The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

Born:
30 Jul 1810 at Lochiefield
Christened:
Invergowrie
Father:
James Cock 1776-1848
Mother:
Helen Scott 1787-1824
Brothers:
James, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Sisters:
Jean 1806, Helen 1824
Married:
Spouse:
Sons:
Daughters:
Died:
Died of fever in 1849 in Laguna, Florida
Buried:
Buried at sea

David was the second son of James and Helen Cock, born two years after the eldest son James, the journal writer. He was named David Tullo after his uncle, husband of his Aunt Helen.

Like James, David attended school in Lochee, followed by the Parish School of Dundee. He may also have spent a few years at the Dundee Academy, but his ambition had always been to captain his own ship and it's uncertain at what age he first went to sea. By his mid-twenties he had realised his dream and was Captain of the Brig Caledonia of Greenock.

In October 1837, the dream became a nightmare - on the return voyage from Quebec to Glasgow, the Caledonia was shipwrecked, and David with the remains of his crew, underwent 13 days of torment and horror. The story is well documented and is given below.


The Parish Register of Baptisms for 1810
July 30 - James Cock Junior Lochee - David Tullo


The Sailing Brig Studley - artist unknown
A merchant ship circa 1830.
The 'Caledonia' would have been a similar type of ship.


The Shipwreck by J M W Turner
First exhibited in 1805


St Peters Hospital, Bristol, viewed from the churchyard
Watercolour by Mary Kathleen Moore, 1894
Destroyed in the Bristol Blitz in 1940.


Map showing the Crinan Canal
First opened in 1809, the 9-mile canal is often
described as 'the most beautiful shortcut in the world'.


The View from Crinan
The wreck of the Caledonia washed up somewhere near here.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Birth of David Tullo

For a short time after I came into this beautiful world, I did not know much of what was going on, but can easily fancy it would be the same as with other little ones in my position. On Monday the 30th July, 1810 I got a brother, a little fat plump fellow.

Mrs TaylorThe midwife said when she got hold of him, no doubt this boy will be a sailor. She might have been prompted to make this remark herself being the widow of a Ship Captain. He was named David Tullo and very certainly he was a sailor and commanded not a few vessels of which you shall hear more afterwards.

SOURCE: The Shipping Gazette of 25 November 1837

The Heroism of Otto Reinz Spoof

The Brig Caledonia of Greenock, Captain David T Cock, on a voyage from Quebec to this country, became, on the 30th October last, waterlogged and on the following day lost her rudder and was capsized. Two of her people, a man and a boy, with the whole of the provisions, were washed overboard, while the rest of the crew were left on the wreck without food for thirteen days, and were ultimately, to sustain life, reduced to the frightful necessity of devouring their comrades, as they one after another died from cold, fatigue, and starvation.

Three had perished in this miserable manner, when the Russian Ship Dygden of Bjorneborg fell in with the wreck, in latitude 55N longitude 15W. The sea was at the time rising so high that it appeared impossible to render the wretched survivors on the wreck the least assistance, and they must have been left to perish, but for the humane and brave conduct of one man, Otto Reinz Spoof, the Mate of the Russian Ship, who lashed a rope round his body, and launching a boat, made his way without any person to share the perils of the enterprise, to the assistance of the unhappy sufferers.

The attempt was hazardous to the last extreme, but was happily crowned with success. He rescued the survivors in the wreck, and they safely arrived at Bristol in the Dygden, and are now lodged in St Peters Hospital. The noble daring of this generous, spirited and disinterested man, must touch every heart with admiration and sympathy. He is a foreigner, and has saved the lives of six Englishmen at the peril of his own.

In order to testify the feeling entertained of such noble daring and humanity, and to enable him to carry back to his home a testimonial of the sense which Englishmen have of his courage and humanity, it is proposed to raise a purse by subscription, to be presented to him in any way that shall be thought most desirable.

SOURCE: The Bristol Gazette, November 1837

The Survivors

The Russian ship Dygden, just arrived in Kingsroad from Archangel, has landed six unfortunate men taken off the brig Caledonia, Captain Cock, from Quebec, bound to Glasgow. The sufferers saved are the captain, first mate, the carpenter, James Dawney, the second mateMichael Jackson, died 9th December 1837 at St Peters Hospital, Bristol. and James Rimer, apprentice.

