On March 2, in 1907, West Goshen Police Chief Edwin Draper Fox was born in Easttown Township. He was the youngest of six children born to Hilburn and Marietta (Manley) Fox. His father worked on various farms in Delaware and Chester counties.
Edwin Fox attended West Chester High School where he starred in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He was due to graduate in 1926 but left school after the 1925 death of his father. Fox played semi-professional football for the Chester County Monarchs, a local independent team. At the time, he was considered one of the best centers ever developed from West Chester High School.
On 2 January 1941, Edwin Fox was appointed as the Chief of Police in West Goshen Township without any prior police experience. He had run a tire store on East Gay Street for many years. Fox was selected due to his physical attributes (tall & muscular), popularity in the community, and stable home life. Fox was married to the former Ethel Andress and they had one child, Edwin Jr. It was also helpful that the Fox family lived near the West Goshen Consolidated School on Paoli Pike because the number one priority at that time was to keep this school zone safe for about 400 children.
The Township supervisors requested to re-appoint Fox and raise his salary in 1944 because he was “one hundred percent efficient as a police officer.” Although Fox was the Chief, he was also the only West Goshen officer. He worked 14-hour days, was on call 24/7, and handled about 100 calls a month. They raised his salary from $1,800 to $2,000 per year.
Early in the summer of 1951, Fox was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had surgery. A former Pennsylvania state trooper named Amos Hess was hired to fill in for Fox over the summer. Fox returned to work, but was hospitalized again in late August. He died at the age of 44 on the 1st of September.
Chief Edwin Fox was remembered fondly by the community he served for over a decade. He “performed his duties conscientiously” and “had at heart the best interests of his neighbors and all those who came under his jurisdiction as an officer of the law.” Fox worked “in harmony” with the West Chester Police Department and they considered him an unofficial member of their police department.
An interesting discovery was made while researching the life of Chief Edwin Fox. His sister Marian married a man named William Behrndt in 1920. That name should sound familiar as we employ his great-grandson and namesake. Our William Behrndt is a hardworking young man with a great sense of humor. We think his great uncle would be proud. We know we are!
The West Goshen Police Department thanks Chief Edwin Fox and his great-nephew, Officer William Behrndt for their service to our community.
We would also like to thank the Chester County History Center located at 225 North High Street. Many facts regarding West Goshen history are learned by visiting them. Check them out sometime!