No list of professional men of Jackson county would be complete without extended mention being made of its educators whose untiring labors during the past decade have brought the standard of education in this section to a point where it is unexcelled by any community in Southern Illinois, and who, not content with present conditions, are laboring faithfully to still further advance their chosen work and by their example set a pace that will be worthy of emulation by teachers all over the state. Professor Henry Cox, principal of the public schools of Oraville, is one of those whose work as an educator has had much to do with the present desirable condition of affairs, and his entire professional career has been spent in the schools of Jackson county. He was born on his father's farm in Levan township, June 16, 1870, and is a son of Benjamin F. and Mary B. (Crossin) Cox.
Benjamin F. Cox was born at Beaver Dam, Kentucky, in 1842, and as a youth accompanied his parents to Indiana and from that state to Illinois. When Benjamin was a lad of ten years his family located on a farm situated on the road leading from Murphysboro to Carbondale, and as a youth he hunted squirrels on the present site of the former city with his chums, John and Thomas Logan. Reared to agricultural pursuits, he followed the vocation of farmer throughout his life, and at the time of his death, which occurred October 3, 1895, he was the owner of an excellent property situated two miles southwest of Oraville. In political matters he was a Democrat, but took only a good citizen's interest in public matters, and the only office he held was that of deputy sheriff under his brother, Sheriff William Cox, familiarly known as ''Biddle,” who held that office in Jackson county for many years. His wife, who was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, was a native of Jackson county, and died on the home farm January 2, 1911. Of their six children Henry was the fifth in order of birth and he and his brother, Samuel Cox, who is engaged in the laundry business at Colorado Springs, Colorado, are the only survivors.
As a youth Henry Cox attended the public schools in the vicinity of his father's farm, and this training was supplemented by attendance at the Southern Illinois Normal School at Carbondale and the normal
school at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, graduating from the latter in 1891. Since that time he has been engaged in teaching at various places in Jackson county, at the same time conducting the farm with his father, since whose death Mr. Cox has owned the homestead and superintended its operation. The Oraville school has an enrollment of sixty pupils, includes eighth grade work, and some high school training has also been done. A close student of educational methods and conditions, Mr. Cox has proved an able and efficient tutor, and he has given of the best of himself in training the youthful minds placed under his care. He has, however, found time to serve his township in public office, has served as assessor and collector, and was elected on the Democratic ticket to the position of deputy sheriff of Ora township, in which capacity he is at present acting. Fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America, and he is popular with his fellow lodge members, as he is also in his profession and with his pupils.
On June 19, 1892, Professor Cox was married to Miss Maggie Underhill, daughter of William Underhill, a farmer of Jackson county, and five children have been born to them, namely: Arthur, Arden, Floyd, Mabel and Jessie.