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James William Cox (1893-) was born and raised in Knockroe, Croghan, Co. Roscommon, close to Killappoge Cemetery. He is the father of William Trevor Cox (1928-2016) who was widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language.

James was the second son of Arthur Cox (son of Mark Cox of Knockroe) and Mary Anne McGarry (daughter of land steward James McGarry) who married in 1890.  

At the time of Griffiths Valuation [1857] his grandfather, Mark Cox (father of Arthur Cox) was leasing a House & Corn Mill [1a valued at £9], and a substantial 119 acres of land [1&2] at Knockroe (from Lord Crofton). In 1901, his father's family home was classified as a 7-room "1st class house" with 14 out-buildings. It was one of the few in the parish to afford a slated roof in those days.

In 1829, his great-grandfather, Mr Thomas Cox of Knockroe registered a Freehold valued at £20, which was remarkable at that time (most large graziers here registered at £10) In addition to Knockroe, the also held land at Bunreagh [TA1842]. ​

James William Cox, joined the Civil Service and was living in Galway in 1921 when he married Gertrude Davison (1894-1965). Gertrude, daughter of Thomas Davison, farmer, was brought up at Ardress near Loughgall, Co. Armagh.  James went on to work for Bank of Ireland and was transferred often to distant regional towns in the south of Ireland.  

On Empire Day 1928, in Mitchelstown, County Cork, their son William Trevor Cox was born. 

William Trevor Cox better known as William Trevor, was the author of short-story collections such as The Day We Got Drunk on Cake (1967), The Ballroom of Romance (1972) and Beyond the Pale (1981), and novels including The Old Boys (1964), The Children of Dynmouth (1976) and Felicia’s Journey (1994).

By all accounts their marriage was not happy. Trevor gives an accute and moving account of this in a set of autobiographical essays - Excursions in the Real World(1993). His brother and sister agreed that theirs was a chilly home. Though Trevor and his brother were loved, and loved their parents in return, the parents were unhappy, and separated as soon as their children had come of age.

Gertrude Cox died in Blackrock, Dublin in 1965, age 71. Informant: Trevor Cox, son, London.

William Trevor aka Trevor Cox died in 2016. He wrote of his ancestors:   

"My father's side of the family had been Catholic until late in the 18th Century, when they turned in order to survive the Penal Laws. The gesture was hardly worth the effort: their sparse acres of land in County Roscommon were among the worst in Ireland, and the farmhouse that accompanied them - built without foundations - was in perpetual danger of collapsing, which it finally succumbed to. Bankruptcy finished matters off.  On my mother's side there was sturdy Ulster Protestantism for as long as anyone could remember, and a similar small farming background near Loughgall, Co. Armagh." 

In the 19th century, William Trevor's ancestors were substantial graziers in the parish. They enjoyed the right to vote, sat on Boyle Grand Jury, and acted as land agents. The land around Croghan, on the plains of Boyle, was considered excellent grazing land. They were gentlemen farmers whose demise was a sign of the times and shared by all.  (The Land Act Purchase and economic crash that followed put almost all farmers in debt for the best part of the 20th century). 

 

 

Additional Information
Date of Birth 11th Jul 1893 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) Knockroe townland  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Arthur Cox (1842-1927) of Knockroe VIEW SOURCE
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Mary Anne McGarry (b.1863) VIEW SOURCE
Townland born Knockroe, Croghan, Boyle, Co. Roscommon VIEW SOURCE
Names of Siblings Arthur Rutherford Cox Elizabeth Matilda Cox George Herbert Cox Harriet Mabel Cox Mary Violet Cox VIEW SOURCE
Place & Date of Marriage Howth Church of Ireland, Dublin  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Gertrude Davison VIEW SOURCE
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