Saturday, July 8, 2017


My mother's maiden name was Cox.  My Grandmother Cox would proudly say that her FIRST vote was for James M. Cox.  It was a family joke that James M. Cox was her "Uncle Jim", although we all knew there was really NO family connection.

James Middleton Cox was a teacher who became a successful businessman and founded Cox Enterprises which included newspapers and radio stations, along with other publications, including The Kelly Blue Book, and in later years, television stations.  After a successful business career Cox was elected to two terms as a U.S. Representative, served three terms as Ohio's Governor, and in 1920 ran as the Democratic nominee for President, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his running mate; unfortunately, he was defeated by fellow Ohioan Warren Harding.   

As Governor, Cox was a crusading progressive reformer, as he supported women's suffrage, restricted child labor, implemented education and prison reform, minimum wage, no-fault workers compensation, direct primaries, initiatives, and referendums, home rule, improved the state court system, Civil Service, highway systems, and opposed the attempted Constitutional amendment to install "right to work".

Interesting historical trivia:  of the four candidates for President and Vice President in 1920, THREE did become President (Harding, Coolidge, and Roosevelt).  Most historians concur the "the better man lost" in the election of 1920 as Cox was demonstrably more qualified in experience, intellect, and morality, than Harding.

My mother's first vote was for FDR.  She adored FDR and my father detested him.  My father and his family were die-hard Republicans.   My mother would tell the story of how Grandmother Shirkey told her that she would "watch the children" if Mother would go to vote for "our Mr. Bricker".  John Bricker was a native of Mount Sterling, where my grandparents had lived, and they knew Bricker personally.  Mother said that she told her mother-in-law that she would be going to vote, BUT , "For MY Mr. DiSalle."  Granny responded, "But he's one of those Italians, isn't he?" (she pronounced it as "Eye-talian", much to my mother's amusement, as my grandmother would brag to my mother that she had been a teacher before she married and reminded my mother that she had not completed high school). 

Despite my mother's vote, Mr. Bricker won that election against Mr. DiSalle, but in 1958, my all-time hero Stephen Young, won the election against the Bricker.  Granny died in 1957.  I told Mother, "Granny would turn over in her grave to know HER Mr. Bricker was finally defeated!"  Bricker  had supposedly been "unbeatable", according to the "experts" at the time. 

Actually, John W. Bricker was a very interesting and influential political figure who had been elected the Attorney General, Governor, and Senator of Ohio, and in 1944, he was chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate with Thomas Dewey, but Mother would never forgive Bricker for saying that FDR was a "front for the Communist Party".

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