An American Family History

John Newton Fox

St. Clair Township, Butler County, Ohio was organized in 1803. It included the present townships of Oxford, Milford, Wayne, Reily and Hanover and was bounded on the north by Preble County, on the east by Lemon Township, on the south by the Miami River and Ross Township, and on the west by the State of Indiana.
isabelle John
John etc.
Tom Shelton, John Fox
and Friend

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

In the Civil War (1861 to 1865) eleven Southern states seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America.

John Newton Fox was born June 4, 1839, according to his death certificate or January 9, 1839, according to his obituary. He was born in St. Clair Township, Butler County, Ohio. He was the son of Levi Fox and Eliza Yerkes. He was a farmer for most of his life.

He married Sarah Jane Ricketts in 1863 during the Civil War when he was about 24 years old in Wayne County, Iowa. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on John and Sarah Fox.

The same year he married, John's father, Levi, sold him sixty acres of land for $50. The deed to John Newton Fox, both dated and recorded on March 11, 1863, is found in Lucas County Land Record Book G, p. 569. The description is the NW¼ of the SE¼ and the W½ of the NE¼ of the SE¼ of Section 34. This is the 60 acres along the New York road labeled "Phoebe Gookin" on the 1895 plat.

John was left a widower in November, 1885 when his wife Sarah died. He married Isabelle Solinger on April 9, 1893 and became a stepfather to her children. Below is a transcription of a letter that John wrote to Leonard Shelton. His grandson, Richard Fox, said "grandpa Fox had beautiful handwriting."

December the 14 1910
hellow lenard  this evning we are all wel mother and Earl are both at work so will try to answer some of the questions that yo sent but thare is hundreds of qustions in the bibel that I cant answer and yo are too far away from me and it is hard for me to read your hand riting then again it is discuriging to rite answers if yo let the children destroy them befor yo investigate them

first i think that solaman was david sun

Second i think thar was synagogs and heason worship long before Christ time but non of them perfect but Christ was building up what will be the true church that will be the bride the lams wife will have part in the first reserection they will be maid immortal they are the only ons that will be.

they will be maid spirt being they with thir lord will gug the world and gug angels all so thar will be 144000 thousand of them the bible ses fear not litel flock it is your fathers  good pleasure to give yo the cingdon they are on trile to day but the world at larg is not on trile to day but will be on trile during the gugment day witch will be athousand year

then i think that al sin and pain misre and distress and anquish and deth itself all springs from that one penalty prenounced on adam when that is all settled then if we sin we will die for our own sin and not for adams transgressions

well i cant give you the bible referenc on this yo are too far awa but if you study it well yo will finde it to be the case

well if you can send me brother rusels surman i will be glad or even his text read this carful
from John N. Fox

John's grandson, Richard Fox wrote that

when John N. Fox was a young man, the story was told me, he suffered extreme frostbite in his feet and lower extremities. As he aged the circulation to the feet and legs dried up and his legs turned black with gangrene. (I hope you are not squeamish as some of the family's history is a little gruesome.)  His limbs were actually decaying beneath him.  I don't know why they didn't amputate them but operations were extremely dangerous and expensive in those days. My mother told me that the rotting flesh would get maggots in it and that Isabelle would pour boiling water over his legs to kill them. He could not feel the hot water but he imagined he could feel the maggots. The maggots probably would have rid him of the putrefied flesh but he wouldn't have known that. One doesn't have to imagine the agony the poor man went through before he died.

John died at age 74 on January 2, 1914 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa of  "sapremia gangrene of the feet" and was buried in Salem Cemetery with his wife, Isabelle and son Earl.

Mr. John N. Fox passed away at his home on East Armory Avenue in Chariton on Sunday morning, January 4th, 1914, at the age of seventy-four years, eleven months and twenty-six days, after an illness of several years' duration with gangrene of the foot and a complication of troubles. Funeral services, conducted by M. C. Lorimor, were held at the family home on Monday afternoon at  2 o'clock, after which the remains were laid to rest in the Salem cemetery.

John N. Fox was born in Ohio on January 9th, 1839.  On January 6th,1863, he was united in marriage to Sarah Jane Rickey (sic), who died several years later. To this union seven children were born, six of whom are living. They are Mrs. Eliza Smith of Oklahoma; Mrs. Clara Woods, of Fairmont, Neb.; Mrs. Mae McKelvey, of Des Moines; Etta and Orpha, of Chariton, and Boney, of Oklahoma.

Mr. Fox was again married on April 9th, 1893, to Mrs. Isabella Shelton, who survives him. To them one son, Earl, of this city, was born. Mr. Fox was a good, christian man, and bore his intense sufferings with a patience and fortitude that were remarkable. He had resided in Lucas county for many years, and was esteemed by all who knew him for his many excellent qualities. His demise will be mourned by a host of friends who will extend sincere sympathy to the surviving relatives.

