We are reexamining the identity of Benjamin (III)’s father. For years, we have identified Banjamin (III)’s father as Benjamin (II) (1735-1811); however, a closer look at a deed record indicates that Benjamin (II) did not die in 1811.
Benjamin Maddox (III) continued his father’s farming business in Laurens County, South Carolina, but he would also live in Tennessee and Christian County, Kentucky, and eventually he was laid to rest in the Maddox Cemetery on his own farm in Crawford County, Illinois. Along with many of his South Carolina neighbors, he appears to have followed the emerging western frontier as the Indians were displaced and the land opened to permanent settlement.
In South Carolina, Benjamin (II) lived very close to John Calhoun — the future U.S. Vice President and leading proponent (the original “hawk”) of the War of 1812 — but Benjamin (III) appears to have been spared from warfare.[i] Based only on pension application records, there is no evidence of his participation. However, two of his nephews, William and Chandler Maddox, served as privates in Colonel William Ware’s South Carolina militia in 1813-1814.[ii] The Maddox family might have been personally motivated to aid their former neighbors and remaining family along the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland, who were raided by the British. William went on to fight in the Seminole War with Ware’s Georgia militia in 1814-1818, according to his 1871 petition for a land grant for his service. Colonel Ware is buried at the Turkey Creek Baptist Church in Ware Shoals, SC, near Benjamin (III)’s brother Henley.[iii]
Benjamin (III) also would have the good fortune to pass away before seeing his son Davis embroiled in a true tragedy of the Civil War – the Battle of Buffington Island, where Maddox brothers and uncles were pitted against one another.
Benjamin (III) is listed on the 1800 Abbeville, South Carolina census, with a wife under 25 years old and daughter under 10, and his first son Joseph, who is known from his own later census and death records to have been born in 1800 in South Carolina.[iv]
In 1808 Benjamin (III) sold 100 acres to Cornelius Cook and moved north to Tennessee soon afterwards.[v] Based on mid-1800’s census records, Benjamin’s wife Charlotte probably gave birth to Susan and Jefferson in Tennessee in 1808 and 1814. Unfortunately, all Tennessee census records were burned by the British in the War of 1812, so there is no known record of the family’s whereabouts until their arrival in Christian County, Kentucky in the 1820’s. Above all, the pioneers of the Cumberland — the untamed land west of the mountain passes from Virginia — were renowned for their jealous independence, and Benjamin was no exception to the rule, as is evident in his choice of the homesteading lifestyle. His son and grandson would inherit his independent streak.
Benjamin (III) is seen in 1823 in Christian County, Kentucky, purchasing a smaller 55 acre parcel along the Stone River from Temple West, and selling the property back to Temple West in 1827.[vi] [vii] Benjamin’s first son, Joseph, owned land nearby.[viii] 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.
By 1830, Benjamin and his wife Charlotte had moved to Crawford County, Illinois, near the frontier boomtown of Palestine, where they rejoined their former South Carolina neighbors and relatives, the Ford and Gaines families. The Palestine area had been called the “land of milk and honey” by early French explorers; its newly opened lands and low land costs attracted a multitude of farmers. 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.”[ix] This would be the Maddox home for three generations. In October 1845, Benjamin (III) sold this land to his son, Davis, who sold it back in 1848. In 1852, Benjamin sold this land to his son, Thomas.
Benjamin and Charlotte probably had married in South Carolina just prior to 1800, based on the birth of their first son Joseph in South Carolina in 1800.[x] [xi] They were unusual for the Maddoxes, in that Charlotte was Benjamin’s sole wife (most Maddox men remarried after the inevitable death of a first wife). Some surmise that Charlotte was an American Indian — perhaps a Cherokee — based solely on stories handed down through the generations. The difficulty of finding her last name in records, together with the designation of a Cherokee reservation immediately adjacent to Benjamin (III)’s land in Abbeville, South Carolina, are tantalizing evidence for the rumor, but unfortunately prove nothing. Later Maddox generations’ DNA profiles do not include American Indian DNA. Together, Charlotte and Benjamin had at least 11 children, listed as Benjamin’s in a petition for property by Benjamin’s daughter-in-law, Hannah (wife of John Maddox).[xii]
2. John W. Maddox, born circa 1805 in South Carolina. Married Hannah McColpin after her first husband died. On 21 December 1843, John and Hannah gave permission for John M. Kibler to marry their daughter Malissa McColpin.[xvi] John died before October 1865.[xvi a]
3. Sarah (Maddox) Smith, born circa 1808 in Tennessee. Sarah married William Hix on 22 January 1832.[xvii] They had four children, but only Stephen survived. William Hix died in March 1843. Sarah then married John Smith on 24 December 1843 in Crawford County, IL.[xviii]
4. Jefferson Maddox, 23 January 1814 – 15 July 1875, born in Tennessee, buried in the Maddox Cemetery, Crawford Co., Illinois, with his wife Jane Higgins.[xix] He married Jinney Little on 11 December 1835.[xx] On 10 August 1838, Jefferson received 40 acres in Crawford County, Illinois, just a few hundred acres to the southwest of his father’s acreage.[xxi] After Jinney’s death, he married Jane Higgins in Crawford County, Illinois on 22 June 1851.
