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The FOX Family History

Click here to view the FOX Family Tree,

The connection between the FOX family and the NEWMAN family was made when Edna Florence (Dina) NEWMAN married Ray Eldon FOX.

I have not been able to trace the FOX family very far back in time and had several false starts. I knew that the grandfather and grandmother of Eldon Fox were James FOX and Rachel ELDON. I was then lucky to find, with the help a Sandy Kirby, a researcher in Adelaide, Australia a publication of the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society called the "Biographical Index of South Australians". In it was an entry about James Fox and Rachel Eldon. It reads:-

FOX, James b. ARM. IRL 5.6.1902 bur. WTC arr: 1854 JOSEPH ROWAN occ. Farm servant, Blacksmith res. Hyde Park rel. C/E m: by 1854 Rachel, nee ELDON b: c1828 d:8.3.1898 ch: Thos. Eldon (1858-1892), Rachel Jane MURPHY (1869-1916)

This translates as:- FOX, James, born Armagh, Ireland, died 5.6.1902, buried West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. Arrived in South Australia 1854 on the ship JOSEPH ROWAN. Occupation, farm servant and blacksmith. Residence, Hyde park, Adelaide. Religion, Church of England. Married before 1854 to Rachel, nee ELDON, b c1828, died 1898. Children, Thomas Eldon (1858-1892), Rachel Jane MURPHY (1896-1916)

There were several surprises from this. The first being that James Fox was born in Ireland. There had never been any whisper of that. The next surprise was that there were two children mentioned, Thomas Eldon and Rachel Jane, neither of whom I had heard of previously. The third surprise was the date they came to Australia. The Rachel attached to the second Earl of Eldon would have been five years old at that time. (See the Eldon Family for an explanation of that.)

Through the South Australian Genealogical and Heraldry Society I was able to get in touch with Margaret Croxford who had supplied them with the published data. She was descended from Rachel Jane Murphy. She had had no knowledge at all of the side of the family that I knew. My researcher was also able to put me in touch with Bob Fox who was a descendant of the youngest child of Rachel and James Fox. With their help I was able to build up the family.

The family of James and Rachel Fox was:_
1. Joseph Eldon,
2. James,
3. Thomas Eldon,
4. Margaret Maud,
5. Barbara,
6. Samuel,
7. Rachel Jane
8. Robert George.

I know that Joseph Eldon was the eldest and that Robert George was the youngest; I am not sure of the order of the others. Both Margaret Croxford and Bob Fox told me that they too had been brought up on variations of the Earl of Eldon story but that it had been discredited. Neither of them told me how.

My knowledge of the family was this:-
James Fox married Rachel Eldon and emigrated to South Australia
They had a son, Joseph Eldon Fox

Joseph Eldon Fox married Annie Crawford and they had the following children.

The first wife of Joseph Fox - Annie Crawford.

1. Joseph,
2. James,
3. Irene,
4.William Roy,
5. Gladys Ray.

After Annie's death Joseph married again and had three more children
1. Rupert, 2. Margery, 3. Samuel

The Fox family home. Built by Joseph Eldon Fox in about 1880..

William Roy FOX married Ivy May TOPPERWIEN and they had seven children, the eldest being Ray Eldon Fox (always known as Eldon) who married Dina NEWMAN (now Dina BROUGHTON).

I obtained from Adelaide the death certificate of Rachel Fox, the shipping list with the departure from Liverpool of the "Joseph Rowan" and its arrival in Adelaide, Australia carrying James and Rachel Fox, on 18th June 1854. I also had the marriage certificate of Joseph Eldom and Annie Crawford and a photograph of the grave of Rachel and James in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

The grave of Rachel & James Fox and their son Thomas Eldon Fox
Western Terrace. Adelaide, South Australia

I had some difficulty in finding a birth certificate for Joseph Eldon Fox and only succeeded after getting the birth certificate of William Roy Fox. William Roy, in fact, had been registered not as William Roy but as Roy William.

It also told me that his father's name was not Joseph Eldon, as I had been told but John Joseph. John Joseph was born on 24th September 1854, son of James Fox and Rachel, nee Eldon. On his marriage certificate John Joseph's name is given as Joseph Eldom. Whether the spelling mistake of Eldom for Eldon was his or the person who wrote out the certificate I don't know, but as he named his first child Joseph Eldom too, maybe he didn't know how to spell it although my guess is that the story of connection with Lord Eldon had already begun.

James Fox practised his trade of blacksmith in Adelaide after his arrival from Ireland, first from an address in King Street and later Young Street which was near the designed centre of the city. Later still he moved his premises further out to Clifton Parade, Goodwood. Most of his children and many grandchildren were born there. He changed his occupation to carter, contracting to carry goods in a cart drawn by horses. He did quite well at this and employed several men. He left behind him the reputation of being a cruel man and a heavy drinker.

I now turned my attention to County Armagh, Ireland, as it had been mentioned in the Genealogical Index and the shipping list. There I found the marriage certificate of James Fox, blacksmith, son of John Fox, blacksmith, and Rachel Eldon,daughter of Joseph Eldon, farmer, on the 22nd September 1853. Neither of them could sign their names. (They named their first son after both their fathers.) A witness to the marriage was Samuel Eldon - another name carried on by James and Rachel in their family. The marriage took place in the parish of Tartaraghan, County Armagh, Ireland.

The marriage certificate of James Fox and Rachel Eldon.

Rather surprisingly the name of Fox, although appearing very English, could quite easily have had an old `native' Irish origin. In the 11th century in Co. Meathe there was a Chief called an Sionnach `the fox', whose family took the name after his death. Because of the practice of `native Irish' adapting and changing their names for various political, social and religious reasons over the centuries, in some cases the name of Sionnack was changed (by Protestants) to Shannon in some places and in other places (by Catholics) to Fox. It is therefore possible that our Fox family were originally Catholic and were later converted to Protestantism. On the other hand they may have come over from England like the Eldons.

Unfortunately I have not been able to obtain any information about the Fox family in Ireland. All we know at the present time is that the father of James Fox was named John and that he too was a blacksmith. I do not know his mother's name.

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