by Landis R. Smith

My great-grandfather, George Washington "Wash" Cox, was in the cavalry of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, 1861-1865. When peace was signed, he was stationed in Georgia. In the war's aftermath, transportation had ceased, so he had to walk home in a north-west direction, crossing Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, a corner of Tennessee, and on across a portion of Arkansas to Buffalo City, Marion County, Arkansas. It took him two months. Sometimes, he fared well by getting lodging and food, but at other times not so well.

He met and a short time later married a beautiful half-Cherokee Indian girl named Gunelday Holcomb (or Hawkum) in the summer of 1865, after having arrived home at his father's place three miles north of Buffalo City, in June 1865. A short time later he purchased the 80-acre farm from a Mr. Choate, located at Hand Valley. The west side joined the cemetery and it extended north a distance toward Crooked Creek and east one-half mile. He built his two-room log house with connecting breezeway or "dogtrot" with the fireplaces at the east and west ends of the house. A good spring was located a short distance back of the house.

The children were: George W. Cox (1866); Dr. William Thomas Cox (1867); Levi Belshazzar Cox (1869); Oliver Cox (1873); and John Russell Cox (1875).

George Washington (Wash) Cox was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cox, who established the Cox farm three miles north of Buffalo City in 1840, after moving from their native Tennessee. His brothers and sisters were Fielding, Andrew, Margaret and Elizabeth. Wash's wife, Gunelday, died in 1878, leaving him with four young sons to raise. He sold his farm to Oliver Treat in 1904 and moved to a farm six miles west of Bellefonte. He died in 1911 and was buried at the Cross-road Cemetery, south of Harrison. He was a member of the Baptist Church and the Masonic Lodge. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry.

Some of the Civil War facts were told me by the late Anderson Raby, cousin of Grandfather.

Grandfather Levi Belshazzar Cox was born at the "Wash" Cox farm at Hand Valley, April 22, 1869. He was three-fourths Scotch-Irish and one-fourth Cherokee Indian. He was 6' 3" tall and weighed 165 pounds. He married Nancy Duggins in 1895. She was a cheerful person and made everyone happy, served bountiful meals a life-time, and provided a well-nourished family. They purchased the Thomas Cox farm and built their home at the north end of the field; later in 1910 a new house was built at the south end of the field by his wife's father, Edward Duggins, and her brothers -- Ewing and Coleman Duggins. It was built near his grandfather's log cabin. Also at this time a log barn was built to shelter his stock and store his com and hay. A concrete cellar was built between the two houses to store canned foods. Grandfather Levi hunted bee trees and placed bees in hives, having as many as 40 hives at one time.

Grandmother had a great talent for management. She often sold eggs, chickens, goats, hams and bacon to rniners and railroad workers. She used this money to buy spices, kitchen cabinet, glassware, dishes and other things. Grandfather used money from the farm to buy necessities -- farm machinery, livestock, buggy, wagon, binder, mowing machine, and other farm implements.

Before 1905 when the railroad came to Marion County, Grandfather Levi Cox hauled freight by wagon and team from the steamboat landing at Buffalo City to Carrollton in Carroll County on the old Buffalo City -- Carrollton Road. By using the ferry at Buffalo City to cross White River, he hauled freight to West Plains, Missouri. It took two weeks to make the round trip. He also hauled freight to Springfield, Missouri. The freight he hauled consisted of salt, hardware, leather goods, sugar, flour and other things needed by early pioneers.

His wife Nancy Duggins Cox was born in 1874, daughter of Edward and Frances Abigail Duggins. Nancy died from the effects of a relapse of the flu and pneumonia in 1941 and was buried at Cox Cemetery in Hand Valley. She was 67. She was a member of the Eastern Star at Cotter and later at Yellville. She wore her Star pin on Sundays and special occasions. She was raised in the Methodist Church.

A few years before Grandfather Levi Cox's death in 1951 he had a light stroke that weakened him. He was almost 82. He was buried at the Cox Cemetery in Hand Valley with Masonic honors.

Grandfather and Grandmother Levi Cox purchased 56 acres of river bottom land on White River three miles from home in 1920. They raised crops of corn, pumpkins, peas, and hay. Then they hauled the harvest over the rocky ridge road to his barns and house. They raised cotton on their farm and hauled it to the gin at Flippin.

Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas Cox and his young bride, Elizabeth, came from Tennessee in 1840 to Marion County. They came by covered wagon, pulled by oxen, mules, or horses and were with other covered wagons starting West from eastern or middle Tennessee in 1840. Taking the most direct route and starting when the season was dry, the ground was firm when they crossed the lowlands of western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas and the mosquitoes were not bad -- or gone. They followed a route across North Arkansas, following route of present-day Highway 62, ferrying several rivers and fording some. They reached White River at Buffalo City, forded the stream at Buffalo Shoals into Marion County. Then, following a Buffalo trail three miles northwest, they homesteaded his farm, built a 16-foot square hewn log cabin near a good spring. The trip took from six weeks to two months. They had to sleep in their covered wagon until the cabin was completed. They provided a place for a garden, orchard, barn for livestock and raised wheat, corn, cotton, sorghum, and hunted wild game for fresh meat.

Thomas Cox was born in 1815 and his wife Elizabeth was born in 1820. Their children were: George Washington (Wash) (1840-1911); Andrew; Fielding; Margaret (killed by horse at Elbo Hollow Bend); Elizabeth (Mrs. Henry Raby); and Martha (Mrs. Thomas Andrew Vickers). Thomas Cox and his family were Baptists. He died in 1882; his wife died in 1895; and both were buried in the Cox Cemetery at Hand Valley.

The children of Levi and Nancy Duggins Cox are: Florence Alice Elizabeth Belle (1896-1974) who married James F. Smith; Henry Cox (1898-1900); Genelda Frances Cox (1901-1958) who married Homer Snipes of Cowan Barrens; Edith Cory Cox, born in 1908, who married Floyd M. VanZandt; William Menard Cox (1905-1963) who married Ruth Hurst.

Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.