6. Thomas A. Maddox, born 5 March 1820 and died 1 July 1863, married Susan McDaniel in May 1843. Family history contends that Thomas wrestled a young Abraham Lincoln, and that after the match Lincoln said, “Thomas, you sweat too much.”[xxiii.a.] Lincoln’s wrestling matches in Illinois and Kentucky are legendary – he was a champion wrestler who attracted many competitors as he passed through Illinois and Kentucky towns. Thomas’ date of death suggests he died during Civil War fighting, but no records have yet been found to verify his participation. Thomas was buried in Maddox Cemetery, Crawford County, Illinois.
7. Davis Maddox, 5 March 1822 – 18 May 1898, married Mary Ann McKibbon[xxiv] on 30 January 1848.[xxv] Davis bought his father’s 40 acre farm in Crawford County, Illinois, in October 1845, and then sold it back to his father in April 1848, and then in April 1852, Benjamin (III) sold the land to his son Thomas. Davis served as a Private in the Confederate 2nd Kentucky Cavalry (Duke’s – part of Morgan’s Raiders), Company A. Like his nephew Benjamin W. Maddox, who also was one of Morgan’s Raiders, Davis was captured by the Union during Morgan’s Great Raid, on 26 July 1863 in Salineville, Ohio, along with General Morgan. Davis was captured by his own nephew, Joseph Jefferson Maddox, who was part of the Union’s Kentucky 3rd Cavalry Regiment. He was first imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio, and then was transferred to the infamous Camp Douglas on 22 August 1863.[xxvi] He was buried in the Maddox Cemetery, Crawford Co., Illinois.[xxvii] [xxviii]
8. Susan Maddox
9. Nancy Maddox
10. Elizabeth Maddox married Peter McMahan on 25 December 1825 in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
11. Lavinia (Maddox) Allison lived in Tennessee as of 1865.[xiii] Lavinia’s residence in Tennessee might have been the result of her marriage to a Tennessee groom while her father and mother lived there in circa 1808-1820. She would have needed to be in her late teens in circa 1808-1820 to marry there, implying that Lavinia was the oldest of Benjamin (III) and Charlotte’s children.
Both Benjamin and Charlotte would be laid to rest in the Maddox Cemetery on Benjamin’s own farm, their graves marked by simple headstones. Benjamin’s gravestone indicates that he was born on 11 May 1776 and died after 79 years, 3 months, and 15 days. Charlotte’s gravestone describes her as a “Consort of Benjamin” (a customary description of wives at the time, and originally a reference to the Queen of England), and indicates that she died on 6 May 1856.[xxix] The gravestones were half-submerged in the muddy soil as of 1995, some had broken, and some required excavation from the mud to be seen. The cemetery is now contained within farmer Billy Walker’s cornfield, and the gravestones were almost completely covered by mud and vegetation in 2012.
This family narrative was written and placed online by Narratio Vitae.
[i] John Calhoun is listed ten names down from Benjamin Maddox (II) on the 1800 Federal Census, Abbeville, SC, p. 22.
[ii] War of 1812 Federal Pensioners List, pp. 1246-1247.
[iii] The following Maddox and Maddox-related gravestones were in legible condition at the Turkey Creek Baptist Church cemetery in November 2009.
– Jinnett L. Maddox, born 1749, aged 65, consort of Henley Maddox
– Henley Maddox [bro of Benj II], born 1761, died 1806
– Margaret Maddox, consort of Richard Maddox [prob bro of Benj II], died Jan 1852, aged 76 years
– William Maddox, born Nov 20, 1812
– General Edmund Ware, died 15 Apr 185(8?), aged 58 years
– Mrs Margaret Ware, consort of GEN Wm Ware, died 25 Mar 1834, aged 46 years
– William Marshal Maddox, son of W and CC Maddox, born June 27, 1878
– Samuel Maddox, died Feb 25, 1857, aged 6(0?) years
– Col William Ware, born Nov 1774, died 18(xx)
[iv] 1800 Federal Census, Abbeville, SC, p. 19.
[v] Laurens County, SC, Deed Book [letter?], 5 September 1808.
[vi] August 1823, Christian Co, KY, Deed Book P, p. 147.
[vii] July 1827, Christian Co, KY, Deed Book Q, p 480.
[viii] March 1837, Christian Co., KY, Deed Book [letter?], pp. 299-300
[ix] 25 July 1837, Crawford Co., IL, Deed Book.
[x] Evidence of Charlotte’s date/location of death: “Merle Richard’s Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, ca. 1940, unnumbered. Also, “Wilma Roesler, Imogene Baily Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, 1971, unnumbered.
[xi] 1860 Federal Census, Christian County, KY, p. 87, lists Joseph with birthplace and birth year.
[xii] All of Benjamin (III)’s children are listed in a petition by Hannah Maddox et al, 27 February 1865, Crawford County Court Records, File Box 53, Case 34.
