John W. Maddox
1771 ~ 1825

Once in the Kentucky wilderness, John would put away his gentleman's clothing and wear the more durable buckskins.

   Our grandfather, John W. Maddox, was born October 11, 1771, according to the Family Bible in possession of Elmer Maddox of Kansas City, MO, and copied by Harold Maddox in 1965 (before photocopiers).  John's wife, Elizabeth L., was born February 17, 1769. 

John was born in Virginia and Elizabeth was born in Maryland, according to the statement of son William in the 1880 census of Douglas Co., IL.    However, I believe John was actually born in Maryland like his wife; he may have just talked about living in Virginia since he did much of his growing up there.  John's middle initial comes from his enlistment in the War of 1812, and Elizabeth's middle initial comes from the 1826 tax list of Lewis Co., KY.  At the time of John's birth ~ the middle 1700s ~ George III was King of America.

    When John was five years old, the American colonists declared their independence from English rule.  His father, George, was a soldier in that war.  How he and his brothers, sisters and mother must have worried while he was gone fighting for their freedom.  But the war ended in 1781 and John's father was back home.  In 1789 George Washington became the first president of the new nation.  In 1797 John Adams became the second president.

     A search of the 1790 tax list/census of Virginia showed John in Fauquier Co.,  John W. in Hanover Co. and John Sr. & Jr. in Goochland Co.  All Johns have been accounted for by other families except for John in Fauquier Co.  John Maddox/Mattox was in both the Personal Tax List A and B of Fauquier Co. on the same page as father George and Nathon.  (Was Nathan a son of George?)  Others in this Tax List were Richard, Thomas and Lazarus Maddux who I believe were not related, being descendants of Alexander.  

     John and Elizabeth were married around 1792.  While still in Virginia, children born to them were John c. 1793 (named after Elizabeth's father?), George in 1795 (named after John's father), Benjamin in 1797 (named after George's uncle) and Thomas in 1800.  [Source:  Family Bible]     

    The 1800 tax list/census of Fauquier Co., VA, lists George Maddox and his brother "John (son of George."  This distinguished this John from the John who was son of Thomas Maddux in that county.  Although father George was not in this tax list as head of a household (moved in with a grown child?), he did sign a petition in December 1801.  I believe he died right after that. 

     Now his sons had no reason to stay in Virginia if they wanted to leave.  They'd heard great things about the newly-opened Kentucky territory since land patents were granted there to Virginia Revolutionary War soldiers as pay.  Further, a boy who grew up in Fauquier Co. had become the first white settler in north central Kentucky, and he was urging the families back home to join him there.  His name was Simon Kenton.

     So John loaded his family and necessities onto a barge and floated up the Rappahannock River that bordered Fauquier Co. until it reached the Ohio River, then down the Ohio deep into Kentucky territory.  
He unloaded in Mason County, then went inland one county to Fleming where he settled. 

     Simon Kenton, the "Daniel Boone" of north central Kentucky (and close friend of Boone) had been the first permanent white settler here over 20 years earlier.  He always met new settlers coming down the Ohio, sometimes protecting them from Indian raids, and often guiding them to their new property.  Hundreds of settlers were killed on the Ohio by Indians before reaching Kentucky.  Our John Maddox's family had taken the chance and had survived.

     After Kenton explained basic survivals skills in this new and sometimes dangerous frontier, he may have stayed around long enough to help John build a lean-to for shelter.  It typically was composed of upright logs on three sides, branches on the roof, and open on the fourth side until he could clear some land and build a proper cabin.  There, too, he probably put away his city clothes and even his Virginia farmer clothes, and began wearing the buckskins that did not tear in the heavily forested new land.

  However, Indian threats continued.  Stories of neighbors being attacked and either scalped or taken prisoner circulated.  Although local men regularly patrolled to protect their families in earlier years, they now decided to form an official militia for the State of Kentucky and for their county in particular. 

