Warren Cox (1872-1954)

My Father

by Irene Cox Brooks

Warren Cox was born in St. George, Washington Co., Utah, 4 July 1872, to Isaiah and Elizabeth Ann Stout Cox.

He was raised in a polygamous family, his mother being one of 4 wives. He was the 4th child of 8 children, his brothers and sisters being: Hosea Isaiah, born 11 June 1866, Mary Elizabeth, born 7 Dec 1967, Henderson Elias, born 20 Apr 1870, Marion, born 20 Nov 1874, Louisa, born 2 Dec 1877, Jedediah, born 27 Mar 1881, and Ruth Winona, born 18 Aug 1886.

He lived during a time of extreme hardship, when the pioneers were trying to eke out a living in a new country, and also evade the law brought on by the practice of polygamy. His schooling was scant for he began a business career at the age of 11, when he started with his Father to freight, by team and wagon, supplies from Milford, the southern terminus of the Union Pacific railroad, to St. George and the Moapa Valley, Nev. At the age of 14, with his father signing a contract with him, he contracted to deliver mail between St. George and the Moapa Valley and points in between, and he continued to operate this mail delivery and passenger lines for many years over roads that were mere trails in many places. He said, "I was the youngest freighter on the line." In later years when he went to school for 3 months one winter, he remarked, "That was surely a wonderful winter."

On Sept 5, 1894, he married Mary Etta Lee, born 6 Apr 1875, in the St. George L.D.S. Temple. She was a beautiful girl from Panaca, Nevada. Her parents were John Nelson Lee and Melissa Keziah Rollins Lee. She was the fourth child of a family of 11. Her brothers and sisters were: Jennie Eveline, Ada Melissa, Ida Dionitia, John Raymond, James Henry, LaVerna Edessa, Peter LeRoy, Angus Melvin, Lester Eugene, and Porter LaFayette.

Warren worked at this time at the Delamar Mine. Later he ran a store at Shem. He became the distributor and salesman for the Studebaker wagons and farm machinery before the turn of the Century. When the company began making automobiles, he became the first automobile dealer in this southern area. He was the oldest salesman of the Studebaker company, and he was honored by being presented with a plaque from the company. He was also the first Ford Dealer in Utah's Dixie. He was the owner of the second automobile to come to St. George.

For many years he was in the cattle business, spending much time in the area of Southern Nevada, in the old St. Thomas District where he ran cattle. This he really enjoyed, but gave it up when he purchased and built the New Arrowhead Hotel at St. George. For 40 years he operated the Arrowhead Hotel, and because of his work as a hotel man and automobile dealer, he was able to be an ambassador of good will and boost Utah's Dixie that was so dear to him and for which he wanted only the best.

He operated the first motorized passenger service between Cedar City and St. George and the trip took from four to eight hours.

He served several years as City Councilman and was always one to help push things that would make the community a better place in which to live. As a member of the L.D.S. Church, he served as a counselor in the ward M.I.A. (the youth organization) and eight years in the Stake M.I.A., sent a daughter on a mission and, at the time of his death, was a High Priest.

He was always a lover of sports and ball games, both basketball and baseball and he furnished cars many times to haul the local teams around the country. Perhaps his proudest time was when the Dixie Flyers from the high school won the state championship and went to Chicago to play Basketball in 1928. Two of the players on the team were his sons Loraine and Kenneth Cox. Warren was himself a great athlete. He had great determination and never let anyone beat him at any sport, regardless of what it was. He also went to Chicago with the team.

He was the champion of the poor and the widow. Perhaps because he had not forgotten his own early hungry days, but whenever it was possible, he was always helping someone. Perhaps a typical incident would illustrate something that happened quite frequently. He would make a trip to gather up collections for the vehicles he had sold for the Studebaker company. Perhaps some of his people were behind in their payments and he was determined to collect something from them, but when he would return from their homes, the results usually showed that their hard-luck story touched his heart so much that he made them a loan instead of collecting.

He was a great leader in many things, especially in generosity. When a brother Fawcett of St. George was hauling a load of hay to Albert Miller, on shares, in order that he might feed his family and pay for the wagon he had bought, the wagon load of hay caught fire and burned up wagon and all. All the men felt duly sorry for Bro. Fawcett and gathered around discussing how tragic it was to have this happen. As they were feeling very sorry for Bro. Fawcett, Warren spoke up, and at the same time fitted the action to the words. "How sorry are you? I'm this sorry, how sorry are you?" and he took off his hat, reached into his pocket and placed a sizeable bill in the hat and started it around the crowd. By the time the hat had come back to him, he found most of the men sorry enough to buy Bro. Fawcett a brand new wagon. This was typical of Warren. If he saw a family in ragged clothing, it didn't take him long to outfit them in new overalls, shoes, etc. whether he could afford it or not. It was truly said of him, "If he didn't have such a big heart, he would surely be a wealthy man."

In his Hotel he had a dining room. It was his great joy to house all his relatives and anyone else needing a place to stay. He also fed them whether they could pay for it or not. He truly gave away everything he had. But perhaps his greatest sorrow was that often those whom he did the most for, were the most ungrateful.

He died the 3rd of July, 1954, the day before his birthday, when he would have been 82 years young. He was ambitious and his mind remained keen and alert long after his body was too worn out to carry him.

Warren and Mary Etta Lee became the parents of 11 children, 9 of whom were living at his death, as well as his wife. The children living are: Areta Church, Melvin Cox, Lida Prince, Leona Atkin, Loraine Cox, Kenneth Cox, Marie Meeks, Irene Brooks and Noma Bentley. The deceased children are: Paul Raymond, died at birth, and Lee Warren who died of ruptured appendix when he was a young father of 6 children. Also surviving are: 56 grandchildren, 78 g grandchildren and two gg grandchildren.

..........by Irene Cox Brooks


This history is copyrighted and is offered for personal use and research only.
It is not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.

Copyright 2001 by Irene Cox Brooks

Submitted by Sandra Gwilliam

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