Narrative by: Richard Thornton Fox Annotated by: Richard Norman Fox
Charles Fox was born in Ireland in 1814. Book A, Alien Reports of St. Lawrence County, New York State contains data showing he applied for Naturalization as a U.S. citizen on 12 February 1840. Personal information in the report indicates he was born in Ireland c. 1815 and had an occupation as a farmer in 1840. Charles had arrived in the U.S. in 1827, when he would have been about twelve. The report has a column titled "When Admitted (as a citizen)," but only a check mark is in the appropriate column rather than a specific date. The check mark is probably an entry to repeat a date immediately above, which date was 17 September, 1844.
Since non-native minor children became citizens when their parents were naturalized, it would appear that Charles' parents did not opt for naturalization after emigration, or Charles may have emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. by himself, or with other unknown family members.
A wide-ranging search has, to date, failed to surface more information on Charles' emigration. The reader should understand most immigrant arrival records are in no way complete. Further, if Irish citizens wished to emigrate to Canada, there were no prohibitions against this in the early 1800s. And once in Canada, only the St. Lawrence river had to be crossed before landing in New York State. Certainly few records were kept of such events. Though it is not at all clear Charles came to St. Lawrence County from Canada, this is a possibility.
The only other record in hand regarding Charles Fox is the 1850 U. S. Census Report for New York State, St. Lawrence County, Norfolk Township, Page 298, Entry 12, Family 109. This shows Charles, aged 36 from Ireland and Amanda, aged 28 from New York. Also shown are William, aged 4 and Ozias Fox, aged one both being listed as from New York.
From other family records, it is known Charles and Amanda had other children, i.e., Hiram, born 1851 at Raymondville, NY, in the Norfolk Township. Daughters Kathleen and Clara were born to the couple, but other specifics are not known at from this time on.
Amanda was the daughter of Ozias Gilbert and his first wife, Eliza Ann Goodrich. This line of the Gilbert family had been in St. Lawrence County since before 1830, as Ozias showed in Census reports from this time on. The Gilbert line has been traced back to the 1200s in England. For as long as I can remember this connection has been a source of interest for our family. In fact, one of my father's given names was Norman Gilbert Fox, and he had a brother named Gilbert Earl Fox. See the Gilbert family for more detailed information on this branch.
The Census Indices of the LDS library for NYS, St. Lawrence County, for 1840, 1860, 1870 and 1880 did not yield a likely entry for our Charles Fox, or for Amanda Fox after they were married. Presuming he was not left out of the examined listings inadvertently, a number of possibilities come to mind explaining the absence. It appears he was not yet a U. S. citizen for the 1840 Census, and perhaps this is why he was not listed. He might have died (or moved) between 1850-1860. We know his son Hiram emigrated from NYS in time to be married in Kansas in 1879. It also appears Hiram had lived in Illinois some time prior to that. Whether other members of the family also moved westwards is not clear.
Charles' family may have experienced difficulties in the late 1850s. I seem to recall an old tale where one of the girls may have been taken in by some family who owned a plough factory in Illinois. This family was very well off. But this is only a vague thought, and I might well be in error on this.
Attempts to locate Charles Fox in U. S. Census Reports in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have not been successful. But the lack of success may be due to the fact the records I consulted were incomplete. I have not yet found a complete index of the Census Reports for he years of interest so perhaps Charles was there and I just do not know it. To date, no further information has been found for the sons William Fox and Ozias Fox.
There is little doubt in my mind that existing records in St. Lawrence County can give us further information on the family. Research by correspondence is incomplete at best, but the search is till in progress.
HIRAM DWINELL FOX
On 16 November 1879, Hiram Fox married Eliza Baldwin in Leavenworth County, Kansas. The marriage was performed by W.R. Constant, a Minister of the Gospel. The marriage license and certificate were filed for the record on 22 November 1879. Eliza Baldwin was the daughter of John and Martha Baldwin. Considerable information on the Baldwin family history has come to light and is set forth in the Baldwin Family section. The Baldwins had embraced the Quaker Faith for generations.