     In 1802 John Maddox signed up as as Ensign in the Mason and Bracken 28th Regiment of the "Corn Stalk Militia." 
Militias defended their own territory, and this one was so called because they patrolled among the corn fields of Mason and Bracken Counties at night, and even folded corn stalks over to look like rifles when seen from a distance.

    Until the end of the War of 1812 in 1815, the British at Fort Detroit hired Indians from as far north as Canada and as far south as Ohio to kill or capture settlers in Kentucky.  They were paid $5 per scalp (a fortune then).  There are extremely interesting historic novels about Simon Kenton at this time as well as George Rogers Clark that covers this.

    In 1808 John Maddox was on the Fleming Co., KY, tax list with 1 taxable white male 21+, 1 taxable white male 16+, 2 horses and 50 acres on Fleming Creek in Allison's Patent with a proper log house such as those at the Cane Brake in the little town of Washington created by Simon Kenton a few miles north.  The younger taxable would have been John's oldest son John now about 15 or 16.  In 1809 and 1810 tax lists showed the same thing, listed under John Matocks.  And in 1809, James Madison became president.

    Also in that tax list was George B. Maddux, John's brother, who seems to have immigrated here from Virginia shortly after John in 1803.    Son Wilson was born in 1810, and daughter Fanny was born in early 1812.

    But things were getting worse with the British who had changed their minds about handing over half a continent to the upstart American colonists 30 years earlier.  They had begun invading the border areas up around Canada and on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.  And, as usual, they had their hired Indians.  This was the War of 1812. 

     So on September 1, 1812, John W. Maddox enlisted as a Sargeant Major in Lt. Colonel Barbour's Sixth Regiment of the Kentucky Militia.  He left the service, however, on October 20 when John N. Turner took his place, probably being paid by Major Maddox to do so (which was allowed and often done then).  He sure gave up a snazzy uniform!

   John Maddox continued on the Fleming Co., KY, tax list each year with the same information as in 1808 until 1813.  Then in 1814, there appeared a second taxable white male over 21.  He was taxed the same in 1815. 

     Also in 1815 on May 9, John purchased 7 acres from Joseph Wilson for 20 pounds on Wilson Run next to Simon Carpenter's land.  My guess is that he already owned the land and had built a good cabin and out buildings on it, but didn't get around to filing the deed until now.

Here is a map of Fleming Co. showing Wilson Creek and what would later become known as Maddox Pike.  Today it is east off Hwy. 57 along the eastern branches of Wilson Run.  It climbs gradually, makes a sharp turn to the south, and ends at the north edge of Pea Ridge.

   In April of 1816, John purchased 44 acres from Joseph Wilson at $8 per acre or $352.

     The next February on the 8th, John signed a note to George Truitt for $400  to be repaid September 1, 1820.    Was he trying to start a business?  Was he building a fancier house so he could have a tavern in it like his ancestors had done, perhaps like his father had done, and like his son William would some day do?  In those days, it was Kentucky law that a tavern be in a house with the owner living there along with any family he had.

    By the time John was taxed the next summer, he was listed as one taxable white male over 21 with 47+ acres on Allison's patent and 47 acres on Shepherd's patent.  This 94 acres, plus the first 7 acres, adds up to 101 acres.

     Also that year, daughter Elizabeth married Nathaniel Sweet who lived in that area around Pea Ridge.  and JamesMonroe became President of the United States.

     In 1818,  John sued Joseph Wilson who had sold him the 44 acres in 1815 because Wilson would not give him the rent corn that Simon Carpenter had planted on 5-3/4 acres of it.  In June the verdict came back in favor of Mr. Maddox.

    On February 9, 1819, John Madux signed over personal property and 103 acres on the North Fork of the Licking River to neighbor Simon Carpenter to secure a note/mortgage for the sum of $860 to John and Samuel Gault.  It was to be repaid September 1823 and 1824.  If not repaid, all was to be sold at auction at the courthouse.  Was John trying to keep his business going?  What made him so sure of himself that he would mortgage everything he owned for his new enterprise?