The captain states that, in the late gale (on the 31st ult), his ship sprung a leak and became water-logged, in Lat. 55 degrees N, Long. 15 degrees W, and that the crew at first consisted of 12 hands, four of whom died and two were washed overboard, the remaining six were on the wreck 13 days with scarcely any provisions, that two of the crew when near death from hunger and thirst, had their throats cut to obtain their blood for the remainder to subsist upon. Had not the Russian ship appeared, it was to have been the lot of the boy to suffer next.

The captain of the Russian ship very kindly conveyed these unfortunate men to St. Peters Hospital in this city, where they now remainin a most distressing state. We understand their limbs are very much frostbitten, and the legs of one of them bursted in conveying him from the boat to the shore at Rownham. Great credit is due to the Mate of the DygdenOtto Reinz Spoof who, at a great risk of his life, proceeded to the wreck and rescued them.

SOURCE: Comments by James Cox

The Aftermath of the Shipwreck

This appealA proposal to raise a fund by subscription, to be presented to Otto Reinz Spoof in recognition of his courage and humanity. to the British people was so well received that money rolled in from every quarter. The sympathy was so great that Sea Ports seemed to vie with one another by exhibiting papers for subscription in all public places. Even the British Ministry were appealed to, and though they could not touch the public purse for such an object, yet they put their own hands in their own pockets and assisted to swell the amount which was being subscribed elsewhere.

Altogether a sum of money was got which enabled the Committee to purchase a vessel for Otto Reinz Spoof which he could sail and command as his own property, and well did this noble fellow deserve it. The meaning of the words forming his beautiful name in their original language, means something very honorable and noble.

How very different did the owners of the wrecked Caledonia act with Captain Cock and his suffering crew, who were bringing her to the east end of the Crinan Canal,A 9-mile canal between Ardrishaig and Crinan, opened in 1801, known as 'the most beautiful shortcut in the world'. but were rescued from her after the wreck, about a thousand miles to the West of Ireland, allowing her to drift whithersoever she would. Strange that some weeks after this sad event the wrecked vessel bumped up high and dry on the beach to the West end of the Crinan about thirty miles off her destination.

Although the cargo was there within the ribs of the ship at the West end of the Crinan in place of the East, the owners refused to pay the Captain and his crew their wages, because the cargo was somewhat tossed about yet very little the worse. It was only paid after I had summoned them to the Small Debt Court at Dundee, and while it was being called in court, they paid the money. Some people have neither heart, feeling nor conscience.

SOURCE: Comments by James Cox

The Effect of the Shipwreck on David

My poor Brother David how he must have suffered when on the wreck, for he took his turn with his men at the pumps night and day, as well as any other work which had to be done. When he asked his men to go along the bulwark rail, the vessel being on her beam-ends, and cut away the ropes holding the rigging, so as to get the ship righted again, they refused to obey him.

He therefore took a sharp hatchet , and went alone himself, with a foot on each side of the top rail, chopping the ropes as he went along. When he got the last cut, the ship righted and he got back to the high part of the bow, but his right foot got so wet that it became frostbitten and when he was landed in the hospital and his boot cut off, the flesh of his toes came with it. The bones had to be cut off which, poor fellow, he sent home in a bottle preserved among spirits, to be buried in the Church yard.

He therefore took a sharp hatchet , and went alone himself, with a foot on each side of the top rail, chopping the ropes as he went along. When he got the last cut, the ship righted and he got back to the high part of the bow, but his right foot got so wet that it became frostbitten and when he was landed in the hospital and his boot cut off, the flesh of his toes came with it. The bones had to be cut off which, poor fellow, he sent home in a bottle preserved among spirits, to be buried in the Church yard.

Mortification however continued upwards which caused the foot to be cut three or four times until the Doctors got into the sound flesh. Some years after, when he returned to sea and when at St Petersburgh he got made by the advice of a Doctor there, an artificial front to his foot, made with cork which enabled him to walk pretty well.

David continued at sea for several years. His last voyage was from Liverpool to Laguna in the Gulf of Mexico and when there, he died in the Gulf from Fever. He had a presentiment that he would never return, and told his landlady that before he sailed. He was buried in a Sailors GraveBuried at sea and lies in the Gulf until the sound of the last trumpet, when the sea will give up its dead.