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Ephraim Fox: An Oregon Pioneer Story by James Royal Fox, Jr.

Ephraim Fox: An Oregon Pioneer Story

by James Royal Fox, Jr.

496 pages
Ephraim Fox established a family in Oregon in 1852 that spread down the Pacific coast, which was so prolific at one time, that no one would ever have believed one hundred years later the last Fox would be detailing the end of the line.

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Category: History:United States
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About the Book
Ephraim Fox was born in Barboursville, Knox County, Kentucky, to Nicholas and Sara Fox. Ephraim’s grandfather Benjamin had been adopted into the well-known Virginia Fox family who populated much of Kentucky and Tennessee. Whether it was the adoption of Benjamin or another reason that has been forgotten centuries ago, his eldest son Nicholas was not close to his immense extended family. When Ephraim was 21, he moved with his parents and all but one married sister, to Missouri. Nicholas died within a couple years. When Ephraim was 30 he brought his family across the Oregon Trail, in 1852. There, 2000 miles from the United States, Ephraim made a new beginning for his family in Oregon. No one knew the past; they only knew Ephraim, the man. Family secrets and turmoil was left behind and never spoken of again. It was Ephraim alone, who established a Virginia Fox family in Oregon.

Just as the Fox family reached Oregon, bubbling hostility between Native tribes and American settlers were only beginning to worsen. In 1853-1854, the generational hatred fueling deadly back and forth confrontations led to several deadly battles between regular army and volunteer troops, and the Natives. In 1855 when hostilities were perceived to threaten the settlements in Oregon, Ephraim, his brother John, and two brother-in-law’s named Bunch, enlisted in the provisional sponsored mounted volunteers. The group was involved in the First Meadows Battle.

Ephraim raised two families in Oregon. He saw port towns develop, and some wash away in Willamette River flooding. He saw the heyday of steamers on the river, and he saw the iron horse retire them.

Ephraim Fox took his place as a humble farmer at a table of Oregon pioneers who had distinguished themselves in their communities. He was proud of that identity. Even so, the world had become a different, unrecognizable place to him by the time he grew old, the population grew, industrialization loomed, and morality suffered. He came from a time dominated by the Great Awakening, when divorce was rare, and alcoholism even rarer. If Ephraim found himself in a cramped world, it was only because pioneers had reached the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean, and there was nowhere else to go. The effect of the era of industrialization on his sons would be stark.

Then, at a time when he should have been sitting on his porch with grandkids on his lap with a faithful dog napping nearby Ephraim faced the ruination of all he had worked for. When two sons earned themselves jail time, and ended up spending it with their childhood chum, the first person in Oregon accused of patricide, all hell broke loose in newspapers all over the state. The public fiasco created a tide of embarrassment and needless humiliation that washed over the family.

In his 70’s, stooped over with rheumatism, plagued by strokes and half crippled, with his life’s work and family reputation on the line, Ephraim Fox, stepped forward, to set things right.


I stumbled upon your book about Ephraim Fox. My husband is a descendant of his sister Phoebe. I ordered a couple copies for my husband's family to check out. I know his grandfather is going to be VERY interested to read it. Just wanted to say thanks for all the research! It's fun finding more info on my husband's family I can share with my kids one day!
- Courtney, Williamsburg, Virginia
I am super excited about this. I'm not a huge reader but I plan to set aside time for these books. Looking forward to reading about some of your family's history Jimmy Fox! A real legend in our community.
- Ryan, Tillamook, Oregon
The Fox family will live on in the books you've written.
- Laurie, Beaver, Oregon



About the Author
James Royal Fox, Jr. James R. Fox, Jr. is the fifth great grandson of Benjamin Fox and third great grandson of Ephraim Fox. He is the author of a several articles and a trilogy of history books regarding his Fox family that began in Virginia; that was to end in Oregon.



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