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 1834 James married Clementina Carmichael and over the next 20 years they had a large family of ten children, although only five survived into adulthood. Their first child James Carmichael, was born in October 1835 and by the end of 1838 they also had two daughters, Grace Margaret and Ellen Scott. James Carmichael was a 'delicate' child who eventually succumbed to whooping cough at the age of three, shortly after the birth of Ellen. His father wrote movingly about their loss (see page for James Carmichael Cox).¬

On 30th October 1837, David Tullo Cock (the eldest of James' seven younger brothers) was shipwrecked in the North Atlantic about 250 miles west of the British Isles. Ten of the original crew of fifteen survived 13 days without food, water or shelter and were eventually rescued by a Russian ship. The survivors were taken to St. Thomas Hospital in Bristol to recover and in January 1838, James went to visit him there.¬

From 1836 to 1838 there was a major slump in trade and James and his brothers struggled to keep the family business ticking over. At the peak of the stagnation they considered emigration but it seems an improvement in trading conditions came just in time to avert this decision.

The Marriage of James and Clementina in August 1834
James Cock Junr, Manufacturer Foggyley and Clementina
Carmichael, Daughter of James Carmichael, Engineer
Parish of Dundee

The City Churches, Dundee
From 1782 to 1841 Dundee had four separate churches under
one roof, each with their own Minister and Kirk Session.
This is where James and Clementina were married in 1834.

Birth & Baptism Records for James and Grace
James was born on 23 Oct 1835, baptised on 8 Nov 1835.
Grace was born on 15 Jan 1837, baptised on 16 Jan 1837.

Photograph of Yeaman Shore by Alexander Wilson
James was infected with smallpox in this street

The Leith Steamer
James travelled home in 1838 in one of these ships

James Carmichael (1776-1853)
Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection
Oil painting presented to Dundee City Council as a
gift from the sitter's grandson George Carmichael.

Distribution of Emigration Tracts
There was a widespread distribution of pamphlets
encouraging emigration, particularly to the Colonies.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Early Married Life

I was married the 18th August 1834, to Clementina, second daughter of Mr James Carmichael, senior partner of the firm of Messrs James and Charles Carmichael, Engineers and Founders, Dundee, and took up our abode in a snug little house at Fleuchar Craig at a very moderate rent, near to where Mr Carmichael lived. Although I was at this time in pretty easy circumstances, we thought it more prudent to begin quietly and rise by degrees or as the family increased.¬

At this time I had a partner Mr Wallace, who shared the profits of the business and so long as this lasted, it was useless to think of going in for any fixed Co Partnership property, owing to the difficulty of a division at the end of the contract, which was my reason for bringing this to a close. Besides it would enable me to carry out the scheme I had so long set my heart upon, in conjunction with my brothers. This was delayed for some time but eventually carried out, as described elsewhere.¬

A little over two years had passed very pleasantly away, when all of a sudden a repetition of that awful stagnation of trade such as we experienced in 1825/26 had come upon the country, and was the means of delaying our arrangements for some time until confidence was again established.¬

When we met in the market place on the morning of 18th October 1836, the report was current that a large failure had taken place, and by the end of that year, only two months and a half, an additional 61 firms had given in. During the following year 1837, in the town and immediate neighbourhood, seventy-two firms stopped payment, and the weeding out continued during 1838 and onwards, so that it was long before confidence was restored, for those of the highest standing were doubted.¬

During this sad time we did very little, but kept a few of our best weavers together, besides keeping ourselves employed. One afternoon of the second week in January 1837, I was moving slowly home from the market, very low spirited and altogether disheartened at the prospect before me, with in reality nothing to support my family and my wife who was in bed.Their second child Grace Margaret was born that week, on 15th January 1837¬

What was I to do? Being in great straits, for she is the sharer of all my trials and has hitherto been my adviser and the keeper up of my spirits through all this sad adversity, which was brought about by the most unwarrantable and dishonest interference with my property by one whoProbably a reference to one of his fellow investors in the Archangel Flax venture which went so badly wrong held his head higher than he had any right to do.¬

What grieved me most of all was my being the means of bringing my dear wife from a house of comfort and plenty to one of poverty and starvation. Well, I was walking slowly home by the Yeaman Shore when a man passed me and I noticed by his face that he had just had smallpox, and the smell that he emitted I could not get rid of all the way.¬

When I got home, I went up to my wife's room, put my head down on the front of her bed and told how I had got smallpox and my head was like to split. I was advised to go to bed in another room, and in two or three days my face was covered like the man's. In a few weeks I recovered and was able to go to town.