[xiii] Evidence that Joseph is the son of Charlotte and Benjamin (III): February 1865 Petition of Joseph Maddox et al, Crawford Co., IL, File Box 53, Case 34, indicating that Joseph was Charlotte’s son. Federal Census, Crawford Co., IL, 1850, p. 22, indicating that Benjamin and Charlotte Maddox were husband and wife. Federal Census, 1800, Abbeville, SC, p. 19, shows child of Joseph’s age (<10) living with Benjamin Maddox (III).
[xiv] Evidence of Joseph Maddox’s SC birth location/date: Federal census, 1860 Christian Co., KY, p. 87. Federal census, 1800, Abbeville, SC, p. 19, shows a child of Joseph’s age (<10) living with Benjamin (III). Joseph indicated he was born in South Carolina on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, and his son Davis indicated Joseph was born in South Carolina on the 1880 census.
Unfortunately, it appears that family members might have made some mistakes on multiple records as they reported Joseph’s birth location for him. The 1870 census indicates he was born in North Carolina. The 1880 census indicates he was born in Kentucky in 1796. His Illinois Physician’s Certificate of Death, 30 Apr 1884, indicates he was born in North Carolina. His daughter’s death certificate indicates Joseph was born in Virginia.
[xv] Evidence of Joseph’s birth date and place of birth: Joseph indicated he was born in South Carolina on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
[xvi] Christian County, KY, 21 December 1843 #924, “We do hereby certify that Malissa McColpin is of age and there is no objection on our part to the bands of matrimony in contemplation you are therefore hereby authorized to grant John M. Kiblear licence to that effect. J.W. Maddox, Hannah Maddox”
[xvi a] Petition to Crawford Circuit Court by Hannah Maddox dated 8 Oct 1865. John Maddox died intestate with no father, children or descendants surviving him but Hannah Maddox, his widow, Charlotte Maddox, his mother, Thomas Maddox his brother, Joseph Maddox his brother who lives in KY, Sarah Smith his sister married to John Smith of Johnson County, Jefferson Maddox and Davis Maddox his brother who each live in Crawford County, IL, Elizabeth McMahan his sister who afterward died leaving unknown heirs, and Lavinia Allison his sister who lives in Tennessee, and John A. Maddox his nephew and the son of William Maddox brother who died before John who lives in Richland County, IL. Charlotte Maddox died intestate before this petition. In 1863 Thomas Maddox died intestate leaving Susan Maddox his widow and children: John D. Maddox, Nancy Maddox, Elizabeth Maddox, Eliza Maddox, James Maddox, Isabella Maddox, and Thomas Maddox.
[xvii] 1832 Crawford County, IL marriage record #355, dated 20 Jan 1832 “Sir You may grant William Hix license to marry, signed Benjamin Maddox”. William Hix died March 1843.- typed booklet in Robinson, Record of Wills, Vol 1, Crawford Co., Il 1818-1850 transcribed and compiled by Rosemary Love Bahr, p. 85 Last Will and Testament of W. Hix. “Sarah Hix wife of William Hix dec’d…”.
[xviii] Illinois Marriages, 1790-1860, Jordan Dodd; Family History Library, Salt Lake City, microfilm 1310015
[xix] “Merle Richard’s Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, ca. 1940, unnumbered. Also, “Wilma Roesler, Imogene Baily Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, 1971, unnumbered.
[xx] Family History Library, Salt Lake City, microfilm 1310015.
[xxi] US General Land Office Records 1796-1907, page 255. Certificate 8338. “the South West quarter of the South east quarter of Section thirty four in Township six North, of Range eleven West, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Palestine, Illinois, containing forty acres,”
[xxii] Illinois Marriages to 1850, Jordan Dodd
[xxiii] Illinois Marriaages, 1790-1860, Jordan Dodd
[xxiii.a.] Family historian Nancy Fore – great grand daughter of Davis Maddox (son of Benjamin (III)) – wrote in an email on 12 January 2013, “It was Thomas Maddox that wrestled with Abe and Abe said, “Thomas, you sweat too much!” I assume the Thomas was Ben and Charlotte’s son Thomas due to the age and year 1830. I have an article on The Lincoln Heritage Trail describing Lincoln’s family crossing through Russelville, Palestine, and New Salem in 1830 and of a wrestling match. The article was taken from Illinois, A Descriptive and Historical Guide, New Revised Edition, edited by Harry Hansen, 1974, p. 707-718. I probably found this article on line. ”
[xxiv] Joshua and Nancy Cushman granted Davis a license to marry Mary Ann McKibbin on 27 January 1848, Christian County, KY #1199
[xxv] Family History Library, Salt Lake City, microfilm 1310015.
[xxvii] “Merle Richard’s Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, ca. 1940, unnumbered. Also, “Wilma Roesler, Imogene Baily Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, 1971, unnumbered
[xxviii] A Davis Maddox’s Civil War service record is in the National Park Service Civil War Soldier and Sailor System, M377 roll 8.
[xxix] “Merle Richard’s Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, ca. 1940, unnumbered. Also, “Wilma Roesler, Imogene Baily Cemetery Book,” Crawford County Illinois Historical Society, 1971, unnumbered.