The Cox Plantation Annual Hog Killin' Time Barbecue

The Smuteye Grit Paper 1999


2000 Barbecue Group
[Click for expanded photo.]

Hog Killin' celebrates birthday
Southern Hospitality by Elizabeth Via Brown

Major and Margaret Meier de Cox have been hosting a barbecue every November for 10 years, but this year, Saturday's event was even more special because it celebrated Major's 60th birthday, which was Sunday. Instead of presents, Margaret asked for the presence of friends and items for a book of memories she compiled for Major.

There were messages from Gov. Don Siegelman and Rep.Johnny Ford, the former mayor of Tuskegee, as well as from longtime friends. Some brought greeting cards, while other wrote accounts of long-forgotten events shared with Major.

The barbecue is actually a revival of a tradition begun by Major's great-grandfather, who also was named Major. To coincide with the beginning of hog killin' time on the farm in the fall, the first gathering celebrated the birthday of Major's father, Charles.

Major is second oldest in a family of 11 brothers and sisters and it became a family tradition to celebrate birthdays in this manner, but the practice was Margaret & Major serving the feast!discontinued when the family left Smuteye in the 1950s. In the 1980s, after Major and Margaret returned to the Montgomery area, the family refurbished the plantation and the tradition was revived, but some modern touches were added.

The center of attention is still a whole pig roasted all night over an open fire, but the many friends who come are invited to bring salads, bread, chips, dips and desserts to share. The long table set up near the horse pen is heavily laden with some of the best-covered dishes imaginable. As luck would have it, the temperatures dropped sufficiently by Saturday to make the day feel like a hog killin' event of years ago.

Margaret always stirs up her "Fabulous, Four-Alarm, 50-Gallon Chili" in an 80-gallon cast iron syrup kettle set over an open fire. At 2:30 p.m., all present gathered for a group photograph [above] and formal pork procession, as the cookers presented the roasted pork.

This year, Henry Pugh, pianist extraordinaire, came with his keyboard in tow to play during the afternoon. Margaret said they just plugged in an extra long extension cord so he could play in the outdoors.

Wayne Jones, head hog roaster, John Moore and John D. Cox were once again in charge of the all-night roasting. Chick Cleveland was the Fire Master in charge of the wood gatherers. While waiting to eat, children fed apples and peanuts to the goats and horses, while some guests hiked through the woods and others toured the house, which has historic significance to the family.

Although not all of his brothers and sisters could be here for his birthday, Major was delighted to share the occasion with those who could come. Here for the barbecue, as well as a black-tie seated dinner Thursday evening in the Capital City Club, were Charles and Phyllis Cox of Santa Barbara, Calif.; Donald and Jackie Cox, and Ed and Mary Cox Beatty of Cincinnati; and Hobson and Ramona Cox, and Vincent and Johnnie Cox of Montgomery.

Originally Published in the Montgomery Advertiser, 14 November 2000



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Cox Plantation
Annual Hog Killin' Time Barbecue


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