John Cox Notes


Biographical notes on John Cox, Mayor of Georgetown, D.C.  

(See also The Cedars, and Origins of Burleith)



John Cox, mayor of Georgetown, D.C., 1823-1845. (“A Portrait of Old George Town”, Grace Dunlop Ecker)


John Cox (born 1775- died December 14, 1849) was an orphan, raised in Baltimore by an uncle, who came to Georgetown in 1798 and opened a store.


FALL GOODS – JOHN COX has received his entire assortment of FALL GOODS which is large and handsome. (Washington Federalist, Georgetown, D.C., November 8, 1802)


John Cox married Matilda Smith, sister of banker Clement Smith, in 1800. The death of his first wife put him in the way of an equally advantageous second marriage to Jane Threlkeld, daughter of former mayor John Threlkeld. Mary Threlkeld Grayson, his sister-in-law , and his nephew Henry Grayson also brought him property.  Around 1822 Cox built his house, The Cedars, on 11 acres conveyed to him by his father-in-law. The 1830 Census shows a 16 person household, including nine slaves. (National Intelligencer, January 17, 1818; Mary Grayson sells John Cox part of Alliance, DC Liber WB58 (1835) f.96/80)

Cox was an importer and banker. He loaned money to Thomas L. McKenney, Superintendant of Indian Trade, to buy Weston, and McKenney bought exclusively from Cox for the Indian trade.


I have been an importing merchant during the time Colonel McKenney has been superintendent. My importations generally have been (since 1817) with a view to the Indian trade. I have supplied Colonel McKenney with goods to the amount of about $50,000 annually. I sold the goods in currency, without reference to sterling cost. Considered I sold them as low as they could be purchased at fair sale. I have not made Mr. McKenney any compensation, in any way, with a view to obtain the trade. I have endorsed some notes for Mr. McKenney, and Mr. McKenney has likewise endorsed for me. I am now on Mr. McKenney’s paper as endorser, but am secured by his property.

Question 1. How long have you been a merchant in Georgetown?

Answer. Since June, 1798.

Ques. 2. When did you first turn your attention to the nature of the demand for Indian supplies, occasioned by the removal of the office from Philadelphia to Georgetown?

Ans. I think it was in the year 1809.

(Second examination of Colonel Cox by Colonel McKenney, Memoirs, Official and Personal: Thomas L. McKenney, 1846)


Cox was mayor of the city of Georgetown from 1823 to 1845. (John Cox unanimously re-elected Mayor for the ensuing year, by the Council of Georgetown, National Intelligencer, January 7, 1824; Col. John Cox re-elected for one year, National Intelligencer, January 5, 1825: Col. John Cox re-elected without opposition, mayor of Georgetown, National Intelligencer, January 6, 1830; John Cox re-elected mayor, 344 votes to 54, vs. John Marbury, National Intelligencer, March 2, 1831)

John Cox died December 14, 1849.


Burials recorded in William King Mortality Journal:

John Cox‘s child                                     9/8       1807

John Cox‘s child                                     3/18       1807

Mrs. John Cox                                       9/12        1807

John Cox‘s child                                  10/27       1821

John Cox’s wife                                      2/6         1847

Col. John Cox                                       12/16       1849


John Cox‘s Frank                                7/27          1805

John Cox‘s colored child                  12/22         1808

John Cox‘s colored child                   8/5            1830

John Cox‘s colored child                   7/26          1831

John Cox‘s Harry                               12/8            1831







 Carlton Fletcher

 The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.

All rights reserved.


 Questions and corrections may be directed to


The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.