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Photo - 'St.Josephs' 5 King Street, Wimborne Minster, birthplace of William Cox 1764/1837

As I begin this project, it is with the knowledge that I have only known of my COX links for about 15 years, whereas some Cox families have always known, from whom they descend. I will do my best to outline the story from where I haved proved it to be a link, with help of my two 'cousins' and fellow researchers Barry Cox and Bryan Cox.

For my grandchildren, whom I love dearly, namely Alexander, Joel, Lawrence, Genevieve, Samuel and Zachary and not least Chloe, I write these pages. Your understanding of those of your ancestors, who have gone before, I trust, will inspire you to seek that which is true and kind. It is also with gratitude and love to Matthew that I am able to present this epic, as I have little ability to make my way around this modern technology - the internet. Others are now invited to share our exciting family stories, as they contain much, of the very pioneering spirit of this, once young colony - Australia.

FIRST we find THOMAS COX a shipowner, from a family originally seated in Chichester prior to removing to Dorset. Thomas Cox born c.1670 married 1693 and had a son WILLIAM COX born c.1695 at Poole or Wimborne where family had lands, married c.1725 and had issue of five - Thomas, Elizabeth (d.y.), Elizabeth, Robert and Martha. Much data is by courtesy, Archie Johnson of 'Clarendon Trust' whom I give credit at this time, for wonderful research into the ancestry of this English family, which also enabled us to seek out some of these historic places during 1995.

The VILLAGE of WIMBORNE is indeed a lovely picture of 'old England'. The WIMBORNE MINSTER is the centre of activity (for me anyway). There are many features to delight the tourist to the village, where quaint old houses and shops seem to become the border of the Minster grounds. As a market town of Georgian buildings, it is encircled by the Rivers Stour and Allen (Winburn) creating verdant meadows, a pleasure for locals and tourists alike. A short distance away is a smaller village Wimborne St.Giles the source of the river Allen.

Barbara Willis (1986) in her book states - "After the Roman army landed at Hamworthy near Poole (coastal) in 43 AD., they established a base camp at Lake ½ mile west of the present Wimborne Minster. They subjugated the local tribes and set up a system of Roman roads centerd on Badbury Rings, an Iron Age Hill Fort which they captured. Little is known for the next 650 years."

By 750 AD. West Saxon King Ine chose Wimborne, to establish a monastery for his sister Cuthburga, being the present day St.Cuthburga. It was home for as many as 500 female nuns at one time. The Danes destroyed the abbey in 11th century and Edward the Confessor set up a College of Secular Canons, with the church called the Minster, being Latin for 'monasterium' describing a church served by a group of clergy. The same was true of York Minster.

There are many special features of Wimborne Minster Church, which is built of grey and brown stone, creating a speckled appearance. The Astronomical Clock(c.1320); Sundial with three sides facing east, south and west; two Norman Bell Towers and the Quarter Jack, originally dressed in monks habit of 1612, but now in that of a Grenadier, strikes the two bells each quarter hour. If you walk the spiral staircase you will find the "Chained Library" founded 300 years ago. About 350 books are available for the people of Wimborne to read. Most are chained together, so citizens cannot remove them. The chains, copies of those used by Michaelangelo for Laurentian library in France, were made by children of the Wimborne Workhouse.

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, where the Cox children received their education, was established in 1496 while Elizabeth 1 granted a new charter in 1562 for continuation of Latin and Greek grammar to all students. By the 1980's the building was converted to nine town houses.

THE FIRST family we record in Wimborne is WILLIAM COX (1) born 1695 between Wimborne and Poole in Dorset. William Cox held lands in the Fir Forest which goes down to Poole, about 5 miles from Wimborne. The Cox family became shipowners and had issue of 5 (as noted). Some Cox families lived, at different times, at Fordingbridge, Holdenhurst and Shaftsbury, villages situated between Wimborne and Poole. A large portrait in oil of this William Cox (b.1695) hangs in National Trust house 'Clarendon' at Evandale, Tasmania - on permanent loan from Tim Cox's family, Melbourne. To compliment that, is a portrait in oil of Jenny (nee Harvey) Cox, mother of William (1764-1837) who came to Australia in 1800.

WILLIAM COX (1) had son ROBERT COX b.1730 who married JENNY HARVEY d/o Robert Holloway Harvey of Holdenhurst, Hampshire. ROBERT & JENNY COX had issue of 4, my g.g.g.grandfather WILLIAM COX (2) being second child b.19.12.1764 Wimborne Minster, Dorset. William is also ancestor of Bryan Cox of New Zealand.

First son ROBERT HARVEY COX b.1754 Holdenhurst is forbear of Barry Cox Melbourne (of whom later). Sisters of William and Robert were JANE COX b.1758 and ANNE COX b.1762 both of whom remained unmarried. This ROBERT HARVEY COX is the subject of some wonderful research by Barry Cox who will in due time, write the story of this Robert Cox and Ann Woolls. This family achieved great things during their life in Christchurch, and Carrick on Shannon, Co.Leitrim, Ireland. Strangely their activities seemed to follow similar directions, to that of William who came to Australia.

