Back in the 1930’s a large Silver Water Cooler was presented to the Collection of the First White House of the Confederacy by Miss Otis Cox of Connecticut. Miss Cox was the daughter of Jesse J. Cox, a popular captain of a steamboat on the Alabama River in antebellum times, to whom the water color had belonged.
According to family tradition given by Miss Cox, the water cooler was in the Cox plantation residence when the Federal troops known as Wilson’s Raiders came past, on their way from Selma to Montgomery in the last days of the war in 1865. The water cooler was supposedly taken with other family silver and buried for safekeeping. The cooler is a highly unusual and imposing piece, and has graced the dining room of the First White house in Montgomery for some eighty years.
Now, in 2013, a great-grandson of Captain Cox who resides in New Jersey, has generously donated a fine American coin silver Water Dipper, which was originally used with the water cooler. The Cox Dipper was surely chosen to match the decorative elements of the water cooler. It is engraved with grapes and grape leafage, whereas that on the cooler is the same but executed in Repoussee work in high relief. They belong together, as Forrest Gump would say, “like peas and carrots”. We are so excited to have the Dipper as a wonderful addition to our Relics.
The Dipper appears to date from the 1850s, as does the cooler. The Dipper also has the name Jesse J Cox written on it. Captain Cox is thought to have died in 1869. His son, Jesse James Cox, Jr., died in Baton Rouge in 1879 from yellow fever.