Hartwell Bolin Cox was born January 22, 1840 in Illinois. His father, William Bolin Cox came from near Springfield, Illinois. Anna Hunnicutt, his mother, who came from South Carolina, married William Cox, July 27, 1820 in Madison County, Illinois.
In the 1830 Green County, Illinois census, William and Anna had three children under ten years old. They had five boys, John (born 1822), George W. (born 1824), James (born 1834), Dave (born 1836), and Hartwell. Hartwell was the youngest of the children. There were probably other children.
When Hartwell was four years old his mother, Anna, loaded all their belongings in two wagons each drawn by six yoke of oxen and started the move to Texas. George W. and John H. Cox, Hartwell’s brothers moved to Dallas in 1842 along with some of the Beemans. Evidently John went back to Illinois to help his mother move.
Each night they camped off the main road so the Indians would not disturb them. One night the boys were asleep under the wagon and a skunk bit John on the hand. The camp fire still glowing, he picked up a coal of fire, stuck it to the bite and let it burn out the poison.
One day while traveling along the road the oxen saw water beside the road. They were thirsty. John tried to keep the oxen on the road to keep the wagon from turning over, but they wanted to go to the water. John wrapped the line around the wheel hub to stop the lead ox, but the ox kept moving forward and the Line pulled the ox’s head back and broke his neck.
It took them three months to get to the Texas line below Oklahoma on the Red River where they settled for awhile. They moved to Dallas in 1844 to settle near the site of the old Dallas Courthouse. Anna bought two lots at what is now the corner of Main and Austin Streets. They had to cut down saplings to get to the Trinity River. They built a log cabin and staked off a garden spot.
While Hartwell was a young boy, he saw friendly Indians camped near where the Commerce Street bridge crosses the Trinity River. At meal time they would all be seated in a circle. One of them would have a pot on a fire in the center making some kind of soup. When it was ready he would jabber something and they would all come to the pot and eat out of it with horn spoons. Then they got on their ponies and swam the river, yelling until they all got across.
Dave (married Mary Halford in 1857), James (married Arzela Williams in 1857) and Hartwell served in the Civil War. While Hartwell was home before the end of the war, he married Louthary Moore, daughter of Jacob and Polly A. Moore. Hartwell and Louthary settled in Slap Foot on brother Dave’s place for awhile, then they lived in Mesquite and Scyene and later, in 1872, moved to farm on Old Seagoville Road, where they built their home.
Belle Starr and her parents lived in Scyene and were Hartwell’s neighbor’s. Belle helped in the birth of one of Hartwell’s daughters. Another famous friend of Hartwell was Cole Younger, one of the Younger Brothers. Cole ate at Hartwell’s house after church one Sunday. Cole had given the sermon.
Hartwell was the first Post Master in Rylie Prairie, Texas. Rylie Prairie later became Rylie and is now part of the southeast Dallas area. He was a member of the Mesquite Methodist Church. A note on their ledger states “He withdrew to join the Campbellites. He helped organize and build the Rylie Christian Church in 1885. He became a reporter for “The Mesquiter,” a newspaper in Mesquite soon after if was established in 1882.
Hartwell married (1) Louthary Ann Moore, February 28, 1864. Children were: William Jesse, Nancy Ann, Sarah Jane, Mary Lulu, May Belle, Polly Josephine, and James Sam uel Jacob. Louthary died January 28 , 1879. Hartwell married (2) Margaret Ann Moore, August 17, 1879, had one son, Charles Walter. Margaret died November 28, 1890; and he married (3) Nancy Hurd, February 7, 1892, had one daughter, Edna Lavada, divorced. He then married (4) Lethy Ann Spears, March 21, 1897. Children were: Jenny Lind Evangalina, Hartwell Karl Decker, Lincoln McKinley, Ernest Dewey and Hazel Bertrand. Lethy Ann died Febcaury 19, 1916.
At the time of his death, January 26, 1918, Hartwell was said to have lived in Dallas County longer than any citizen then living in Dallas – 74 years.
By Helen J. Sullivan for Dallas County Pioneer Association’s Proud Heritage, Volume I