It is not clear if Hiram was a Quaker before the marriage to Eliza, but it is certain he joined the Church and was active until the time of his death. Much of the data which follows concerning Hiram and Eliza came from Quaker records. A brief description of the organization and administration of The Quaker Church (Society of Friends) is shown in the Baldwin Family section.
Eliza F. Baldwin was born on 5 February 1860. At the time of her birth her parents were members of the Honey Creek Monthly Meeting in Hardin County. The family residence was in the town of New Providence. In 1863 the family membership was moved to the Bangor Monthly Meeting in Marshall County, Iowa. The towns of Bangor and New Providence are only fifteen miles apart. On 20 January 2021 John and Martha again transferred to the Tonganoxie Monthly Meeting in Leavenworth County, Kansas. Tonganoxie is some ten miles to the west of present day Kansas City. This is where Eliza and Hiram Fox were married.
The next recorded event in hand is the Kansas State Census Report of 1885. The enumeration was made on 1 March 1885. For the town of Green, In Highland Township, Clay County, Kansas, the following is recorded: H.D. Fox, aged 34, profession butcher, from New York and coming to Kansas from Illinois; Lisse (perhaps a misspelling for Eliza or a nickname for her), aged 25, born in Iowa. There was an uncertain entry in the census for the column titled 'Where From' for Lisse. It might have been some sort of shorthand showing she was from Iowa. Raymond Fox, age 4, was listed as being born in Kansas and from Kansas.
Based on this report showing Hiram had come to Kansas from Illinois, inquiries have been made to the Illinois State Archives for information on where and when he may have been in the State. Neither Hiram nor his father Charles Fox was located in the 1860 Federal Census for the 1865 Illinois Census Index (which only has partial listings). The Illinois State Archives do not posses a statewide index for the 1870 Federal Census so a practical search of these records can only be made with an entry of county and township. But this, of course, is the data desired in the first place! The 1880 Federal Census Index for Illinois is sorted by Soundex features and only includes family with children ages ten years and younger. Again, searching this report would require an approximate location to begin with. So, the circumstances of Hiram's being in Illinois some time prior to 1885 remain a mystery to be solved.
The place of birth for Raymond Fox is not known. Excerpts from the Fox family Bible read "Ray Fox, Oct. 30th 1880" and "John Leslie Fox born Green, Kansas, Oct. 9th 1887." Notes in the Bible mention a son Gilbert Earl, but he apparently died young and no specifics on him have come to light. The town of Green, Kansas, is about 100 miles west of Tonganoxie.
This research is hampered by an event which continues to plague family historians and genealogists. The Federal Census for 1890 was destroyed by fire. Apparently the reports for all the states had been stored together in Washington at a central location and all were lost in 1921.
So while the family cannot be located in 1890 by the Federal Census, by 1891 they had moved to Newberg, Oregon, where a third son named Norman Gilbert was born on 7 October 1891. The reason the family moved to Oregon from Kansas has not been established. Newberg is a relatively small community about 20 miles from the larger city of Portland, Oregon.
Without success, considerable effort has been expended in trying to associate Hiram and Eliza's move to Oregon with the establishment of a Quaker school in Newberg. In 1885 the Oregon Quaker pioneers formed the Pacific Friends Academy for the instruction of their children in the Christian manner. The founding pioneers were looking ahead to the dream of a college for more advanced education. That time arrived on 9 September 2020 when Pacific College was established with an enrollment of fifteen students. In 1949 the name of the school was changed to George Fox College (now George Fox University) to honor the name of the founder of the Friends (Quaker) Church. The University is located on a 60-acre campus in Newberg and is guided by the Northwest Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church. However, no direct ties between Hiram’s family and the school have been found.
Hiram and Eliza were members of the Newberg Monthly Meeting, where they had been received 'By Request" The Meeting Record Book shows "Hyram D. Fox, born New York 3 mo. 26” 1851, parents Charles and Amanda Fox married to Eliza Baldwin 11 mo. 15" 1879" and the entry "Eliza Fox, born New York [this is obviously an error) 2 mo. 5” 1860, parents John and Martha Baldwin, married to Hyram Fox 11 mo. 15" 1879."
