The North American, Philadelphia,
Sunday, 7 April, 1912
"Old Philadelphia Families: cv. FOX"
By Frank Willing Leach
The ship "Desire" came to anchor in the Delaware, off Penn's infant but even then vigorous City of Brotherly Love, June 23, 1686. Her passengers were largely from Plymouth, England, and were known as the "Plymouth Friends." Among them were several men of importance, including the two Francis Rawles, father and son, ancestors of the present-day Rawles, now, as always, well-known figures in Quaker City life. But we are probably safe in according to James Fox the position of leadership among the voyagers on the "Desire."
He was a son of Francis Fox, who is said to have been a native of Wiltshire, England, but, during the Civil Wars of the 17th century, removed to Cornwall, settling in the parish of St. Germans. By his wife, Dorothy Kekewich, he was the father of three sons, Francis, John and James, the last named the emigrant of 1686.
Prior to their embarkation the party of "Plymouth Friends" had purchased 5000 acres of land in Pennsylvania from the Founder, the latter being then in London. The date of the purchase was March 13, 1685-86, only a few days prior to the sailing of the "Desire."
Such purchases, of course, at that time, were general in character, the property bought not being actually located until subsequently. After their arrival, therefore, steps were speedily taken to secure a tract of the dimensions set forth in their original deed or grant. Thus, we find James Claypoole and Robert Turner, Penn's Commissioners, writing as follows to the Surveyor General, Thomas Holme:
At the request of James Fox, Francis Rawle, Nicholas Pearce, and Richard Grove, in behalf of themselves and other Friends of Plymouth, Joynt purchasers with them of five thousand acres of land that we would grant the said five thousand acres of land together for a township in the most convenient place for water for the encouragement of the woolen manufecture, intended to be set up by them; these we therefore, in the Proprietary's name, do will and require thee forthwith to survey .... and make return hereof to the Secretary's office at Philadelphia the 5th of 5 Mo., 1686 =2E
We also find this record in the Pennsylvania Archives, second series, volume XIX, page 25:
At a meeting of the Commissioners, 4 Month 7, 1690: James Fox and Francis Rawle Requests that they may have a Patent for the 5,000 acres they Purchased now called the Plymouth Town, and that the Six Hundred Acres which was formerly Intended for a Town be Returned as part of the 5,000 acres Ordered that a Warr't be made for the Returning the 5,000 acres of land in manner aforesaid.
The tract in question, embracing approximately 5000 acres, was laid out in that portion of Philadelphia County which, nearly a century afterward -- September 10, 1784 -- was set apart to found the County of Montgomery, and constitutes a part of the present township of Plymouth, named in honor of its original settlers.
Here Fox, Rawle, Pearce, Grove, and their fellow-voyagers on the "Desire" took up their abode. In due time the colony became firmly established, and a successful unit in the building-up process of development which transformed a sylvan wilderness into a great commonwealth.
As a matter of fact, however, neither Fox nor Rawle remained long upon the original tract, both of them having gravitated to the more thickly populated sections of Philadelphia County; indeed, to the City of Philadelphia itself.
Before their removal, however, indeed, shortly after taking up their abode upon the tract originally purchased, a Friends' Meeting was organized, which is still in existence, being known as Plymouth Meeting the first gatherings were held at the house of James Fox.
When he became a resident of Philadelphia, Fox seems to have engaged in a variety of enterprises, and to have become a man of means and influence=2E At Plymouth, England, he had been a manufacturer of cloth. In his will he is styled as a baker, but the same instrument also speaks of his "dwelling house, granaries, bake-house, boulting mills, bags, weights, seals," etc.
PROMINENT IN PUBLIC LIFE
That he was prominent in public affairs is shown by the fact he was elected, in 1688, and again in 1693, 1694, 1695, 1696, 1697, and 1699, a member of the Assembly, while in 1697, he was also commissioned a justice of the peace. It is possible that he was also, at one time, Treasurer of the Province. Martin's Bench and Bar, page 170, states that a James Fox filled this office "before 20 2 mo., 1709." How long before, he does not state. As a matter of fact, the death of the James Fox under consideration occurred September 19, 1699.
He had married, in England, Elizabeth Record, by whom he was the father of seven children, to-wit: George, James, Elizabeth, Sarah, Joseph, Dorothy and Francis. We have record of the marriage of only three of the seven, as follows: George, to Susannah Hackney; James, to Anne Wills, and Elizabeth, to John Jones.
Both of the sons died shortly after marriage, George Fox, September 8, 1699, and James Fox, January 30, 1700-1. Each had only one child, in the one case a son, and in the other, a daughter, and both children died in infancy. Thus the male line of descent from James Fox became extinct at about the time of his own decease.
Accompanying James Fox to America, and a member of his personal retinue, was a youth named Justinian Fox. What his relationship to James Fox may have been we do not know.
The parentage and date of baptism of Justinian Fox have only recently been discovered. An examination of the Parish Register of Charles Church, Plymouth, England, shows his baptism to have taken place December 19, 1673. He was the son of Edward and Mary (nee Ball) Fox.
The first mention of Edward Fox, the father, thus far encountered, is in an Exchequer Bill in connection with the collection of the customs at Plymouth, in 1658. His name appears first in the enumeration of taxables.
Six years later, June 7, 1664, he married Oringe, or Orringe Prest. The Parish register of St. Andrew's Church, Plymouth, shows the baptism of a daughter, Susanna Fox, March 12, 1664-5.
Not long after this Mrs. Fox must have died, as, from the same Parish Register, we learn of the marriage, May 25, 1667, of "Edward Fox to Mary Baall" -- the latter name evidently being intended for "Ball."
Then follow the baptisms of three children, as follows: John Fox, April 5, 1668; Justinian Fox, as previously indicated, December 19, 1673, and Naomi Fox, April 6, 1674 -- the first and third at St. Andrew's Church, and the second at Charles Church -- both in Plymouth.
As to the identity and antecedents of Edward Fox, father of Justinian, we have no knowledge, nor do we know his relationship to Francis Fox, of Plymouth, father of James Fox, leader of the "Plymouth Friends," who came to Pennsylvania in 1686.
