs. Mattie B. Cox
Mrs. Mattie B. Cox, widow of Dr. L. T. Cox, formerly of this city,
died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday at the home of her sister,
Mrs. J. W. French, at Prentiss,
county. Mrs. Cox was widely Ohio
before leaving. She has been residing in Owensboro Ohio
county since the death of her husband several years ago.
Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. C. M. Heavrin, of Hawesville,
Mrs. L. C. Leach, of this city, and Mrs. Lyman Rosenfeld, of Louisville,
and one sister, Mrs. French. Funeral services will be held at Beaver Dam
this morning and burial will be in Elmwood cemetery here, where her
husband is buried. Mrs. Cox was a prominent member of the Eastern
Star and Rebekah lodges.”
The family of Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox, son of Thomas Jefferson Cox and Susannah Miranda Leach, left a lasting legacy in
Ohio and , during the horse and buggy days – a story that needed to be told and preserved for future generations. It has been my pleasure to do this. Any errors are mine and I welcome any corrections offered. Janice Cox Brown, Daviess Counties, Kentucky , May 10, 2009 Tyler, Texas
Dr. L. T. Cox was married three times: Emma E. Iler, Frances E. London and Mattie B. Layton. He and his family were living Ohio Co.,
in 1889. On July 14, 1891, February 16, 1892 and June 1892 he listed his post office as Kentucky County on his pension application papers. Later records were filed from Beda, Ohio . Daviess County
For several years, I corresponded with Martha Heavrin, the widow of Earl Maxwell Heavrin, grandson of Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox. Both were graduates of the
. Martha lived at University of Kentucky and she had invited me for the weekend to compare our collection of Cox data, but a few weeks before our scheduled visit, Martha died unexpectedly. It made me so sad because we had become good friends through our correspondence. I missed exchanging thoughts and ideas with her. Martha volunteered many hours at the library in Grand Prairie and she was a good genealogist. Grand Prairie, Texas
Her husband, Earl Maxwell Heavrin, a government attorney, had worked on the Cox family history for several years and had collected a number of Cox legal documents and records. He died in May 1971. I’ve never forgotten what Martha wrote to me in an
early letter, “Working on the family genealogy has filled many lonely hours for me since my husband’s death.” Martha and I exchanged quite a few Cox records and history over time, and she filled out her own family charts for me prior to her death on June 7, 1979.
~~ Written by Janice Cox Brown,
2317 Dietz Lane, Tyler, Texas 75701, great-great granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson and Susannah Miranda (Leach) Cox, and great niece of Dr. Leonard Thomas Cox. Revised and updated, May 10, 2009
Military Service Records - Leonard T. Cox, National Archives & Record Administration
Census records of
Ohio and – various years Daviess Counties, KY
Ohio Co. Marriage Index, Vol. 1, 1799-1905 and Vol. 2, 1906-1963, by Timothy D. Cox
Daviess Co. KY Marriage Records, Vol. 1 – 1780-1914, and Vol. 2, 1915-1950, by
Harold Bishop Morgan
Genealogical Excerpts from
Newspapers, 1881-1899, by Miss Pearl O. Smith, published by Cook-McDowell Publications, 1980 Ohio County, KY
Fogel’s Papers: A History of
, by McDowell A. Fogel. Ohio County, KY
Ohio County Cemeteries Update, 1982-2002 by
Genealogical Society. Ohio County
“A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks” (1972) by John Blackburn.
Casebier Funeral Home Records, 1910-1966, Book Nine, compiled by The Ohio County
Death Records, 1852-1953 Kentucky
Biographical sketch of Dr. L. T. Cox from “
, A HISTORY OF THE STATE” KENTUCKY
, Perrin and Kniffen, 1885. Battle
Ohio County News, Hartford Herald, and Hartford Republican, of Ohio
County, KY and
Owensboro Messenger, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, and The Owensboro Examiner of Owensboro, . Daviess County, Kentucky
, Old Elmwood Cemetery 1300 Old Hartford Road, Owensboro, KY 42301
Photos from the
Old Elmwood Cemetery, , by Dot Smithson. Owensboro, KY 42301
Family Records of Earl Maxwell and Martha (Pate) Heavrin,
Grand Prairie, TX
Family Records of Janice Cox Brown collected over a 47-year period – 1962-2009
Records collected and compiled by Dot Smithson, Member, WCK:FRA,
KY, (April 2009).