About Samuel Sullivan "Sunset" Cox
Samuel Sullivan "Sunset" Cox (September 30, 1824, Zanesville, Ohio – September 10, 1889, New York City) was an American Congressman and diplomat. He represented both Ohio and New York in the United States House of Representatives, and also served as United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
Cox was the grandson of New Jersey Congressman James Cox. He was named for his grandfather, Samuel Sullivan, Ohio State Treasurer 1820-1823. He attended Ohio University and Brown University, graduating from Brown in 1846. He practiced law in Zanesville and became the owner and editor of the Statesman, a newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. In 1855, he was secretary of the U.S. legation to Peru.
Cox was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1856, and served three terms representing Ohio's 12th congressional district and one representing the 7th district. After giving an impassioned speech in 1864 denouncing Republicans for allegedly supporting miscegenation (see miscegenation hoax), he was defeated for reelection and moved to New York City, where he resumed law practice. He returned to Congress after winning election in 1868 to New York's 6th congressional district. He served two terms, was defeated by Lyman Tremain in the New York state election, 1872, running for Congress at-large on the state ticket, but was elected to the vacant Congressional seat of the late James Brooks in 1873. Cox was then re-elected six times.
In May 1885, Cox resigned his Congressional seat to accept appointment by President Grover Cleveland as U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, succeeding Lew Wallace. After serving for a year as Ambassador, he ran for Congress yet again, in a special election to fill the term of Joseph Pulitzer, who had resigned his seat; Cox was once again elected and served until his death on September 10, 1889. During his last term, he was chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Cox was a supporter of civil service reform and westward expansion. He was a backer of the Life Saving Service, later merged into the United States Coast Guard. He was also known as the "letter carriers' friend" because of his support for paid benefits and a 40-hour work week for U.S. Post Office employees. In gratitude, postal workers raised $10,000 in 1891 to erect a statue to Cox in Tompkins Square Park in New York.
He was known as an eloquent public speaker. His nickname "Sunset" came from a particularly florid description of a sunset in one speech.
Cox wrote several books including A Buckeye Abroad (1852), Eight years in Congress, from 1857 to 1865 (1865) and Three Decades of Federal Legislation, 1855-1885 (1885).