Joseph Maddox, 1800-1884

Note: We’ve recently published the story of Joseph Maddox’s sons’ fight – against each other – during the Civil War. The story of a brother firing at his own brother during the US Civil War has never before been documented. This cautionary tale describes the political, religious, martial and media influences that compelled the brothers to join opposing sides, and seeks an explanation of their final, profound choices. You can read it in the Spring 2022 edition of The Civil War Monitor. It’s titled “Brother vs. Brother: A look at the forces that moved Kentucky siblings to fight on opposite sides during the Civil War.”

Joseph’s farm in Christian County,

Joseph Maddox was the first son of Benjamin (III) and Charlotte, and was born in the “dales and hollows” of Abbeville County, South Carolina.  He moved with his father and mother to Tennessee for a few years, but by 1837 he had purchased his own land near his father’s farm in Christian County, Kentucky.[i]  At age 75, in November 1875, he moved to Crawford County, Illinois, where his father had lived, and where he would rejoin his South Carolina neighbors, the Gaines family.  His family would experience a true Civil War tragedy when Maddox brothers and uncles were pitted against one another during Western Theater guerilla warfare in 1863.

Of all the Maddox farms and plantations, Joseph’s 200 acre spread in Christian County, Kentucky, probably is the most visually attractive, 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.[ii]  This land also is just a few miles from the northern Trail of Tears route (modern Route 91), and in 1838 Joseph would have witnessed the passage of thousands of suffering Cherokee Indians, removed to Oklahoma.

Joseph’s 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.  He was a thriving farmer, based on an 1843 list of his property in Christian County.  He had numerous cattle, 22 hogs, 7 sheep, 14 geese, 6 beehives, and crops of tobacco, corn and oats.[iii]  Joseph, like his father, probably valued the independence gained from his self-sufficiency much more than any financial profit.  It was an era of fierce rejection and fear of debts and dependencies – a hangover from the Revolution.

Tobacco drying in a Christian County, Kentucky, barn.

On 20 January 1825, Joseph married Susannah Shelton (d. ca. 1861), daughter of William Shelton and Rebecca Hogg.  According to researcher Celia Hogue, Susannah and her brother Robert Shelton are on the 1817 Cherokee Emigration Census, implying Cherokee ancestry.[iii.a.]  Joseph and Susannah’s marriage by the Baptist Minister John Bobbitt shows their adherence to Baptist Protestantism.  Susannah gave birth to the following twelve children.[iv] [iv.a]

1. William S. Maddox, 1827- ca. 1865; possibly served as a Private in the Union’s 9th Kentucky Cavalry, Company I; killed in the Civil War.[v] [vi]

2. Agniss C. Maddox, born 21 October 1828.  Agniss, age 21, was living with her father in Christian County, Kentucky in 1850, according to the census.  She married William Landreth/Lander on 3 September 1856.  Agnes Maddox was living in the household of Daniel Gray, horse doctor, in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky in July 1860 with Thomas Maddox, age 7, and William H. Maddox, age 6 months, according to the 1860 census.  She was buried in Maddox Cemetery, Crawford County, Illinois.[xxxii]

3. Colby Stevenson Maddox, 24 February 1831-10 January 1891, married Syrena Jane Lagow on 10 March 1857 in Crawford County, Illinois,[vii] having moved there after 1850 according to the 1850 Christian County, KY census.  They had eleven children.  He registered for the draft in July 1863 in Crawford County, Illinois.  He was buried in Fuller Cemetery in Crawford County, IL.[viii]  Colby and Syrena’s daughter Syrena Jane (Maddox) Conrad would be killed by a lightning bolt while talking on the phone in 1914.

Colby Stevenson Maddox in an undated photo

4. Elizabeth S. G. Maddox,  16 February 1833 – 3 March 1895; married John M. Lane (with Joseph’s consent) on 29 August 1852.  John Lane died on 3 August 1863, and Elizabeth then married Eber Jenne/Jennie/Jenny[ix] on 15 December 1864 and was living with him in Crawford County, Illinois, next door to Joseph in 1880.[x]  Eber died on 27 August 1892.  Both Elizabeth and Eber Jenne are buried in the Baker Cemetery in Montgomery Township, Crawford County, Illinois

