Fox was born in Falmouth, Cornwall, England in 1763, and completed the apprenticeship at the Royal Dockyard, Plymouth, where he later served as a shipwright. In 1793 he traveled to the United States to survey timber resources and was there engaged to teach drafting to the sons of Jonathan Penrose, an American shipwright.
In 1794 he was employed by the US Navy as a draftsman working under Naval Constructor Joshua Humphreys, the designer of the first Navy frigates. Fox and Humphreys disagreed over design issues, the former believing that the designs were too long and had too sharp a bow, among other problems. This disagreement caused significant animosity between the two, with arguments over credit for the design continuing in the press as late as 1827.
In 1798, Fox was appointed Master Constructor of the frigate Chesapeake, 38, which was to be built in Norfolk. Fox apparently altered Humphreys’ design to his own liking, though this may have been partially the result of a timber shortage. The Chesapeake turned out to be less impressive a sailer than the other early frigates, had a reputation as an unlucky ship, and was captured by HMS Shannon in 1813.
In the first years of the 19th century, Fox was responsible for fitting out some of the gunboats that were the Republican Jefferson Administration’s unsuccessful attempt at creating a “Naval Militia.”
Fox, a Quaker, married Anne Miller of Philadelphia and had 10 children. He had been disowned from his Quaker Meeting for his involvement in the construction of warships, but was reinstated after the War of 1812. In 1814, Fox and his family settled in Colerain, Belmont County, Ohio, which is located in eastern Ohio & where he is buried.
Josiah Fox and two of his sons visited Cornwall in September 1833, to take possession of the property of his deceased brother, John. On Sunday 8th September, he met one of his relations, Barclay Fox, who recorded the meeting enthusiastically in his journal. On the next day, they met by chance at Falmouth Docks, which Josiah and his sons were inspecting .
BEEN THROUGH THE MILL UNLUCKY FRIGATE TURNED FLOUR MILL MAY HAVE HAPPY SAILING AS A MUSEUM.(CHESAPEAKE CLIPPER)
Sep 10, 1999; Byline: ALAN FLANDERS, CORRESPONDENT ONE OF THE ``unluckiest'' ships in the history of the U.S. Navy has to be one of its first...
SHIP WENT THROUGH THE MILL, BECAME IT UNLUCKY FRIGATE- TURNED-FLOUR MILL MAY HAVE HAPPY ENDING AT LAST.(VIRGINIA BEACH BEACON)
Sep 17, 1999; Byline: ALAN FLANDERS, CORRESPONDENT One of the ``unluckiest'' ships in the history of the U.S. Navy has to be oneof its first...