From 1680, the Maddoxes of our direct line planted or farmed until the mid-20th century. Almost two decades of research have revealed the locations of most of their plantations and fields in Colonial Maryland, South Carolina, Kentucky and Illinois. Here are four exemplary sites, rendered in watercolor by the artist Anne McGraw.
1. In Charles County, Maryland, Cornelius Maddox bought a 60-acre tract called Tatshall (a.k.a.Tatall/Totsall/Tattsall/Tasch Hall/Nuthall) in 1684 and in 1688 sold it to his father-in-law James Smallwood. Tatshall lay east of Portobacco Fresh and west of Zekiah Swamp (where the Piscataway Indians had a fort), “adjoining to the land called Moores Ditch at the exterior bound thereof,” and abutting land owned by Shaw, Lindsey and Smallwood. Zekiah Swamp was a center of Colonial Maryland commerce at the time. This locates the land just south of modern La Plata, Maryland, and just north of the Potomac River. Odds are very good that the tract was located along Maddox Branch, which flows from 38.46744, -76.981926 to 38.475227, -76.957444, into Zekiah Swamp Run.
2. Benjamin Maddox (I)’s tobacco plantation Hornfair, in Charles County, Maryland, at 38.445989, -77.214779 – just south-west of Nanjemoy and east of the Potomac River – is pictured below. Benjamin (I) also owned Posey’s Chance and Hornfair Addition. Benjamin (II) inherited Posey’s Chance and Hornfair. Benjamin (II) sold the land as he and the family prepared to move to South Carolina in 1790.
3. Benjamin Maddox (II)’s farmland in Abbeville County, South Carolina, approximated at 34.43823, -82.272513 – just northwest of Maddox Bridge and Maddox Shoals on the Saluda River – is pictured below. The Maddox family had extensive land interests in Abbeville County and adjacent Laurens County, including a Maddox Mill. Benjamin (III) left the area around the time of his father’s death in 1811.
4. Joseph Maddox’s farm “along the meanders of the Tradewater River,” in Christian County, Kentucky, at 37.036721, -87.519756, is pictured below. Of all the Maddox farms and plantations, Joseph’s 200 acre spread in Christian County, Kentucky, probably is the most visually attractive, being situated within a picturesque stream-fed valley just west of Crofton and east of the Pennyrile Forest, at the “meanders of the Tradewater River,” according to deeds. His green-roofed farmhouse remains there today, restored by its current owner, who continues to grow tobacco and corn and raise cattle, just as Joseph did.
5. John Napoleon Maddox’s Sunny Side Stock Farm, in Crawford County, Illinois, at 38.914757, -87.604777 – just west of the Wabash River – is pictured below. The Maddox family, including Benjamin (III), Joseph and John Napoleon, settled here and ran farms here, beginning with Benjamin (III) in 1837 at the latest. Maddox Cemetery is located on former family land and many ancestors are buried there. The Maddox land in Crawford County is just west of the Devil’s Backbone (aka Purgatory Road – now probably SR33), so called because of a terrible snake-infested swamp in its path. Also nearby are the Devil’s Neck (3 miles south of Palestine along the Wabash River), and Hell’s Half Acre (a place of ill repute in the 19th century, along the Wabash River in northeast Montgomery Township).