5. Benjamin Wesley ”Wes” Maddox, 22 February 1835 – 17 September 1913; served in the Confederate Kentucky 2nd Brigade, 10th Cavalry, Company K (Johnson’s – part of Morgan’s Raiders); was captured by his own brother during Morgan’s Great Indiana and Ohio Raid during the 19 July 1863 Battle of Buffington Island and was received at Camp Morton, Indiana on 23 July.  He was sent to the infamous Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois – considered the  “Andersonville of the North” – on 18 August and was received there on 22 August (at the same time his uncle Davis also was transferred to Camp Douglas) to be imprisoned with his fellow Raiders.  On 24 February 1865 he was part of a prisoner exchange and was sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, where he remained for the duration of the war.[xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv]  A copy of his Civil War pension application includes details.  Benjamin married Rebecca Elizabeth Randolph and signed a marriage bond in Morganfield, Union County, KY on 25 March 1868;[xvi] They had two daughters, one Lucy Ollie. Benjamin died in Union County, KY.[xvii]

Benjamin “Wes” Maddox

6. Elijah F. G. Maddox, b. 1837.  Elijah Maddox, single, registered for the draft in July 1863 in Crawford County, Illinois with his brother Colby Stevenson.[xviii]

7. Joseph Jefferson Maddox, 1840 – 7 September 1905, was described in a Volunteer Descriptive List as tall (5’9”) and blue-eyed, with light hair.[xxi]  He 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.  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.  As Sherman’s troops approached the prison during his March to the Sea, most prisoners were evacuated to Savannah, Georgia.  He was paroled at Savannah on 21 November 1864, and then moved to Camp Parole in Annapolis, Maryland.  He was released there on 25 November 1864.[xxii]   Joseph married Damarious E. Woodburn on 6 April 1867.  He moved to Missouri and was living in Mississippi County in 1895[xxiii] and died in Missouri in 1905.  Margaret E. Maddox filed for a Civil War pension, indicating she was his widow on 2 January 1906.[xxiv] Joseph Jefferson Maddox’s great grandchildren have his blackpowder shotgun.

Joseph Jefferson Maddox

A portrait of Joseph Jefferson Maddox

8. Lucy Ann Maddox, 22 March 1844 – 18 February 1873, married William Henry Sizemore on 3 January 1866 in Joseph’s house.  In 1870, Joseph was living with William and Lucy Ann.[xxv]  Lucy Ann died after the birth of her daughter, Lucy M. and is buried in the McCord Cemetery in Christian County, Kentucky.

9. Alafar (Alafine) Katharine/Catherine Maddox, born 8 February 1847, married Bayliss Earl Sizemore on 6 November 1866 at Joseph’s house.  Catherine and Lucy Ann were married to Sizemore brothers. Catherine died on 14 December 1915 of  tuberculosis in Nortonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky.[xxvi]  Bayliss died on 6 July 1919 in Crofton, Christian County, KY.

10. Ezekel Martin Maddox, b. 1848.

11. Eliza Maddox, born 1849; died of fever on 5 October 1854 in Christian County, Kentucky, according to her death record.

12. M.F.S. Maddox, b. 1853.

Joseph is found on an 1870 census living with his daughter Lucy Ann Sizemore in Fruit Hill, Christian County, Kentucky.[xxvii]  He married Susan May (Hargraves) (Jones) Maddox [xxvii.a.] on 7 March 1871 in Christian County, Kentucky.  Susan was born in Tennessee on 7 March 1840 and died of measles on 10 January 1881. She was previously married to James Jones from 4 October 1856 until James’ death in 1869.[xxvii.b.]  By 1875, Joseph and Susan moved to Crawford County, Illinois, where the 1880 census shows Joseph and Susan with four children (below) living next to Eber Jenne and Joseph’s daughter Elizabeth. Since Joseph married Susan in 1871, Henry and Mary were her children by her previous marriage, with John Napoleon and Viola May being born despite Joseph’s septuagenarian status.[xxviii] [xxix] [xxx]

1. Henry (Jones) Maddox, b. ca. 1863.

2.  Mary (Jones) Maddox, b. ca. 1865.

3.  John Napoleon “Poly” Maddox, 21 May 1872 – 16 April 1945.[xxxi]  John Napoleon is our direct ascendant and his full biography can be read here.

4. Viola May Maddox, b. 26 March 1877, was seven years old when her father died in 1884.  Joseph was living next door to Eber Jenne, who had married Joseph’s daughter Elizabeth four years before Joseph died.  So it is possible that Viola was raised by the Jennes when John Napoleon, her brother, went to live with Roena Magill.  Viola married  Eber’s brother, Solomon’s son, Granville Jenne (b. 1873) in 1893 and was living in Olney, Illinois, in 1900.  After Granville’s death, she married John “Franklin” Leatherwood on 18 April 1905 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and died in Fulton, Georgia on 16 November 1942.[xxxi.a.]

