Charles Samuel Lamb Fox
This article was published on 12 Nov 2023 by Paul Herman, digital media archivist, West Pasco Historical Society
Charles Samuel Lamb Fox (usually referred to as Charles L. Fox) was the founder and first publisher and editor of New Port Richey’s newspaper, the Port Richey Press – later named the New Port Richey Press. He lived in a small wood frame house on the northwest corner of Main Street and Adams Street. First published in November of 1918, the Port Richey Press was printed on a hand press by Fox and his son in their home.
The two photos shown on this page are of Charles Fox and his wife Lillia. The date is not known for either picture.
Charles Fox was born on June 1, 1862 in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, England. In 1885 he married Lillia Driver in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. They immediately started a family, having a daughter, Gertrude, in 1886 and son Charles James in 1888. In 1911 the family traveled to New Brunswick, Canada aboard the steamship SS Lake Champlain. They settled in Winnipeg, Canada, and raised their family.
In 1912, their daughter, Gertrude, was married and started her own family – two sons named Gordon and Carl. Charles Fox’s son Charles Jr. remained single while they lived in Winnipeg.
In 1918 it appears that the entire family immigrated to the United States with their destination being Port Richey, Florida. They moved into the small house mentioned above, and Charles Fox was naturalized on May 14, 1919. The 1920 United States census shows Charles S. Fox living in New Port Richey with his wife Lillia, his son Charles J. Fox, and two grandchildren – Gordon and Carl.
We don’t know anything about Charles Fox’s education or occupation before coming to New Port Richey, although it is logical to assume that he was a printer. It seems that he was also an experienced writer and journalist. It did not take long after his arrival in August of 1918 to recognize that the growing city needed a newspaper. A previous publication named the New Port Richey Post had been started in January 1916, but only lasted a few issues. Charles obtained a hand printing press, and with help from his son published the first issue of their Port Richey Press on November 21, 1918. As the circulation rapidly increased, Fox and son began printing with a gasoline powered press (electricity was not yet available in the town).
Yet Charles Fox was more than just a newspaper man. He used the publication to lend support for a growing town by continually putting a positive spin on community events, business acquisitions and new citizens – some of whom were rich and famous. He was well known in his small home town, and often attended public events with his family members. He also used the weekly paper as a vehicle for his serial novels which he published one chapter at a time. He had previously written at least three original stories – titled, “Guilt”, “Faithful” and “Paris”. Beginning in the very early issues of the Port Richey Press, Charles published his work titled, “The Price He Paid”, which ran for months. Then in November of 1919 he began publishing his story “Faithful”, which he described as a “Society Novel”.
In November of 1920, the newspaper was renamed to “New Port Richey Press” – a nod to the growing popularity of the idea of incorporating the town. By 1922, the circulation had reached 1,300 copies per week – with most of the newspapers being mailed to out-of-town residents. Charles Fox apparently had his eye on bigger and better things. In September of 1922, he sold the newspaper to Bill Hetherington of Lakeland, who had earlier owned the Dade City Banner. Hetherington continued publishing the New Port Richey Press, and in the ensuing years ownership passed through several owners.
In 1923, after the newspaper was sold, Charles and Lillia moved away from New Port Richey and went to Miami, where Charles worked as a printer. It appears that the entire family went with them. In 1931 he founded a corporation named “Society Press, Inc.”. We can find no record of this venture, so we’re not sure if the business was ever successful. The company was dissolved in 1936.
Lillia died in Dade County in 1937 after a long illness. And shortly after, in 1939, Charles Fox also died. They are both buried at Woodlawn Park Cemetery in Miami-Dade County, Florida.