The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

Born:
5 Jul 1808 at Lochiefield
Christened:
Invergowrie
Father:
James Cock 1776-1848
Mother:
Helen Scott 1787-1824
Brothers:
David, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Sisters:
Jean 1806, Helen 1824
Married:
18 Aug 1834 in Dundee
Spouse:
Clementina Carmichael 1811-1888
Sons:
James (1835), William, Charles, Edward, James (1853)
Daughters:
Grace, Ellen, Clementina, Beatrice, Adeline
Died:
1 Dec 1885 at Clement Park
Buried:

Towards the end of the 1830s, there was a general improvement in trade and the brothers began to develop new products for an expanding market. James tells the story of a Mr R of the firm T and R, who lived in 'Georges' Street with a wife from Perth and a family of five sons. Piecing all these clues together, Mr R was undoubtedly Andrew Robertson of Tannahill and Robertson.


Jute fibre


Jute Carpet


Mattress Ticking


The J&W Campbell Warehouse, Ingram Street, Glasgow
Photograph taken c1880 by Thomas Annan
J&W Campbell was an early customer of James Cox


Blythswood Square, Glasgow
This is where James met Mr R's secretary


George Square, Glasgow in the 1890s
The large building in the centre is the Glasgow City
Chambers with George Street to the left where James
visited Mr R at his 'elegant house'.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The First Jute Carpet

By this time a number of us were grown up to be young men able to assist one another, if required. David is Captain of his ship the Caledonian, William had served an apprenticeship with honest Robert Nicoll, Grocer, Nethergate, but now at home assisting in Father's old business, Thomas is in a merchantsThe merchant was James Buist, flax merchant at 20 St Andrews Street, Dundee office in town.

Father's old business was never wholly relinquished but carried on amongst us for his benefit as well as the younger members of the family who could not yet help themselves. Though trade had been very discouraging for years back, still we persevered, lived as cheaply as we could, and saved what we could so as to increase our capital and be able for what might happen, visiting the markets at a distance at regular intervals, always adding to our connection in these towns.

Brother Henry was in Mr Alexander Rowan's office, a general merchant in town for buying and selling. One day Mr Rowan sent Henry to find a manufacturer who could imitate a piece of heavy jute cloth dyed different colours in the yarn like a Dutch carpet.

This was the first sample of jute carpet that had appeared in Dundee, and was made in Abingdon near Oxford. Henry met brother William and asked him to make a piece, giving him half of the sample, and James Neish of the Laws the other half. Both imitated the article and did well with it. This became a great trade and formed a new fabric to take with me on my journeys, and which took amazingly.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Ticking for Mattresses

Another new article we brought out was called beddingi.e. mattress ticking for making common straw mattress. It was plain striped cloth, 54 inches wide, of various qualities and prices. This also became a great trade and enquiries for it in so many prices of different widths and qualities and descriptions of stripe became so great that I asked the linen buyers of the different warehouses to meet me in my hotel in the evening altogether after closing their departments the night before I left Glasgow, to a supper of tripe and cow-heel (the favourite thing in those days for supper) and a single glass of whatever they preferred in the Ship Hotel. Afterwards we would go into what was required for the trade, one buyer suggesting and assisting the other to make up the full requirements of the country for the home trade.

These meetings were held every journey on the last night of my stay in Glasgow for a long time and all came that I did business with. At some of our meetings the talking became general, at others for goods at certain prices if the cloth could be made.

I well remember at one of these meetings the buyer for J&W Campbell & CoJames and William Campbell were established textile maufacturers and wholesalers, ancestors of the Campbell Bannerman family of politicians. addressing me said 'Mr Cox, you must be doing business with every warehouseman in Glasgow.'
I replied 'No, I want one yet.'
When all called out together 'Who is it? We will assist you to have that one also, if you really are desirous for it.'
I told them the name was T and RTannahill and Robertson, warehousemen at London Street, Glasgow and that I was anxious to do business with everyone of the city warehousemen, and I said further if you will listen to my story, I will tell it you.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Story of Mr R

Ten years agoIn the late 1820s when I first came to Glasgow, I called on T & R to show them my patterns and saw Mr R.Andrew Robertson, then aged about 35, about 15 years older than James When I began to open my parcel he said 'Oh, Laddie, we dinna need ony thing the day, Laddie.'
I replied 'Very well, I will call the next time I come back', and left.

