Edward Maddox’s story published in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy



We’re happy to announce that we’ve published the story of Edward Maddox (d. 1694) in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 7, Number 4.  The article is currently unavailable online, but we’ll link to it as soon as possible.  The article explains in detail the life of Edward, a planter, justice of the peace, wilderness doctor and sometime bounty hunter in the Maryland and Virginia colonies.  The article corrects the record of his life and supplies the best evidence yet for his descendants.

We’re indebted to Barbara Vines Little for her extraordinary effort as editor of the magazine.  Her attention to detail brought the article to life.

Edward Maddox MVG TOC

Edward the wolf hunter

Continuing from our previous posting describing the contents of a collection of Stafford County, Virginia, courthouse papers called “Record Book, 1686-1693/4”, we’ve uncovered a trove of receipts for wolves’ heads taken by Dr. Edward Maddox (d. 1694) in that time period.  The place must have a been a true wilderness – Edward was among dozens of bounty recipients each year. Here’s the running list…

  • Edward was paid for 3 wolf heads, originally collected by Indians, 14 Oct 1688 (p. 118).
  • Edward was paid for 5 wolf heads, 14 Oct 1689 (p. 148).
  • Edward was paid for 1 wolf head, 13 November 1691 (p. 237).
  • Edward was paid for 2 wolf heads, originally collected by an Indian servant, 13 November 1692 (p. 291).

In 1692, the court documented whether the wolves were taken by “Gun” or by “pitt.”  Edward’s were taken by gun.

Source: Record Book, 1686-1693/4, Family History Library microfilm #1445833

1686-1693/4 court proceedings involving Edward Maddox (d. 1694)

A collection of Stafford County, Virginia, courthouse papers called “Record Book, 1686-1693/4” documents numerous transactions involving Dr. Edward Maddox around 1687.  The record book is not indexed, requiring researchers to scan each of the 552 hand-written pages for names and details.  It’s only available in person at FamilySearch research centers.  Here are some summaries of proceedings from pages 1-148:

  • Edward was paid for 3 wolf heads, 14 Oct 1688 (p. 118).
  • Edward was paid for 5 wolf heads, 14 Oct 1689 (p. 148).
  • Edward sued a patient for payment for medical treatment (bloodlettings, cuppings, tinctures, etc.), 15 Mar 1687 (p. 97).
  • Edward sued another patient for payment for medical treatment, 24 Mar 1687 (p. 116).
  • Edward asked the court for prosecution after he paid £200 for the return of a runaway servant, 14 Oct 1688 (p. 118).  He claimed the servant’s disappearance resulted in a ruined tobacco crop.
  • Edward gave a brown cow to William Godfrey, 18 Apr 1689 (p. 131).

Edward’s gift of the cow to Godfrey could help explain a family relationship, but I don’t have any insights into the Maddox-Godfrey relationship yet.

Another researcher has claimed that Edward was paid a bounty on 16 November 1687 for joining the militia’s effort to find some Oneida Indians, and cited the Record Book.  I have so far been unable to confirm this claim.

Source: Record Book, 1686-1693/4, Family History Library microfilm #1445833

Did Benjamin Maddox die in 1811?


In our lengthy assessment of at least five Benjamin Maddoxes living in the Abbeville County and Laurens County areas of South Carolina in circa 1800, we wrote that an 1811 Laurens County deed described Benjamin Maddox — the son of Benjamin Maddox (I) of Maryland — as “dec’d” (deceased).  This assessment was based on a transcription obtained from the Laurens County Court many years ago.

Benjamin Maddox decd or viz 1811 DeedJ p251

A close look at the 1811 deed, including the word long believed to be “dec’d”.

After reading our assessment, fellow family researcher Samantha Nifong kindly retrieved the original deed, which does appear to include the word “dec’d” (deceased) after Benjamin’s name… or is it the word “viz” (legalese for “that is”)?  If anyone can provide an accurate transcription of these few letters, we’d appreciate it.

The description of Benjamin as “dec’d” in 1811 has important implications for the Maddox lineage in South Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Alabama and Georgia.  For example, if he died in 1811, he cannot be identifiable with the Benjamin Maddox who died in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864.  But if he went on to live after 1811, it potentially contradicts our long-held assessment of Benjamin Maddox (II).