SOURCE: Letter from James Cox to his wife Clementina

Written towards the end of his trip to Bristol

Bristol 26th February 1838¬

My Dearest Clementina¬

This morning commenced the seventh weekJames had left home on 15th January to visit his brother David in Bristol who was recovering from a shipwreck the previous October. of my being from home. I waited the opening of the Post Office at eight and was truly disappointed at not hearing from home, but it will be here tomorrow. I leave this place tomorrow for Abingdon and on Wednesday I will arrive in London from where I shall leave on Saturday or Sabbath by the Leith SteamerSailed twice weekly from London to Leith (weather permitting) taking about 40 hours. and you may expect me on Wednesday night week.¬

I hope my Dear little BoyHis 2-year-old son James who died of whooping cough at the end of that year. is getting better and yourself also keeping well. Write to me on receipt of this (do not forget or it will be too late) and tell me how you are all keeping and all the Foggyley folks.His father, five younger brothers and sister Helen, were still living together at Foggyley. Is JeanProbably his older sister Jean McLean who had recently given birth to her third daughter Margaret. getting better? David is improving fast and as fat as ever I saw him - also in good spirits. I am very much fatigued running about for I am anxious to try what I can do. This little may be too late, however I will try.¬

This is the best house I have been in. It is a Commercial Lodging house, and you have to order them to send out for every thing I want. This is just the way it should be. I have still the 6d I found below the barracks, but it is nearly all. I think it has done well.¬

I must close. Is BeatriceProbably his wife's older sister who married Dr David Lyell later that year. still with you? Tell her to remain till I return. I am now wearying very much and am anxious to be home. I think every little child I see should be James and Grace. I shall not rest until I see you all and I remain My Dearest Wife,¬

Your most affectionate Husband
James Cock Jr

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Emigration is Considered

I had for many years to bear reproachNo doubt a reference to his creditors following the failure of the Archangel Flax deal. and vexation but I never lost courage and for a few years after this I, along with my brothers William and Thomas, had been working together very carefully and saving every penny we could.¬

At this time great dissatisfaction existed among the manufacturers at the state of trade in the town and many emigrated. The same mania took possession of our minds also and many were the meetings held in Mr Carmichael's, my father-in-law's house, on that subject. We took in a number of the tractsThere was a widespread distribution of pamphlets encouraging emigration, particularly to the Colonies. then appearing on emigration to various parts of the world.¬

Mr Carmichael though an old man, was as keen as any of us. He would have been the patriarch of the little colony and being the first mechanic of his day in the old country he would have guided us in all our works in the new. Mother-in-law however, was very averse to leave the old place where we were born and where our forefathers and so many of our little children lie, and great deference was paid to what she said. She was so much beloved by all of us, so prudent, so sensible, a true Christian lady.¬

At this time we were approaching the end of the year when I said to her, we will all be content and say no more about emigrating until we see how the business of this year turns out when the balance is struck on 31st December. If there is anything to the good we will remain but if not we will go. She appeared pleased, and the balance for the year when it was finished, though small, was favourable for her and for us all. This settled all thoughts of our leaving for a foreign land.¬

When the morning after the balance arrived, Thomas who was book-keeper, told me that though the profit was small it was great consolation to say it was on the right side. By careful management and economy in everything we were beginning to get in easy circumstances, so that Thomas said you have a sum at the credit of your account which we could spare if you could invest it otherwise. I said I was waiting this result, and will now take it out and gladly pay off all my old friends what they lost.