March 9, 1819 – January 30, 1905
Joel Fox was born in Hadley, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, in 1819. In January 1845 he was married to Miss Sarah Barry of Vermont in Orland, Steuben county, Indiana. They had 4 children. Before the Civil War, Orland was know as an important stop on the underground railway. Family history says that Joel himself was a conductor.
Joel crossed the continent by wagon in 1850 with the gold-seekers, staying in California for four years, when he returned to Indiana. In 1867 he and Sarah moved to Sturgis, Michigan, where he engaged in the merchandise business until 1875. He, at the age of 55, and Sarah, with their children, again came to California and became a partner with Byron Sweetland creating Fox and Sweetland. Along with purchasing property they became the principal merchandising business of Lemoore. They remained partners until 1901 when after 21 years the business was dissolved with Sweetland keeping the business and Fox keeping the ranch. The ranch was a quarter section located at the southeast corner of Bush Street and Lemoore Avenue, across from Moore’s Addition. This became the location of the new Lemoore High School. While the Southern Pacific Railroad company held the rights to the odd-numbered sections about the time the Fox family arrived, they were not allowed to sell any of the sections until the tracks were laid in early 1877. The SPRR withdrew the property from the market, and according to his obituary in the Hanford Weekly Sentinel “in harmony with their ideas of justice”, gave him the property his little home was built on.
Joel was serving on the Tulare county Board of Supervisors in 1893 when Kings county was formed so he was appointed to the Kings county Board of Supervisors, as he was already serving on the Tulare county Board of Supervisors
Joel Fox died at the the age of 85 on January 30, 1905. Sarah died shortly after on April 4, 1905. Each of their services where held from the home of their son Julius Fox. Both Joel and Sarah are buried in the Lemoore Cemetery.