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Way Back When

February 19, 2012

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(April 29, 1896)

John K. Coxson
John K. Coxson, for more than fifteen years, an employee of this office, died last Sunday in the fortieth year of his life. For the past two years he had been in ill health, but he remained at his post of duty as foreman of the Spirit office until about two months ago. By that time he had developed unmistakable symptoms of tuberculosis, and grew gradually worse until he died.

….A wife and three children, his mother, three sisters and a brother, survive him. A home and an insurance of $3,000 in the Royal Arcanum, places his wife and children above the immediate reach of want.

The deceased was a son of the late John K. Coxson, who is remembered by our older inhabitants as a man of remarkable talents. Although possessing no advantages in early life he became locally distinguished as an orator, artist, editor, and poet.

His son John, although making no pretensions to eloquence or art, possessed a mind of more than ordinary strength and acuteness. Modest and unassuming, he pursued the even tenor or his way, having no other ambition than to be a good printer, and to lead a quiet, modest life. In this he was successful, being a thorough master of the art of printing, competent and trustworthy in every department of the newspaper business. He was an excellent job printer and a clear and concise writer.

He was for a time editor of the St. Mary's Gazette, and on several occasions, for brief periods, edited the Spirit. He learned his trade on the Mahoning Argus, a paper published by his father, and worked for a time in Reynoldsville and in Pittsburg. He was careful, painstaking, and faithful, and was recognized amongst the craft as a superior workman.
John Coxson was a man of sterling qualities. He was true to his convictions and consciencious in all his dealing with his fellow men.

His nature was frank and absolutely without guile. He never did anything for the sake of policy. It is right, and is it true was all he desired to know before reaching a conclusion. He was honest, not only in his relations with others, but with himself.

He was conscious of the rectitude of his intentions, and was willing to open his bosom for the inspection of the world. Straightforward and simple in his own integrity, he had the heartiest contempt for hypocracy and duplicity in others. He was essentially religious in his nature, but his ideal of what a disciple of Christ should be was so high that he hesitated to enlist under His banner in a conspicuous way for fear he could not approach his own standard of what a Christian should be.

(Editor’s note: This piece is one in a series of “Familiar Faces Friday” features to be written by Spirit reporter...
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