Hopefully this won’t become a #thedress phenomenon.

Deciphering some Colonial script



In 1684-1685, our 8th-great grandfather Cornelius Maddox sued our 9th-great grandfather Edward Maddox for one thousand pounds of tobacco in a series of court appearances in Charles County, Maryland (Charles Co., Md. Circuit Court, Liber L, pp. 15; 69; 106-7).  Cornelius is described as a merchant and Edward is described as “chyrurgion” (surgeon) and doctor.  We’ve obtained a full copy of the two-page court document, which we had hoped would provide more evidence that Cornelius was the son of Edward.  Instead, we’re having trouble deciphering a few letters of Colonial-era script that might offer clues to the duo’s identities.

Cornelius Maddox merchant of what 1684

The above excerpt from the second paragraph of the 2-page court record clearly says, “Maddock Merchant of…” what?  The next word seems to begin with the letters a and p, but then becomes a hot mess.  Is it “apples”?  Is it “a plea”?  Is it shorthand for something entirely different?


Revisiting the Benjamin problem


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For over a decade, we have assessed that the Benjamin Maddox called “junior” in Abbeville County and Laurens County, South Carolina, in 1800-1810, is identifiable with our known 3rd-great grandfather, Benjamin Maddox (1776-1855), who died in Crawford County, Illinois.  We have based this assessment on our 3rd-great grandfather’s claim of South Carolina origins in the 1850 census, the presence of a child of our 2nd-great grandfather Joseph’s age in the 1810 census living with Benjamin Mattocks in Laurens County, SC, and the persistence of peripheral family names in census and land records in South Carolina, Kentucky and Illinois (especially the Gaines, Long and Ford families).

But perhaps five – and maybe more – Benjamin Maddoxes appear in Abbeville County and Laurens County, South Carolina, in the years 1790-1811, and distinguishing them has been difficult due to a lack of corroborative records.  Most of the records for the area were destroyed in fires in the 19th century.

A closer look at existing records raises a number of questions about the identities of the known Benjamin Maddoxes appearing in records in Abbeville County and Laurens County in the years 1790-1811.  The following evaluation, including peripheral names in census and land records, offers a clearer differentiation of the Benjamins.  See this document for color-coded names.

Benjamin #1 – “senior”

This Benjamin Maddox (ca. 1735-after 1810) is likely identifiable with the Benjamin Maddox “senior” of Charles County, Maryland, that we have called Benjamin Maddox (II).  After moving from Charles County, MD, to Abbeville, SC, this Benjamin Maddox appears to have remained in Abbeville (and did not live in Laurens County, SC).

1790: The federal census of Abbeville County, SC, p. 468, lists Benjamin Maddox with 2 adult males, 7 males, and 3 females.  He was living near Ignatius Posey, Walter Maddox, Thomas Donaldson, William Stone and John Night.

1800: The federal census of Abbeville County, SC, p. 19, lists Benjamin Maddox and a woman aged 26-45 years of age, with 1 male less than 10 years old and 1 female less than 10 years old.  As in 1790, he was living near William Stone and John Night, as well as James Gaines and John Grey.

1810: The federal census of Abbeville County, SC, lists Benjamin Matox “senior” greater than 45 years old, with a woman older than 45 years, 1 male 26-45 years old, and 1 female less than 10 years old. He was living next to Elizabeth Matox and Janet Maddox, as well as Joseph Rutlege, Thomas Norwood, Benjamin Posey, Susannah Gaines, Richard Stone, William Ware, Henry Gains, and Peter Youngblood.


Why was Benjamin #1 called “senior” in Charles County, Maryland, in Humphrey Posey’s 1784 will?  All proposed sons of Benjamin #1 would have been in their teens at the time.  Was there another Benjamin Maddox in Charles County – perhaps a brother or cousin?  Would this open another ancestral avenue for us?

