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Fayette County, Alabama

~ The Maddox Family ~

Many local people living in this area today are descendants of William W[iley] MADDOX who was born February 14, 1833 in South Carolina.  William was brought to Alabama as a child by his parents, Wiley MADDOX and Wiley's wife who was a POLLARD prior to their marriage, according to family tradition.  The MADDOX family settled in the western part of Fayette County on land which is now part of Lamar County.  Wiley MADDOX was a farmer and William, too, became a farmer.  As a young man William was granted government land upon which he established his farm.

Around 1857 William married a young woman who's [sic] given name was Mary Elizabeth.  Mary was either a WEBB or a NEWELL.  Different sources of information list her by both of these names.  It is known that Mary's mother was married twice, once to a NEWELL, and once to a WEBB.  There were children by both marriages.  Mary was born September 14, 1833 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.  Among her brothers and sisters were: Rachel, who married Edwin BARNES; Emeline, who married S.A. HANKINS; a sister who married Alex PERKINS; and a brother, Jacob WEBB.

After William and Mary's marriage, things seemed to be good.  The land was good and produced fine crops.  Two fine healthy babies were born within the first three years of the couple's marriage.  Then darkness settled upon the young MADDOX family, as well as over the rest of the South.  The Civil War had begun and William left to fight.  He was among the first men from Fayette County to enlist having done so on October 25, 1861.

William served as a Private in Company D of the 26th Alabama Infantry Regiment [CSA].  He fought in many battles, including Gettysburg.  He was wounded twice during the war.  His name appears on a list of patients at the Chimborazo Hospital - Number 2 in Richmond, Virginia.  This record, dated July 1862, says that he had a flesh gunshot wound.  He was furloughed on July 13 for a period of 40 days.

During his time of furlough, William received payment from the Confederate States Army in place of his rations.  This payment was for $16.50 which was 33 cents per day for 50 days from July 11 to August 31.  While on furlough, William returned home where he saw his third child who was born five months after William left home to fight.  William did not recover from his wounds well enough to return to duty at the end of his furlough period.  He did return a few days after his furlough had expired, taking with him a statement regarding his health signed by a local doctor and Fayette County's Probate judge.  He was allowed to return to duty and a few days later he again was admitted to a military hospital.  He again recovered and was later discharged from the Army.

After the war, William returned home to his family and farm.  During the next few years, seven more children would be born to William and Mary, thus making a total of five boys and five girls.  William and his family attended the Missionary Baptist Church.  He, like most other Southern men, was a Democrat.  His farm continued to grow and William became a prominent well to do resident of the newly formed county of Lamar.

On January 5, 1890, William mounted his horse for a short journey.  Instead, his journey became a trip to eternity.  William died at the age of near 57 years from injuries he received when he was thrown from his horse.  He was buried near his farm at the cemetery at Union Chapel Baptist Church.

After William's death, Mary remained on the farm and with the help of relatives and neighbors, raised the remainder of her family.  Several of the older children were married prior to William's death.  In 1899, Mary filed an application to draw a pension as being the widow of a Civil War soldier.  This application, which was granted August 9, 1899, stated that Mary owned a home and 40 acres of land valued at $200.00.  Her other assets included a horse, two cows, seven other animals, a gun and a watch or clock.  These items, plus her furniture, were valued at a little over $100.00.

(Continued next week)

Mary Elizabeth MADDOX, the widow of William W. MADDOX, lived on their farm until her death on August 11, 1915.  She was buried at Union Chapel beside William.  Several of William and Mary's children, grandchildren and other relatives are also buried there.

Among the various records pertaining to the MADDOX family, I find the following to be the most unusual.  The record was dated October, 1874 and was among the records of Blooming Grove Church which is located near Crossville.  In part it reads "Charges perfered [sic] against W.W. MADDOX, Mary MADDOX (and four other people) for denying the faith by joining the Freewills.  On motion all of the said members were excluded."

William and Mary's family of 10 children were born from 1858 until in the mid 1880's.

Of these children, the oldest was James C. MADDOX, who was born in 1858 and died in 1920.  James married Sarah Frank HANKINS, who was named for her father, Frank HANKINS, who died in the Civil War.  James and Sarah settled several miles north of the old MADDOX farm where he established his own prosperous farm.  He built a large water mill on his farm which produced the power needed to run his saw mill and cotton gin.  Among James's children were sons Walter and John.  On August 15, 1915 these two brothers established the Maddox Motor Company in Sulligent.  Today, 66 years later, this business is still in operation.

William and Mary's second child was Nancy Caroline MADDOX.  According to dates on her tombstone, she was born November 15, 1858 and died October 5, 1938.  According to the 1860 census she was actually younger than that since she is listed as being three-twelfths of a year old.  Nancy married Samuel Coger HARRISON (1858-1909).  They raised a family of seven children.  Among their children were: Julia HARRISON (1892-1976), who married William Franklin McCLUNG; Robert, who married Alice BUTLER; and Rennie, who married Mattie FOWLER.  These three remained in this area.  The other four left here and moved to Oklahoma where three settled, and the other moved on the California.  These four were: Jimmy, who married Virgie ROBERTSON; Thomas, who was a doctor; Dan, who married a Miss JENKINS; and Minnie, who married Henry THOMAS.

The third MADDOX child was William Isaac who was born in 1862.  He and his family will be discussed in next week's column.  [See below.]

The fourth child of William and Mary's was Pinkney Levi MADDOX, who was born in the mid 1860s.

