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George "Boss" Cox
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Birth: Apr. 29, 1853
Over-The-Rhine
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA
Death: May 20, 1916
Clifton
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA

Political Boss of Cincinnati during the Progressive Era (1880-1914). Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, George Barnsdale Cox was the son of British immigrants and was forced to earn an income for the family after his father's death when he was eight years old. In the early 1870's, he acquired a saloon in the West End at the corner of Longworth and John, in an area known as "Dead Man's Corner" because of many unsolved murders. Tired of police raids to his second floor gambling room, he sought office on the Cincinnati City Council and was elected in 1879. The raids stopped and the early era of the reign of "Boss" Cox began. During a period of labor and ethnic unrest, he became the undisputed boss of Cincinnati politics. Although he only served two terms as Councilman, he pushed to the front of city politics and headed a compact and closely knit organization that was referred to as a political machine. He was labeled as a political superpower and a master manipulator as the corrupt government that he ran controlled Cincinnati. His policies were tyrannical, yet effective, and he delivered his delegation as promised. By 1884, he became Chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Committee and was able to control elections and offices to his benefit. He did, however, make some improvements to the crowding city life during a period of heavy immigration and population boom. He cleaned and paved streets, built sewer lines, and kept taxes low. He planned and began the subway system that failed after his death, not only due to poor coordination and unauthorized spending, but because of the rise of his political enemies. Boss Cox's demise began to occur after 1905 when he tried to annex neighboring middle class communities to his realm. The citizens in these areas mostly opposed his political corruption and their votes for public officials became impossible to control. Cox's endorsed candidate for mayor lost to reform candidate Henry Hunt in 1911. Cox's control rapidly decreased and his supporters began to abandon him. Cox was indicted for perjury, a charge that was later thrown out because of a technicality by a Cox-sympathizing judge, proclaimed he was vindicated and retired from politics. He died in 1916 a few months after suffering from a stroke. The Cox Machine limped on for another ten years and dissolved when Murray Seasongood, Cincinnati's Reform Movement Mayor, adopted a charter that established a council manager form of government to ensure that there would be no future "boss". George Cox was quoted as saying: "I am the Boss of Cincinnati. I never dodged that statement in my life. I've got the best system of government in the country. If I didn't think this system was the best, I would consider that I was a failure in life". Seasongood stated that the city under Cox's leadership was the worst governed city in the United States. 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Caroline S. Cox (1853 - 1938)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Spring Grove Cemetery
Cincinnati
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Section 18, Lot 27
 
Created by: K Guy
Record added: Sep 16, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21596690
George Boss Cox
Added by: K Guy
 
George Boss Cox
Added by: K Guy
 
George Boss Cox
Added by: K Guy
 
 
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- JJ Coppinger
 Added: Aug. 29, 2009
 
 
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