This photo, taken in 1974, shows the author pointing out the ruins of the old Fox homestead in Cornwall called Catchfrench. Here Francis Fox and his wife Dorothy Kekewich resided, after coming down from Wiltshire in the mid 1600s, became Quakers and started a well known British Fox family with connections to Lloyds of London and Barclays Bank. The book, Growing with America - The Fox Family of Philadelphia, begins here in 1686, the year the Plymouth Friends came to Philadelphia on the ship Desire.

The puzzle the author had to solve was this: James Fox, a leader of the Plymouth Friends, was the youngest son of Francis and Dorothy Fox but there were three other Foxes on the ship Desire whose connection to James was unknown. These were Richard Fox, bondservant to James Fox, and two non-Quakers, John and Justinian Fox, indentured to other members of the party. Could all of these Foxes have been related to James? There is indirect documentation that points to a relationship but it had never been fully proven until the Fox Y-DNA Surname Project was started in 2003. Typically, this project has raised further questions. How, for example, does a third related Fox family from South Carolina connect with the British and Philadelphia Fox families?

Growing with America deals with the descendants of Justinian Fox. His son, Joseph Fox, founded the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia, built Carpenters' Hall and was Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1764, while Ben Franklin was in England negotiating with Parliament over the detested Stamp Act. His grandson, Samuel Mickle Fox, was a founder of the Bank of Pennsylvania in 1793 and later its president. He invested heavily in land in western Pennsylvania where oil was later discovered.

Later generations included the builder of America's first golf course, a well known early Philadelphia doctor and a civil engineer whose final assignment was to improve Pennsylvania Railroad facilities on land that had once belonged to his ancestors. The family was intimately connected with the fortunes of the British actress, Fammy Kemble, in America and a great uncle - George Washington Norris - has been accused of deepening the Great Depression as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. More recently one family member served as the model for the bookseller, Joe Fox, in the movie You've Got Mail and another plays the part of Jack in the TV series Lost.

The author has put all these achievements into context - discussing what was going on at the time and how America was growing. For example, the importance of the master carpenter in Colonial times is demonstrated and the development of banking in early America is discussed. The reader will find follow the activities of Ben Franklin and John Adams in France through the eyes of Joseph Fox's son, George, and read how the discovery of oil in western Pennsylvania affected Fox family fortunes.

The book is searchable at, where one reviewer has given it a four star rating. It has been given a thorough vetting by the author's immediate family who have found a number of minor corrections to family data and have added additional comments that are noteworthy. For this reason, the author now supplies an Addendum.  A new list of Descendants of George Fox, MD is also available.


Library of Congress Control Number: 2007296019. Call Number: CT274.F695 F69 2006.

Joe Fox