The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

Born:
1776 in Lochee
Christened:
16 Nov 1777 at Invergowrie
Father:
James Cock 1739-1816
Mother:
Helen Smith 1750-1826
Brothers:
none
Sisters:
Helen 1771, Rachel 1781, Isobel 1784
Married:
3 Sep 1807 in Dundee
Spouse:
Helen Scott 1787-1824
Sons:
James, David, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Daughters:
Jane 1806 (out of wedlock), Helen 1824
Died:
16 Jul 1848 in Lochee
Buried:
Invergowrie Old Churchyard

Over the next few years the business flourished, but in 1824 the family was devastated by the death of James' wife Helen. On 27th September she gave birth to a daughter Ellen Scott Cock who survived, but Helen died three days later.

It seems James never recovered from the loss of Helen. Some accounts suggest it was the Lochiefield fire that destroyed his spirit but he had spent eight years successfully rebuilding the business after the fire. It was only following Helen's death that he began to withdraw from the outside world. He no longer went out on business but sent one or other of his older sons to the markets.

Added to this, from 1825 trade began to decline and many local businesses failed including a substantial bleacher on the Dighty Water who went down owing a sizable sum to James. His son's journal tactfully avoids mentioning the bleacher's name explicitly, referring to him only as 'W.S.' It's not difficult to conclude this was William Sandeman who was declared bankrupt in January 1826.

James was forced to sell everything but managed to retain the family house at Foggyley where he was able to continue bringing up his younger children. He retired from business in 1827 but lived another 20 years, just long enough to witness the dawn of Cox Brothers' spectacular success.


From the Invergowrie Parish Register of Baptisms
'James Cock manufr Lochee had a child Helen Scott
born 27th September 1824.'
The record is written vertically in the left hand margin.


The Remains of Invergowrie Church
(also known as St Peters or Dargie Church)
Helen Scott Cock was buried here on 4th October 1824.


The Dighty Water
This stretch of the Dighty used to be lined with linen mills
and bleachfields. Today only a few derelict buildings remain

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Death of Helen Scott

Although all went well at this time, Father was beginning to expect great help from his eight sons when out of School, but were all downcast by a most unexpected and sad calamity which befell the family by the death of our dear Mother.

My sister Ellen Scott was born on the 27th September, 1824 and on 30th September, three days after the birth, Mother died and was buried in Invergowrie Church yard on the 4th October leaving Father with eight sons and two daughters, the eldest was a little over 17 yearsIn fact Jane was 18½ but James may not have known this. Her birth date was probably kept secret as she was born before her parents married. of age. Jane was the eldest, Ellen the youngest, and the eight boys between. I remember only once of my Father and Mother with their eight sons being in the Parish Church of Liff and Benvie, but only once.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Loss of Heart

Trade moved on briskly up to the beginning of 1825, after which it began to fall away, so much so that I do not think that Father, having lost all heart and spirit at the loss of our dear Mother, was ever once in town at the market, though he was always at the works, superintending and assisting at the little work we were by this time doing, so as to save what he could in wages.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Collapse of the Business

After the funeral on 4th October 1824, everything appeared changed. Mother was nowhere to be seen. Father, who was a most affectionate husband, got very disconsolate, lost heart and would not go to town to market but laid the burden on me or any brother who could assist me. I was the oldest, and only 16 years and 3 months.

1825/26 were most disastrous years, the whole town was nearly ruined, in our market place alone over two hundred had to stop payments in consequence of the great losses that befell them. Father struggled on against slap after slap until W.S.William Sandeman, declared bankrupt January 1826 a great bleacher on Dighty Water, a stream to the north about 2 miles, with whom Father lost something over six thousand in 1816, came down repeating the same amount a second time.

This gave him no chance, so he gave what he had, which proved sufficient, and with the help of his young sons and some kind relatives, saved the small patrimonial property,The house built by James at Foggyley which the family had lived in since the fire at Lochiefield 9 years previously. for the purpose of keeping the family together until the younger members were able to think and do for themselves.