JOSEPH FOX (1753-1847)

JOSEPH FOX (1753-1847)

Contributed by Compatriot Dennis Wright

Joseph Fox was my paternal 4th great grandfather. He was born in New Jersey in 1753 and died in Perry Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1847. He had three wives, fathering twelve children.

Joseph Fox served 4 years in the Continental Army under Captains David Steele and William Johnston and 2 years (1781-1783) in the Pennsylvania Rangers under CPT Thomas Robinson.  Joseph enlisted at Pikes Run, PA in December 1776 as a Private. He served in the 13th, 11th, 7th and 1st Virginia Regiments. He trained at Pittsburgh, Brownsville and Valley Forge. He fought at Brandywine, Germantown, Trenton, Valley Forge, Stony Point, Monmouth, and Charlestown. In 1779 he was selected from CPT William Johnston’s company as one of handpicked men to serve as light infantry in Gen Wayne’s Corps in the successful attack on Stony Point.  In late 1779 and early 1780, the Virginia Regiments were consolidated into three units.  Joseph Fox is believed to have served in Captain Johnston’s company in the 1st VA Regiment commanded by Col William Russell under the 1st VA Brigade commanded by BG Woodford. The 1st VA Brigade marched to Charleston arriving in April.  With the surrender of Charleston, Captain Johnston’s company became prisoners on 12 May 1780. Joseph was exchanged in 1781 and joined the Pennsylvania Rangers.   He was discharged on January 21, 1783 at Northumberland, PA. Additional commanding officers included General George Washington, General Anthony Wayne, General Lafayette, Colonels Daniel Morgan, William Russell and Christian Febiger; MAJ Posey, and LT Van Camp.

An undocumented, but interesting story goes that Joseph left his New Jersey home at the age of 16 and went to England. He became an apprentice to a stonemason. Shortly thereafter, he became a British soldier but when the Colonies declared independence, he left the British Army and returned to America to fight on the American side in the Revolutionary War. He was given “bounty land” in Pennsylvania (336 acres patent dated January 15, 1814 in Perry Township). He was supposedly given the honor of naming the county seat and county where his land was located. He chose Greene County named after General Nathaniel Greene and the county seat was named Waynesburg for General Anthony Wayne.

Joseph Fox personally appeared in open court on September 10, 1832 and swore an oath to make his declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the Service Pension Act of Congress passed on June 7, 1832. His pension amounted to $80 per annum.

His tombstone is atop a knoll near Fox Run, Greene County, Pennsylvania. The log cabin that he built in the 1790s is still standing and is inhabited. His descendants still live in the area. A very informative family history book titled Joseph Fox His Descendants and Related Families, 1997) was written by Charles S. Fox, his 3rd great grandson.