For a quarter of a century T. D. Cox has made his home in Vinita and is contributing to the commercial development of his town as a member of the Craig County Motor Company, displaying enterprise, determination and administrative ability in the management of his business interests.
He was born in Decatur, Illinois, April 24, 1869, his parents being Aaron and Sarah (Clark) Cox, both of whom were natives of North Carolina.
As a young man the father went to Illinois and there engaged in agricultural pursuits. He purchased an old-fashioned “ground hog” separator for threshing his grain, this being the first implement of the kind he had ever seen, and he also engaged in the operation of a sawmill in that state. Subsequently he removed to Kansas, taking up a homestead in Elk county, which he cleared and developed, and he likewise conducted a blacksmith shop at Longton, that state. In 1878 he came to Indian Territory and in association with Jacob Bartles, the founder of Bartlesville, operated a sawmill at Alluwe for a short time, after which he went to Maysville Arkansas, becoming owner of a blacksmith shop and wagon factory. Two years later his property was destroyed by a cyclone and he then established his home in El Dorado, Arkansas, which was just becoming known as a watering place. He opened the first hotel in the town, in addition to which he conducted a sawmill, livery stable and wagon shop, and he was very successful in the management of his various interests.
He also took a prominent part in public affairs of the community, serving for three years as mayor of El Dorado. Misfortune again overtook him, however, the floods carrying away all of his possessions, and he then returned to Indian Territory, becoming owner of a sawmill on Spavinaw creek, in Delaware county, and also operating a blacksmith shop, which was later destroyed by fire. His next removal took him to Craig County, where he engaged in farming and cattle raising, and with his son, E. W. Cox, ran the first modern threshing machine in the county. Later he again turned his attention to the management of a sawmill, in which he received injuries which left him an invalid. He was the oldest Mason in the entire state and his demise occurred at Vinita.
During his boyhood T. D. Cox learned the trade of a sawyer in order that he might assist his father in the operation of his sawmills, and his attendance at school was limited to a month. For three years he operated a sawmill on Spavinaw Creek, residing there at the time of his marriage, and following that event he set himself to the task of completing his education, receiving instruction from a private tutor. For three years and eight months he served as deputy United States marshal under T. B. Needles but resigned that office in 1896, when he came to Vinita. He became a traveling salesman for the Aultman & Taylor Company and was engaged in selling their machinery throughout the Cherokee Nation until 1905, after which he conducted a general mercantile establishment in Vinita for three years. In 1908 he resumed his connection with his former employers and sold the first road machinery ever disposed of in Oklahoma. In 1918 he became one of the partners in the Craig County Motor Company, handling Ford cars and Fordson tractors, and they occupy a building one hundred by one hundred and fifty feet in dimensions. Although one of the more recently established commercial enterprises of Vinita, the business has enjoyed a continuous and healthful growth, due to the close application, progressive methods and unquestioned reliability of the men at its head and the volume of sales is ‘constantly increasing. Mr. Cox also has other business interests, having made judicious investments in Mayes and Craig county lands.
While residing on Spavinaw creek Mr. Cox was united in marriage to Miss Mary Costo, a native of Dekalb County, Illinois, and a daughter of William Costo, now deceased, who followed the occupation of farming in Craig county, this state. Two children have been born of this union: Jesse, who for two years has served as recorder of Craig county, being elected on the republican ticket ; and Katy, the wife of Clay Babb, agent at Kelly ville, Oklahoma, the Frisco Railroad Company.
Mr. Cox gives his political allegiance to the Republican Party and has done valuable work in connection with the improvement of the public highways in Craig county and Vinita, representing his county at all good roads conventions. He is a member of the Rotary Club and fraternally is identified with the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having served as noble grand of the last named organization.
For recreation he turns to hunting and fishing. He belongs to the class of doers and is a live factor in, his community, which has benefited in many ways through his cooperation and progressive spirit. In his business career he has been a persistent, resolute and energetic worker and is deserving of great credit for the success which he has achieved, for it has been won entirely through his own efforts.