BROCKTON DAILY NEWS (Brockton, Massachusetts, 1958)
Reveal Woman Made Fortune on Stocks
Late Mrs. Julia Cox, once a Shoemaker amassed $400,000 by Financial Moves
A Brockton woman who died four months ago has been revealed as a brilliant financier who parlayed her savings as a stitcher in a local shoe factory into a $400,000 fortune.
She was Mrs. Julia T. Cox, a widow who lived alone in the third-floor apartment of her home at 49 Wilmington street almost until her death at 89 on January 13.
Papers filed with her will at the Registry of Probate, Plymouth, have revealed her huge holdings gained through stock market dealings.
Her story resembles, in a smaller way, the saga of Hetty Green--a financial wizard who compiled a fortune in the millions, but lived modestly.
Julia Cox, too, lived simply and frugally. She had little apparent desire to provide herself with comforts she could well afford.
"I'm just crazy about making money," she once told a friend, "but I don't care for it after I get it."
Her will, which has been allowed, distributed the bulk of her estate among nieces and nephews.
She also allotted $1000 to St. Edward's church, Brockton, in memory of herself and her late husband, James Cox, a shoeworker, union leader and one-time alderman here before his death, 24 years ago.
The story of Mrs. Cox' unusual life has been gleaned from members of her family, friends and those who knew something of her stock market dealings.
She was born in Rockland in 1869, but moved to Brockton with her family. Like so many young girls before the turn of the century, she went to work when she was only 14 or 15.
She was employed many years as a stitcher at local shoe factories, working finally at the former W.L. Douglas Shoe Co.
She and her husband both worked, and they had no children.
In the 1920's, with her savings representing a "small amount" of capital, she made her first investment. She dealt through a Boston brokerage firm, which maintained an office in this city.
Later, when the office was closed, she made daily trips to the Boston office of the firm by train. Day after day, year after year, she left at 7:30 in the morning, and returned shortly before 6 at night.
She had stopped work in the late 1920's, or early 1930's and had made daily trips to Boston even before her husband's death in 1934.
A deeply religious person, she often left early in the morning so that she would have an opportunity for meditation at a chapel in Boston.
During most of her life, she was in good health and was a spry, agile person. Her health began to fail, however, after a fire in her apartment a year ago last December. She attempted at first to extinguish the blaze, and inhaled some smoke.
In the last weeks of her life, she was a patient at a local nursing home.
Her interest in the stock market never waned, however. During the week preceding her death, unable to travel to Boston, she went on three separate occasions to the office of a Brockton stockbroker.
There, she sat for hours--reading the Wall Street Journal and watching the ticker tape. In those surroundings, she was happy.
Why was she so successful in the stock market?
"She was smart in that line," said a member of her family. "She was a smart, capable woman."
"She once told me she was just very lucky," said another family member. "She said she started in small, let it ride--and it piled up."
"She was a shrewd trader with plenty of patience," said a broker. She had ironclad nerve. She was an unusual, even remarkable woman."
The stock market, apparently, was Julia Cox' entire life.
One of her closest friends said it had a "strong fascination for her." A broker said simply that "she lived for the market."
The closest description that could be gained of her technique was that she had a "broad scattering of stocks across the board."
Was she an investor or speculator?
"Anyone with that kind of money has to be a speculator of sorts," replied a broker.
Mrs. William Shonyo, who lived in the same building with Mrs. Cox for 25 years, described her as a kindly, mild and gentle person. Mrs. Cox rarely had visitors, Mrs. Shonyo said, because she was seldom home during the day.
Makes Many Bequests
Mrs. Cox bequeathed $1000 each to three brothers, Joseph Cullinan of Whitman, Michael Cullinan of Assinippi and James Cullinan of South Weymouth.
She left $4000 each to two nephews, Kenneth Bailey of Barnstable and Howard Cullinan of Abington.
She willed $1000 each to two nephews and two nieces, T. Francis Burke of Brighton, Milo Burke of Brockton, Mrs. Veronica Burke English of Brockton and Florence Burke, a member of a religious order.
Other specific bequests included: $2500 to T. Francis Burke of Medway, a grand-nephew; $5000 to Walter Burke of Peacedale, Rhode Island a grandnephew; $1000 to William Burke of Natick, a grandnephew and $3600 each to Mark J. McCann of Roslindale, a
great-grandnephew, and Julia Anne Burke of Natick, a great-grandniece.
Mrs. Cox left the apartment building at 49 Wilmington street, in Montello, to her tenant and friend, Mrs. Shonyo.
The residual estate was divided among the following 12 persons: Michael Cullinan, the brother; Kenneth Bailey, Howard Cullinan, T. Francis Burke, Milo Burke, Veronica English and Florence Burke, nephews and nieces; William Burke, Walter Burke and
Francis Burke, grandnephews, and Mark J. McCann and Julia Ann Burke, great-grandnephew and great-grandniece.
Atty. Walter J. MacDonald of Brockton was named executor of the estate, which consisted of an estimated $390,000 in personal holdings and $10,000 in real estate.