Jacob D. Cox - Facts

October 27, 1828 - August 4, 1900

Key facts about Jacob D. Cox, a nineteenth century American political and military leader who served as a brigadier general in the U.S. volunteer army during the American Civil War.

Portrait of Jacob Cox

After attaining the rank of major general in the volunteer army during the Civil War, Jacob Cox served as Ohio’s governor from 1866 to 1868 and opposed granting African Americans the right to vote. [Wikimedia Commons]

Full Name:

  • Jacob Dolson Cox

Birth Date:

  • October 27, 1828

Birth Location:

  • Montreal, Canada


  • Jacob Dolson and Thedia Redelia (Kenyon) Cox


  • Oberlin College (1850)


  • Educator
  • Lawyer

Career Summary:

  • Major General (USVA)
  • Governor of Ohio
  • U.S. Congressman
  • U.S. Secretary of the Interior
  • President of the University of Cincinnati


  • Helen Clarissa Finney

Place of Death:

  • Gloucester, Massachusetts

Date of Death:

  • August 4, 1900

Place of Burial:

  • Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati


  • Jacob Cox was born in Montreal, Canada, where his parents were living temporarily, on January 8, 1866.
  • Jacob Cox spent his youth in New York City.
  • At age 14, Jacob Cox worked as a clerk in a New York law office.
  • At age 16 Jacob Cox learned bookkeeping working at a New York brokerage firm.
  • Jacob Cox attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio where he graduated in 1850.
  • Jacob Cox married widow Helen Clarissa Finney at Oberlin, Ohio in 1849.
  • Jacob Cox served as superintendent of the Warren, Ohio school system.
  • Jacob Cox was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1853.
  • Jacob Cox helped organize the Ohio Republican Party in 1855.
  • Jacob Cox was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859.
  • Jacob Cox accepted a commission a brigadier general in the Ohio Militia in 1860.
  • When the Civil War began, Jacob Cox commanded Camp Jackson, in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Jacob Cox commanded the Kanawha Brigade of the Department of the Ohio in 1861-1862.
  • Jacob Cox fought in the Kanawha Valley Campaign in western Virginia under Major General George B. McClellan.
  • Jacob Cox fought at the Battle of South Mountain (September 14, 1862) and at the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862).
  • President Abraham Lincoln nominated Jacob Cox for promotion to major general in 1862, but Congress rejected the nomination because the Union Army had too many major generals.
  • For most of 1863, Jacob Cox commanded the District of Ohio, and later the District of Michigan, in the Department of the Ohio
  • During the Atlanta, Franklin-Nashville, and Carolinas campaigns of 1864–65, Jacob Cox commanded the 3rd Division of the 23rd Corps of the Army of the Ohio.
  • Jacob Cox saved the center of the Union battle line at the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee (November 30, 1864).
  • Jacob Cox was promoted to major general of volunteers on December 7, 1864.
  • Jacob Cox was elected as the 28th governor of Ohio in November 1865, while still serving in the army.
  • Jacob Cox mustered out of the army on January 1, 1866.
  • Jacob Cox served as Ohio’s governor from 1866 to 1868.
  • As governor of Ohio, Jacob Cox opposed giving African Americans the right to vote.
  • Having lost the confidence of the Ohio Republican Party, Jacob Cox declined to be re-nominated for governor of Ohio in the election of 1867.
  • Jacob Cox moved to Cincinnati in 1868 and practiced law.
  • Jacob Cox served as Secretary of the Interior in the Grant administration from March 1869 to November 1870.
  • Jacob Cox resigned as Secretary of the Interior in November 1870 because of differences with President Grant over patronage and civil service reform, which Cox advocated.
  • Jacob Cox joined the Liberal Republican Party in 1872.
  • Jacob Cox served as president of the Toledo and Wabash Railroad from 1873 to 1878.
  • Jacob Cox was elected as a reform Republican to the United States House of Representatives from Toledo in 1876.
  • Jacob Cox served as a trustee of Oberlin College from 1876 until 1900.
  • Jacob Cox served a one term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1877 to 1879 and declined to be re-nominated.
  • Jacob Cox served as Dean of the Cincinnati Law School from 1881 to 1897.
  • Jacob Cox served as President of the University of Cincinnati from 1885 to 1889.
  • In 1897, Jacob Cox declined an offer from President William McKinley to serve as U.S. minister to Spain.
  • During his later years, Jacob Cox authored numerous works about his experiences in the Civil War.
  • Jacob Cox died while on summer vacation at Gloucester, Massachusetts on August 4, 1900.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title Jacob D. Cox - Facts
  • Date October 27, 1828 - August 4, 1900
  • Author
  • Keywords jacob cox, american civil war, kanawha division, ohio governor, cincinnati law school, university of cincinnati
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 12, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024