From the Probate Registry, Exeter, England, we learn that, in the year 1689, Letters of Administration, on the estate of Joseph Fox, of Plymouth, "Cloathyer," were granted to one Peter Foote, to which was appended a "renunciation" on the part of "Edward Fox of Plymouth, Worsted-comber uncle and next of kine."
The decedent, Joseph Fox, was a son of Richard Fox, of Stonehouse, the latter, of course, a brother of Edward Fox, father of Justinian. Richard Fox has long been a member of the Society of Friends, as had Francis Fox, who lived at St. German's, some miles west of Plymouth. The brothers, Richard and Edward Fox, were clothmakers, as was also Francis Fox.
The names of Richard and Francis Fox occur as witnesses to marriages on the same occasions, and Richard Fox witnessed the marriage of Francis Fox's son.
The latest information we have of Justinian Fox's father relates to a lease, September 2, 1700, for sixty-three years, taken by "Edward ffox, of Plymouth, Clothier," for a messuage, brewhouse, and appurtenances, situate in the town of Plymouth, near "the Great Tree."
Justinian Fox, when he came to America, in 1686, with James Fox, was only thirteen years of age, having been, as indicated above, baptized, as an infant, in 1673.
The above-mentioned facts do not disclose the relationship of the youth to his patron, James Fox. That the two were close kinsmen there can be no doubt. The terms of intimacy between the families is evidenced by several facts, besides those already enumerated.
At the marriage of George Fox, eldest son of James, to Susannah Hackney -- who was niece of Samuel Jenings, Colonial Governor of West New Jersey -- which took place at Burlington, May 20 1696, Justinian Fox was present as one of the guests, and signed the marriage certificate as one of the witnesses. Justinian Fox was also a subscribing witness to the will of George Fox, executed not long after his marriage. He likewise witnessed several deeds executed by James Fox and his sons.
Years afterward, John Jones, merchant, of Philadelphia, son-in-law of James Fox, named Joseph Fox, son of Justinian Fox, as one of the executors of his will.
As both of James Fox's sons died within a year or two of their father, it is understood that Justinian Fox succeeded to the business of his kinsman. According to tradition, he had studied medicine, but there is no evidence stronger than tradition upon which to base this conjecture.
We have only meagre information concerning the life of Justinian Fox. Besides the instances already noted, we find his signature affixed as a witness to the wills of Samuel Sheppard, Robert Turnham, Anthony Taylor, Jeremiah Gray, etc.
From the frequency with which we encounter his name in this connection, we might almost concluded that he was a scrivener, or conveyancer, to use a more modern term; and that he performed functions which today usually devolve upon the attorneys-at-law, of whom there were practically none in Philadelphia in Justinian Fox's day.
It is interesting to note, in this connection, that a co-witness to one of the above-mentioned wills, that of Jeremiah Gray, executed in 1715, was Charles Brockden, a noted scrivener early in the eighteenth century.
Justinian Fox is thought to have been a Friend, and it is asserted that his wife, who was not of a Quaker family, joined the society of Friends after marriage. He died intestate, shortly before January 16, 1718-9, upon which date letters of administration were granted to his widow.
The latter was Elizabeth Yard, only daughter and fifth child of Joseph and Mary Yard. Her father is said to have emigrated from Devonshire, England, about 1669, and to have settled among the Swedes on the Delaware. The statement has been made that he was the builder of Old Swedes Church, at Wiccaco, which was commenced in 1693.
Justinian and Elizabeth (nee Yard) Fox had issue as follows: Mary, Elizabeth, a second Elizabeth, Sarah, Joseph, Susannah, and James. Of the daughters, Mary married, January 1, 1720, Benjamin Rhoads; Elizabeth became the wife, September 14, 1723, of Joseph Rakestraw; Sarah married, December 19, 1723, William Martin, while Susannah became the wife, February 8, 1738, of Daniel Elmar. James Fox, the younger of the two sons, married December 16, 1736, Mary Wade.
It is with the elder son alone, Joseph Fox, with whom we now have to deal, he having been a man of large influence in his time, and the progenitor of the various members of the Fox family of the present day.
Joseph Fox was born in Philadelphia about 1710. When the son was a lad of only a few years of age his father died, and when still a youth, the widow placed Joseph Fox under the care of James Portues, a prominent builder of the Quaker City, to learn the carpenter's trade. A fellow apprentice of Fox's was Edward Warner -- the ancestor, likewise, of some prominent Philadelphians of later days. Portues, their employer, having died January 19, 1737, without issue, he left the bulk of his estate to be equally divided between Fox and Warner, to whom he had grown greatly attached, and over whom he had exercised parental care.
At the period in question commercial Philadelphia was in its infancy. Many of the industries now prominent factors in the business development of the city were then unknown. On the other hand, many of those now, comparatively speaking, deemed of minor consequence, were then of major concern in the public mind, in the evolution of the history of the community.
As important as architecture is at the present time, it was, by comparison, even more conspicuously a factor in the progress of the city and its people two hundred years ago. Thus, the builders of that day were among the most influential men of their time, in their relation to civic affairs, and incidentally, to social economics.
Resulting from existing conditions there came into being, in 1724, the Carpenters' Company, and organization still in existence, which, for many years, exerted a wide influence upon contemporaneous happenings. To present-day Philadelphians this association is best known by reason of its ownership of that historic building, Carpenters' Hall, where the first Continental Congress had its sessions.
Among the founders of this notable organization was James Portues, and, naturally, his former apprentice, Joseph Fox, likewise became a member. In 1763 he was chosen Master of the Company, and continued to hold the position until his death.
It was during his occupancy of this post of honor that Carpenters' Hall was built. In 1768 the lot, then fronting on Chestnut Street, below Fourth, was purchased, and, in 1771, the Hall itself was erected. Fox was a chairman of the committee which secured the site, and a large contributor to the fund raised to purchase the same and construct the famous building which now stands upon it.