Joseph saw numerous sons take sides in the Civil War.  Kentucky was a split state, and Joseph’s sons fought on both sides, and the culminating moment for the whole family was when Joseph Jefferson Maddox captured his own brother Wes.  Given the strong secessionist sentiment of their former hometown of Abbeville, South Carolina (proudly described by Southerners as the birthplace and deathbed of the Confederacy), it is surprising that any of the sons chose the Union cause at all.  Family history – fully supported by the brothers’ war records – states that brothers Wes and Joseph faced each other on the battlefield, with one shooting the other’s horse out from from him, twice, without knowing the rider was his own brother.  After the war, the brothers met and told stories about their wartime service.  When this story was told, one of them exclaimed, “You son of a bitch, that was me!”[1]

A rendering of the area of Joseph’s land in Christian County, Kentucky.  Artist: Anne McGraw.

Joseph and Susan were buried together in the Maddox Cemetery on his father Benjamin (III)’s farm, in Crawford County, Illinois, but neither grave is marked.[xxxii]  Only a few unknown Maddoxes are buried in the Long Cemetery near Joseph’s Kentucky land.[xxxiii]

The Maddox Cemetery in Crawford County… the Maddox family attempted to purchase the plot in 2010 to preserve it, but the owner wouldn’t budge. Photo: Steve Maddox

[1] Joseph’s unit fought Wes’s unit at the Battle of Buffington Island.  Source of battlefield information: Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Pub. Co.), 1908.

[i] March 1837, Christian Co., KY, Deed Book [letter?], pp. 299-300

[ii] The land is described in two deeds – March 1837, Christian Co., KY, Deed Book [letter?], pp. 299-300, and January 1874, Christian County, KY, Deed Book [letter?], pp. 69-70.  It was described as follows: “In the County of Christian and State of Kentucky and on the Rocklick Fork of Tradewater River and Bounded as follows […]  Towit Beginning on a [Redvain? Rockvain?] corner to James Sizemore’s land and thence another north west course down the Branch with said Sizemore line to Rocklick creek and thence across said Creek about one Rood until it intersect Joseph Madox line known as Blakes Survey thence a Strate line about due west one Rood* more or less to the north [illegible word – mouth?] of another Branch which emties into the Rocklick fork of Tradewater thence up said Branch [2 illegible words] direction though wich its meanders to its fork on to the junction of twostreams thence a strate line running [illegible word] midway Between the said line Streames passing through an old field at its north end and on until it intersect what is called the Gillam line near the edge of a neighborhood road thence round which said Madox line Joined by the Gillum and Sizemore land passing some Corners to a rock known as Gillums Cornerand thence continuing said line to the Beginning.”

[iii] 1 September 1843, Christian County, Kentucky, Deed Book [letter ?], pp. 495-496.

[iii.a.] Celia Hogue’s research is available at  The original census is available at the National Archives under ARC identifier 595427. According to the Archives, “this series includes lists of Cherokee Indians involved in the Cherokee Removals from areas in Georgia and the Southeastern United States, to lands West of the Mississippi River, between 1817 and 1838. The records document Indians who were emigrating, Indians who intended to emigrate, and Indians who were capable of removing themselves or who were owed funds in reimbursement for removal.”  See

[iv] Names and birthdays of Joseph and Susannah’s children are based on Christian Co., KY, and Crawford County, IL, Federal Census records.

[iv.a.] 18 Jan 1825 Joseph Maddox and Peter McMahan bind themselves to the Commonwealth of Ky for marriage of Joseph Maddox and Susannah Shelton.  Also note signed by William Shelton, Sa McKinney, and Peter McMahan. (William Shelton is the name of Susannah’s father.)

Marriage certificate of Joseph and Susannah Shelton, 1825.

Marriage certificate of Joseph and Susannah Shelton, 1825.

1850 Christian Co., KY census:  Joseph 44 SC. Susanna 42 KY.

1860 Christian Co., KY census: born in South Carolina. Joseph 59, Susan 48 KY,

Lucy A. 15, Catherine 13, Martin 12, MFS 7.

31 Mar 1865 Joseph sells 50 acres to Mrs. Lucy Sizemore for $150.  (His daughter, Lucy Ann, had married William Henry Sizemore.)

1870 Christian Co., KY census:  William H. Sizemore 26, Lucy Ann 25, three children (4, 2, 1/2) and Joseph 70 NC.

6 Apr 1869 Joseph sells 44 acres to Young Hargraves for $140. (His second marriage in 1871 was at Young Hargrave’s home.)

