We know that Cornelius Maddox was an Anglican in the 17th century, based on his British citizenship and his family’s name in the records of the Anglican Nanjemoy Parish in Charles County, Maryland. The family’s 1790 move to Abbeville, South Carolina, followed the Revolution, and the Revolution resulted in a rejection of Anglicanism among many of the victorious rebels. In the case of the Maddoxes in South Carolina, Baptist Protestantism was the favored religion. Baptist Protestantism was gaining a strong foothold in the settlements of western South Carolina at the time.
When Benjamin (III) and Joseph Maddox left South Carolina around 1810, they settled in Christian County, Kentucky, for a few decades before eventually settling in Illinois. We have now determined from Joseph’s certificate of marriage to his first wife Susannah Shelton, in 1825, that Joseph was a Baptist at that time. On the marriage certificate is Baptist Minister John Bobbitt‘s name. At the time, most churches were nothing more than open-air arbors, or services were held in settlers’ cabins, according to William Henry Perrin’s 1884 religious history of the county. Minister Bobbitt would be buried in the Bobbitt Cemetery near Kelly, Kentucky. It is quite possible that he was one of the originators – in name or deed – of the Mount Zoar Baptist Church, which was established in Kelly in 1841.
Of the many Baptist churches of Christian County that might have served as the Maddox family’s parish, the Crofton Baptist Church stands out. It was just upstream from Joseph’s farm and included Joseph’s Long and Ford neighbors, and later was served by two Maddox ministers.
The evolution of religious leanings over the generations is curiously fluid. Later, John Napoleon Maddox was a Methodist, but his daughter Irene was a Presbyterian. Later generations have chosen yet other creeds.