Benjamin #2 – “junior”

The below Benjamin Maddox is traditionally considered the son of the above Benjamin Maddox.  The below Benjamin Maddox shows up for the first time in 1800 living near Benjamin Maddox #1 in Abbeville, SC, but he moves to Laurens County, SC, in 1808 and remains in Laurens County thereafter.  For decades we have identified him as Benjamin Maddox (III), our 3rd-great grandfather who died in Crawford County, Illinois, in 1855; however, the final record describing him as “dec’d” (deceased) in 1811 requires us to question our assessment.  Other researchers have identified this Benjamin Maddox with a Benjamin Maddox who was born in Maryland in 1770 and died in Atlanta in 1864, but this assessment also requires a new look, given the 1811 record of his death in SC.

1785: The Turkey Creek Baptist Church was established and the original meeting house was erected on Richard “Dicky” Maddox’s land.  Among the members were Martha Ware, Nicholas Ware, Caty Gaines, Henry Gaines, Molly Gaines, Susannah Gaines, Barbara Long, Elizabeth Long, Nicholas Long, Michael Magee, Benjamin Neighbours, and Rev. Joseph Redding (Source: South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805, Leah Townsend, University of South Carolina, 1926, pp.182-192).

1800: The federal census of Abbeville County, SC, p. 22, lists Benjamin Maddox “junior,” including 1 male 45 years or older, 1 male 26-45 years old, 1 male 16-26 years old, 1 male 10-16 years old, 1 female 45 years or older, 1 female 26-45 years old, 1 female 10-16 years old, and 1 slave.  He was living near John Reid Long, William Calhoun, John Calhoun and the Samples.

1805: Thomas Maddox died in Abbeville County, SC.  Thomas’ widow Cloe sold his estate.  Benjamin Maddox “junior” purchased items.  Other purchasers were Thomas Donaldson, Edmund Gaines, Chandler Maddox, Lanty Maddox, and Losson Maddox.

1808: On 9 April, Benjamin Maddox “junior” purchased 165 acres in Laurens District, next to Samuel Neighbors, John South, Thomas Williamson.  The land was along Greenville Road.  William Maddox witnessed the purchase.

1808: On 5 September, Benjamin Maddox “in Abbeville” sold 100 acres in Laurens District on the north side of the Saluda River to Cornelius Cook. The land was next to land owned by Daniel Cook, Cornelius Cook, and Samuel Nabors.  William Williamson witnessed the sale.  (Source: Deed Book J, p. 263)

1810: The federal census of Laurens County, SC, lists Benjamin Mattocks, 26-45 years old, with 3 males less than 10 years old, 1 female 26-45 years old, 1 female 26-45 years old, and 1 female less than 10 years old.  He was living near Daniel Cook, Cornelius Cook, John Grey and John Calhoun.

1810: On 9 November, the estate of John Maddox was sold.  John’s widow Elizabeth was a buyer, along with Benjamin Maddox “junior,” Lawson Maddox, Augustus Maddox and Chandler Maddox.

1811: On 5 January, Samuel Nabors sold 345 acres on the Saluda River in Laurens County, SC, to Thomas Williamson.  The land was next to Benjamin Maddox, John Meres(?), and Cornelius Cook. (Source: Deed Book J, p. 210)

1811: On 29 January, Benjamin Maddox sold 165 acres along the Saluda River in Laurens County, SC, to Patrick Sperrin.  The land abutted land owned by Solomon Niblets, Thomas Williamson, and Samuel Nabors.  William Maddox witnessed.  Elizabeth Maddox released her dower rights (meaning that Elizabeth was his wife). (Source: Deed Book J, p. 194)

1811: Benjamin Maddox was a legatee of Thomas and Janet Donaldson.  Other legatees were James Donaldson, William Donaldson, Thomas Donaldson, and Reuben Donaldson (Source: Joyce Smelley Odom, “Maddox Family,” The Heritage of Abbeville, South Carolina, Don Mill, Inc., 1995, p. 106).

1811: In August, Benjamin Maddox “dec’d” is noted on a land transfer from Patrick Sperin to Arnold.  The land was next to Solomon Niblet and Thomas Williamson.  (Source: Deed Book J, p. 251)


Are we certain that “dec’d” is verbatim on the original August 1811 record?  Could it instead be a note describing Benjamin’s departure from the area?

What happened to Elizabeth Maddox after 1811 if she was widowed?

Is there really no estate administration for the Benjamin Maddox who died in 1811?  Nothing?

Who were the 45+ years old people listed with this Benjamin “junior” on the 1800 census?  Could the older man in the house be another “senior” Benjamin who we haven’t previously considered?