Besides acquiring considerable personal property from his former employer, the latter also devised to him certain valuable pieces of real estate in and about the city, including the lot on the west side of Third Street, below Arch, upon which stood the carpenter shop and residence of his quondam patron. Having subsequently purchased the adjoining property and having built an entirely new one, Fox made the place his home for the balance of his life. The house continued in existence until about the year 1890, when the march of trade brought about its demolition. For a considerable period it remained in the possession of the Fox family, numbers of its representatives, of the earlier generations, having been born there.
Fox also, by his patron's death, came into possession of an extensive tract of land in the upper part of the City of Philadelphia -- then outside the limits of the old municipality -- about half a mile from the York Road, and near the present station of Fern Rock, on the line of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway. By the subsequent purchase of contiguous lands this tract was enlarged at a later period. Eventually, when the time arrived when men of large means began to erect country seats for themselves, Fox built such a home upon the property in question, where much of his life was spent, especially in his declining years.
The late Townsend Ward, one of the most entertaining of our local historians, writing a generation ago, thus refers to the old mansion:
A little further than the village of Cressonville, which is on the Asylum Road half a mile west of our route, is Champlost, a charming place, where the Fox family have long lived. In 1722 it became the property of James Portues by whose will, in 1743, it went to Joseph Fox, whose town house, a large double one, now bears the two Nos. 46 and 48 N. Third Street, which is mentioned on page 411. In 1782 his son Joseph M. Fox succeeded to the property, and on his death in 1784 it was inherited by his next brother, George, who held it until his death in 1828, when it went to his children.
In his relation to public affairs, both municipal and provincial, fewer Pennsylvanians were more conspicuous in the middle of the Eighteenth century than Joseph Fox. His first public office, of which we have record, was that of City Commissioner, to which he was chosen in October, 1745. Three years later, in 1748, he was named as one of the assessors of the municipality. The same year, July 14, 1748, he was elected one of the regulators of the streets.
In 1750 his most notable public service began, when he was chosen, as one of the two representatives from the City of Philadelphia, a member of the provincial Assembly, in which body he took his seat October 15 of that year. His colleague for a portion of that time was none other than Benjamin Franklin, who had previously been Clerk of the House. Franklin had been chosen to succeed William Clymar, deceased.
John Smith, James Logan's son-in-law, thus refers to Fox's first election, in his diary, under date of October 2, 1750:
Was active in the afternoon in promoting Ticketts for Burgesses, and Joseph Fox & Wm Clymer were chose without much opposition.
Fox participated actively in the legislative proceedings of the session, which was a stormy one, the old questions of taxation and public defense being uppermost issues. These, and others matters, produced much discussion and agitation when the next election rolled around, in October, 1751, the result being the non-election of Fox. John Smith refers to the existing turmoil, under date of October 1, 1751, following his return from his former home, in Burlington:
We got home in the Dark of the Evening, Found the people in a foam of Politicks.
The election of burgesses or assemblymen for the County of Philadelphia, outside of the city proper, was held on the above-mentioned date. Both Fox and Franklin had been voted for, the former receiving 330 votes and the latter 40. Neither was elected, however, the leader among the six successful candidates being none other than Fox's old fellow-apprentice, Edward Warner, who received 1473 votes.
Upon the following day the election in the city itself took place, and Fox was again voted for, and again suffered defeat. The result of the election is set forth by Smith, as follows:
The tickets upon counting them stood thus:
Benjamin Franklin 495
Hugh Roberts 473
Joseph Fox 391
Wm Plumstead 303
One half of these being 831, is I suppose a great many more than ever voted for the city before.
Two years later, at the election of October, 1753, Fox was returned to the Assembly from the County, and, thereafter, by successive annual re-elections, he was continued in that body until 1772, his last election occurring in October, 1771. Few members of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, during its history as a Province or a Commonwealth, can boast so lengthy or so distinguished a service.
He served upon many of the important committees, his associates embracing the most notable among his colleagues, including Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, Joseph Galloway, William Allen, and others of the intellectual giants who then sat in the popular body in question.
Mr. Fox was twice chosen Speaker of the Assembly; first, October 25, 1764, early in the session of 1764-65, the "perpetual Speaker," Isaac Norris, having become incapacitate by reason of ill-health; and again, October 11, 1765, at the opening of the session of 1765-66; his selection being unanimous upon both occasions.
The long and distinguished legislative career of Joseph Fox came to a close in 1772, when the Assembly chosen in October 1771, adjourned sine die=2E Writing from London, december 2, 1772, to Abel James, Franklin said:
I do not at this Distance understand the Politics of your last Election, why so many of the Members declin'd Service, and why yourself and Mr. Fox were omitted (which I regret) while Goddard was voted for by so great a number. Another Year I hope will set all right. The People seldom continue long in the wrong, when it is nobody's Interest to mislead them ....
And tho' it may be inconvenient to your private Affairs to attend to Publick Business, I hope neither you nor Mr. Fox will thro' Resentment of the present Slight decline the Service when called upon by your Country.
Mr. Fox's responsibilities as a leader of the Assembly did not exempt him from the acceptance and discharge of other public duties. Frequently, both pending and subsequently to his legislative service, he was one of the Commissioners for the disbursement of the large sums voted by the House for the defense of the Province, or for other governmental purposes.
By appointment of the House of Representatives, also, he attended the Indian Conferences, at Easton and Lancaster, in 1756 and 175[9?], though he declined similar service in 1763, when the Conference took place at Fort Pitt.
On January 22, 1757, he was named as one of the superintendents of the State House -- the present Independence Hall -- vice his former fellow-apprentice, Edward Warner, then recently deceased. Five years later, in 1762, it was determined to place the custody of the State House and surrounding grounds in the hands of a board of trustees, and Fox was one of those designated to perform this office, his colleagues being Isaac Norris, Thomas Leech, Samuel Rhoads, Joseph Galloway, John Baynton and Edward Penington, all conspicuous figures in the happenings of that period.
Under resolution of the Assembly, May 3, 1758, Joseph Fox was made Barrack Master at Philadelphia, "with full power to do and perform every matter and thing which may be requisite for the comfortable accommodation of his Majestye's troops within the Barracks lately erected in the city." This post he continued to hold until superseded by Major Lewis Nicola, in March 1776.
