Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Martha Marie Cox

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Mrs. Lillye Younger

Oldest Decatur Resident Still Hard-Working At 102

PARSONS, Tenn.—Mrs. Martha Maria Cox, 102, the oldest resident in Decatur County, attributes her long life and good health to hard work and regular schedule.

Mrs. Cox makes her summer home with her daughter, Mrs. George Bell of Parsons, and her son, Ezra Cox, in Benton County. She spends her winters with her other two children, Mrs. Paul Tippett and Otis Cox of Huntingdon.

She enjoys telling her great-grandchildren of their family's history. "My father, John Wilson, was an adventurer. He left his home in Belfast, Ireland, and came to America to settle in Philadelphia."

"He left his sweetheart, Jane Hunter, behind; however, they corresponded regularly. Seven years later he had saved enough money to send for her and they were married shortly after her arrival.

"My parents met Tennesseans and were so impressed with the state they moved to a farm near Sugar Tree in 1857. I was born on this farm. I am the last of my. parents four children."

She married William H. Cox at the age of 19 and lived on a farm near Sugar Tree. "The first year was very hard. We were not able to buy a cook-stove so I cooked over an open fire. We used oxen to plow our fields and raised our food.

"Sheep were raised and sheared for clothing. I have never had a ready-made dress. Once a year, our geese were picked to make feather beds; and grease and lye were used to make our soap; our wheat was carried to the mill to make flour."

"My husband and I built our house, and all I have ever known is hard work," concludes Mrs. Cox. Her husband died in 1943.

Mrs. Cox still rises at 5 a.m. and does daily chores. Although she has always had excellent health, she was the first contributor to the Decatur County Hospital building fund.

Never believing in women voting, she did vote at the age of 97 for her granddaughter, Mrs. Juanita Long, who ran for county judge of Decatur County in 1960. She is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Spence Chapel.

Mrs. Cox has 14 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. On her 100th birthday her children honored her with an open house.

During this celebration, she received congratulatory telegrams from her President, the late John F. Kennedy and her governor, Frank Clement.

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