Both the entries for Hiram and Eliza were annotated to show they were "released to the M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] Church, Newberg, 10-5-97." No reason is given for the release. There is also an entry in the Meeting Record Book stating "Norman Fox, born Newberg 10 mo. 7" 1892 (believe this should have been 1891) parents Hyram D. and Eliza Fox, received by birth." A notation in the entry for Norman shows "Certificate to Wichita, Kansas, 6-6-1906." For whatever reason, Hiram and Eliza's sons Raymond and Leslie did not show in the record.
By 1900 Hiram and family had returned to Kansas and were living in Belleville, in Republic County. Belleville is some 50 miles to the northwest of Green, the family's location prior to the move to Oregon.
On 13 June 2020 Hiram was admitted into the Masonic Lodge No. 129 In Belleville. He served as Tyler of the Lodge in 1903. Records show Hiram was probably a member of some Lodge previously since he apparently did not take his initial Degrees at Belleville.
Sometime between 1900 and 1904 the family moved to Wichita, Kansas. Records of the University Monthly Meeting (allied with Friends University in the city) show H. D. Fox and Eliza Fox were received by letter from the M.E. Church in Belleville. Norman Fox was received into the Meeting on 10 October 1807. He was received by certificate from the Newberg Meeting in Oregon. Hiram and Eliza remained members of the University Monthly Meeting in Wichita for the rest of their lives.
The Federal Census of 1910 shows Hiram D., Eliza and Norman were still in Wichita. Entries for age and origin confirmed earlier reports but this time showed the occupation for Hiram was "Paving Inspector, City." The occupation for Norman was “Driver, Express Company."
On 6 February 2021 Hiram transferred his membership in the Masonic Lodge from Belleville to Lodge No. 99 in Wichita, He remained a member of the Lodge for the rest of his life.
The Kansas State Census for 1915 show only Hiram and Eliza in the household at ages 64 and 55. The report original listed Hiram's profession as "Meat Packer" but someone later overwrote "Butcher." The Federal Census for 1920 has Hiram and Eliza still in Wichita. It confirms again Hiram's father had been born in Ireland. Hiram’s profession was shown as "City Inspector."
Around 1920 Hiram and Eliza moved to Oil Hill, Kansas, where their son John Leslie was employed by the Empire Gas and Fuel company as Transportation Manager (more on this later). Oil Hill was a very small community some two miles to the west of El Dorado, Kansas. As the name shows the local scene revolved around the petroleum industry. Oil Hill was only 30 miles from Wichita. Hiram and Eliza were getting along in years and it must have been convenient for them to be close to their son. John Leslie moved back to Wichita a few years later. Hiram and Eliza also came back to Wichita and lived at 1625 Ida Street for the rest of their lives. Hiram died on January 5, 2021 and Eliza died on January 7, 1935. Both are buried at the College Hills Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Wichita. Their obituaries from the Wichita Eagle are enclosed in the Documents Section.
SONS OF HIRAM AND ELIZA FOX
For sake of posterity this narrative will give brief accounts of the sons of Hiram and Eliza. Descendants of C. Raymond and John Leslie can fill in more details to round out the family tree. These sketches will sometimes duplicate information remarked on earlier.
C. Raymond Fox
A Family Bible notation is "Ray Fox, Oct. 30th 1880." In the 1885 Kansas State Census Raymond was listed as 4 years old and born in Kansas. He appeared in the 1900 Federal Census in the household of Hiram and Eliza. Raymond 's occupation was as a farm laborer and he was shown to be literate. He did not appear in the household in later Census reports.
Specifically he is shown as "C. Raymond" in the 1900 Federal Census and in Hiram's obituary. He is listed as a son "Raymond G." in Eliza's obituary, but this may have been a typographical error. Speculation on his given names could lead to the conclusion the initial "C." was an abbreviation for "Charles", the given name of his grandfather. And, since Raymond's father had been born in Raymondville, New York, it seem logical the given name of Raymond came from his father's place of birth.
