Samson Sanford Maddox
1835 ~ 1918

This is the oldest actual portrait I have of our Maddox ancestors.  Sanford was about 73 years old at this time.

   My father always said his grandfather's full name was Samson Sanford Maddox, though everyone called him by his middle name, as they did most of his children and grandchildren.  My father went by his middle name too.

     At the time of Sanford's birth, Andrew Jackson was President of the United States.  Samson had two older brothers ~ John and William ~ and two older sisters ~ Sophia and Mary Ann.  He was born in Bracken Co., KY, near Foster's Landing and the beautiful Ohio River.  The land  
was rolling hills on Holts Creek and I'm sure he had many happy summer days running around those hills and wading in the creek.  And the occasional snow must have made it possible for him to slide on the steep hill across the road on a board ~ a makeshift toboggan.

To go swimming he'd have to walk the mile or less to the Ohio River; it was not very dangerous because it was always so shallow.  Fishing?  I'm sure he did a lot of that too. 

   When his father was born, there were Indian threats everywhere.  But that was long in the past.  He saw Indians now and then, but they were always friendly.

     When Sanford Maddox was nine years old, his grandfather, John Brandenburg, died.  So his widowed grandmother, Catharine Cummins Brandenburg, moved in with Sanford's family.  I wonder what stories she told of the royal Brandenburgs back in Germany.

     In 1843 a baby brother was born into the family.  He was named after his mother's brother who was an Indian scout in early Kentucky, often with Daniel Boone.  He'd heard all those stories from his mother and grandmother too.  But a year later the family's heart was broken when baby Abaslom died.  Sanford was learning about death early in life.

     The earliest record we have of Sanford is in the 1850 census of Bracken County 
when he was 14 years old.

    When Sanford was 16 years old in 1852, tragedy hit the family again.  A cholera epidemic scathed the area, having spread from the Orient to the middle east to Europe to Canada and then down into the United States.  His grandmother died of it in March.  But, worse yet, his mother, Nancy Brandenburg Maddox, died of the cholera that June.  His older sisters did the best they could to fill their mother's and grandmother's shoes, but it was difficult.  There were 13 children in the family by  this time plus two others who had recently married.  That December, Sanford's father remarried to the widow Nancy Artt of Pendleton County nearby.

     Franklin Pierce was now president.  Sanford was well into learning the farming business.  By 1857 when he was 22 years old, he had a nice horse worth $50 and six hogs ~ the beginning of a nice herd.  That same year, James Buchanan became president.  In the 1858 tax list, he is shown with a horse worth $70, and has moved out on his own living at Tellers/Millers/Little/Willow Run [I can't read the writing].

     Then the following January 16, he went a few miles over into Pendleton Co. and got a license to marry pretty Mary Louise Fryer.  They married ten days later.  His two older sisters had already married Fryers.

    Sanford Maddox and his new wife were listed in the 1860 census of Pendleton Co., KY,  living near Flour (sometimes incorrectly spelled Flower) Creek Post Office where the Fryers had been living since the late 1700s.  Perhaps they moved in with his in-laws until he could get settled on a place of his own.  Undoubtedly they were married at this home.  The Fryer house still stands today ~ a two-story cut-stone house that obviously covers logs.  The depth of the outside doorway and windows is a full feet.

   In 1860 the Civil War began.  Many people in northern Kentucky were split on whether they were in favor of slavery or not.  We have never found Civil War records for Sanford Maddox.  Perhaps he provided another service as a civilian such a providing food for the troops, blankets, or etc.  Or perhaps his records were lost.  Or maybe even he paid someone to take his place, which was an acceptable practice then.  In 1861 Abraham Lincoln became president. 

     In 1863 Sanford's first child, Emma, was born.  Also that year on June 6, he purchased 25 acres on the waters of "Flower Creek."

The following year my grandfather, Ulysses Grant Maddox, was born.  The Civil War ended in April 1865.  And on July 10, Sanford sold his 25 acres for $547, a nice profit!  I think part of the price must have been interest, for he sold it pending two payments two years apart.

    With the $567 from his 25 acres plus some he saved the previous two years, Sanford was able to purchase 43-71/100 acres for $800 on Flour Creek in 1868.  He was quite a "wheeler-dealer"!

I made a plat drawing of the land,  using the short eastern and long northern direction of the creek as my orientation.