When the "Stamp Act Congress" of 1765 was called, to be held in New York City, Fox, who was then speaker of the Assembly, was chosen one of the commissioners or delegates from Pennsylvania, as we learn from the Minutes of the House, which set forth that "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Bryan and mr. Morton were appointed to that service." The Pennsylvania commissioners set out for New York September 26, 1765, but, according to Ford, Fox did not, for some reason, accompany the party. As the annual elections took place in Philadelphia the following week, he may have been detained for this cause.
In 1770 we find him serving as a manager for the relief of the poor of Philadelphia, as Henry Drinker, in writing to his partner Abel James, informs the latter that William Fisher had just been named in Fox's stead.
He was also, for many years, a trustee of Province Island, near the mouth of the Schuylkill, which the Province had purchased in 1741, and where a quarantine station had been established, and a "pest-house" built and operated.
Joseph Fox's relation to the Revolution, and its preliminaries, was an interesting one, though there is some conflict of authority as to the course pursued by him during that great struggle.
First, we find his signature attached to the Non-Importation Agreement of October 25, 1765, the first stage in the developments leading up, finally, to actual hostilities.
A critical period was reached five years later, when steps were taken in certain of the Colonies -- notably in New York -- to abrogate the agreement entered into in 1765. This retrogressive movement in Pennsylvania is thus referred to in Jacob Hiltzheimer's diary, under date of September 27, 1770:
This afternoon went to town meeting at State House, where it was agreed that further non-importation was necessary, a few articles only excepted. Joseph Fox, who was chairman, requested Charles Thomson to speak for him.
From another source we learn that "a large Body of respectable inhabitants assembled at the Time and Place appointed, and having unanimously chosen Joseph Fox, Esq., Chairman," proceeded to pass a series of nine resolutions, the first of them being as follows:
That the Claim of Parliament to tax the Colonies, and particularly the Act Imposing Duties on Tea, &c., for the Purpose of raising a Revenue in America, is subversive of the constitutional Rights of the Colonies.
Upon the advent of Paul Revere in Philadelphia, May 20, 1774, with his startling message, setting forth the strenuous happenings at Lexington and Concord, a meeting was held at the City Tavern to take action upon the intelligence brought from Massachusetts. The result of this assemblage was the appointment of a Committee of Correspondence, to open up communication with the other Colonies, with a view to united action. Joseph Fox was placed upon this Committee, which included among its membership some of the leading men of the day in Philadelphia.
Fox, at this time, still held the post of Barrack-Master, and the Minutes of the Committee of Safety, which followed the Committee of Correspondence, show his activity, throughout 1774-1775, in preparing for the public defense.
But at this juncture a discordant note is encountered in the varied reports of the happenings in Philadelphia. Under date of October 4, 1776, Christopher Marshall writes in his diary:
Some day this week, Joseph Fox and John Reynolds refused to take the Continental Money for large sums due them by bond, mortgage, &c., it is said. Of Fox's, a record was made by Paul Fooks, from the person that tendered him =9C240 before two witnesses, due on mortgage.
As the Continental currency was comparatively valueless, many of the leading citizens refused to accept it in payment of such fixed obligations as that indicated above; particularly, as many unscrupulous persons were only too ready to escape the payment of their just debts in this manner.
However, in the mercurial and violent condition of the popular mind, particularly among the masses, a refusal to accept the depreciated Continental currency was considered an act of disloyalty.
It was probably from some such incident, or series of incidents, that, in the following year, as we learn from Scharf and Westcott's History of Philadelphia, he was placed under arrest, by authority of the Supreme Executive Council, because of his supposed Tory proclivities. This was in September, 1777, as the British, under Howe, were advancing upon Philadelphia, after landing at the head of Chesapeake Bay.
Many of the leading citizens of Philadelphia were ordered under arrest at the same time, including former Governor John Penn, Chief Justice Benjamin Chew, Rev. William Smith, D.D., Provost of the College of Philadelphia (as the University of Pennsylvania was then called); Rev. Thomas Coombe, Rector of Christ Church; the Pembertons, the Fishers, Henry Drinker, Thomas Gilpin, ex-Mayor Samuel Shoemaker, Caleb and Samuel Emlen, Jr., etc., etc.
The fact was, a condition of panic existed, and a species of mob-rule prevailed. Men were ordered under arrest almost indiscriminately, the objects of the popular uprising being largely Quakers, who were non-combatants, as a matter of principle.
A charge of disloyalty against Joseph Fox, in view of his whole life of service in behalf of the people, seems absurd to the unimpassioned observer of the present day. Certain it is that the British did not recognize him as a friend to their cause, as is evidenced by the fact that they burnt, wholly or in part, his country-seat, together with others belonging to the Americans, in the suburbs of the city, as we learn from the diary of Robert Morton, who, November 22, 1777, wrote:
They have destroyed most of the houses along the lines, except Wm Henry's, which remains entire and untouched, while J. Fox's, Dr. Moore's and several others are hastening to ruin.
The arrest of Fox was all the more uncalled for in view of the fact that, July 25, 1777, he had taken the oath of Allegiance -- which many of the leading Quakers declined to do, preferring to undergo banishment -- renouncing "all allegiance to George Third, King of Great Britain, his heirs, and successors," and declaring his purpose to bear "true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a free and independent State."
By this time, Joseph Fox was well advanced in years, and had passed the age when he might be expected to participate in the activities of the Revolutionary period. Indeed, his life had closed before the surrender at Yorktown.
Fox was always interested in the condition of the Indians, as were others of the leading Quakers of his day. As previously indicated, he represented the Assembly in the Indian Conferences at Easton and Lancaster, in 1756 and 1757, respectively, the result of the gatherings being treaties which prevented hostilities with the Red Men, seemingly imminent at the time.
In 1764, when the "Paxton Boys" made their unwarranted and murderous attack upon the peaceable Conestoga Indians, Fox, then an Assemblyman, together with Benjamin Franklin and John Morton, framed the bill providing for the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators of the dastardly outrage.
In this connection an interesting story, for the truth of which the writer hereof cannot vouch, is found in the "Memoirs of Charles J. Wister" by his son, the late Charles J. Wister, Jr., Germantown's "Grand Old Man."