1870 Washington, Washington, Indiana census:  Henry Jones 27 Farm Laborer KY and Susan M. Jones 25 KY living with David Hifnier family in Indiana.

6 Mar 1871 marriage license between Joseph Maddox and Susan M. Jones.  Marriage certificate dtd 7 Mar 1871 at Young Hargrave’s.  Witnesses: Cyrus M. Brown (sp) & David M. Wooldridge.

Marriage certificate Joseph and Susan Jones 1871

Marriage certificate Joseph Maddox and Susan Jones, 1871.

1880 Crawford Co., IL census:  Joseph Maddox 84 KY, Susan 35 wife washer-woman KY, Henry 17 son IL KY KY, Mary 15 dau IL KY KY, Napoleon 10 son IL KY KY, Viol 3 dau IL KY KY.

[v] A William Maddox is included in the list of Federal Volunteers from Christian County, KY, in a Christian County Courthouse vault box labeled “Judgments,” 1862-1865.  This corroborates family history from a 14 June 1981 letter from family historian Mrs. W.A. Mason to Mrs. Adams, providing details of Maddox family Civil War service.

[vi] A William Maddox’s Civil War service record is in the National Park Service Civil War Soldier and Sailor System, M386 roll 17.  There is no existing record for a William S. Maddox in either Union or Confederate records for Kentucky.

[vii] Marriage license.  Crawford County Clerk’s Office,
Book B, page 79.

[viii] Photo of his tombstone.

[ix] Petition by James H. Maddox (son of Elizabeth’s deceased brother, Colby’s son) to administer Elizabeth Jenne’s estate, dated 21 March 1895and subsequent probate record of “Elizabeth Maddox Lane Jenne” lists “no husband or children” and lists her brothers “Joseph Jefferson, Benjamin Wesley and John N. Maddox” and her sisters “Catherine Sizemore, Viola Maddox” and “Lucy Sizemore, a deceased sister of Crofton, Christian County, KY”.

[x] 1880 Montgomery Township, Crawford County, Illinois census of 8 June 1880.

[xi] Full details of “Wes’s” Civil War service can be found in his Soldier’s Application for Pension, State of Kentucky, County of Henderson,  6 May 1912.

[xii] 14 June 1981 letter from family historian Mrs. W.A. Mason to Mrs. Adams, providing details of Maddox family Civil War service.

[xiii] Benjamin W. Maddox’s Civil War service record is in the National Park Service Civil War Soldier and Sailor System, M377 roll 8

[xiv] A timeline of the raids by Morgan’s Raiders is in “Morgan Is Coming!” – Confederate Raiders in the Heartland of Kentucky, Betty J. Gorin, Harmony House Publishers, Louisville, KY, 2006.  Morgan’s Great Raid into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio lasted from January through July of 1863.

[xv] An excellent description of Camp Douglas – including its estimated 28% mortality rate, wild and frequent escape attempts by the Raiders, and general depravity – can be found in Out of the Mouth of Hell: Civil War Prisons and Escapes, Frances H. Casstevens, McFarland and Company Publishers, London, 2005, pp. 27-38.

[xvi] Marriage Bond, Union County, KY Book D1, page 185.  Here’s a remarkable photo of Benjamin “Wes” Maddox and his family on the farm:

Benjamin “Wes” Maddox and his family on the farm.

[xvii] Union County, Illinois certificate of death #25431.

[xviii] U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records for Crawford County, Illinois, signed  15 September 1863.

[xix] 14 June 1981 letter from family historian Mrs. W.A. Mason to Mrs. Adams, providing details of Maddox family Civil War service.

[xx] Joseph J. Maddox’s Civil War service record is in the National Park Service Civil War Soldier and Sailor System, M386 roll 17.  His full record can be seen here.

[xx.a.] The Union’s 3rd Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry fought in the following engagements from the time of Joseph Jefferson’s enlistment until his capture: Action at Russellville June 28. Pursuit of Morgan July 2–26. Buffington Island, Ohio, July 19. Near Volney October 22. Lafayette November 27 (detachment). Ordered to Nashville December 17. Smith’s Expedition from Nashville, Tenn., to Corinth, Miss., December 28, 1863 to January 18, 1864. Ringgold, Ga., April 27. Reconnaissance from Ringgold, Ga., toward Tunnel Hill April 29. Atlanta Campaign May 1-September 8. Near Tunnel Hill and Ringgold Gap May 2. Near Nickajack Gap May 7. Near Resaca May 13. Battle of Resaca May 14–15. Calhoun May 15. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kennesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Assault on Kennesaw June 27. On line of the Chattahoochie River July 2–12. Adairsville July 7. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Expedition to Pickens County July. Fairburn and Sandtown August 15. Kilpatrick’s Raid around Atlanta August 18–22. Lovejoy’s Station August 20. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25–30. Flint River Station August 30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy’s Station September 2–6.  Source: Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Pub. Co.), 1908.

