The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

5 Jul 1808 at Lochiefield
James Cock 1776-1848
Helen Scott 1787-1824
David, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Jean 1806, Helen 1824
18 Aug 1834 in Dundee
Clementina Carmichael 1811-1888
James (1835), William, Charles, Edward, James (1853)
Grace, Ellen, Clementina, Beatrice, Adeline
1 Dec 1885 at Clement Park

In 1868 James travelled to Marseille via London and Paris, to meet up with his daughter Beatrice who was returning from India for a visit. She had lived in India since her marriage to Charles Aitchison five years earlier and had three small daughters, Beatrice aged four and two-year-old twins Gertrude and Marion.

Edward now aged 18, accompanied his father on the trip. They travelled by train to London, stayed overnight, crossed the Channel the next day, and continued by train to Paris. There they spent a couple of nights before continuing to Marseille. On board the train from Paris, James diligently recorded his observations as the journey progressed, much of which is transcribed here.

Confluence of the Seine and Yonne rivers at Montereau

Sens Cathedral

The Yonne River at Joigny




From an old postcard of La Place D'Arcy, Dijon

Cote de Beaune vineyards

Fort Saint-Jean, Marseille

The Grand Hotel Beauvau, Marseille Vieux Port
One of the oldest hotels in Marseille, built in 1816.
The Cox party stayed here in the spring of 1868.

Departure of the Folkestone boat from Boulogne
Painted by Edouard Manet in 1869
The Cox party departed from Boulogne in 1868
for the return journey to Dundee.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Journey to Paris

I left Clement Park on Thursday 23 April 1868, accompanied by my son Edward, for Marseille to meet my daughter Lady Aitchison,Beatrice Lyell Cox married Charles Aitchison in 1863, but did not in fact become Lady Aitchison until her husband was knighted some 18 years later. with some of her little children who were arriving there from India on their way home to Dundee. We took the limited mail at 3 in the afternoon. Nothing particular happened by the way worthy of record.

We got a middle division of the first class to ourselves. When we got about half way to London we prepared our beds by moving the supports or slips, under the two side seats which unites them and by removing the centre cushions and placing them on the slips, an easy comfortable bed was formed, so that if you had plenty of rugs or coverings of any kind, you may sleep if you can the whole way and rise when the train gets to it's journey's end, ready for work, if you do not think of the shaking you have got, and the rubbing and creaking noise of the train which reminded me of being in a berth at sea.

We reached Euston Station about 5 o'clock morning and Charing Cross Station about 6 o'clock, spent the day Friday, in London and started by rail on Saturday morning from Charing Cross at 9¾ by tidal train for Paris, reaching Folkestone at 11¾ o'clock and at half past 12 the Lord WardenA 308-ton steamship, built in 1847, acquired by South Eastern Railways in 1854, scrapped in 1881. steamer sailed for Boulogne with a full complement of passengers for various parts of the Continent, others for Boulogne merely to spend the Sabbath and return on Monday. On the way we met the return steamer belonging to the same Company named Napoleon 3rd.A 345-ton steamship, built in 1865 for South Eastern Railways, scrapped in 1881. We observed she had her decks also well covered with passengers on her way to Folkestone.

The passage was very fine, very different indeed from the time we crossed before.They had crossed The Channel six years previously in 1862 - see Page 12. Then we had nearly 300 passengers, mostly French. All who chose went below. The others who remained on deck were fastened by a cord to the bulwark rail for fear of accidents. Oh! It was rough, the whole way half the deck was under water the list was so great, and all were sick except our party and two others, and such a mess, it is now past description.

This time all was fine. On looking back we could see Dover and the distant rising ground behind very nicely - reached Boulogne in two hours and five minutes. Omnibuses were waiting to convey us to the Railway Station and we reached Paris at eight o'clock evening.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Montereau to Beaune

Montereau Station just reached, 1½ hours from 2nd stoppage. Garden enclosed with white walls nicely trellised for training trees. Many large cuts by the railway side to supply earth for embanking the bottom, covered with water and planted with willows for basket making. Yonne river a muddy stream.

The Seine joins this river at last stoppage and along the foot of rising ground, called hills, along the slope of which are small villages. The inhabitants are very careful and frugal, not a chip of wood from the prunings of the trees or elsewhere is lost. All is carefully collected and built up in piles for firewood and charcoal. For that purpose every branch is cut off leaving the tree a bare pole, except a small tuft at the top like a horse tail, to break out along the trunk for cutting next year. One tree here and there allowed to grow without being tortured.

Just passed three droves of dirty red sheep, with a windmill in the distance. The ground around still continues flat and in small patches. We have not seen a large field under one crop, and the furrows not parallel but at angles to one another, so much for the eye of the ploughman. The houses in the villages have whitewashed walls and black tiled roofs. The engine whistles like a bell tinkling.

A countryman came into the carriage and took my seat but very politely gave it up again. At 2.10 afternoon we passed through a district of chalky subsoil. We noticed the trees were all planted in lines anyway we looked at them, but as we were travelling so fast could not distinguish the kinds, and the trees having so little foliage. We have seen very few birds. The cows appear to be very poor starved looking creatures, not to be compared to our fine large plump Scotch cows. The rivers are used as canals with a horse way on one side.