Benjamin #3

Benjamin Maddox #3 (1776-1855) is our 3rd-great grandfather.  We have long maintained that he is the direct descendant of Benjamin Maddox #1.  Benjamin Maddox #3 is proven to be the father of Joseph Maddox, our 2nd-great grandfather, in estate records.  We have normally called him Benjamin Maddox (III).  This Benjamin Maddox #3 could easily be the continuation of Benjamin #2 if Benjamin #2 weren’t reportedly “dec’d” after 1811. 

1776: Benjamin Maddox was born in South Carolina, according to the 1850 censuses of Crawford County, Illinois.

1800: Joseph Maddox was born in South Carolina, according to the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses of Crawford County, Illinois.  His parents were Benjamin and Charlotte Maddox (Source: All of Benjamin’s children are listed in a petition by Hannah Maddox et al, 27 February 1865, Crawford County Court Records, File Box 53, Case 34).

1810: The federal census of Laurens County, SC, lists Benjamin Mattocks, 26-45 years old, with 3 males less than 10 years old, 1 female 26-45 years old, 1 female 26-45 years old, and 1 female less than 10 years old.  Joseph Maddox, the son of Benjamin Maddox, was 10 years old in 1810 and would fit into this census record; however, this Benjamin is identifiable with Benjamin #2, who reportedly died by 1811.  The family was living near Daniel Cook, Cornelius Cook, John Grey and John Calhoun.

1823: Benjamin Maddox purchased 55 acres in Christian County, Kentucky, along the Stone River from Temple West (Source: August 1823, Christian Co, KY, Deed Book P, p. 147).  Benjamin’s son Joseph owned land nearby (Source: March 1837, Christian Co., KY, Deed Book [letter?], pp. 299-300).  A preponderance of the same families that had neighbored Benjamin in South Carolina can be found alongside Benjamin’s name in early Christian County deed books (P&Q), including the Long, Ford, Knight/Night, McKee/Magee, Ware and Grey families.

1837: By 1837, Benjamin and his wife Charlotte moved to Crawford County, Illinois, where they lived near the Ford and Gaines families.  On 25 July 1837 they purchased 40 acres of land for $150 from Washington Brashears in the Montgomery area at “Township Number Six North Range Number Eleven West.”

1855: Benjamin Maddox died in Crawford County, Illinois, and was buried in the Maddox Cemetery near Heathville.

1895: Joseph Maddox’s son John Napoleon Maddox (1872 – 1945) married Frances Gaines (1878 – 1908) in Crawford County, IL.  Frances Gaines was the 2nd-great grandchild of Stephen Gaines (1752-1837), who lived in Laurens County, SC.


How was Benjamin #3 born in SC if we maintain that his father was in Charles County, MD, until 1790?  Should we take his 1850 census record literally?

Benjamin #4

This Benjamin Maddox #4 (1770-1864) could easily be the continuation of Benjamin #2 if Benjamin #2 weren’t reportedly “dec’d” after 1811.  This Benjamin was born in Maryland, lived in South Carolina, and died in Georgia.  Other researchers claim that Benjamin Maddox #4 is the same as Benjamin Maddox #2 and the son of Benjamin Maddox #1.

1770: Benjamin Maddox is born in South Carolina, according to the 1860 federal census of Atlanta, Georgia.

1828: On 26 November, the Abbeville Court of the Ordinary heard a complaint regarding the estate of Mary Donaldson by General Edmund Ware against many parties, including “Benjamin Maddox and Elizabeth his wife” who were residing “without the state.”

1840: On the federal census of Atlanta, Elbert County, Georgia, Benjamin Maddox was listed as 70-90 years old, living with a similarly aged woman and many children.  He was living near William Calhoun, Eli Donaldson, and William Donaldson.

1860: On the federal census of Atlanta, Georgia, Benjamin Maddox was listed as 90 years old, born in Maryland.  He was living with a dentist named Posey Maddox, 55 years old, born in SC.  Researchers claim Posey was this Benjamin’s son.

1864: Benjamin Maddox was buried at Fulton Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia, born in 1770.  (Source: findagrave listing)


Can we find a record of Benjamin #4’s wife’s name in Georgia?