    Here is a map of Pendleton County.  Thick black marks are county borders.  The small pink triangle in the top center is Sanford's land on Flour Creek Road.  To the right of Sanford's land in pink is Sanford's father's land on Holts Creek in Bracken County, bordering Pendleton Co.

    In 1869, Sanford's son William was born, and Ulysses Grant became president.  The 1870 census shows Sanford with his four children.  Interestingly, his son Ulysses, called Ulysses Grant everywhere else, is listed as Ulysses S. S. indicating he had four given names, the other two probably being his father's names ~ Sanford Samson.  Also, his just-born brother, William, had two middle initials here standing for Tecumseh Sherman.

    The following year, Sanford Maddox came across a deal he couldn't refuse.  A Mr. Foster in Bracken Co., KY ~ probably a son or grandson of the man who sold Sanford's father's and grandfather's land to them upon their arrival in Bracken Co. 35 years earlier ~ had some speculation land up in Illinois he decided he didn't want after all.  The railroad had just gone in there in 1870.  And in 1871 the brand new town of Dahlgren got its first depot.  This was Sanford's chance to get in on the ground floor of a new town.  With Sanford's inherited entrepreneurial spirit, he jumped at the chance and arranged for a straight-across land-trade deal. 

     First, on July 7, 1871, Sanford signed the deed for his 43-71/100 acres in Pendleton Co., KY, over to Mr. Foster. 

In turn, a month later on August 9, Mr. Foster traded to Sanford Maddox his 280 acres in Hamilton Co., IL. Notice, both deeds said the "purchaser" gave him $1200, but it was really a straight-across trade.  And what a deal it was for our Sanford!

    But Sanford probably needed time to bring in his crops before moving away.  Besides, the Ohio River was way too low in the summer or fall for large river craft.  Then perhaps the winter was too harsh to make the move.  Finally in March 1872, he loaded up his belongings on a river barge and headed northwest up the Ohio River to Illinois.  Then he either transferred them to the railroad or went the rest of the way inland with ox wagons.  My grandfather, Grant, was eight years old.

     Sanford's wife's family ~ the Fryers ~ were relatively comfortable with his decision.  After all, even though his siblings and father had moved to east central Illinois in the late 1850s, Sanford had hung back for the sake of his wife and her relatives.  This new land in Hamilton Co. was half way between his father in central Illinois and her parents in northern Kentucky.  Mary could go visit her relatives easily by traveling by train to the Ohio River, then by river boat to her childhood home in Kentucky.

    Surely Sanford planted crops on his 280 acres immediately.  And he probably had a good harvest that August.  But perhaps his wife was getting homesick for her old Kentucky home.  He looked around and saw a brand new town with a brand new depot and knew he could make a go of it here.  (This depot is still standing today.)  He did not want to leave.

    So, as soon as he could get his crops in, Sanford sold his 280 acres  for $2,250 ~ double what he'd "paid" for it, and the equivalent of about two years wages. 

Then he turned right around and bought  35 acres for $500.

     What did he do with the rest of the money?  I believe he used it to build Mary her dream home.  And at least one good barn.  I have a picture provided by Sanford's great grand daughter, Barbara Stafford.  It is Mary Fryer with daughter, Sarah Josephine who lived nearby  They are in front of Sarah Josephine's house ~ a large 2- or 3-story typical farm house painted white.  I found it in 2007.  From the highway going into Dahlgren, turn south to the Preston Cemetery.  Just before the cemetery, turn right and go down that small country road 3-5 miles.  I have a more detailed explanation of road names and a picture of the house itself along with its current address that I will add to this report maybe next year (2009).

   Sanford Maddox must have had a good crop that year.  For the next August of '74, he bought 40 acres more acres for $300. 

The same day, he sold 35 acres of it for $340, another good profit!

Back in 1870, wife Mary's father had died.  Eventually his land was resurveyed and divided up among his widow and children.  On June 27, 1876, Sanford and Mary sold her nine-acre share to her brother, John Fryer, for $150.  I wonder if she wanted to buy something special for herself with the money.  But that August on the 30th, Sanford bought another 40 acres for $400.

On October 11, he sold it for $300.  Did he do this to pay off an urgent debt?  Or was this a mortgage?  I think probably the latter.

    Sanford stopped his land deals for awhile.  Maybe Mary said she'd had enough of his wheeling and dealing, a true Maddox trait.  So he started mining coal on one of his plots.  I wonder which one.  Maybe the local newspaper (which started later) ran ads from him if he sold any of it.  In 1877, Rutherford Hayes became president.  And the little town of Dahlgren continued to grow.

