When several members of the same family pursue their education at North Greenville, that’s news. When it becomes a family tradition, that’s great news.
Thelma Nicoll Cox attend North Greenville Baptist Academy and graduated in 1927. She grew up at the intersection of Highway 414 and Campbell Mill Road. She remembers very well how she and her brothers and sisters would rise around day-break each morning to begin preparing for their horse and buggy journey to North Greenville. Each day, upon their arrival, they would tie their horse and buggy to a hitching post where it would remain until their dismissal from classes and lunch. She had two sisters and one brother who attended the Academy with her.
Mrs. Cox recalls several teachers with fondness: Vassar Graham who was her math teach; Harlee Cooper who was her history teacher; and H. D. Bruce who taught Latin. She also spoke of H.C. Hester, who was the Headmaster during this time.
During her last year at the Academy, Mrs. Cox lived on campus. Being the youngest child, all of her brothers and her sister who attended, had graduated. She worked in the dining hall washing dishes to supplement her tuition costs, and recalls the kindness of Essie Taylor, who was in charge of the dining hall. During the time that she and her brothers and sister attended, her family provided produce to help pay for their tuition. She reminisced about Sunday night dating time and holding church in chapel.
The following was written of Thelma Nicoll in the 1927 yearbook from North Greenville Baptist Academy.
“If you make this life worthwhile, wear rainbow colors and a cheerful smile.”
Thelma is one of the charter members of our class and when her name is spoken, the following saying is immediately brought to our minds. “You can do it if anyone else can, go ahead.” She carries her enthusiasm into everything that she does and has never failed to respond to duty’s call. Her sincerity and loyalty as a friend, her ready smile, and sympathy for all, and her high regard for principle and honor have won the love and respect of all who know her.
Benjamin Perry Robertson, an uncle of Mrs. Cox’s is listed in an article from Town and Country Review – London 1935 as a leader in the founding of North Greenville Baptist Academy. He also led in the founding of Limestone College in Gaffney, SC, Columbia College in Lake City, Fla., and also in the founding of one seminary, Baptist Bible Institute, New Orleans, LA.
Upon her graduation, Thelma married J.C. Cox and had six children: J. C. Jr., Clavin, Callie, Leila, John, and Landrum. She and her husband raised their family just off of Highway 11 in a beautiful home built in the late 1800s.
Mrs. Cox’s son, Calvin, attended North Greenville, and graduated in 1958. His wife, Martha Crenshaw Cox, attended North Greenville and graduated in 1957. They make their home in Travelers Rest. Calvin is the president of Poinsett Plumbing Supply, Inc. He also has taken an interest in horticulture and has a nursery business.
Her daughter, Leila M. Cox, attended North Greenville and graduated in 1956. Until recently, Leila was secretary to the President of the Foreign Mission Board. She is now working for Smyth & Helwys Publishing Company in Macon, GA.
Mrs. Cox’s granddaughter, Regina Anderson Ray, attended North Greenville. Regina and her husband, David Andrew Ray, are alumni of the Class of 1984. They live on the campus of NGC. Andy is an admissions counselor for the college. They are the proud parents of a one-year old daughter, Elizabeth.
I am sure that Mrs. Cox would agree with me in saying, “Elizabeth, it[s up to you to keep the tradition alive.”
Article published in the April 1994 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.