    On October 5, John and Elizabeth sold their 7 acres on Wilson Run to T. W. Fleming.  It surely was worth a great deal with a good house and barns and perhaps a business on it since he sold it for $200.  Had he built a much nicer home on his other acreage and did not need this one any more?   Or did he start a new business venture?

   John's son, Benjamin, married in December that year.  He was under age and his father had to sign consent for him to marry.  Did he marry early to ease some of the financial pressures on his father?

    By 1820, John's financial situation  seems to have become shakey.  Did John and Elizabeth leave the area for awhile.  He was not in the census for 1820 in Mt. Carmel Precinct (Pea Ridge), Fleming Co.  Instead, on pg. 31, a younger John (b. 1775-1794 ~ John Jr. was b. 1792 and would have been 28) was head of household with a male 19-25, and four males 10-15.  Also on page 31 was John's other son, Benjamin Maddux (b. 1794-1804), and a couple of other Madduxes that may or may not have been related ~ Matthew (b. 1776-1793) and Walter (b. 1725 or before).  (Actually I think they were related to Zorobable Maddux in that county, a descendant of immigrant Alexander.)  Here is a picture of Maddox Pike Road in Mt. Carmel Precinct leading up into Pea Ridge where they lived.

   Had John and Elizabeth gone back to Virginia to try to secure some more financial backing?  Was his business not turning out as he had hoped?  Had there been a fire or tornado?  His note for over $400 came due in September as well as his note for over $800 due later, and he knew he could not pay it.

     On August 21, a subpoena was left at the house of John to answer suit of George Truitt that he had not repaid the $400 note.

I did not see anything in the court records about the note for over $800 that would come due soon and no way to pay.  What I did see is that everything he owned was ordered to be sold at auction ~ his land, furniture, house ~ everything.

  But it was only a temporary setback for our entrepreneurial grandfather, John Maddox.  He just went north a few miles across the county line and resettled in Lewis Co.  He was on the 1821 tax list as Madden with no first name, with one taxable white male over 21 and one horse.

     He was even appointed one of the commissioners to "lay out a road 
from the mouth of Grassy Creek on Kinney [Kinneyconick Creek]; thence up Kinney to the head and over the ridge to Mudlick; thence down same to the North Fork [of the Licking River]."  People whose property touched various roads were always commissioned to build and maintain them.   Once built, John and Ben Maddux along with others in the area were "allotted as hands on a Kinny road" according to the Order Book of the County Commissioners.  (See red and purple lines on Lewis County map below.  Note Ohio River on the north.)

Grassy Creek is the green line in the middle of the map.  Kinneyconick Creek is the green line on the right of the map.

Grassy Creek

    Interestingly, the father of future president, Ulysses S. Grant, lived along Grassy Creek with tanning yards.  In fact, I think Grant was born here.  John's grandson, Sanford, named a son Ulysses Grant Maddox (my grandfather).

    The 1822 tax list of Lewis Co., KY, is missing.  But John showed up in the 1823 tax list with one taxable white male over 21 and 2 horses.  Also on the tax list was son, Benjamin Maddox.  And in 1823, his son Thomas married.

     In 1824 he was taxed for 3 horses.  Also that year, daughter Rachel married Hezekiah Griffith.  The Griffith family had immigrated there from Fauquier Co., VA, also.

     In August, John Maddox was appointed overseer of the road from Bear Branch to James Silvey's on the Kinniconnick Creek south of Silver Lick Branch. 

   The summer of 1825, John Maddox was on the Lewis Co. tax list with just one horse.  Did he lose one other horse while building that road along those precariously steep hills near him?  Had he given a horse to Rachel as a wedding gift?  Also on that tax list living nearby was son William, my gr gr grandfather.