Sometime between 1920 and 1932 Raymond relocated to Tucson, Arizona. Date and conditions of his death are not known. His wife, Gladys or Ruth (I am not sure of her name), was living in 1971 at the age of 89. Raymond had a son Ralph who was a long time employee of the Treasury Department in Washington. Ralph retired back in Tucson in 1969. Raymond also had a son John, of whom we have little information. Raymond also had a daughter Ruth who was living in Tucson in 1971.
John Leslie Fox
Hiram and Eliza's second son was born on 9 October 2020 in the town of Green, in Clay County, Kansas. When this son was about three, the family moved to Newberg, Oregon, and lived there for nine years. The Foxes returned to Kansas in 1900 to the town of Belleville, and then moved to Wichita in 1904.
The 1905 Kansas State Census listed John Leslie in the household of Hiram and Eliza. His age was 17 and he was employed as a clerk. Sometime before 1910 John Leslie married Edith W. Enoch who was also living in Wichita. The couple moved to Joplin, Missouri where their son Norman was born on 17 October 1910. They also had a daughter Mary Katherine bon 16 May 1912.
It appears John Leslie and family lived at some time in Atchison, Kansas, but specifics are not clear on this. In 1917 they did move to Oil Hill, Kansas where he was Transportation Manager for the Empire Gas and Fuel company. While at Oil Hill, Hiram and Eliza lived with John Leslie until Hiram and Eliza found their own place. Leslie's younger brother, Norman lived in the household briefly after Norman was discharged from the Army in 1919.
On 8 November 2020 John Leslie was inducted into the Patmos Masonic Lodge No. 97 in El Dorado, Kansas. On 2 December 1921 he transferred his memberships to the Orient Masonic Lodge No. 51 in Topeka, Kansas. Topeka is quite some ways from Oil Hill and this indicated the family may have moved. In any event, John Leslie and family were in Wichita by 1923 where their son James Ellsworth was born on 2 August 1923. While in Wichita John Leslie transferred his Lodge membership to the Albert Pike Masonic Lodge No. 303.
John Leslie was well known in Wichita as a founder of radio media in the area. He later followed this profession in Nashville, Cleveland and finally in California. The obituary of his mother Eliza contains more details. See Documents Section. When John Leslie and family moved to California, they remained there for the rest of their lives. John Leslie died on 22 December 1958. Ms wife, Edith, lived until 23 March, 1976.
Gilbert Earl Fox
The only mention of Gilbert Earl Seen to date is a notation on a family tree made by an unknown person. The remarks may very well have been made by Katherine, a sister of Hiram. "Aunt Kate" is known to have done extensive work on the family history, particularly on the Gilbert side. The son Gilbert Earl must have died young since he does not appears in any of the Census reports described above.
Norman Gilbert Fox
The youngest child of Hiram and Eliza was Norman Gilbert, born in Newberg, Oregon, on 7 October 1891. The first data on Norman is a listing in the record book for the Newberg Monthly Meeting where he was received into the Meeting "by birth" Though the family lived in Oregon when Norman was a small child, he later recalled childhood memories of the family taking trips to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean to watch the migration of whales.
In 1910 the Federal Census in Wichita documented the occupation of Norman as "Express Driver." He would have been 19 at the time. At one point Norman attended Friends University in Wichita. Exactly when he attended and the course of his study is not known. He was on the basketball team at the University and recalled once the team played against the University of Kansas with poor results for the overmatched Friends. Norman was an accomplished musician and was expert in playing the mandolin and oboe.
