Benton County


Business ability leading to success and personal qualities resulting in popularlty have made Wiley Jones Cox one of the valued representative residents of Memphis, where he is widely known as senior partner in the Cox-Paris Drug Company, conducting business at the corner of Poplar avenue and Evergreen street. That he has a strong following among the members of the Tennessee State Pharmaceutical Association is indicated in the fact that he was unanimously elected at its last convention to the presidency of that organization and his high standing in his chosen calling was further demonstrated when he was elected vice president of the Tennessee state board of pharmacy. He is a native son of Mississippi, his birth having occurred on a farm in Benton county, owned by his father, Charles Jones Cox, a successful planter of that locality, who was a Confederate soldier during the Civil war and died about twenty years ago. The mother, who bore the maiden name of Charlotte Temple Horn, passed away a few years before the death of her husband. The family numbered nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom Wiley Jones is the youngest son. Two of the sons and two of the daughters have departed this life.

Reared on his father's farm, the youthful experiences of Wiley Jones Cox were those of the farm bred boy and after leaving the public schools he attended the Woodland Academy at Saulsbury, Tennessee. He then took up the profession of teaching, which he followed first in Mississippi and later in Tennessee but entered mercantile circles at the age of twenty-three when he purchased a small drug store in Saulsbury, becoming proprietor thereof in 1886. Previous to this time he had studied medicine with the intention of becoming a physician but the purchase of the little drug store at Saulsbury changed his plans entirely, for he found the business a congenial and profitable one and has since devoted his attention to the drug trade. At later periods he has owned and successfully conducted drug stores in Bolivar, Tennessee, Fulton, Kentucky, and Jackson, Tennessee, and in 1905 he came to Memphis, where he has since been a prominent representative of the local retail drug trade. Here he first organized the Moseley-Robinson-Cox Drug Company, of which he became the president and so continued until 1906, when he sold his interest in the business to his partners. Immediately afterward he purchased a drug store at the corner of Third and Vance avenue and while still conducting this he also founded the present store at the corner of Poplar avenue and Evergreen street. This was in 1912 and this is today his only store but at different times he has been interested in still other stores in Memphis and also one at Binghamton, then a suburb of the city. At one time he owned four drug stores in Memphis, two of which he established while the other two he purchased. His present store, however, has always been his main interest and it is one of the leading drug stores of the state, thoroughly appointed in every particular and carrying an extensive stock of drugs and druggists sundries. Mr. Cox is prominently known to the trade. He belongs to the Tennessee State Pharmaceutical Association, which, as previously stated, recently elected him to the presidency and is also well known as president of the state board of pharmacy. He is the vice president of the Drug Club and is chairman of the organization commission of the State Pharmaceutical Association and chairman of the legislative committee of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. He likewise belongs to the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and is interested in the work and purposes of that organization, standing as it does for progressiveness in all that relates to the city.

Mr. Cox has been married twice. In 1885 he wedded Miss Cora Elliott, who died in 1905, leaving two daughters: Wera, the wife of E. W. Davis of Jackson, Mississippi; and Erlyne, the wife of Ryce Russum of Saulsbury, Tennessee. For his second wife Mr. Cox chose Miss Ethlene Boone of Saltillo, Tennessee, whom he wedded June 18, 1913. Mrs. Cox is a talented lady, who is active in church and other work and is a gifted public speaker. Mr. Cox belongs to the First Baptist church, in which he is serving as deacon and both he and his wife contribute in substantial measure to the growth and success of the church. Fraternally he is a Mason and a Knight of Pythias and is a past chancellor in the latter order. His life is guided by high and honorable principles and worthy motives and he commands the respect and good-will of all who know him. He is everywhere spoken of in terms of high regard, for his life has ever measured up to high standards of manhood and citizenship.

Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 3