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Willoughby George Fox

Willoughby George FoxGreat great grandad Willoughby Fox is the really interesting one in this branch of the family. He was born in Co. Tyrone, Ireland in 1826 the son of Rev John James Fox. At the age of 19 he joined the 'father' of the British Police, The Irish Constabulary, rising from Officer Cadet, through the ranks to become a 2nd class Sub-Inspector in 1850. After training in Dublin he was promoted to 3rd class Sub-Inspector serving in Blessington, Carrick-on-Shannon, Ballina and completing his service in Kildare.

Ireland was going through troubled times during this period with high unemployment and starvation due to the potato famine. It was reported to a local newspaper that Sup-Inspector Fox had dealt with a number of starvation deaths and been in charge of a number of police officers escorting a Tax collector who had subsequently been attacked by a rioting mob. Sub-Inspector Fox's career in the Irish Constabulary was not without a couple of unfavourable records. In 1848 he was admonished for gross extravagance and spending far too much money travelling "in style" in a carriage whilst on duty.

In the mid 1850's police officers in 'established' forces who were looking to advance their career were given a great advantage with the creation of a number of county police forces in Great Britain. In 1856 he applied for the position of the first Chief Constable of Derbyshire and obtained the position. He had by this time married Eliza-Anne, the daughter of Captain William John Ottley in 1853 and had a daughter. Great grandad Ernest Fox was born in 1858 in Belper, Derbyshire.

The new constabulary was to have a total of 156 officers and Willoughby was responsible for recruiting them. They wore a uniform of a similar colour to the Irish and were known as 'Gentlemen in Rifle Green'. One of the first officers to be recruited was 21 year old Sergeant Barry Fox, Willoughby's brother, and a number of other officers were recruited from the Irish Constabulary, usually being quickly promoted to the higher ranks. At least 50 of the 156 officers recruited in 1857 had resigned within a year.

In 1867 he dismissed a James Connor and he and his family had subsequently fallen on very hard times for which he blamed Willoughby so that in March 1868 as Mr Fox walked home one night, Connor approached and fired a gun at him at point blank range. The spray of shot from the pistol only wounded Mr Fox slightly in his hand and leg but Connor was arrested and charged with attempted murder. At his trial he was found guilty of the lesser charge of grevious bodily harm as it was said that if he had intended to kill Mr Fox he would not have aimed so low.

Willoughby retired from the force in 1873 which had become accepted by the locals and had grown to over 200 officers. Great great grandad Willoughby Fox died in 1885. Some research has been done into the ancestors of Willoughby as follows:

Willoughby George Fox: B 1826 D 1885Eliza Ann Jane Ottley B 1826 D1871
Rev John James Fox: B 1792 D ?Harriet Louisa Beresford: B 1800 D ?
Colonel Richard Fox: B 1760 D ?Lady Anne Maxwell: B 1761 D 1801
Francis Fox: B 1727 D 1779Mary Edgeworth: B ? D ?
Charles Fox: B ? D 1746Jane West: B ? D ?
Charles Fox: B ? D 1747Miss Whitney
Charles Fox: B 1636 D 1726Elizabeth ? B ? D ?
Patrick Fox: B 1614 D ?Hon Barbara Plunkett B ? D ?
Sir Nathaniel Fox: B ? D 1634Elizabeth Hussey: B ? D ?
Sir Patrick Fox: B 1550 D 1618Janet Newman: B ? D ?

Created on May 1st, 2015