At one point in his late teens or early twenties Norman was a car salesman. This was noted in his Army records, but no other details of this occupation are in hand. Around 1915 Norman was employed by a pharmacy as a druggist. Circumstances leading to this profession are vague. There is a photo of his him in from of Jackson's Drug Store in Carthage, Missouri, and probably it was here he started this vocation. Carthage is a small town on the outskirts of Joplin, Missouri. Normans' brother, John Leslie, had moved to Joplin around 1910. John Leslie and Norman were close in their younger days. Norman had moved to Joplin and lived for some time with his brother. Norman later recalled his experience in the store and the detailed precautions required while handling dangerous drugs.
Many old photos show Norman and friends in and around Carthage and Joplin. These are mostly persons of his age. They are well dressed and look to be prosperous. The photos give a delightful history of vintage automobiles (including a Willis-Overland) and period clothing.
The First World War changed people's lives in the mid-west as it did though out the rest of the world. Norman and his family had professed the Quaker faith for generations, but he was still subject to the draft. Norman enlisted in the Army on 29 March 1918, at Atchison, Kansas. Atchison is some 200 miles north of Joplin. There is a photo of Norman identified as taken at Bean Lake, outside St. Joseph, Missouri. He may have moved here from Carthage prior to enlisting. It is likely he enlisted in Atchison to make the commitment in his home state.
Since he had been employed as a druggist, Norman was accepted immediately into the Medical Department of the Army. The great influenza epidemic of the time was causing havoc both in the service and elsewhere. Being in the Medical Department meant he did not have to bear arms and so did not violate the tenets of his Quaker Faith. He was assigned to Infirmary No. 1, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas. Camp Funston was part of the Fort Riley army complex near Junction City, Kansas.
When he first enlisted, his pay was $30 per month. He must have gone in as some rank other than a Private, whose pay was $21 per month. Within a few months Norman was promoted to Sergeant First Class in the Medical Department. This was only one rank removed from the highest one available to an enlisted man. His pay was increased to $44 monthly.
Norman was on active duty at Camp Funston until he was discharged on 14 March 1919. He often took great delight in later years recounting how he personally filled in the data on the back of his discharge certificate before it was finally signed by his Commanding Officer. Among the remarks were "Character: Excellent" and "Service: Honest and Faithful." Norman always treasured his discharge certificate documenting service to his country.
After discharge, Norman moved to Oil Hill, Kansas, where he lived with his brother, John Leslie, and his family. John had arranged a job for Norman with the Empire Gas and Fuel Company where John himself was employed. Normans' position with the company is not known but was probably in the warehouse department which ordered, received and distributed supplies necessary to support company operations.
Shortly after being first employed at Oil Hill, Norman was transferred to a larger office in Houston, Texas. Following a few months in Houston, he was sent to Hull, Texas, some 50 miles to the east of Houston. Hull is a very small town which was an active "oil patch" in the early 1920s. Here he met Ruby Mae Thornton. Ruby, who had a nickname "Bob," was a school teacher in Hull. She was a native of Liberty, a few miles away. After a brief courtship Ruby and Norman were married in Liberty on 21 March 1920. They continued living in Hull until being transferred to San Antonio, Texas, where their first son, Raymond Donald, was born on 8 December 1924.
The next move for the family was to El Dorado, Arkansas, where the oil boom was in swing. The many moves Norman made for the company shows he was being given more responsible positions. In El Dorado, Norman was shifted from the warehouse to the production side of the company. In El Dorado, he made the acquaintance of H.L. Hunt, who later became the biggest oil man in Texas and Louisiana. Hunt was a professional gambler and when Norman and others wanted to play cards with him, the reply was "No. I am too good for you boys and I would win all your money." And, this was true. Hunt won a drilling rig in a card game and was off to a fabulous fortune. The Empire Gas and Fuel Company was either bought by or changed its name to the Arkansas Fuel Oil Company.
Norman remained an employee of this organization for the rest of his career. A second son, Richard Thornton, was born to Ruby and Norman on 28 September 1927. Some six months later, the company sent Norman on his final transfer to Tullos, Louisiana.
This photo is of the Urania High School Class of 1941. Raymond Donald Fox is the fourth from the left on the first row. For a complete description of Norman’s and Ruby’s life in Tullos see The Tullos Toughs.