Now we have stopped at Sens a nice old Cathedral town, at a small distance from the station. The Cathedral old and in bad repair. We are now 2¼ hours from Paris, once the old posting town before the days of railways. We passed a number of rafts made of tree twigs all plaited together and supported on barrels, when the railway carriages were running along a damp flat like the Carse of GowrieThe stretch of low-lying country on the north shore of the Firth of Tay between Perth and Dundee. without any cultivation.

We come now to Joigny Station, three hours from Paris. Betwixt this and Sens we passed through a wine country. Next station we come to, Tonnere, 4 hours from Paris, an ancient town and Cathedral. Many interesting sights are to be seen from this old town which are to be found in Murrays Guide.Probably 'The Handbook for Travellers in France' by John Murray, published in 1867.

I may mention in passing that the workshops for the railway are here. Betwixt this and Joigny Station we passed very bad farming, if farming it can be called. We passed large cement works, charcoal burning. Here we noticed the sheep were very long legged and of a dirty red colour. Here we also noticed some wooden wharfs, but no mines nor works of any kind. The country around is interspersed with vines and other fruits.

The mile and level posts on the side of railway were painted white and blue. We noticed the stones were thin, answering either for pavement or slates. Here the train was put back a short time in consequence of an accident that happened some time before. The roads are very fine and smooth. This is the deepest cutting by the way and the sides are built perpendicular with random rubble like the station house at Lochie, with a fine bridge across the top.

The small fruit trees seen around us as we pass along are very beautiful, full of blossom, though not larger than those in my orchard at Clement Park. How different are the two countries in every way. We have just passed two cows, a dun and a black, pulling a heavy wagon, a thing never seen in our country.

Long lines of poplar trees along the sides of the fields and railways, like tall masts with a horse tail tied to the top. We think the country generally is of the same character as when we left Paris. The only good thing I have yet seen is the splendid roads without bars or pay. They must be easy kept with no traffic, although we are passing 5 cartloads of charcoal.

Arrived at Montbard station. The town is very pretty, situated on the face of a rising knoll with a spire on the top, containing the study of BuffonGeorges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author. the naturalist, and a tower behind where he lived. Another cart seen in the vineyards. We have not yet seen any men in the fields, only women. Another cow with one man and two women passing. It is still very wet.

Plombieres Station is situated in a very wild part of the country, having high ground on the north while the south is nicely cultivated and very pretty, studded with villages scattered along. We then came to three short tunnels with the railway in a deep cutting.

After a short run we came to Dijon where we halted about 20 minutes where we had lunch and very excellent wines. This is altogether a very nice place. The landlady is a most attentive body, constantly moving about amongst the tables to see that everyone of her numerous customers were being attended to by the waiters. Here is a large railway engine workshop, the sight of which was a great treat to me and a pity it would have been if I had lost it. I observed that all the servants wear uniform here, even the lamplighters.

From Dijon we pass through very level country. On the left woody, on the right level and cultivated for about a mile broad, then hills with villages at the bottom. Now we are getting in amongst fine old trees very thick and bushy, with beautiful vineyards on the right from the river to the top of the hills. 8 hours from Paris - Beaune, a nice station in the plains or level country covered with vines.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Beaune to Marseille

We travelled from Boulogne to Amiens with a Dr Kirkman and his wife from Ipswich. They made their appearance at Paris and joined the same train, though not the same compartment, with us, but we saw them at every stoppage and got to be friends.

It now got to be so dark that the country had no interest and we resolved to shut up for the night, or rather for the rest of the journey. All had left our carriage except one young gentleman that joined us at Paris and who spoke English so well that we did not know to what nation he belonged.

We prepared to have a lounge on the seats, but alas, the train stopped and in came a stout gentleman and a great priest, so that our plans were stopped and our room curtailed. We therefore went on in the old way until we reached our destination, Marseille.

This is a beautiful town, built of white chalky looking stone, something like Paris if not finer. It is the Liverpool of France. It has large docks, four in number, all connected together with an outer basin about a mile long, protected from the Mediterranean Sea by a strong sea wall, and this sea wall is protected by enormous blocks of concrete made on the wall top and thrown down to light where it will and to lie where it falls. These docks are at the inner end of a natural bay sufficient to float and contain the British Navy.

As we approached this fine city we passed through very extensive orange groves, with the olive trees and the vines interspersed, growing on the level and up the slopes of the curiously formed rocky hills all the way until we reached the railway station. From this we got into the omnibus belonging to the Grand Hotel.A 4-star hotel overlooking the historic Marseille Old Port. First opened in 1816. We were very fortunate in selecting this hotel, the best in the city, where the proprietor could speak English fluently, which was a great comfort.

Lady Aitchison did not arrive for two or three days after us and when she did one of the twins (Marion) was very ill indeed. She would not look at her Grandfather but hung on her mother's arms. The other Gertrude, though not ill, would not go to a stranger. They were very pretty children. We thought it better to rest some time before we started on our homeward route, so we stayed in the hotel for some time, until the IndiansJames is referring to the Aitchison family! got fairly settled, after which we bade our very kind and attentive host and hostess adieu and took our departure for London by the same route Edward and I came. On arrival there we took rail for home.