FOX, JAMES R. - The vast interests involved in carrying on the coal industry in Sangamon County, necessitate the employment in official capacities of men of experience and ability, especially in the mechanical department, where they are expected not only to answer for the efficiency of the work turned out, but must also be able to handle large bodies of men. James R. Fox, of the well-known Woodside Coal Company, a man of wide experience and unlimited capability, was born March 5, 1856, in Iowa County, Wis., and is a son of James and Mary (Crebo) Fox, natives of England, who later became farming people of Iowa County, where both died.
James R. Fox was the fifth of his parents' eight children, and his youth was spent on his father's farm in Iowa County, in which location he secured his education in the common schools. In his youth, in addition to farming, he engaged in the livery business until going to Mitchell County, Kan., where he embarked in stock raising, and so continued for four years, at the end of which time he returned to his Wisconsin home. A short time later he came to Illinois, locating in LaSalle, where he became connected with the Twin City Electric Company, continuing in the capacity of chief engineer of this firm for six and one-half years, and then taking the management of the lighting plant at Spring Valley, a position which he held for the five years following. In 1900 he came to Springfield, for nine years was engineer and had charge of the electric work for the Jones & Adams Coal Company, and in March, 1909, became hoisting engineer for the Woodside Coal Company, a position to which he was eminently fitted after his long and varied experience.
On September 14, 1882, in Iowa County, Wis., Mr. Fox was united in marriage with Miss Mary L. Zimmer, a native of that county and daughter of Daniel and Amelia Zimmer. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Fox, namely: Alice, Arthur, Clara, the wife of John Weigand, of Springfield, and Ray.
Mr. Fox is well known in fraternal circles of Springfield, being a leading member of Sangamon Lodge No. 6, and of the State Encampment of the Odd Fellows, in which he has passed through all the chairs. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. His present comfortable residence on North Sixth Street was erected by him after his former home had been destroyed by fire.