WILLIAM COX (1764-1837) was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, just around the corner from where he lived at 'St.Josephs' 5 King Street Wimborne Minster. It is sheer delight for any of our friends (Cox rellies) to stand in front of this quaint "house of oak" and think back to those times when our forbears walked those pathways. The little windows looking out on to the street, oak and plaster filled panels and the little side door all create a charm, which is increased by the knowledge that one's forbear was actually born there.We have since learned that the house was sold, just prior to our visit in 1995, for around £150,000. Next to this home is the Wimborne Minster Manse. With appreciation to Bryan Cox N.Z. we have a print of a painting of this historic Cox home - a treasure indeed.

The PRIEST'S HOUSE MUSEUM dating from around 1600 stands across from the Minster on High Street. It was built in early 17th century and occupied by Miss Hilda Coles up to her death in 1987. Her mother was a member of the Cox family. Hilda developed the museum where she obviously spent many pleasant and happy years doing the things she loved. There, the signature of Robert Harvey (? link to Jenny) is etched into the glass panelled window. This museum with the graceful french light panels in the charming bay windows, holds much memorabillia of the village, while the beautiful and extensive back gardens lend a peace to the whole site. A variety of trades were conducted in the building at one time, but it became a museum in 1962.

Little is known of the life of WILLIAM COX (2) from childhood until he joins the Wiltshire Militia c1795, taking him from Dorset to neighbouring WILTSHIRE county. While at Wiltshire, William at age 25 married REBECCA UPJOHN from Bristol in 1789. (of whom later)

Memoirs of Wm.Cox - state " Young Cox was a man of good estate and served in the Wilts Militia, in the service where the country gentlemen showed both their will and ability to serve their country. During the French War he got a taste of the hostilitity and anxiety" end quote. WILLIAM COX wanted to be part of the action and on 8th July 1795 aged 31, he received his commission as Ensign in 117th Regiment of Foot. On 20th June the next year he transferred to 68th Regiment of Foot, becoming Lieutenant February 1797, at that time he made his first voyage to Australia. The second voyage was in 1799 when he was accompanied by his wife and four sons.

As Captain of 102nd Regiment of Foot in 1799 following the Irish Uprising, he was appointed Paymaster and directed to Cork Harbour. Communication between the English and Irish were at their lowest ebb and Cox was ordered to await the loading of a vessel, with rebels bound for 'Botany Bay'. The "Minerva" under Captain Salkeld, some time later departed for Australia with Captain William Cox in charge of Irish rebels (political prisoners). A book could be written about that journey and subsequent arrival, but at this point I am just trying to 'paint' a picture for those who wish to learn about their Cox family.

Captain Grose was in charge of the newly formed N.S.W. Corps and entrance to the Corps was much easier than for those in the homeland, which leads us to believe that some undesirable men joined the corps. I am in possession of 'A Crucible of a Profession' 1996 by John Black of Bristol Business School, University of West England, Bristol. William Cox was amongst those men of honour who volunteered. He was strong, noble and true, with an ability to manage men, provide necessary physical needs and gain their respect and love at the same time. (of whom later)

Political Prisoners on 'Minerva' - These (convict) immigrants were quite different to the rough and ready, who were brought from the very many old hulks that lay rotting, in the River Thames in England and at Cobh (Cork) Harbour. What a great place to visit while on a visit to Ireland.

Many Irishmen were of good standing, but sentenced for political offences (like my Elizabeth Rafferty 1795). A condition of their reprieve from sentence of death, was to leave Ireland for the colonies. The company included priest, ministers (Rev.Fulton), a sheriff and several professional men with little experience of the many hardships they were about to encounter.

The 'Minerva' departed Cork Harbour 24th August 1799 with 34 women including Rebecca Cox; 132 male prisoners; Lieut Maundrell; 4 sergeants; 27 privates; 3 mates; 4 quartermasters and 20 sailors. Although the ship was well armed, the crew was relatively small for the number of captives. Quote 'Memoirs of William Cox' by Library of Australian History - from the writing of Joseph Holt. "Such a voyage is generally a voyage of suffering, sorrow and bitter injustice, for men in charge of ships of that day were often very poor type.

Captain Salkeld had his faults, no doubt - most people have, but he had some virtues, which are likewise somewhat prevalent. When the weather was fine, Captain Cox would ask permission to bring prisoners up on deck for air. The Captain sometimes pleaded that he had no quartermaster to spare, to watch them. Captain Cox would respond 'I'll get a quartermaster and I'll look out for them' and he'd get the keys and got Joseph Holt to act as quartermaster. So the prisoners saw more sunshine, sea and sky than prisoners generally did, and they had plenty of good food, while Joseph suggests that many passengers never had such a good time in their lives before.

But he recognised who was at the bottom of all the peace and enjoyment. He put it all down to Captain Cox. He wrote in his book that 'this excellent man contributed to the health and happiness of all the unfortunate passengers on board'. Such is the power of one strong, true man, on a ship or in a country. Where ever William Cox went he made his mark and impressed his intense individuality on the society in which he moved. There was no special reason why the 'Minerva' should have been a particularly good ship, yet it stands on record that she was the best ship that ever carried prisoners from the Old Land to here. There were only three deaths on board, during the whole 5 months of the trip and there were a good many births". End Quote..... "Memoirs of Wm.Cox".

During the voyage, history shows that William became great friends with Joseph Holt, a friendship that was to last throughout their lives. Holt managed 'Brush Farm' at Dundas, William's first property in the infant colony of New South Wales. (See William Cox, Sydney)

' LIFE is FULL of GATEWAYS a PLACE to take the VIEW - to LEAVE behind our FAILURES and FACE the ROAD ANEW'



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