Samuel P. Cox was born in Williamsburg, Whitley county, Kentucky, December 16, 1828. In 1839 his parents, Levi and Cynthia Cox, removed to Missouri and located in the eastern part of Daviess county, now known as Jackson township, and the subject of this sketch lived at home and worked upon the farm until 1847.
In the spring of that year he enlisted in company D, Captain W. H. Rogers, Oregon Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, commanding, for the war with Mexico. He served until November, 1848, when he received his honorable discharge at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Returning to the old homestead he engaged in work upon the farm during the years 1849 and 1850. In this latter year, on the 7th of July, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ballinger.
In the spring of 1851 the removed to Gallatin and entered the mercantile business with George W. Poage as a partner, under the firm name of Cox & Poage, and transacted general business until 1853, when the firm closed out. The next enterprise we find Mr. Cox engaged in is the taking of cattle to California, and he left Daviess county for his drive across the plains in the spring of 1854, and arrived in the “Land of riches,” settling in Grass Valley, Nevada county, where he continued to reside until the fall of 1855, when he removed to Oraville, same State. At this last named place he lived until the fall of 1856, when he sold his stock, and on the 20th of September boarded the ocean steamer, Sierra Nevada, and sailed out of the bay from San Francisco, bound for New York, and reached his home in Gallatin in the following November.
In 1857 he was appointed deputy sheriff, under Sheriff -James J. Minor and served until the spring of 1858. The next two years; 1858 and 1859, he was employed as wagon master by Messrs. Russell, Majors & Waddell, and in that capacity journeyed to the City by the Great Salt Lake. Returning to Gallatin he was not engaged in any business during the year, 1860, but at the first alarm of war the following year he volunteered in his country’s aid, and was among the most active organizers of the Second Battalion of enrolled Missouri Militia, of which he was elected and commissioned major. He served in the Second Battalion until the spring of 1862, when he assisted in recruiting the First Regiment of Missouri State Militia, under command of Colonel James H. B. McFerran, and was duly commissioned major of that regiment March 12, 1862. He was ordered on detail duty, as assistant inspector-general to muster in troops for the Northwest Missouri service, and served in this capacity until 1863, when, on account of failing health, he resigned his commission, returned to Gallatin and entered upon the duties appertaining to the office of circuit clerk of Daviess county, having been elected to that position during his absence in 1862.
In 1864 he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Thirty-third Regiment of Missouri State Militia and served in that position’ until the close of the war. Returning to Gallatin, Major Cox became associated in the mercantile business with Captain John Ballinger and Mr. J. M. Kemper, under the name and style of Ballinger, Cox & Kemper. The partnership was dissolved one year later, and Major Cox engaged in the hotel and livery business; retiring from this in 1856, he again entered the mercantile business, but sold out in 1869 and went to California to visit his parents and other relatives there. In the latter part of 1870 he returned to Daviess county and engaged actively in farming and shipping stock, and in 1872 again entered the hotel and livery business, continuing four years, when, in 1876 he accepted the position of traveling salesman for Y. A. Cooper & Co., of Kansas City. Retaining this position only one year, he again embarked in the mercantile business, in which he remained up to October 5, 1881. when he sold out and retired from business.
Major and Mrs. Cox became the parents of six children; named, as follows, Gabriel W., born July 13, 1852; May C., born April 4, 1854; Samuel P., born March 15, 1861; Josie J., born April 10, 1866; Frank L., born May 8, 1869; and Bertha B., born December 16, 1873. Major Cox and family are among the most highly respected citizens of Gallatin.