Joseph and George Cox are well known through the Allegheny Mountains as The Lost Children of the Alleghenies. A small memorial is nestled in the dense forest of Spruce Hollow, Pennsylvania. It's a heartbreaking legend handed down through generations.
On April 24, 1856, Samuel Cox went hunting on a foggy morning to get meat for his family's supper. He returned to the little log cabin, he built for his family, empty handed.
Samuel and Susannah had two small sons, Joseph age 5, and George age 6. As they sat down for supper their dog, Sport, starting barking outside. Samuel grabbed his gun and ran outside hoping Sport had cornered a squirrel for their supper.
When Samuel returned home, after about 90 minutes, his wife came screaming out of the house. Their two sons were missing. The fog grew denser through the day, which made finding the boys even more difficult. Samuel screamed and screamed hoping to hear an echo of his boy's voices through the mountain forest. Soon people from all over Blue Knob joined Samuel in his search.
The search went on for days, eventually about 1,000 people joined the search. Some people came from over 50 miles away. That don't sound like a big deal today, but during that time it was very difficult for people to travel that far and join a search party. Yet, the search party couldn't find any clues in the boy's disappearance.
By that time many rumors were circulating through the mountains. Some of the neighbors started to suspect that the parents my have murdered their sons and hid them. They went so far as to tear up the floorboards in their log cabin. Still, there was no sign of the two boys.
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A young farmer by the name of Jacob Dibert had experienced nightmares about the lost boys a couple of nights in a row. He told his wife about these nightmares before he joined his wife's brother in the search.
Jacob dreamt that he was in the search party and got separated. He wondered into another part of the forest and found a dead deer, then he found a boy's shoe. It wasn't too far from where they found the boy's shoe, they found the boys laying in the hollow of a dead fallen Birch tree.
Jacob and his brother-in-law traced the steps of his dream. It didn't take long before they found the bodies of the boys, who died from exposure. They found the boys bodies on May 8, 1856. About two weeks after they vanished.
The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument Was Erected In 1906
The community of Pavia took up a donation to donate The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument to honor the area's Cox family legend.
In 1910 they erected the monument in the exact place Joseph and George Cox was found, over 50 years earlier.
Jacob Dibert and his brother-in-law Harrison Whysong were remembered as heroes. Jacob's dreams became legend.
The day the Cox boy's bodies were found the church bells rang through many communities throughout the Allegheny Mountains. Once the boy's bodies were returned to the Cox home, church and school bells started ringing from Pavia to Bedford to Altoona, announcing the sad news of the boys being found.
Joseph and Georgre Cox, The Lost Children of the Alleghenies, were buried in Mount Union Cemetery.
Alison Krauss read the story of the "Lost Children of the Alleghenies" and found it so inspriing that she made a hit song about it called, "Jabob's Dream". It's such a beautiful dedication to this Pennsylvania legend.
If you'd like to see two closeup photos of the Cox memorial stone go to "Share your photo's of Pennsylvania and Memories"
. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "photo of lost children't memorial". There you'll see two beautiful photo's a visitor to Pennsylvania Mountains of Attractions submitted to share with our visitors, you can read the front and back inscriptions!
There are many legends and many Historic PA Memorials
through the Allegheny Mountains. Read the history and tragic events of different communities.
Directions to the Monument of The Lost Children of the Alleghenies
Get on I-99 heading west toward Bedford
Get off at Exit 10
At the blinking light go straight ahead onto Sarah Furnace Road
Follow Sarah Furnace Road until it terminates (you go straight through at Imler) You will bear Right at the end of Sarah Furnace Road. You are now on Rt. 869.
Follow this road to the first Stop Sign and turn Right onto Burnt House Road (also part of Rt. 869)
Continue STRAIGHT-- past Pavia and turn off to Blue Knob until you see Monument Road. Monument Road is on the Right and there is a sign for the Lost Children.
Continue up this road until you see the sign another sign for the Lost Children and a parking area. You will have to get out and walk the rest of the way.
NOTE: Not a good road to go up in bad weather such as snow or ice. Be aware of the fact that the mountain is hunted during hunting season and you are back in the woods. There are hunter pull offs about a mile or less from the monument parking lot.