Mike was born about 1868 in Tennessee, probably Nashville (his family's place of residence). He was the son of Irish immigrants Mary and Michael Dyer. In 1870, Mike's father committed suicide. His mother remarried John Cox in 1871, but was widowed in 1878.
In 1884, Mike and his friends Patrick Kane and David Hanley (or Harley) ran away from home. Mike stole $40 from his mother's grocery store and got on a train in Nashville. They stopped at Louisville, Kentucky to buy revolvers, and then got off the train in Cincinnati, Ohio. They wanted to go West. They had been reading about Jesse James and Buffalo Bill, and wanted to scalp Indians and experience the Wild West. But they were hungry and broke, so they tried to sell their guns, and were arrested. Telegraphs were sent to their families.
Daily American (Nashville, TN), 17 April 1884, page 4
The "Bound for the Plains" article, which was published in the 17 April 1884 issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer,was reprinted in the Nashville newspaper Daily American, 18 April 1884.
Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 April 1884, page 4
In May 1888, Mike was charged with assault with intent to kill.
Daily American (Nashville, TN), 8 May 1888, page 4
In February 1892, Mike shot at William Dunn, who was engaged in a fight with Dave Farrell, and one of the bullets hit Dunn's thigh. Mike's half-brother Tom Cox then whipped out a knife and cut Dunn's neck.
Daily American (Nashville. TN), 27 February 1892, page 3
Shortly afterward, Mike appeared in City Court on the charges of assault with and carrying a pistol and shooting in corporate limits.
Daily American (Nashville, TN), 1 March 1892, page 3
In 1893, Mike was charged with carrying weapons.
Daily American (Nashville, TN), 6 September 1893, page 4
In September 1894, Mike was arrested for gaming and was fined $10.
Nashville Daily American, 11 September 1894, page 6
On December 12, 1895, Mike and Charles Neyman got into a fight. Charles, who claimed that Mike started the fight, hit Mike on the head with a hammer. Mike's skull was fractured, and several pieces of bone had to be removed. It was reported that he would recover.
Nashville American, 14 December 1895, page 6
However, on 24 December 1895, Mike died at his mother's home.
Nashville American, 25 December 1895, page 5
Two days after Mike's death notice was published, an item appeared in the newspaper which provided more information. Mike died of "congestion of brain." He must have died as a result of the blow on his head. I wonder if Charles Neylan was charged with murder. He should have been.
Nashville American, 27 December 1895, page 5
Mike's half-brother William Cox died on 2 March 1896. When William was buried, Mike's body was removed from a vault and buried at the same time.
Nashville American, 3 March 1896, page 4