[xxi] “Volunteer Descriptive List and Account of Pay and clothing of Jefferson J. Maddox, Priv., Co. A, 3 Ky Cav.,” Louisville, KY, 31 July 1865, witnessed by Company Commander Wolfley.

[xxii] Memorandum From Prisoner of War Records, No. 164, recorded by [FNU] Douglas on 21 January 1888.

[xxiii] Petition by James H. Maddox to administer Elizabeth Jenne’s estate, dated 21 March 1895 lists” Jefferson Maddox of Mississippi County, MO.”

[xxiv] Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, Record for Joseph  J. Maddox.

[xxv] 1870 Kentucky census.

[xxvi] Commonwealth of  Kentucky Certificate of Death No. 30210 filed 17 December 1915.

[xxvii] 1870 Christian County, KY census of Wm. H. Sizemore with his wife and three children.

[xxvii.a.] Susan is listed in the 1850 census, born in Tennessee, and living with her parents Young and Charlotte Hargraves, and her brother Napoleon.  Her age and cause of death are based on her death certificate, State of Illinois Physician’s Certificate of Death, 10 Jan 1881.

[xxvii.b.] From research by Joseph Holland, 27 February 2016: Susan Hargraves married her first husband, James Jones, on 4 October 1856 in Stewart County, TN. This location was in the county immediately to the west of Montgomery County, TN where she was born and raised. She was 16 at the time of her original marriage. Her husband, James Jones died sometime after Ruth Jones Maddox was conceived in 1869. She was a widow for a little over a year when she married Joseph Maddox in Christian County, KY. Susan and James Jones had three children: Henry James Jones, Mary J. Jones, and Ruth Jones. All appear to have been adopted into the Joseph maddox family after Susan and Joseph were married.

It also appears that the Jones family was living in Christian County, KY when she was widowed. So, it was likely through some sort of family/neighbor/church association that she met and then married Joseph Maddox in 1871.

[xxviii] Evidence of Joseph-Susan marriage: Kentucky Marriage License, 6 Mar 1877.  Also, John Napoleon Maddox’s Illinois death certificate, 1945.  Susan is listed as Susan M. Jones on their marriage certificate, indicating a previous marriage to a Jones.  Her father Young Hargraves witnessed the marriage.

[xxix] Evidence of Susan (Jones) Maddox’s death date/location: State of Illinois Physician’s Certificate of Death, 10 Jan 1881.

[xxx] Evidence of Susan (Jones) Maddox’s birth date/location: State of Illinois Physician’s Certificate of Death, 10 Jan 1881.

[xxxi] Evidence of John Napoleon Maddox’s father, birthday and date of death: Illinois death certificate, 1945.

John Napoleon Maddox's death certificate, 1945.

John Napoleon Maddox’s death certificate, 1945.

[xxxi.a.] According to: 1910 Fulton County, GA census. In 1910, she had married in 1905 and was living in Fulton, GA with her second husband, John “Franklin” Leatherwood at his brother Thomas’s house.  She was still living with John F Leatherwood in 1940.  Ref:  1940 Black Hall District, Fulton, GA census.

[xxxii] “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.

[xxxiii] Cemeteries of Christian County, Kentucky, 1797-2004, Chrsitian Society, Inc., 2005, pp. 330-331.  Also, a personal visit to Long Cemetery in November 2009 revealed just two Maddox graves – for Adrian and Calvin.

11 thoughts on “Joseph Maddox, 1800-1884”

  1. I am a 5Xs Great grandson of Joseph Maddox through Bayliss Sizemore I would love to make contact

    • Hi Doug! I’m glad to make contact! If you have any additional info or stories about Joseph, I’d love to include them on the site. And if you have any photos of Joseph or his children, that’d be great.

      Since Bayliss was laid to rest in Kentucky, did his descendants live there? You could shed some light on the family’s connections and activities there. We’ve always wondered, for example, why the family chose different sides during the Civil War. And we’d love to know how to contact the current owner of Joseph’s farm near Crofton.

  2. Steve Johnson said:

    There is a Martin Maddox buried in the McCord cem in Christian Co. also. Seems to have been in the 48th KY INF Company H. Looks like stone says M V Maddox but hard to read.

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