    Sanford Maddox's family appeared in the Shelton Precinct (Township) of Hamilton co., IL, 1880 census.  He now had five children.  James Arthur was born later that year.

    Being away from land deals for four years was as long as our Sanford could stand it.  On May 11, 1881, Sanford Maddox purchased another 40 acres for $400. 

That same day he mortgaged it back to the same person for $600.  That July, he received a quit claim deed for that property from daughter Mary Maddox Cook, the widow of James Cook.  Had Mary's husband purchased the mortgage before his death?

     It is said, "And on the 7th day God rested."  Well, in 1881 Sanford rested.  No more land deals.  Maybe he'd heard enough about his father's and grandfather's overextending themselves to decide he needed to quit while he was ahead.

     Around 1883, his son Sherman died.  And in 1885, Sanford's father, William, died up in Douglas Co., IL.  In 1887, Sanford's daughter, Emma Maddox Shields, died and was buried in the Preston Cemetery nearby. 

   In 1889, my grandfather, Grant Maddox, married.  By that time, Grant had already been investing in land ~ inspired by his father.  Here is a map of the part of Hamilton County that they lived in.  Dahlgren is the larger dark box on the left near the top.  Follow that diagonal road down about 1/2" and you'll see the Preston Cemetery in pale blue. 

Also in 1889, Dahlgren got its first newspaper, The Echo.  I'd love to read some of those old issues.

    In the 1900 census of Dahlgren Twp, Hamilton Co., IL, Sanford and his wife, Mary, were living alone once again, as they had 40 years earlier in the 1860 census of Pendleton Co., KY.

     On January 26, 1910, Sanford and Mary Fryer Maddox celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  I think this photo was their anniversary picture.

   There were many presidents during the last half of Sanford's life.  In 1913, Woodrow Wilson became president.  In 1914 the United States got involved in World War I.  Tragically, in 1916 his son, Grant ~ my grandfather ~ died over in Missouri where he had moved to a few years after his marriage.  What a sad trip it must have been for Sanford and Mary.  Perhaps they couldn't go for the funeral because it was January, but I think they probably took the train.

     Then two years later on January 23, 1918, Samson Sanford Maddox died.  He was 83 years old.  the doctor said on his death certificate that he died of "senility."  This is an old thermofax copy I got around 1967 and some of the ink has faded.

     Sanford's casket was $45.75 and his new suit was $12.50, both purchased at Allen Hardware in Dahlgren.  He was buried in the Preston Cemetery nearby where he had laid his daughter to rest a few years earlier. 

    The following notice was probably printed in the "Dahlgren Echo" newspaper:

SANFORD MADDOX was born in Bracken Co., KY Oct. 28, 1835, died at his home near Preston, Jan. 23, 1918, 82yr, 3 mo, 25 days.  He was married in Mary L. Fryer, Pendleton Co., KY, January 26, 1860.
     To this union were born six children:  Emma, Dahlgren, Ill; Grant, Puxico,Mo; Nancy Cook of Mt. Vernon; Sherman; Mrs. Sarah Glover, Dahlgren; Arthur, Puxico, Mo.  Emma, Grant and Sherman have preceded him to that better world.  He has raised one grand daughter, Mrs. Cora Tolley, of Springfield, Minnesota.
     Moved to Hamilton Co. March 4, 1872.  Mr. Maddox enjoyed good health up to about foiur weeks before his death.  His living children came to his bedside and did all their loving hands could do.
     Mr. Maddox, while making no open profession of religion, lived a good life.  He was a good neighbor, and ready to lend a helping hand.  He was a loving husband and a kind father.  He leaves his aged wife, 3 children, 30 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, 1 brother in California, 1 sister in Indiana, and a host of friends to mourn his departure.
     the funeral was preached by Eld. J. H. Allen and the body laid to rest in Preston.

   Sanford left no will and died owing $800, probably on his land.  His real estate inventory dated March 18, 1918, showed his land was worth $2,000.  There are about 100 papers in his estate settlement filed at the Hamilton Co., IL, courthouse.  Widow Mary hired an attorney to handle everything, and he paid himself over $500 for the year required to sell the land and pay off debts.  Below is a public notice of the same, listing his heirs including some grandchildren of their Maddox parent had died young.  His widow was given $600.  I don't think his children and grandchildren got anything.


Emma B.
Nancy America
William Tecumseh Sherman
Sarah Josephine
James Arthur