Biography of Anderson Cox

ANDERSON COX. – There has never lived a man in the Northwest more worthy of commemoration than that pioneer of 1845, Anderson Cox. He was born near Dayton, Ohio, in 1812, of Quaker parentage, and moved with the family to Indiana in 1830, and claimed a share in the home formed on the Wabash river at Attica. He was married in 1836 to Miss Julia Walter, and in 1840 removed to New London, Iowa. In 1845, with his wife and four children, he made the journey to Oregon, and was in the company of immigrants who endured the privations and rugged experiences of the “Meek cut-off”. At the Des Chutes, the crossing of this turbulent river was effected by drawing the loaded wagon-beds over as ferries by means of ropes. Two canoes served to convey the family and their goods from The Dalles to a point known as Parker’s cabin, on the Lower Columbia. A return to The Dalles from this point was attempted, with flour for the immigrants still coming, and with the purpose of bringing down the wagons left at the mission. The journey, however, was discontinued at the Cascades, as there the flour was all given away to hungry parties coming from above, and as news was received that the wagons had been burned by the Indians.

Returning to the Willamette, he found work and an abiding place for his family at the Salem mission, and the next season went south to the other side of the Santiam river, Mrs. Cox being the second white woman to cross that stream, and selected a Donation claim at the present site of Albany, whose environs at the present time cover a part of the old farm.

Mr. Cox was notably connected with Linn county’s early and subsequent history down to and including the exciting times of 1861. He was twice elected to the territorial legislature, the first time traveling to the capital by a canoe. He was instrumental in fixing the boundary line between Marion and Linn counties, and gave the name of Linn to the new county, in honor of Senator Linn of Missouri, the friend of Oregon.

In 1861 he became a pioneer once more, being among the first to lay the foundations of the now imposing Inland Empire. He laid out a new town, Coppei, sixteen miles north of Walla Walla, but in 1865 removed to a claim adjoining the young city of Waitsburgh, and here developed one of the most productive places in the region.

In 1872 he became interested in Whitman county, and located at the growing city of Colfax. He had very extensive business plans in view, and, although then approaching age, had no thought of giving up life’s activities. He was concentrating his means and efforts to erect extensive saw and grist mills. But, returning to Waitsburgh, he suffered on the journey great exposure, which his frame did not withstand as in earlier years; and even at the roadside he lay upon the earth and paid the great debt of nature. At the time of his death, Mr. Cox held the office of receiver of the Walla Walla land-office, having been appointed to this responsible position by President Grant in 1871, when the district embraced all of Washington east of the Cascade Mountains. In this capacity he did his work well, and made warm friends of the settlers.

Mr. Lewis Cox, his son, who owns the old place adjoining Waitsburgh, worthily upholds the name and perpetuates the manly virtues of his father. He has a family of twelve children, and is one of the most esteemed citizens of Walla Walla.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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