The Fox Beginnings in America
Written By Kirk & Marjorie Fox
You will agree that no serious Detective work can be accomplished without going back to the scene of the investigation. A curious Happening in the 1930s in New York city gave me a concrete lead.
Buell Kirk Fox, the editor of Successful Farming in Des Moines, Iwoa, was in New York to attend a business meeting. As he woke up in his hotel room, he looked out the window and saw with shock his own name, Kirk Fox, neatly inscribed on a window of an office building across the way. He must have thought he was still dreaming. When he realized that he was in command of his senses, he walked accross the street and introduced himself to his namesake, who happened to be a lawyer, and learned that they were related. He was given information on the New York ancestors, enough to know he was decended from a buell and prudency Fox. Apparently through the years he visited his New York relatives when on business trips in the vincinity but no detailed informatiom or correspondence has ever been found. one half of a woven coverlet with the name Prudency Fox, Jefferson Co, New York, 1851, woven into it, was graciously give to him at this time of day, one day, years later, the second half arrived quite unexpectedly. A note explained that it had been used as a wrapping around some Fox memorabilia and would he like to have it? Certainly he would. Back to Jefferson Co. New York, we must go to trace the path of that coverlet.
The spring of 1983 found a determined ancestor hunter driving through rain and fog up to Watertown, the county seat. As I drove through the beautiful upstate New York countryside with its gentel mountains and green valleys I beleived that the Foxes had settled in a true Beulah land, Not so! The ground leveled out and became barren. The clay soil was broken by chasms through which the creeks flowed. Farmers were plowing the fields with flocks of seagulls swoopind down on the upturned soil. It probabaly would have been an Ornithplosist's paradise identifying the different species but I didn't have R.T. Peterson with me and besides I was here for bigger game. The trip from Washington to Watertown had taken 9 hours and that eveing in my Best Western motel room, I packed my papers, pencils, magnifying glass ready to tackel the courthouse in the morning.
That edifice was indeed one of an earlier period. As I approached the building, a large sign warned me to watch out for falling ice. I wondered if some terriblr tragedy had occurred at that spot many years ago. Inside the courthouse, another sign cautioned that there was to be silence in the courtroom, I thought that was faid enough. The sign read on "No Food. Beverage, or Gun permitted"
Since I had eaten breakfast long ago and didn't pack a gun that day, I knew I was welcome. However the sign went on: Remove outer coats and Hats.
I had a feeling that passions ran high in those parts in the old days and concealed weapons must have been a real source of worry to the sheriff. As I was examining the old architecture in the front hall, the present day sheriff walked briskly through the front door and informed me that the structure was a pile of junk and should be torn down, He also advised me that I wanted to go to the new court house office building next door. I do hope that when the Magnificent "pile of Junk" is torn down, the old sign will be saved by some historian.
The new office building was new indeed, with not even an interesting poster on its walls. People were juggling for places in line for drivers licenses. upstarirs was my goal. Here I found Buell Fox's inventory that was made when he died. His heirs were recorded and even their abodes at the time of there disturbutions. There was no dought that this was our man. His land records were there and that of his children. This was not enough. In the afternoon a visit to the Flower Memorial Library found extermely helpful ladies, Mrs. Caldwell & Mrs Walker who brought out several scrapbooks of Fox clippings. No Buell was ever mentioned in any of them.
The Next day I drove around to the small rural towns, Ellisburg, Pierpoint Manor, Adams, and lorraine where I had found Buell in the old censuses in the National Achives.
The first cemetery that I searched had a small plot way in the back left side where I stumbled onto gravestones of Prudency and Buell and several of there children. Prudency is now leaning on Buell's stone.
Considering the age of the tombstones and the very severe winters, they have not deteriorated that much. Their son George Washington, is at the back right side plot and he has a flag and a marker at his grave site. He was a member of the Color Guard at Fort Albany in the civil war and died when only 20. Two FOX infants are buried at the rear left. This cemetery in the Town of Adams was heavily patronized by the Foxes and it should be searched more carefully by the next genealogist in the family.