Obituary from the Colleton, SC Democrat
Col. I.I. Fox – From the Colleton, S.C. Democrat of April 26, 1878
It is our melancholy duty to record the death of Col. I.I. Fox which took place at his residence in Walterboro at 7:30 o’clock A.M. on Friday the 19th.
He had just attained the age of 37 years, April 5 having been his last birthday. Col. Fox was but 20 years of age when the late war commenced. He entered the company of his brother, Captain R.P. Fox as orderly sergeant. This company was attached to Col. Black’s regiment and was ordered to Virginia, in June 1862. There the regiment was attached to Hampton’s division. Col. Fox remained in Virginia until March 1864, actively participating in the dangers and vicissitudes of those world famed campaigns. At the battle of Brandy station he was promoted to the lieutenancy of his company. There are few who in the counties of Colleton, Charleston and Beaufort, do not remember their conditions when in March, 1864 Col. Fox was ordered to organize in them a company of Scouts, and in his discretion protect property and maintain peace. He arrived in time to bring order out of chaos. His name soon became a tower of strength to friends – a terror to enemies. His old comrades in arms will recall his indomitable energy, his tireless activity, his sleepless vigilance, his courageous dash, his high sense of duty, his fervent patriotism, nor will they ever forget his winning pleasantries at the camp fire; his genial smile, the honest grasp of the hand, nor the burning words of encouragement when the evil days came with gloom and a Lost Cause.
After the war, Lieutenant Fox returned to his farm to long deserted and here again exemplified those traits of industry, energy and perseverance for which he had already established a high reputation.
In 1868 he entered the South Carolina University where he remained until 1870 when he returned to his native county, studied law and immediately entered upon a successful practice.
Col. Fox about the same time began to bestir himself in the cause of good government. He it was who inspired soul into the Democracy of Colleton when despondency had settled upon the hearts of her citizens.
He it was, who by his untiring personal efforts in the evil days, kept alive the fires of patriotism. No defeat could discourage him. It needed but his call to assemble the steady yeomanry of the county- but his voice to unite them. His leadership was the result of absolute confidence.
The campaign of 1878 found him the chairman of the Democratic party of Colleton. It was here that our close intimacy with him began, as member and secretary of his executive committee. In the times that tried men’s souls, we recognize in him the inspiration of the hour. They were loath to organize under what appeared to be the certainty of defeat. Fox was equal to the occasion. He breathed into the organization the breath of life. He reassured the strong, encouraged the timid, he animated all. It is difficult to form a just estimate of Col. Fox as a public man. Had he been blessed with health and years probability does not bound the eminence to which he may have attained. As a lawyer, his reputation had long since gone beyond the confines of his native county. He was possessed of a quick, vivacious intellect, a fertility of resources that rarely failed him. His was a suggestive, penetrative, studious mind.
I was the month of July 1877, that Col. Fox who at that time appeared to be in the full vigor of health was conversing with some gentlemen at the window of the auditor’s office near the court house – he had but recently been appointed auditor – complained that when he raised his arm he felt a sharp pain in his side. This was the beginning of the end. When some days after physicians were called in his liver was found to be affected. His spleen soon sympathized and then his lungs. Getting gradually worse, his physicians advised a trip to Florida. In October he went to Titusville, Florida. From this place unfavorable accounts of his condition from time to time reached home. His family and friends determined that he had best return. In January 1878, he re-entered his residence in Walterboro, from which he, a corpse was borne with military honors on April 21, and in the presence of sorrowing friends was buried in Walterboro Cemetary. While upon his death bed he had been elected Col. Of the Second Regiment of the South Carolina Volunteers, State Troops.
We believe that Colleton County will lament the death of Col. Fox, as she never before did one of her public citizens. For here was a man in the full tide of the public usefulness, with the future rosy with hopes and full of promise, of unbounded hospitality, endeared to all by bonds of association; of friendship by the winning majesty of his influence – blighted and cut down, while his family shed the tears of bitter sorrow, and his friends lament the inscrutable decree of the All-wise Providence. His fellow citizens will weave chaplets to his memory. They will ever cherish his name and his fair fame and in their hearts burn the sweet incense of affection. Fox still lives in the hearts of his countrymen.