The Maddox & Swann Family of Maryland

The most interesting and controversial Maddox family member is my 6th Great Grandfather Notley Maddox (1698-1757) and his eldest son John. My 6th Great Grandfather was the son of Notely Maddox and Margaret Goldsmith. He married Mary Warren the daughter of John Warren and Judith Townley. They had four known sons, John, Notley, Charles and William.

The telling of a family history starts with documented facts. The documents are analyzed using tools like a time-line and knowledge of the history and the law of the time that surrounded the documents. It is sometimes necessary to “read between the lines” when analyzing the documents, in order to tell the story. Thus, I will start with the will of my 6th Great Grandfather, who warned his sons to, “rest satisfied with what providence they enabled me to do for them; And to live in dutiful obedience to their Mother and in brotherly love and affection, without strife and wrangling amongst themselves.”

Apparently, Notley was concerned that his sons would argue over the content of his will. In an attempt to avoid any misinterpretation he ordered the following, “Nor would I have any exceptions -- at what few words of interlineation there may be in the premisses since the sense is according to my intention.” Notley obviously did not want his sons to change his intent by “reading between the lines” and make their own interpretation. You see Notley willed his property to one of his youngest sons, William. At that time in history the eldest son, who was John, was the recipient of his father’s property. Why did Notley decide to choose a younger son and not the eldest? There must have been a very good reason.

For what ever reason, Notley chose William as the heir of his estate and not his eldest son John. In retribution John contested the will saying that, “said Deceased was not in his perfect mind & senses & the said writing is defective in other aspects & by the Laws of the Land, ought not be established as the Last Will of the said Deceased.” One witness to the will, James Buchanan agreed, “who say's that he apprehended the deceased senses were wavering and that he was not requested by the deceased to sign and now John Maddox the heir at law objects to the said Will being proved therefore it is referred to his Honor.” Notley Maddox’s will was never recorded. His widow, Mary, administered the estate in probate. The heir of the eldest son, John, inherited the estate after the death of his mother.

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