If Benjamin #4 is not the same as Benjamin #2, then who are Benjamin #4’s parents in Abbeville?

Benjamin #5

This Benjamin Maddox (1801-after 1880), the son of William Maddox (1776-1857), was born in Abbeville, SC, and ended up in Fayette County, Alabama, along with other members of the Maddox family from Abbeville.

1830: Before 1830 in Abbeville, SC, Benjamin Maddox married a Riley.  (Source: Joyce Smelley Odom, “Maddox Family,” The Heritage of Abbeville, South Carolina, Don Mill, Inc., 1995, p. 106.)

1831: After 1831, Benjamin Maddox was named as a son of William Maddox, formerly of Abbeville, SC, in William’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama, estate papers.  (Source: Joyce Smelley Odom, “Maddox Family,” The Heritage of Abbeville, South Carolina, Don Mill, Inc., 1995, p. 106.)

1850: On the federal census of Fayette County, Alabama, Benjamin Mattax is listed as born in 1801, married to Nancy.  Joyce Smelley Odom claims this is Nancy Williamson, daughter of Thomas Williamson.

1850: On the federal census of Fayette County, Alabama, Lawsin Matocks age 66 and born in SC, William Matocks age 31 and born in SC, and John Matocks age 38 and born in SC, were listed separately with their families on page 29.  (Lawsin is assumed by some researchers to be the brother of Benjamin Maddox (III))

1880: On the federal census of Fayette County, Alabama, Benjamin Madox is listed as born in 1801, married to Nancy.  He was born in SC and his father was born in Maryland.  Nancy was born in SC.


Lawsin Matocks’ 1784 birth in SC seems to demonstrate that some Maddoxes arrived in Abbeville, SC, before 1790 – the year we’ve long assessed to be the SC arrival year of Benjamin Maddox (II).

Could Benjamin Maddox #5 have been called “junior” in any of the 1801-1811 records in Laurens County and Abbeville County, SC?



A family antiquity found



Joseph Jefferson Maddox shotgun

The blackpowder shotgun once owned by Joseph Jefferson Maddox (1840-1905)

I have a healthy obsession with the unusual story of Joseph Jefferson Maddox (1840-1905), who fought for the Union during the Civil War, and his brother Benjamin “Wes” Maddox (1835-1913) and uncle Davis Maddox (1822-1898), who fought for the Confederacy.  It’s not just that they were on opposing sides of the Civil War, but that Joseph Jefferson Maddox pursued the very unit that his uncle and brother were part of – Morgan’s Raiders – and actually fought and captured them at the Battle of Buffington Island.

With recent news of the removal of General Morgan’s statue in Lexington, Kentucky, I’ve become more interested in these three uncles.  After a little digging, I contacted Joseph Jefferson Maddox’s great granddaughter, who very kindly relayed a picture of his blackpowder shotgun.  These shotguns went out of fashion with the introduction of the repeating rifle in the 1890s, so it’s old.  It looks like it got some use – perhaps for hunting,  But I have no idea when he might have used it.  During the war?  Unlikely.

It’s nice having a physical reminder of a relative.  But it just encourages more digging.  We’ve known for a while that Joseph Jefferson Maddox enrolled and mustered on 18 August 1862 and fought in the Civil War as a Private in the Union’s proud 3rd Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, Company A.  What we didn’t know until recently is that he served under Lewis Wolfley, who earned the nickname “Sherman’s Fighting Major” and commanded the unit that chased and fought against Morgan’s Raiders (his brother Wes’s and uncle Davis’s unit) in the summer of 1863.[xix] [xx] [xx.a.]  The 3rd Kentucky Cavalry’s official history indicates Joseph’s regiment went on to participate in the fierce battles of Perryville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, and Atlanta. His records show that he was captured on 14 October 1864 outside of Atlanta – during a month of constant skirmishes against Confederate General Hood’s forces – and he was imprisoned at the makeshift Camp Lawton in Magnolia Springs, Georgia.

Joseph Jefferson Maddox

A recently rediscovered photograph of Joseph Jefferson Maddox.

Joseph Jefferson Maddox enlisted in late 1862 as news of Morgan’s Raiders’ exploits were circulating through local newspapers and across the country.  The implication of his enlistment timing is that he might have enlisted specifically in response to his brother and uncle’s Confederate activities.  It’s a story worth more obsession.