The incident relates to Tedyuscung, the most celebrated of all the Indian Chiefs in Eastern Pennsylvania, in the Eighteenth Century, whose one vice, like that of many another aborigine, was his fondness for "firewater." Wister writes:
He once called at Fox's counting-house, when the following dialogue ensued:
"You, Joe Fox! You give me rum, I give you deer!"
"Very well," said Fox, "but first tell me where the deer is to be found!"
"You know, down in 'Neck'!"
"Yes," said Fox.
"You know big chestnut tree."
"Very well," said Fox.
"On chestnut tree you see big buck hanging!"
The exchange of commodities was forthwith agreed upon, and down to the neck, post-haste, went Fox in search of his share of the bargain; for the most valuable share, too. But alas for the veracity of the Indian "Ting!" [King], no sign of a deer was to be found there.
Fox returned to his counting-house much exasperated with his fruitless errand as well as chagrined that he should have allowed himself to be duped by an Indian. It was not long, however, before his red friend again presented himself, and Fox reproached him with the deception he had practiced upon him.
What!" said Tedyuscung, apparently much surprised, "You go down to neck?" " "Yes!": said Fox indignantly.
"You find big chestnut-tree?"
"Yes, I did," said Fox.
"You not find buck hanging on chestnut tree?"
"No!" said Fox.
"Very well," said Tedyuscung, "two truths to one lie pretty good for Injin!"
From the above, the reader will naturally conclude that Joseph Fox did not believe in total abstinence. Indeed, such a doctrine was neither preached nor practiced in those days, not even by the most devout among Quakers, practically all of whom had their wine cellars and used liquors of various kinds upon their tables, and upon all domestic and social occasions=2E
Indeed, Fox may be said to have been something of a bon vivant, and noted for his camaraderie, if we may judge from the number of times and mention made of his participation in various festive entertainments. In Jacob Hiltzheimer's valuable and illuminating diary, heretofore referred to. Thus, December 30, 1765, Hiltzheimer writes:
"Dined at Garlick Hall on invitation of Robert Irwin, with Joseph Fox, Thomas Willing, William Parr, Joseph Wharton," etc.
Again, March 19, 1766:
"Attended at Robert Smith's house-warming, with Joseph Fox, John Lawrence, Samuel Mifflin, Will Parr, Tench Francis," etc.
On August 20, 1766, "Robert Erwin gave a beefsteak dinner at the Bettering House," as the Almshouse was then called; among the participants being Joseph Fox, John Drinker, John Parrish, Isaac Coates, etc.
Under date of February 27, 1768, we read:
"Attended a barbecue at Robert Smith's country house, and from there went to William Jones' Greenwich Hall, with the following gentlemen: Joe Fox, Samuel Morris, Samuel Mills," etc.
On October 9, 1768, Hilzheimer "Dined at Galloway's place with Israel Waters, Daniel Wister, Jacob Barge, Joseph Fox, Timothy Matlack, and Owen Jones"; while in the following month, November 5, he "Dined at Greenwich Hall on beefsteaks, with Joseph Fox, W. Parr, Sam Morris, Judah Foulk, Clem. Biddle," etc.
A further indication of his character as a man of non-ascetical tendencies is shown by his membership in the famous Fishing Company of Fort St. David's, which, founded about 1753, was comprised of many of the leading men of the ante-revolutionary period who eschewed the role of the anchorite.
As has already been indicated earlier in the present article, Joseph Fox was an extensive owner of real estate and a man of large means. We find his name in Du Simitiere's interesting list of those Philadelphians, eighty-four in number, who, in 1772, owned chariots and coach-wagons.
Joseph Fox's activities were exerted in numerous other directions besides those already enumerated. He was, in 1752, one of the founders, and later a director, of the "Philadelphia Contributionship," the first fire insurance company in America, which is still doing business on south fourth Street. Under the Act of December, 1756, he was named one of the commissioners to erect barracks in Philadelphia for the King's troops; this being a couple of years prior to his formal election as Barrack-Master. An Act of Assembly, passed in 1761, for "rendering the Schuylkill navigable," he was made a commissioner to carry out the purpose of the act. On March 8, 1768, he was made a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 1774 he was one of the organizers of the Inoculating Society, formed to prevent the spread of smallpox.
A SKETCH BY FRANKLIN
Joseph Fox married, September 25, 1749, Elizabeth Mickle, daughter of Samuel and Thomazine (nee Marshall) Mickle, who was born in 1729.
Her father, Samuel Mickle, who was a son of Archibald and Sarah (nee Watts) Mickle, was born February 10, 1684, and died February 18, 1765. He was a member of Common Council from 1732 until his death -- the office at that time, being practically a life one -- and was a man of considerable note in his day. Franklin, in his autobiography, comments upon what he deemed the pessimistic temperament of Mickle, as follows:
There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle. This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Being assured in the affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive undertaking, and the expense would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or near being so, all appearances to the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise in rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that would ruin us. And he gave me such a detail of misfortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he left me half melancholy.
Had I known him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have done it. This man continued to live in the decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began his croaking.
The death of Joseph Fox occurred December 10, 1779, and he was buried two days later, as we learn from the journal of Elizabeth Drinker, and from other sources. His widow, nee Mickle, survived until January 1, 1805, and was buried on the 3d, as we likewise learn from the journal of Mrs. Drinker, who writes, on the last-mentioned date:
We are invited to the burial of Elizabeth Fox, widow of Joseph Fox, aged about 75 or 76 years. She was daughter of Saml Mickle.
To this couple thirteen children were born, as follows: Thomazine Mickle, Elizabeth, Samuel Mickle, Justinian, Joseph Mickle, George, a second Samuel Mickle, a third Samuel Mickle, a second Elizabeth, a third Elizabeth, a fourth Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Hill. Seven of these died in infancy. Of the six who reached maturity, two died unmarried. One of these was the second daughter, Hannah Fox, born October 9, 1750, whose death occurred February 19, 1824. The other was Joseph Mickle Fox, born September 15, 1757, who died January 18, 1784. The death of the latter was due to an accident, reference to which is made both by Jacob Hilzheimer and Elizabeth Drinker, in their respective diaries.
