Before and After Mt. Pisgah
by Clare B. Christensen, 1979, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Stories from the Lives of Frederick Walter Cox and Sally Emeline Whiting”
It helps to remember that Paul Driggs Christensen was son of Maud Rosalie Driggs,
who was daughter of Rosalie Ellen Cox (and Benjamin Woodbury Driggs),
who was daughter of Frederick Walter and Sally Emeline Whiting Cox.
The Cox family began its stay in America in Marblehead, Massachusetts (near Boston) in the 1600’s. “The town has been famous for its mariners and fishermen. George Washington called for the men in Marblehead and in a soup-thick fog among floating chunks of ice, the boats and skilled men from Marblehead hauled Washington’s army in the famous crossing of the Delaware to surprise the British.” (p. 23)
The Cox family moved from Massachusetts to New York in 1809. On 20 January 1812, Frederick Walter Co was born in Plymouth, Chenango County to Jonathan Upham Cox and his wife Lucinda. Jonathan and Lucinda began their family with eight sons. They added three daughters and finally a ninth son, born six months after Jonathan’s death in 1830. When their second daughter died at the age of two, they buried her on the bank of the Susquehanna River “two years before, and about fifty miles downstream from the place where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the great visions while translating the Book of Mormon”. (pp. 37-38)
In 1833, five of the Cox brothers, including Frederick Walter (or Walter as he was called), moved to Ohio. It was there that Walter (who became a lumberman) met Charles Whiting (who was connected with a chair shop) and the two men became close friends. Eventually Walter met Charles’ sister Emeline and they were married 6 September 1835.
“Sally Emeline Whiting. . .had a sweetheart named Sylvester Taylor. Sylvester jilted Emeline. In his second letter to her he said, ‘I have ever kept you in mind and often felt regrets that I was so foolish as to give you up -- indeed I always thought you took it very easy and when you captured Walter Cox that you were fully satisfied, . . .’” (pp. 64-65)
In 1837 Walter and Emeline and their first baby left for Missouri. “Howard Driggs’ account from his grandmother Emeline was that F. Walter had hitched up a wild steer with an old cow to their covered wagon and went hurrying off to Missouri to be there before the Savior arrived. By inference, this confirms the story that Walter and Emeline had already been baptized. Some family records say that they were baptized by Thomas B. Marsh.” (p. 67)
“The writer (Clare B. Christensen) assumes that it was while Isaac Morley was on his mission in Ohio, that he met F. Walter Cox. If Isaac Morley was one of the missionaries who first contacted F. Walter Cox, then some unexplained things . . .would fall into place. . . .” (p. 87)
The Cox family were living at Far West, Missouri in 1839. “It was there in Missouri that the mob drove our families out. Isaac Morley’s home was burned, so was the chair shop of Elisha Whiting, Jr. . . .” (p. 95)
“Among the records collected by Howard R. Driggs, was a small manuscript entitled, ‘Incidents in Cox History.’ It began, ‘Driven from Caldwell County, Missouri to Hancock County, Illinois in 1839, the three families, sixteen in number, Cox, Whiting and Morley, pitched their tents in the backwoods where they lived until log cabins could be built.’ Much was told in those few words.” (p. 97)
The “backwoods” where they lived was 25 miles south down the Mississippi River from the Nauvoo. The three families became the Morley Settlement and soon there were three or four hundred people there. . . .Some church authorities came and appointed Isaac Morley as president of the branch. He chose F. W. Cox and Edwin Whiting as his counselors.” (p. 99)
Before & After Mt. Pisgah is filled with details of the next six years.