John Woodson Cox was the first child in his family born in California. His parents, John W. Cox born in Kentucky in 1820, and his wife, Syrilda, born in Missouri in 1823, were 49ers. They arrived in time to be counted twice in the 1850 census. They are on the Sutter County roll and later that same year, John, Syrilda, James, aged 6, and Greer, 4 are listed in Butte County.

John Woodson Cox was born near Bidwell Ranch, November 25, 1850. They soon had a productive ranch about twenty miles east of Chico; John W. also did some mining and made shakes. At his death in 1877, the oldest son, James inherited "the old Cox place." About 1880, John Jr. moved with several other families in the area to Henderson (Big Bend), Shasta County.

Sarah Tobiathy Elder was born to James Washington and Annie Elizabeth Sweeney Elder, March 3, 1868, in Vigo County Indiana. The family came to Butte County, California when she was three years old. They farmed six years at Manton and lived three years in Chico before moving to Henderson with the Coxes and several other families in 1880.

John and Sarah were married August 18, 1885; their first home was a small cabin near the hot springs on Kosk Creek. Their first child, Augustus Lawrence was born there. Later they built a two story house which is still in use today. Six more children joined the family; Nellie died as an infant and was buried under an apple tree on the ranch but, Albert, Maida, Ada, John, and Velma survived.

Velma was just a year old when the two older boys were left to maintain the ranch and the four younger children were bundled into the wagon and taken to Anderson so their mother could have a doctor's attention. Sarah's illness was serious and she died in Anderson, April 11, 1902.

John wanted to keep the family together and managed with the help of family and neighbors. The girls cooked, did household chores, gardened and looked after the little ones. The boys helped with the heavier work, crops, animal chores and woodcutting. They raised most of their own food, meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit; they raised dry beans to sell or trade in Fall River and Redding for flour, sugar and coffee beans. Clothing was ordered from the Montgomery Ward catalogue.

After John's brother, Charles sold his adjoining homestead to William Ross there were two weddings between the families--Augustus Cox married Jessie Ross and Wilferd E. Ross wed Ada Cox. The others looked farther for romance. Albert married Juanita Campbell, John chose Theola Verden, Maida married William Joiner and Velma's husband was Harvey Wilson.

Augustus and Jessie had a homestead near the Ross and Cox places and in 1913, the Nelson Creek homestead was deeded to Albert and on April 23, 1918, John Woodson and his son-in-law, Wilferd purchased property in Oak Run. JohnWoodson lived with Wilferd and raised large fields of beans and garden produce until his death, October 2, 1924. He was buried in the Oak Run Cemetery.

Descendants of the four older children continue to live in Shasta County, Augustus and Maida's in the Big Bend area. There are no descendants of Jon or Velma living in the County today.

Source: Shasta Historical Society - November 1994

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