     But that November or December, John died.  Was it from pneumonia?  Weak lungs run in our Maddox family.  Did he die of injuries working on that extremely steep and winding road?  It's even difficult to drive on today.  He was 55 years old.  His youngest child, Fanny, was 13 years old.  John's wife Elizabeth and son-in-law Hezekiah Griffith were appointed administrators of his estate. 

   John had managed to get back on his feet.  Surely when he sold his corn and wheat he planned to buy some more furniture.  He had a few hogs, sheep, cattle, and some farming equipment.  He also had 130 bushels and 250 barrels of corn still in storage, along with 500 pounds of hay.  He was surely living in a fertile little valley among those steep hills of Lewis County, probably renting between Bear Branch and Silver Lick, offshoots of the Kinneyconick Creek.  By the way, "kinneyconick" was a local Indian term for ceremonial tobacco.

    In March, son William married. 

     Elizabeth was in the tax list the summer of 1826, listed as "Elizabeth L. Maddox (widow)" with 1 horse.  Also on that list nearby was son William.

     On October 29, 1826, nearly a year later, John's estate was sold.   Perhaps they gave widow Elizabeth that extra year so her sons could plant one last crop.  Present at the sale were Elizabeth, and sons Thomas and William Maddox.  Other purchasers were Hezekiah Griffith (John's son-in-law) Patterson Brandenburg (William's future brother-in-law), James Hughbanks (another future brother-in-law) and other neighbors.  Interestingly, those John owed money to in Fleming County did not file claims against John's estate.  They left widow Elizabeth alone. 

    In the inventory is written Elizabeth Burris, then Burris is crossed out and Maddox written in.  I wonder if the clerk was thinking of another Elizabeth when he wrote it, or that had been her maiden name?  It also said she was of the Town of Clarksburg.  (Today Clarksburg is in NC Lewis Co. on Salt Like, SW of Vanceburg [on the Ohio River] and on Hwy. 9.)  Did she go live with daughter Elizabeth or Rachel?  Husband John never took care of roads in that part of Lewis Co., so never lived there.

     Elizabeth bought back her furniture.  Also one luxury ~ a looking glass and [dressing] table.  And the Family Bible.  I tend to think that is the family Bible that was owned by Elmer Maddox in Kansas City in the 1960s and copied by Harold Maddox.      Elizabeth's name and date of birth is listed first; husband John's is second; then their children.  

{I have been looking for Elmer Maddox (who may not still be living) or his children to see if I can find the actual Bible and take pictures of it.}

     In 1827 Elizabeth Maddox was on the tax list with one horse.  Nearby was son William.  The following year she was gone, but William was still there.  I'll bet she moved in with William or Thomas, or with one of her daughters.  Son Benjamin was in Ohio by this time.

    Apparently now, the entire family moved away, just as John had moved from Virginia to Kentucky after his father's death.  Benjamin was in SC Ohio.  Elizabeth and the rest of her children moved across the Ohio River to Clermont Co., OH, a state that was just opening up to new settlers.  In the 1830 census she was identified as Betsey.  Sons Thomas, Lewis and William, along with dtrs. Rachael and Elizabeth were there. 

     In 1840 she was in Clinton Co., IL, the next state opening up to settlement.  Living next door was Martha in the same age category as Elizabeth.  Was she a sister-in-law? 

    I do not know where Elizabeth was in 1850.  Had she gone back to Kentucky or Virginia to visit relatives?  In 1860 she was in Douglas Co., IL, where son Benjamin had moved.  She was now 90 years of age.  Oh the stories she could tell ~ of Maryland and the Revolutionary War, of Virginia and fertile lands, of Kentucky and the Indians, of Ohio and the latest frontier.  On August 27, 35 years after her husband's death, Elizabeth died.  She was 91 years old.  Her tombstone there in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery says "Elizabeth wife of John Maddox."