Edward, the Newgate prisoner


We’ve been trying to understand how the Maddoxes of Shropshire, England, might have been affected by the English Civil War (1642-1651) and the Restoration (1660).  These events almost certainly played a role in Edward Maddox‘s emigration from England sometime after 1661.  In America, Edward’s records demonstrate strong anti-Papism, possibly implying that he was aligned against King Charles II (who was in favor of religious freedom) during this tumultuous period.

A fellow Maddox researcher, David Pugh, recently found evidence that an Edward Maddox was ejected from England in 1670 after spending time in London’s infamous Newgate Prison.  A 14 February 1670 warrant offers to set him free if he “gives security for his good behavior and transports himself abroad.”

Edward Maddox 1670 Transported (1)

David Pugh’s research on FindYourPast offers a possible cause for Edward Maddox’s emigration.

Newgate was known for its horrifying conditions – including dungeons, starvation, exposure, extortionist guards, and more.  Public punishments such as hanging, drawing and quartering attracted 17th-century crowds, and sealed the prison’s reputation.  London-In-Sight offers a description.

Edward Maddox might have been among allies at Newgate.  During the late 1600s the prison housed a number of well known anti-monarchists and anti-Papists, such as Titus Oates, who had fabricated the 1678-1681 Popish Plot and instigated violence against Catholics.  Oates alleged that there was an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II.

Oates’ Popish Plot sounds very similar to the conspiracy by Edward Maddox’s friend, Parson John Waugh, in March 1688/9.  Waugh falsely claimed that Maryland Catholics were crossing the Potomac River with Seneca Indians to murder Virginians in their sleep. Waugh and Edward Maddox’s other friend George Mason (grandfather of the Founding Father) would be punished for the subterfuge.  Perhaps Waugh and his friends were copying Oates?

The 17th-century Maddox home in Shropshire, England


We visited Thonglands, a small rural hamlet in Shropshire, England, this week.  Edward Maddox‘s (d. 1694) parish records note that he lived at Thonglands with his wife Ellinor, but there’s little more to explain the place or its significance.

We drove along high hedgerows and forded a river to find the place.  We were welcomed by the owner and his wife, who showed us around the place – including the dovecot, moat, ancient loo (outhouse, complete with a small gargoyle above the door), and the various segments of the home.  The place has been inhabited since before the Domesday register of the 11th century, and it bears numerous architectural styles.

Although it remains unclear whether our ancestors lived in the house itself or lived nearby, it is certain that they would have interacted with the owners and would have visited it in the routine of their lives.

Thonglands with moat and dovecot.jpg

Thonglands was a manor in its day.  It was surrounded by a moat (seen in this picture) and featured a 240-hole stone dovecot (also pictured).

Thonglands tudor section.jpg

One of the older Tudor-style sections of the Thonglands house.

Thonglands black and white section.jpg

The current owner calls this the “black and white” section of the home.


A visit to the Maddoxes’ historic Munslow Parish church in Shropshire, England


We’re touring our Maddox sites in Shropshire and Wales this week, and one of the most impressive has been St. Michael’s Church in Munslow, Shropshire, England.  St. Michael’s is a 12th-century Norman-style Anglican church with an intricate interior, including 15th-century stained glass windows, a 15th-century baptismal font, and original pews.  Our ancestors attended this church in the 1600s.  They were baptized in the same font, sat in the same pews, and stared at the same stained glass windows.  It was an impressive visit.  We’re indebted to Reverend John Beesley for allowing us to join his congregation for Evensong.

StMichaels church stained glass.jpg

One of three 15th-century stained glass windows in St. Michael’s Church.


The baptismal font in which Edward, Cornelius, John, Ellinor, and Alice Maddox were baptized in the mid-1600s.

StMichaels church kneepads.jpg

Hand-knitted kneeling pads depicting rural scenes around Munslow parish.

StMichaels headstone.jpg

A broken headstone from the 1800s.  Unfortunately, most of the older headstones have fallen or been buried over time and there’s no hope of finding them – such as the headstones for Ellinor and John Maddox (mother and son), who were buried a week apart in 1656.