Children of:
John Newton Fox and
Sarah Jane Ricketts
  • Clara Fox Wood
  • Eliza Fox Smith
  • Bonham Fox
  • Merrit Fox
  • Orpha Fox
  • Etta Fox O'Dea
  • Mae Fox McKelvey

    Isabelle Solinger
    and R. Groves
  • Edward Groves
  • Isabelle Solinger
    and John Shelton
  • Clyde D. Sheldon
  • Leonard William Shelton
  • Maud May Shelton Netherow
  • Thomas Del Shelton
    John Fox and
    Isabelle Solinger
  • Earl Fox
  • Children of:
    Levi Fox
    and Eliza Yerkes
  • William Pierce Fox
  • Josiah B. Fox
  • John Newton Fox
  • Anne E. Fox
  • Sarah Hartley
    Joseph Teas
  • John Tease
  • Barbara Hannah Tease Tuttle
  • Levi Fox and
    Sarah Hartley Teas
  • Missouri Fox Clowser
  • Levi Fox, Jr.
  • Nebraska Fox Stephens
  • postcard
    Postcard John wrote to his grandson, John Elmer Smith when his first daughter, Hazel was born in 1910.

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

    Descendants of Absalom Fox and Christian Bonham are Mayflower Descendants.

  • Samuel Fuller
  • Hannah Fuller Bonham
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Amariah Bonham
  • Christian Bonham Fox
  • The Civil War had more casualties than any other American war. Disease and infection were the biggest killers.


    John N. Fox passed away at his home, Sunday morning, Jan. 4, 1914, after an extended illness of about twelve years. The greater part of this time he suffered intensely with blood poison. His feet became infected, and he had not been able to take a step for more than ten years, losing one foot entirely a short time since. He was taken to the Methodist hospital in Des Moines, several years ago, hoping to be benefited but it baffled the skill of the physicians there and seemed nothing could be done to alleviate his sufferings.

     The deceased was born in the state of Indiana, Jan. 9th, 1839, and had he lived five days longer would have reached the age of 75 years. He came to Iowa, when young and was united in marriage to Sarah Jane Rickets, January 6, 1863.

    To this union were born seven children, Mrs. Eliza Smith of Wright, Minn., Mrs. Clara Woods of Fairmont, Nebr., Mae McKelvy (sic) of Des Moines, Etta O'Day of Davenport, Bomie Fox of Bush Head, Oklahoma; Orpha of Chariton, and Merritt, who died in 1908. His wife died Nov. 18, 1885. He was again married April 9, 1893, to Mrs. Isabella Shelton. To this union one son was born, Earl, who remained at home. Mr. Fox came to this state in an early day and was one of the pioneers of this county. 

    He was a good christian man, and had his fellowship in the church of the Millennial Dawn. Funeral services were held from the home Monday afternoon, conducted by M. C. Lorimor, and the remains interred in the Salem cemetery. Mrs. Mae McKelvey (sic) of Des Moines and Mrs. Clara Woods of Fairmont, Nebr., were the only children from a distance able to be present. (obituary found by Frank Myers in an old family scrapbook)




    Will of John N. Fox 
    I, John N. Fox, of the town of Chariton and state of Iowa of the age of sixty-five years and being of sound mind and disposing memory to make declare and publish this my last will and testament and hereby revoke all former wills by me made in the manner following.

    To - Wit: I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid.  I devise and bequeath to my wife Issabelle Fox all my property both personal and real, of whatever kind that I may own at the time of my death, in addition to what she may be entitled to by law, to have and to hold for her own use during the term of her natural life. On the death of my said wife Issabelle Fox, I desire that the property both personal and real go to my son, Earl Fox, to have in fee simple as his own property. 

    In witness whereof I have hereto attached my signature this sixth day of   June, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and four. 

    signed John N. Fox
    Courtesy of Frank Myers


    DNA match with other descendant in this line.
    Hezekiah Bonham
    Amariah Bonham
    Christian Bonham Fox
    Bonham Fox
    Levi Fox
    John Newton Fox
    Eliza Fox Smith
    John Elmer Smith
    Virginia Smith Miller

    DNA match with other descendant in this line.
    William Walton
    Thomas Walton
    Caleb Walton
    Mary Walton Yerkes
    Josiah Yerkes
    Joshua Yerkes
    Josiah Yerkes
    Eliza Yerkes Fox

    John Newton Fox
    Eliza Fox Smith
    John Elmer Smith
    Virginia Smith Miller

    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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