Biography of Hon. Frederick Cox of Sacramento

Frederick Cox
Frederick Cox

Hon. Frederick Cox occupies an enviable position in banking circles in central California, being now the president of the California State Bank. He has long since passed the Psalmist’s span of threescore years and ten, but in spirit and interests seems yet in his prime. Old age is not necessarily a synonym of weakness nor does it need suggest inactivity or want of occupation. There is an old age which grows stronger and better intellectually and morally as the years advance and gives out of its rich stores of learning and experience for the benefit of others. Such has been the career of Mr. Cox, a man honored in every class of society and most of all among those by whom he is best known.

A native of England, Mr. Cox was born on the 16th of January, 1828, his parents being John and Thomazin (Luxton) Cox, both of whom are natives of the same country and represent old families of that land. The father was a farmer and stockman who sold his stock to the London market. He died when his son Frederick was but seven years of age.

The boy pursued his education in private schools in Somersetshire near the town of Bridgewater, England, and continued his studies until seventeen years of age, when he determined to try his fortune in America, and in the fall of 1846 crossed the Atlantic. He made his way directly to Wisconsin, where he secured employment in a butchering establishment at Kilbourntown, now a part of Milwaukee. He not only assisted in waiting on the customers in that establishment but also acted as bookkeeper, and was there employed until the spring of 1850, when, hearing very favorable reports concerning the great west and especially of the opportunities to be found on the Pacific coast, he crossed the plains to California with a horse team, arriving in this state on the 17th of July, 1850. He located first at Ringgold in El Dorado County, where he secured employment in a grocery store and butcher shop, being thus employed for eight months. He then purchased the store, and although he had to incur an indebtedness to do this he had soon discharged his financial obligation and his store was free from any encumbrance. The following spring he went to Carson valley, where he purchased the stock, —cattle and horses—of the incoming emigrants. In the fall of 1851 he purchased a butcher shop at Salmon Falls, El Dorado County, and later went to Shingle Springs in the same county, where he dealt in stock and land and was in the butchering business. In the spring of 1852 he sold a half interest in his business to C. W. Clarke, and their interests have since been largely identical, the partnership relation being maintained between them up to the present time, covering a period of more than a half century. This is certainly a splendid business record, indicating congeniality between the partners and the endorsement by each of the other’s business methods. They sold their store in Shingle Springs in 1854, and in the summer of 1855 went to Grass Valley, where they engaged in the butchering business and also built and conducted the Exchange Hotel. After a year there they became extensively interested in the cattle business, buying land upon which they have raised cattle to the present time. They are now operating in this business in Oregon and California, and the extent of their trade is very great, their annual sales having reached a large figure. In 1881 Mr. Cox became identified with other business enterprises as one of the organizers and directors of the California State Bank, and since 1894 he has been its president, being thus active in the control of financial interests in Sacramento.

In 1857 occurred the marriage of Mr. Cox and Miss Jennie A. Holdridge, of New York, who came to this state in 1852 with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Holdridge, who settled in Sacramento. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cox, namely: Crawford J., now deceased; Jennie, the wife of George W. Peltier, manager of the California State Bank; Fredda; Emma, who died in infancy; and Fred, deceased. The family home is in Sacramento, where Mr. and Mrs. Cox occupy an enviable position in social circles. He is a recognized leader in the ranks of the Democratic party, and in 1882 was elected to the state senate of California, serving for four years in the upper house of the assembly. Although seventy-six years of age he is yet hale and hearty and is one of the best known and most highly respected men of the county. He has so directed his efforts as to win prosperity, and his entire career has been characterized by an honorable purpose that makes him a notable figure in business circles in his state. The favorable judgment which the world passed upon him in his early years has never been set aside nor in any degree modified, but has on the contrary been emphasized by reason of his straightforward career and upright life.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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