Eighteen years have come and gone since John C. Fox arrived in Hailey. The town was then in its infancy, and throughout the intervening period he has been a prominent factor in the advancement of the commercial interests upon which the growth and prosperity of a village always depend. Widely known, his life history cannot fail to prove of interest to his many friends, and it is therefore with pleasure that we present this record of his career to our readers.
Mr. Fox was born July 2, 1847, in Pennsylvania, a son of Daniel Fox, who was of German descent. The father married Mrs. Jane Titman, a daughter of Issachar and Elizabeth (Morris) Corson. The maternal grandfather of our subject was of French-Huguenot ancestry, descended from Cornelius Corson, who belonged to the religious sect so bitterly persecuted in France. The edict of Louis XIV, which resulted in the expulsion of all the Huguenots from the country, was dated October 18, 1685, and it must have been soon after that when Cornelius Corson fled from the land of his birth. He took up his residence on Staten Island, for his will was pro-bated there in 1693. His son, Benjamin Corson, emigrated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where several generations of the family have resided. Among those who have borne the name have been several prominent physicians and scholars of note, and the family history is one of which the descendants may well be proud. At an early day the Corsons became members of the Society of Friends, and in harmony with the teachings of that sect were opposed to warfare, so that there is no account of members of the family taking part in the Revolutionary war. In the war of 1812, however, there were loyal representatives of the name, and thirty-one of the family participated in the civil war, some as privates, others as colonels or in high offices, and still others as surgeons. One of the name participated in fifty-seven battles and skirmishes. The history of this distinguished family has been compiled by Dr. Hiram Corson, Isl. D., of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and this information has been taken from a volume of that work now in possession of John C. Fox, who is a representative of the family of the seventh generation from the original American progenitor. His father lived and died in Pennsylvania, passing away at the age of forty-seven years, while the mother died at the age of seventy-three years. They were the parents of six children, three of whom are living. To the public-school system of his native state John C. Fox is indebted for his early educational privileges, which were supplemented by a course in the Millville Seminary and in the Dickinson Seminary, at Williamsport. Thus well fitted by a liberal education to take up the practical duties of life, he entered upon his business career as a clerk in a mercantile establishment. In 1872 he came to the west, locating in Salt Lake City, where he accepted a position in the mercantile house of Walker Brothers, with whom he remained for nine years, a most trusted and faithful employee. During that time he gained a most thorough knowledge of the business, and in 1881 he came to Hailey, where he began merchandising on his own account. The town had but just been established and he opened his store in a tent. His trade rapidly increased, for he soon won the confidence and good will of the people, and in a short time he was enabled to erect a board store. This was later replaced by a brick structure, but in 1890 a conflagration swept over Hailey and his store was destroyed, his loss in a single hour amounting to sixteen thousand dollars. With characteristic energy, however, he erected a new and even better brick building, thirty by seventy feet, and his establishment would do credit even to many a city of much larger size than Hailey. He first carried a stock of general merchandise, but gradually he limited this to ladies’ dress goods, notions and such things as are usually found in a dry-goods establishment. His stock is large and carefully selected, and meets with the favor of the public. In the center of the store is a novel feature, a pretty little fountain, furnishing pure water at all times to the patrons.
Mr. Fox was married in 1874, the lady of his choice being Miss Fanny E. Lovell a native of Dubuque, Iowa, and a representative of an old Virginia family. They now have five children, four sons and a daughter: James Otis, Earl W., John Russell, Janette Rachel and Howard Creasy. Mr. Fox and his family attend the Episcopal Church. He was made a Master Mason in Orangeville, Pennsylvania, April 24, 1874, and also belongs to the chapter and commandery. In politics he has always given his support to the Republican Party, but now affiliates with the silver wing of the organization. He takes a deep interest in the welfare of his town, County and state, withholding his support and co-operation from no movement or measure which he believes will prove of public benefit. Every educational, social and moral interest receives his aid, and his labors have been most effective in the advancement of the town. In his business his keen discrimination, his courteous treatment of his customers and his strict conformity to the ethics of commercial life have gained him a large patron-age and brought him a good income, and his reputation in commercial circles is unassailable.