Christopher Greenup Cox: A Pioneer Texas Physician
By: Ronald Howard Livingston
Christopher Greenup Cox was born in Warren County, Kentucky, in 1803. He was the son of Phineas and Barbara (Stump) Cox and very likely named for Democratic-Republican politician Christopher Greenup, who became in 1804 the third governor of Kentucky. Christopher Greenup Cox married Harriet Hite Reese in Warren County, Kentucky, about the 27th day of November 1827 (as evidenced by a bond of Christopher G. Cox and E. M. Covington at the penal sum of £50). They became the parents of two sons, Peyton R. Cox and Christopher Randolph Cox (the latter was born 31 August 1828 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and served, besides in other positions, as Brazoria county judge from 1862 to 1865), and a daughter (after reaching Texas), Harriet Caroline Cox.
In January 1826, Christopher G. Cox of Warren County, Kentucky, was a medical student at Transylvania University in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. He was a graduate of the university medical department in 1827.
Stephen F. Austin's Register of Families states that the Cox family arrived in Austin's Colony from Tennessee (Doctor Cox, Harriet, one son, and one servant) in February 1830, Dr. Cox taking the oath of allegiance on March 15 of that year. In his book Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, historian John Henry Brown wrote that the family reached Texas having left New Orleans by schooner "in December 1829, and settled in the town of Brazoria." Christopher Cox was granted sitio number 6, west of the Colorado River (in current Matagorda County) below land granted to Hosea H. League. Arriving at the same time, as indicated by their listing in Stephen F. Austin's register, was the household of Harriet's parents, Joseph and Margaret (Bowman) Reese. Joseph received a sitio, the certificate being #267, just prior to Dr. Cox's number 268, and number 269 being that of Abraham Bowman, brother of Margaret. Harriet's brother, Charles Keller Reese (age 20 and married) also came to Texas from Tennessee, arriving in February 1830, and receiving certificate number 524.
In the early part of 1831, at a regular session of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, "boards of health in the different parts of the Colony" were established and Dr. C. G. Cox was made a member of the board for the district of Bay Prairie (the coastal area south of Brazoria in what now is Matagorda County) and the lower part of the Colorado. Also named as board members were "Lawrence Ramey, Comisario," as well as "Messrs. Thomas M. Duke, Robert H. Williams, Aylett C. Buckner, and James Cummins."
Daniel W. Anthony's newspaper The Constitutional Advocate & Texas Public Advertiser carried the following card: "Doctor C. G. Cox, tenders his professional services to the citizens of Brazoria and the surrounding country. Brazoria April 14, 1832."
Dr. Cox purchased land on the west side of the Brazos on "labor number 14" (according to Brazoria County deed records) which was originally granted to "Old Three-Hundred" colonists Francis F. and Martha Wells and in 1839 conveyed to the heirs of Dr. Cox.
Dr. Cox died in the summer of 1833 during the cholera epidemic that in February was reported brought to Texas by a recently arrived family from the states. In the (Brazoria) Constitutional Advocate and Texas Public Advertiser (dated February 16, 1833) residents were assured by "a card" from Dr. C. G. Cox and Dr. Thomas F. L. Parrott that the disease was NOT contagious and "need not necessarily be feared."
Whether Dr. Cox is buried in Brazoria or on the piece of land he bought from Francis and Martha Wells, or elsewhere, is not known. His widow, Harriet, married Dr. Thomas Rivers Erwin, about whom more will be detailed here soon, and died in 1841.