Two months afterwards I called and opened the door and was stepping in when a voice caught my ear 'Oh Laddie, is that you again? We do not want anything from you.'
'Very well, I will call when I come back next journey' and did not wait for his reply but shut the door, and left.

This went on every time I have been to Glasgow and with the same result, the only difference in some of my calls was, I hesitated to enter sometimes for nearly half an hour, walking backwards and forwards, but the noble spirit of resolution prevailed and I entered and left on hearing the same well-known remarks.

From that first time to this I have not had an opportunity given me to open out my patterns. They asked me if I had called this journey. I replied I had. Now, after a little conversation among themselves, I was asked to stay over tomorrow Saturday, which I consented to do, and meet them all on Blythswood Square at two o'clock and they would bring Mr R's right-hand man, the secretary GH, along with them for the purpose of introducing him to me, when he will tell me what to do.

When we were introduced, GH told me they had been long trying to find out the maker of our goods but could not. He then told me to call for him on Monday at one o'clock which I did, and had all my patterns thrown out on the floor when the Governor as they called him, made his appearance.

He cast his eyes upon me and said 'Oh, Laddie, is that you? How have you got in this length? How did you gather up these bonny patterns, for you couldna hee made them yourself?'
He then turned to his secretary and said 'George, we would a made a good deal of money on these things if we had known how to get them. They are just what we wanted to enable us to sell our other goods.'
I only replied 'You might have had them for the past ten years if you had looked at my patterns the first time I called.'
Mr R then said 'George, I think we might gie the laddie a small order' which he did, and a good one it was. After getting home that night it was executed quickly and pleased well.

On my next journey when I called, I was not turned away so cavalierly as formerly, but invited to come in most courteously, got another good order and was invited to supper and meet Mrs RMargaret Robertson, about 15 years younger than her husband Andrew and family, five sons,The five sons were John, Laurence, Andrew, James and David (there were also three daughters) very nice looking, handsome young men. This I had to decline for I was engaged every night I was to be in Glasgow.
'Will you come next journey after?'
'I cannot promise but will if I possibly can' I replied, so that when I next made my appearance in Glasgow, I called on Mr R the first thing and told him I intended to spend the evening with him.
He said 'I will be so pleased and will give you your order when you call here in the morning.'

About eight o'clock that night I wended my way to a very elegant house in GeorgesThe Robertson family lived at 242 West George Street, Glasgow from c1850 to c1870 Street and met Mrs R and her five sons. Mr R had not come up from the warehouse. Perhaps I was a little before the time he named. After being seated at the fire, for it was getting cold in the evenings by that time of the year, Mrs R asked me if I knew the young man who had so great perseverance as to call on Mr R every journey he made to Glasgow for ten years without getting an order, which Mr R had often told her about, until by some stratagem when Mr R was out at lunch, he succeeded in getting as far in as the counting house, with all his patterns laid out before the Secretary. When Mr R came in, their appearance so enamoured him that he gave the young man an order and continued doing business with him ever since.

I said I knew the lad, and we will likely hear Mr R on this story when he comes in. She said that she was anxious the story should be told to her sons as an example of encouragement to perseverance in their future life. Shortly after Mr R came in and we all enjoyed a very pleasant evening together. The story was told by Mr R in his own way, and often alluded to at subsequent meetings for years afterwards, which kindly greetings only terminated by his death. Mrs R was a Perth lady, extremely handsome and good-looking. No wonder therefore that her sons are the same.

This placed in our books all the warehousemen in Glasgow, with whom a good and pleasant business was done for years. I continued my journeys and my evening meetings with the buyers until the system of beddings in every price and quality and breadth was completed, with an understood number to each price and quality, each House having a different number.