The former writes, under date of January 18, 1784:
Was informed by William Moulder of the death of Joseph Fox, from a fall off his horse this morning.
Mrs. Drinker, on the same day, gives fuller particulars, as follows:
Joseph Fox went out this morning for Frankford on a Skittish Horse, who threw him over his Head against a Post, at ye upper end of Third St=2E; his body violently bruised. He was taken home on a Couch, suffered great pain 'till some time in ye afternoon, when he died.
The other four children of Joseph and Elizabeth (nee Mickle) Fox, two daughters and two sons, married and left issue.
The elder of the daughters, Thomazine Mickle Fox, she being as well the eldest of the thirteen children, was born June 15, 1748, and died November 7, 1821, having married, February 20, 1772, George Roberts, a son of Hugh and Mary (nee Calvert) Roberts, who was born June 6, 1737, and died September 17, 1801. He was a great-grandson of Hugh Roberts, a prominent Welsh Quaker, who settled in Pennsylvania at a very early period, and concerning whose descendants a separate article will be presented hereafter in this series.
George and Thomazine Mickle (nee Fox) Roberts were the parents of six children, three of whom died single. The eldest son, Hugh Roberts, married Sarah Logan Smith, of the "Burlington Smiths"; George Roberts married Elizabeth Emlen, while Mary Roberts became the wife of John J. Smith, also of the "Burlington Smiths."
The Roberts branch of the Fox family is today represented by the following: Charles Morten Smith, 1718 Locust Street; Miss Mary Coles, 2211 Walnut Street; Mrs. George s. Robbins, 9 East 36th Street, New York; Miss Mary Roberts Coles, 2010 De Lancey Street; Miss Sarah Roberts Smith, 1620 Locust Street, etc.
Elizabeth Hill Fox, the younger of the two married daughters of Joseph and Elizabeth (nee Mickle) Fox, and the youngest of the thirteen children, was born October 14, 1771, and died January 23, 1861, having married, May 20,1790, Joseph Parker Norris, son of Charles and Mary (nee Parker) Norris, who was born May 5, 1763, and died June 22, 1841. Mr. Norris was a grandson of Isaac Norris, who came to America in 1690 and established a distinguished line, concerning which full particulars have been given in a previous article of this series.
Joseph Parker and Elizabeth Hill (nee Fox) Norris had seventeen children, of whom eight married and had issue. They have numerous descendants now residing in or about Philadelphia, bearing such distinctive quaker City names as Norris, Horwits, Starr, Emlen, Brock, Coleman, Cochran, Vaux, etc.
Of the two sons of Joseph and Elizabeth (nee Mickle) Fox who married, the elder, George Fox, was born November 27, 1759. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, having entered May 21, 1775, though he did not graduate. Inheriting his father's abilities in large measure, he attained prominence in various fields of endeavor. He was made a member of the American Philosophical Society January 16, 1784. From 1789 to 1791, and again from 1812 until his death, he was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1800 he represented the City of Philadelphia in the State Assembly. He was one of the organizers of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal Company, and was one of its first directors. In 1784, upon a second issue of stock made by the Bank of North America, organized three years previously, George Fox subscribed for fifteen shares. From January 12, 1818, until his death, ten years later, he was a director of the Bank.
He was a man of large wealth, having had a considerable inheritance, both of personal and real estate, from his father and elder brother, including the Fox country seat, to which the name of "Champlost" was subsequently given by the son. This name he had brought home from Europe, whither he had gone shortly after his father's death.
Accompanied by young Dr. John Foulke, he had sailed, May 4, 1780, for Port l'Orient, in the brig Duke of Leinster. They had borne letters of introduction to Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Bond and Joseph Wharton. The former wrote of them as "the sons of our worthy deceased Friends Judah Foulke and Joseph Fox. They have both had a liberal education, and are now in the laudable pursuit of further useful knowledge in Europe."
Young Fox spent a considerable time in France. Upon one occasion, while dining at the chateau of the Comte de Champlost, he became suddenly ill. He was removed to Paris, where, after a time, he sank so low that his physicians thought him dead, and he was consigned to the care of the Capuchins for burial. A little warmth being discovered in his hands, restoratives were applied, and he eventually recovered his health and returned to America. Subsequently the name of the estate where he had had so remarkable an experience was given to his own country seat in Philadelphia County, inherited in 1784, from his brother, Joseph Mickle Fox.
Many of Franklin's most valuable papers came into the hands of George Fox, the same having been bequeathed to him by his friend, William Temple Franklin, the Philosopher's grandson. Most of these invaluable documents now belong either to the American Philosophical Society or the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
George Fox was twice married, first, November 25, 1789, to Mary Pemberton, only daughter of Charles and Esther (nee House) Pemberton, who was born March 25, 1771, and died July 5, 1801. He married, secondly, October 10, 1808, Mary Dickinson, daughter of Philemen and Mary (nee Cadwalader) Dickinson, who was born in 1768, and died March 28, 1822. Mr. Fox's own death occurred September 16, 1828.
Elizabeth Drinker makes mention in her Journal, August 11, 1797, of a visit paid by her son-in-law, Jacob Downing, and her two married daughters,+ Sarah Downing and Mary Rhoads, to Champlost, as follows:
Jacob took S. and M. Rhoads out to visit George and Mary Fox, at their place, Champlost. They staid till after night, which I by no means approve of.
Mrs. Drinker refers later, July 5, 1801, to the death of the first Mrs. Fox, as follows:
Molly Rhoads yesterday borrowed our waggon, to go today, with her mother Rhoads to visit Molly Fox at Champlost. She has been in a bad state of health for some months past. Pompey came this morning to tell us that they did not want ye carriage, as Molly Fox was departed. She died this morning, and was buried this evening. Why so soon buried, I have not heard.
By his first wife George Fox had issue three children, as follows: Charles Pemberton, Eliza Mary Pemberton, and Esther Pemberton. Two children resulted from the second marriage, to wit: Joseph Dickinson and Mary Dickinson. Of the five, only one married, and she died without issue, so that the line of George Fox is extinct.
