FOX, CHARLES W., a veteran of the Civil War, and a prominent resident of Riverton, Ill., is now living retired from active duties, after having spent most of his life in agricultural operations in Sangamon County. Mr. Fox belongs to a family that has been well known in Sangamon County for half a century, and he was a boy of ten years of age when brought there by his parents. He was born in Cape May County, N.J., November 20, 1838, a son of Aaron and Phebe (Buck) Fox, both natives of New Jersey, and the father a farmer by occupation. In early life Aaron Fox became a sailor and followed that occupation many years on the Atlantic Ocean, before taking up farming. He brought his family to Illinois in 1848, settling first at Pleasant Plains, where he lived thirty-seven years. Their first home was an old log house, which has been built by Samuel Purvines, and later they lived in a log house which has been erected by Rev. Peter Cartwright, a pioneer Methodist minister, for whom Cartwright Township was named. Later, Mr. Fox moved to Lanesville Township and spent several years in farming there, then lived several years in Buffalo, whence he moved to Clear Lake Township and there carried on farming. About 1859, Aaron Fox was accidentally killed. His widow died in Riverton, in 1897. Five sons and five daughters were born to Aaron Fox and wife, of whom the following survive: Charles W., of this biography; Smith and Coleman, also of Riverton; Somers, now of Nebraska; Frank, a retired farmer living in Springfield; Elmira, wife of George Sharp, a farmer living near Riverton; Melissa, wife of Sidney Branch, of Mason City, Ill. The Fox family originally came from England and the Buck family from Scotland.
Charles W. Fox was reared on a farm and educated in the public schools of Sangamon county. He enlisted in Company C, Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, for service in the Civil War, and served four years and five months, being promoted to rank of First Lieutenant of his company, participating in many important engagements, bearing himself creditably. He enlisted from Springfield, and was discharged March 12, 1865, in Tennessee, having never been wounded or taken prisoner.
At the close of the war, Mr. Fox returned to Sangamon County and he was married September 21, 1865, to Melinda Ridgeway, born in Buffalo Hart Grove, April 9, 1848, daughter of Enoch and Mary (Likens) Ridgeway. Enoch Ridgeway was a native of Kentucky and his wife, who was a cousin of Abraham Lincoln's mother, was a native of Indiana and lived just across the road from the latter. Mr. Ridgeway came to Buffalo Hart at an early day and there engaged in farming, making that place his home the remainder of his life. Mrs. Ridgeway died in 1908, at the age of eighty-nine years. In the family were three sons and one daughter, of whom the only one now living is Samuel Ridgeway, of Buffalo Hart Grove. After his marriage, Mr. Fox engaged in farming in Buffalo Hart Grove and met with considerable success. He has resided in Riverton since 1886 and owns a very comfortable home there., besides other property. To him and his wife, children were born as follows: six sons and six daughters, of whom six children are now living: Mary, wife of Elmer Wilson, of Springfield; Edward, a carpenter and brick mason, of Ashdown, Ark.; Alice, wife of Clarence Hamilton, of Riverton; Charles W., of Springfield Clara, wife of Noah Hickman, an employee of the Chicago, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad Company, living in Springfield; Gilbert, of Riverton. There are eleven grandchildren in the family. Mr. Fox is a prominent member of the local post of the G.A.R. and his wife belongs to John R. Tanner Circle of Springfield. He is a member of the Methodist Church and in politics is a Republican, and well known in Riverton and vicinity, as an upright, useful citizen, possessing many warm friends.