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Elijah Leander Cox, Sr.

Magnolia Cemetery
Location: Block 9, Lot 3, Space 3RD FROM S SIDE W ROW
(March 19, 1842- February 8th, 1911)

 Elijah Leander Cox  photo

Elijah Cox was born in Moyock, North Carolina in 1842.  As a teenager, he enrolled in Reyaldson College. He left school at the outbreak of the Civil War, and enlisted in the 68th North Carolina Volunteers, the first unit to be raised in defense of the state.  Cox was steadily promoted, and eventually held the rank of captain. In July of 1863, he was captured and imprisoned at Fort Delaware, where he remained for the rest of the war.

He was released at the end of hostilities and returned home to North Carolina. He chose the vocation of funeral director, and embarked on a 40 year career. In 1886, he relocated his business and family to the Berkeley Ward of Norfolk. For several years, he was the only funeral director servicing this section of the city. Cox was active in his business until just days before his death.

Cox was married to Matilda Wigington. They had seven children. Mrs. C. C. Barclay, Mrs. C.H. Culpepper, Elijah Cox Jr, Robert L. Cox, Mrs. E.C. Savage, W. W. Cox, and Sadie Cox. He is interred with his wife at Magnolia Cemetery, nearby his former home at 126 Walnut Street.

 In anticipation of his eventual death, he erected a 48,000 pound sarcophagus carved out of a block of solid stone, which he described as “a little expensive”. The sarcophagus is 9 feet long, 7 feet wide, and has walls that are 2 feet thick. It was designed by Norfolk mason J. D. Couper. It was hauled to Magnolia Cemetery by the Norfolk Southern Railway. Once on site, it required derricks and dozens of men to put in place. This spectacle attracted large crowds and newspaper coverage.


Virginian Pilot, February 9th, 1911

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: Lancaster Street & Berkley Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23523

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