The fifth child was Rachel E. MADDOX, who was born October 19, 1867.  She married James William COLLINS (1869-1945) of the Crossville area.  Rachel died in 1951 at the age of 83.

The sixth child was Dr. Stephen Edward MADDOX, who was born around 1870.  Stephen's first wife was Mattie HOL:LIS who died at a young age.  Dr. MADDOX's second wife was Maggie POWELL from the Bluff area.  There were children from both marriages.  Dr. MADDOX was a well known local doctor.  He established his practice in Carbon Hill and later moved it to Bluff.  Later he returned to Carbon Hill, where he remained until his death.

William and Mary's seventh child was Julia Ann MADDOX who was born on April 15, 1875.  She died June 1, 1955.  Julia married John T. WOODS from the Liberty Community in Lamar County.

The eighth child was Mary Jane MADDOX who was born January 25, 1879 [sic; should be 1873].  She married William J. JONES.

The ninth child was John Thomas MADDOX.  He married May 29, 1921 to Gaila Frances SEAY, who was the daughter of Dr. Mark SEAY and his wife Frances JONES.  John Thomas served as Probate Judge of Lamar County for several years.

William and Mary's 10th and last child was Elizabeth "Bettie" MADDOX.  She married David R. ROBERTSON from the Blooming Grove Community.

Today many of the descendants of William and Mary MADDOX live in Fayette and surrounding counties.  They have contributed much to the growth of our county.

William Isaac MADDOX was the third child of the family of 10 children of William W. and Mary Elizabeth MADDOX.  William Isaac was born in Fayette County on November 29, 1862, a few months after his father had marched off to serve the Southern Cause.  Perhaps his birth during this time of great troubles and woes marked his fate.

Talks with several of Isaac's descendants seemed to sum up this man, who was a member of one of the county's earliest and most prominent families.  Isaac apparently believed in living life to the fullest expectations and therefore is remembered by his descendants as being a free-spirited, rowdy man who would fight for his beliefs.  They remember hearing of several tales involving Isaac in fights, brawls and other such incidents.

Isaac was a good man though, for he established a farm where he grew crops to feed his family of seven children.  Isaac took spells of great restlessness and the only cure for this restlessness was to travel and roam around for awhile.  It was in the winter of 1907-08 that Isaac took such a spell.  This time he visited Oklahoma where many of his kin and neighbors had gone to seek their fortune in the oil wells.  He returned home from this trip in very poor health.  His sickness developed into pnewumonia [sic] and a few days later Isaac's restlessness was forever quieted by his death at the age of 45 years.

Isaac was a man born between two great eras of American history.  He was born too late for the excitement of taming the Alabama frontier, chasing off the Indians and battling the Yankees in the Civil War.  He grew uip [sic] hearing all of these tales in a much tamer, calmer and really a boring era.  Therefore, according to all the old stories, related to me by his descendants and other kin, it appears that he made his own frontiers to conquer.

Isaac married around 1880 to Mary Tom HANKINS, who was born on Christmas Eve of 1862 near Crossville.

Isaac and Mary's first child was William MADDOX, who was born May 20, 1882.  He died the following year on September 27.

Rolley Washington MADDOX, the second child, was born October 17, 1884 and died October 30, 1958.  Rolley married Alice Maybell DUBOSE (1886-1975), who was the daughter of Sankler DUBOSE and his wife, Ellen Madora KIRKLEY.  Rolley and Alice's children are Golden G. MADDOX, Bessie MADDOX LAWRENCE, Addie MADDOX BOHANNON, Mittie MADDOX MOORE (deceased), and Choyce, who died at the age of four years.

Isaac and Mary's third son Pleasie Edward MADDOX, was born August 21, 1887 and died August 17, 1953.  His wife was Mattie B. LOFTIS (1890-1969).

The next child was Felix Benton MADDOX who was born February 28, 1890 and died on August 16, 1947.  He and his wife, Lula Myrtle JOHNSON (1891-1965), raised a family of several children, including Leamon MADDOX of the Hell's Creek Community.  Mr. Leamon MADDOX was a big help to me several years ago when I was gathering information on the other MADDOX families.  He remembered many old and interesting stories pertaining to them such as the following story.

The fifth child of Isaac and Mary was Martha E. MADDOX, who was called Mattie.  According to her tombstone, she was born June 18, 1892 and died September 26, 1896 at the age of four years.  Leamon MADDOX said, that Isaac was very strict with his children and that on the day she died Isaac scolded Mattie for eating too much candy.  In hunting for a place to pout, Mattie discovered that five bales of recently ginned cotton were stored on the front porch.  She crawled up into one of these bales and smothered to death.

The sixth MADDOX child was James F. MADDOX who was born October 29, 1894 and died October 15, 1955.  His wife, Hettie ROBERTSON MADDOX died in 1977 at the age of 81 years.  James served in World War I in the Alabama H.S. - Btry. F 81st Field Artillery.

The last of the Isaac MADDOX family was Maggie who married a Mr. MORTON from Millport.  This couple settled in Baldwin County.

Isaac, Mary and all of the children, except Maggie, are buried at Union Chapel near Crossville along with most of the other older MADDOXs and their kin.

Sharlene McGee Stough, "Winding Trails," The Fayette County Broadcaster (newspaper).
Originally published in three weekly installments beginning 07 Jan 1982.
Generously submitted by Betty Unger of Martin, TN, and posted here with the author's permission.

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04 Mar 2008  |  09 Mar 2008