Samuel Fox was a cavalryman and a veteran of a small war in Mexico and a very big war in France.
Fox, who managed Rodgers Jewelry Store on North Main Street and later his own store, died in Florida in 1970, but he left a legacy of military history to his son, Robert, also an Army veteran.
Robert, long-retired, said his father was born in New York City to Austrian immigrants Abraham and Bertha Fuchs. Later, his last name was changed to Fox.
He was living in Columbus when he joined the Army in 1915.
“He loved horses and was always a cavalryman,” Robert said.
Samuel was in the National Guard in Columbus when he was called up to join in the chase of Mexican warlord Pancho Villa.
Villa had more than a dozen American citizens murdered in a night-time raid on Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916.
While a force led by Gen. John J. Pershing chased Villa’s forces to no avail, Pvt. Fox, or Fuchs as he was then known, rode the border on the lookout for Mexican bandits.
“My father said it was his favorite war. He was in the saddle, never saw combat and was paid every month,” Robert said.
That changed when Pvt. Fuchs left for the battlefields of France in October 1917 to join the 42nd “Rainbow” Division.
Robert said his father participated in the battle of Champagne-Marne, St. Mihiel and the heavy fighting in the Argonne Forest. In one of those battles, he was subjected to a poison gas attack by the Germans.
Robert said his father was captured by the Germans on July 15, 1918. He was one of 112 men from the 42nd Division who were prisoners of war.
“That was one thing my father would never talk about except to say that he was not badly treated during his time as a prisoner,” Robert said.
Samuel’s parents knew only that he was missing in action.
He was released in December 1918, nearly one month after the war had ended. He finally got home in March 1919 and was honorably discharged that same year.
Not long after the war, Samuel’s father changed the family name from Fuchs to Fox.
Robert said his father joined Rodgers Jewelry in Columbus and later moved to Mansfield with his wife, Effie, to manage the Rodgers Jewelry Store on North Main Street. His son, Robert, was one of his employees.
Samuel Fox was very active in veterans organizations and once served as a commander of American Legion Post 16. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the 40 et 8 and a member of the board of directors of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building on Park Avenue West for many years.