Charles Pemberton Fox, the eldest of the five, was born July 3, 1792; graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1811, and received the degree of A.M. in 1816. He joined the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, May 10, 1813, of which he was made Corporal in 1816, and Quarter-Master Sergeant in 1822, and was placed on the honorary roll, March 7, 1853. He made his home at "Champlost," where he died unmarried, October 10, 1866=2E
His eldest sister, Eliza Mary Pemberton Fox, born May 30, 1794, married, February 18, 1819, John Roberts Tunis, son of Richard and Jane (nee Roberts) Tunis, who died October 30, 1819. Mrs. Tunis survived her husband over half a century, dying May 17, 1873, being without issue.
Her half-brother, Joseph Dickinson Fox, born in 1804, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1824, being the Latin Valedictorian of his class. He died the following year -- October 19, 1825.
His sister, Mary Dickinson Fox, born December 13, 1807, died unmarried, at "Champlost," February 19, 1895, she being the last survivor of her father's branch of the Fox family.
Samuel Mickle Fox, the younger of the two sons of Joseph and Elizabeth (nee Mickle) Fox who married, and the only one through whom the male line has been brought down to the present day, was born October 2, 1763. His early education was acquired under the tutelage of that prince of schoolmasters, Robert Proud. While a student under the latter he edited, for a period, an amateur periodical, in manuscript, called The Student's Gazette, as we learn from the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume XXIII, page 117, which says:
Between the years 1774 and 1780 a number of "newspapers" and "magazines" were issued in manuscript by scholars of Robert Proud's Latin School, for circulation among their schoolmates. Some were ephemeral and others had a life of a year or more. Of these literary ventures the most successful were The Students' Gazette, edited in 1777 by S. M. Fox, and the Universal Magazine and Literary Museum, a duodecimo of 14 pp., edited in 1774 by Samuel L. Wharton.
Like his older brother George Fox, he inherited, to a considerable extent, the intellectual force and business capacity of his distinguished father. He was one of the incorporators of the Bank of Pennsylvania, in 1793, and, in 1796, became its president, which position he held until his death. He served in both branches of the City Councils, in the Common Council in 1793-1797, and in the Upper Chamber in 1797-1800. He became an active and influential member, serving upon important committees bearing upon the finances of the municipality, etc.
He was also a director of the Philadelphia Library Company; a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania (1800 until his death); a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1794-1797), etc. The history of the last-mentioned institution says of him:
His talents, integrity and industry, and his attention to the interests of literature and art, rendered him an extremely useful member of the community in which he spent his life.
Together with his brother George, he obtained, between 1785 and 1789, warrants for extensive tracts in Western Pennsylvania, then known as "back lands," a popular form of investment at that time, which brought great wealth to some, but involved others in financial ruin. Thousands of acres were patented by him in 1796, embracing immense tracts in Vehango and other counties. Some of this property still remains in the family.
Mr. Fox married, November 27, 1788, Sarah Pleasants, daughter of Samuel and Mary (nee Pemberton) Pleasants, who was born November 3, 1767, and died February 3, 1825. Her husband predeceased her, dying April 30, 1808.
They had issue as follows: Joseph Mickle, Mary Pleasants, Elizabeth Mickle, Hannah Morris, Ann Pleasants, Caroline, Sarah Pemberton, Samuel Mickle, Louisa G., Emeline, George, a second George, and a second Caroline. Of this number, two, a daughter and a son, died in infancy or early youth=2E Six other daughters reached maturity, but died single, namely Elizabeth Mickle, Hannah Morris, Sarah Pemberton, Louisa G., Emeline and the second Caroline. The remaining five children -- two daughters and three sons -- married and left issue.
SURVIVING MEMBERS OF FAMILY
The elder of the daughters, Mary Pleasants Fox, born September 29, 1790, married, November 20, 1813, William Wharton Fisher, son of James Cowles and Hannah (nee Wharton) Fisher, who was born October 1, 1786, and died January 6, 1838. His widow died January 16, 1872. They had nine children, all of whom married except two.
Among surviving representatives of this branch are the following: Dr. George William Norris and William Felix Norris, 1030 Locust Street, who are doubly descended from Joseph Fox, the Speaker of the Colonial Assembly; Lewis Hines Parsons, 1534 Locust Street; Mrs. J. Ridgway Reilly, 2029 Locust Street; Charles King Lennig, Rufus King Lennig, and Frederick Lennig, "Chelwood," Andalusia; William Wharton Fisher, Saranac, N. Y.; Miss Adaline Worrell Fisher, 2222 Spruce Street; Samuel Neave Lewis, 422 South Broad Street; Mrs. Henry C. Mayer, 103 South 21st Street; Samuel Wilson Fisher, "Brier Hill," Ambler, etc.
The other daughter, Ann Pleasants Fox, born October 28, 1795, became the wife, July 28, 1829, of George Newbold, and died January 16, 1861. Her husband, who was a son of Cleayton and Mary (nee Foster) Newbold, was born May 29, 1780, and died September 8, 1858. Their only child, George Newbold, born April 17, 1834, died November 28, 1891.
The three sons of Samuel and Sarah (nee Pleasants) Fox were all notable men, worthy of a larger measure of consideration in this connection than the remaining space at the writer's command will permit.
The eldest of the three, Joseph Mickle Fox, born October 25, 1789, was admitted to the Philadelphia bar September 7, 1812. Subsequently he removed to Relicfonte [?], Centre County, and, later, in 1827, to the wilds of Western Pennsylvania, where, at the junction of the Allegheny and Clarion rivers, he purchased a tract of 13,000 acres [18k?], comprised within the immense territory belonging to his father's estate. An unsuccessful attempt was made to found a town here, but, in later years, the thriving community, now known as Foxburg, came into being upon the site originally selected by Mr. Fox.
He was for many years the leading citizen in that section of the State, and, in 1829, was chosen to represent his district in the State Senate.
He married, April 6, 1820, Hannah Emlen, daughter of George and Sarah (nee Fishbourne) Emlen, whose ancestry has previously been set forth in an earlier article of this series. She was born February 6, 1790, and died November 11, 1869, having survived her husband nearly a quarter of a century. He died February 12, 1846.
