Today, if people run across “Cox,” it’s probably via Cox Communications (Cox Enterprises).  And, seemingly, Cox Communications isn’t a particularly “big” name.  Actually, Cox has quite few holdings, but many might be termed “small stuff.”  The thing with “small stuff” is, if there is a lot of it, it’s a big pile or an important undercurrent if it’s widespread.  It’s rather difficult to get some grasp of yours truly’s world without a passing understanding of Cox (and Taft) and the rather staggering long-term influence (not position, but influence) of the people of southwestern Ohio on the U.S. national governmental scene. 

Political junkies can come up with William Howard Taft of Cincinnati a lot easier than they can James Middleton Cox, because Taft was a U.S. President.  He was also a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and there are Tafts living today still once in a while running for some office or another.  Cox didn’t win the presidency, but there is little doubt that he had equal influence if he wanted to use it for a simple reason:  Cox ran for U.S. President with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the vice-presidential candidate.  As a result for the many years that Roosevelt was in office (and still today) the backing of Cox would be seen as useful and any ideas would surely be worth considering. 

James M. Cox was born after the U.S. Civil War in a small place down state from Dayton.  He eventually moved to the immediate Dayton area and named his home “Trail’s End.”  Although not originally a Daytonian, he is buried in Dayton.  Just incidentally, he was a member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  The important thing with Cox, as with Taft, is that ordinary (everyday) people of the area live their lives in a world of indirect but substantial political power that sometimes is hauled out and used.  They say it’s useless to argue religion and politics.  In some cases arguing either can be deadly.  There are biographies of Mr. Cox in various places. 

One can be born in “the frying pan.” 


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