Alberni’s first policeman grew up at Cape Beal

Gus Cox was appointed a regular constable in Alberni in 1892 after spending some time doing special police work.

Gus Cox

Charles Augustus (Gus) Cox grew up at the Cape Beale Lighthouse with three sisters and a younger brother, the children of lightkeeper Emanuel John Cox and Mary Frances Shortt. While all the Coxs were distinguished in some way throughout their lives, Gus Cox made his mark as the first policeman hired in the Alberni Valley.

Cox was born in Curragh County Cork, Ireland, in April 1867 and arrived with his family in Victoria in 1871. The family moved to the Alberni Valley in 1874, and in 1878 they moved to the lighthouse.

Cox was appointed a regular constable in 1892 after spending some time doing special police work. In 1904 he was appointed chief constable for the west coast.

Most of the charges Cox dealt with as a provincial police officer were connected with liquor, although on May 5, 1912 he became involved in the highway post controversy. A post was erected in Alberni proclaiming it the western terminus of Canada. A trio of Port Alberni men, annoyed at the snub that community received, stole the post. Cox was forced to serve the mayor of Port Alberni, Alex Waterhouse, with a summons over the debacle.

The post was returned via livery the next day.

Although Cox retired as a police officer in 1912, it wasn’t the end of his working years. He became the Indian Agent for the west coast, covering the Alberni Valley as well as the coast from Clo-oose to Kyuquot.

Growing up on the West Coast and living near the Ohiaht, Cox learned the native language and had a good understanding of the different way of life Aboriginal People lived. It served him well after he was named Indian Agent, according to an Oct. 2, 1947 article in the West Coast Advocate.

He was commended for representing claims of the West Coast Indians before the Sealing Commission in Victoria in 1913. Cox served as Stipendiary Magistrate from 1915, and retired from his office as Indian Agent in 1923.

A lifelong Conservative and Presbyterian, Cox died in mid-January, 1938. The West Coast Advocate noted in his obituary that at the time of his death, Cox was the oldest white resident of the Alberni District “with one exception” (which was not noted).

•••

Cox Road, which runs from Ian Avenue to Tebo Avenue, is named for Gus Cox, in honour of his work as a police constable. Cox Lake, located beside Franklin River Road was named for the Emanuel Cox family. Although he is perhaps best known for being a lightkeeper at the Cape Beale Lighthouse, Emanuel was the first owner of the property on which the lake is located.

•••

While researching Gus Cox’s exploits as a police constable at the archives, a volunteer pointed out there was another notable Cox who left his mark on Port Alberni in 1912.

Fred Cox and his wife moved to the Alberni Valley in 1912 and operated a dry goods store on Third Avenue until 1928. He eventually retired and moved to Sproat Lake in 1946.

The Fred Coxs eventually returned to Alberni, buying a house on Josephine Street.

 

Susan Quinn is the editor of the Alberni Valley News. Her centennial column will run weekly throughout 2012.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are past: Coulson

The famed Martin Mars air tankers continue to draw interest from potential… Continue reading

Alberni RCMP officers honoured for taking drunk driver off the streets

Constables Brian Kenny, Rob Jackson named to Alexa’s Team

Port Alberni man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road on first day of May long weekend

Alberni hosts Island track and field championship

Secondary schools compete at Bob Dailey Stadium

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Most Read