They had one child only, Samuel Fox, who was born June 29, 1821, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1841, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar June 11, 1844. His father dying within the next two years, the son's energies were chiefly devoted, thereafter, to the management of the large estate left by the elder Fox, necessitating the former's residence, for most of the time, at Foxburg, Clarion county.
Mr. Fox married, June 28, 1849, Mary Rodman Fisher, and died December 25, 1869, having had five children, Joseph Mickle Fox, who died young; the late William Logan Fox, whose widow resides at 1280 [1230?] Spruce Street; Joseph Mickle Fox, "Wakefield," Germantown; Sarah Lindley Fox, who died unmarried, and Miss Hannah Fox, 339 South Broad Street.
Samuel Mickle Fox, second of the sons of Samuel and Sarah (nee Pleasants) Fox, was born March 29, 1800, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1816, and from the Medical Department of the same institution in 1822. After practicing this profession in Philadelphia for several years, he removed, in 1828, to New York City, where he became a member of the firm of Bolton, Fox & Livingston. He continued to reside in New York until his death, which took place December 10, 1849.
He married, October 17, 1826, Eliza de Grasse de Pau, daughter of Francis and Silvia (nee de Grasse) de Pau, who was born November 20, 1803, and died August 20, 1864. Eight children resulted from this union, of whom two died young. The other six, now all deceased, who were identified with the life of New York rather than that of Philadelphia, were Samuel Mickle Fox, who married, first Maria Livingston, secondly, Ida Thorne, and thirdly Amelia de Pau; Francis de Pau Fox, who died single; Eliza Fox, who became the wife of Frederick Arthur St. John; de Grasse Fox, who married Harriet Biddle; Alice Maude Fox, who became the wife of Louis Livingston, and Ella Augusta Fox, who died unmarried.
The widow of de Grasse Fox, nee Biddle, with her daughter, Miss Sylvia de Grasse Fox, makes her home in Philadelphia, at The Lincoln, though both of them spend much of their time abroad.
Besides de Grasse Fox, the only member of the immediate family of Samuel Mickle and Eliza de Grasse (nee de Pau) Fox who left issue was the eldest son, Samuel Mickle Fox, whose surviving children are; Herman Thorn Fox, Goshen, N. Y.; Alfred Thorn Fox and George de Pau Fox, 169 elm Street, Bridgeport, conn., and Samuel Mickle Fox, Sheffield, Mass. A brother of theirs, the late Frank de Pau Fox, is survived by two children, Richard de Pau Fox and Miss Beatrice Fox, Bay Shore, L. I., N. Y., while the only sister, now deceased, Mrs. Harry B. Livingston, is represented by a daughter, Miss Angelica Livingston, 309 Fifth Avenue, New York.
George Fox, youngest of the sons of Samuel Mickle and Sarah (nee Pleasants) Fox, was born May 8, 1806, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1825, and from the Medical Department in 1828. Entering upon the practice of his profession, he rose to a position of distinction, at a time when Philadelphia was renowned for the eminence of its physicians and surgeons.
For a period after taking his degree he served as resident physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital, and toward the close of his professional career, 1848-54, was a member of the regular medical staff of that institution=2E He was also one of the original surgeons in Wills Hospital, and later a manager of the institution. He was, moreover, at one time, a surgeon at St. Joseph's Female Asylum.from 1830 to 1832 Dr. Fox also served as Clerk of Common Council.
In the year last mentioned a virulent epidemic of cholera broke out among inmates of the old Arch Street Prison, which Scharf and Westcott's History refers to, as follows:
When Dr. Peace was taken with the disease, on Sunday, August 5th, there were eighty sick persons among the inmates and four of the officers were down. There was great danger of an outbreak on the part of those prisoners who remained. What was more important was the fact that they were without medical assistance in case of attack. News of the unfortunate state of affairs soon spread throughout the city, and Dr. Burden obtained the assistance of a number of fearless physicians.... They promptly repaired to the jail and did the best they could, but the pestilence was ex=
Another document says:
In the midst of this awful riot of disease and mortality, the medical gentlemen nobly and faithfully maintained their ground, and were instrumental in rescuing many who would otherwise have swelled the frightful number of the dead.
The list of physicians who responded to the call for aid in this emergency, as given by Scharf and Westcott, is headed by the name of Dr. George Fox.
He was a member, and at one time Vice President of the Philadelphia Medical Society, a Fellow of the College of Physicians, a member of the American Medical Association, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, etc.
Retiring from active practice in 1854, Dr. Fox purchased a tract of land on the Delaware, in Bensalem township, Bucks County, just beyond the upper boundary of Philadelphia, where he built a country seat, to which the name of "Chestnutwood" was given and where he resided until his death, December 27, 1882.
He married September 25, 1850, Sarah Downing Valentine, daughter of George and Mary (nee Downing) Valentine, who was born February 20, 1825, and died February 9, 1888. They had issue six children, of whom three survive, as follows: Dr. Joseph Mickle Fox, "The Dell," Torresdale; Charles Pemberton Fox, Panllyn [?], and Mrs. George W. Norris, 284 South 22nd Street; Mrs. Norris's husband, by the way, the present Director of Wharves, Docks and Ferries, being also a Fox descendant of the Norris line.
The eldest son, now deceased, was Samuel Mickle Fox, a member of the Philadelphia bar. His widow, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Richards Newbold, resides at "Chestnutwood," Torresdale.
Another son, also deceased, was the late George Fox, of "Traveskan," Torresdale, whose death occurred October 6, 1911. Of his seven children the following are married: Mrs. Arthur H. Brookie, 646 Westview Avenue, Germantown, and Mrs. William Byrd, Short Hills, New Jersey. The remaining children reside at "Traveskan," with their mother -- nee Baird.
The eldest of the two daughters of Dr. George Fox, Mary Valentine Fox, now deceased, became the wife of William Wayne, of "Waynesborough," Paoli, a great-grandson of General Anthony Wayne, of Revolutionary fame. A son of the latter, William Wayne, Jr., lives at the Esmond.