St Marys Cnty Md



St. Mary's County looks like a peninsula with the Potomac River on the west and Chesapeake Bay on the east.  Across the wide Potomac is nearby Virginia.  Immediately to the north is Charles County and further northwest is what is now greater Washington D.C.

St. Mary's County

One sees a colonial charm and lovely landscape with hills, valleys and lowlands, and a great deal of coastal area with a few off-shore islands.  St. Mary's City was the capital of the province (1634-1695) until it was moved northeast to Annapolis.

There are many early settlements associated with St. Mary's County: the town of  St. Mary's itself which has disappeared; Chaptico, the third settlement; and the small hamlet of Maddox, named for the family.  Today, nothing much remains of Maddox since the post office was moved to Chaptico.  A green road sign reminds us that once Maddox was a thriving community.

St. Clement's Manor, granted to Dr. Thomas Gerard, no longer exists; but All Saints Episcopal Church remains in the town of Avenue on Rt. 242 as you drive toward St. Clement's Island and the Potomac River Museum at Colton's Point.  Dr. Gerard, a Catholic, built it for his wife, an Anglican, as a place where she and her servants could worship.

Potomac River Museum traces the history of life along the Potomac River through archeological and cultural exhibits.  A large cross on St. Clement's Island marks the landing of the first colonists in 1634.  The island is only accessible by boat.
 

Finding Samuel Maddox's home

Larry Maddox, of Liberty MO has traveled frequently throughout the United States and Wales in search of his Maddox roots.  Here is his account after his first trip to south Maryland's St. Mary's Parish, where the Sam Maddox line began in this country:

Signs of Maddox remain

On our first trip back to Maryland,  we were fortunate to find the fall festival going on at the Chaptico church.  Progenitor Samuel Maddox and his earliest descendants worshipped there.  The church's stained glass window is proof enough of that.
We took our first drive down Maddox Road taking in every view and vista, wondering what it was must have been like in 1665 for old Samuel at this very place   We already knew the town of Maddox is long gone but Chaptico's Christ Church remains and a we found the signs for The Festival at the church.  We followed it to the church, saw the "Maddox Window" and the old church graveyard.  We oohed and aaahed and took it all in.

Afterward, we drove down the road looking for the Maddox Post Office and the Green Springs Farm where Samuel had lived.  We never found the town post office and I was disappointed.  But after all, it's been three hundred years. I reread the land description I'd brought along to guide us.  The Chaptico wharf road corner had to be the place!

Asking around for help...

I stopped my red Explorer at one of the houses there at the corner, and went up to the door.   Surely they will know if this was Maddox.   A smiling young black face greeted me, a little boy.  I introduced myself as Mr. Maddox and I was wondering if this was the old Post Office of Maddox?   Just a minute, he said and disappeared into the house.  Then the youngster returned with what must have been his mother.   Mr. Maddox, I would like you to meet Mrs. Maddox!!!   It turns out she had once been married to a Mr. Maddox.  And yes indeed, this was old town of Maddox!   But not much is left now and the resident here now had little to offer about history of the area 300 years before.

If we were to learn any more,  it would have to be at the fall festival.  We drove back to the church and saw several hundred people there.  Where were we to start?  My wife Rosalyn went one way and I went the other. Quick check with the minister offered no help but then, there was my wife Rosalyn beckoning me over to her.  She was talking to someone, and when I met them, a Mr. Raley introduced himself, and also his son, Samuel "Maddox" Raley.  My heart jumped.  It turns out his mother was the last postmistress of Maddox, Maryland.  We ask a few questions.  "Yes", they said, Green Springs Farm was indeed south of the church down Maddox Road and on a bluff, just before Chaptico Wharf Road.  He also thought Indian Fields were on the north side of the wharf road and Green Springs was on the south.  What a find!

It amazed me that the “Maddoxes” were so well thought of, and  that the women kept the Maddox in their name.  They were suitably impressed though, that I was an actual Maddox--not a Maddox "something".

Now that we were a little more sure where Green Springs actually was, we started our search for the Samuel Maddox homestead.   We saw a man with a gun coming out of the heavy brush of the bluff, so we stopped.  The hunter came walking up to the rear of my Explorer and I introduced myself as Mr. Maddox and I told him we were looking for old Green Springs Farm. He said in a heavy Maryland accent, "I see you are."  My Missouri license plate reading, "Maddox." gave that away, sure enough.   And with a big smile, he pointed up the bluff and said this is Green Springs.  His name is Mr. Latham, and he leases old Green Springs--all but ten acres where the old house stood.  He told us the house property is still owned by an elderly woman who he thought might now be in a nursing home. We asked permission for a look see and he said he thought that would be fine.   He pointed out an old driveway to the top of the bluff; this was very nearly totally overgrown.  Because it was getting dark, we set our plans on an early morning expedition.

Finding the family farm

The next morning we arrived back at Green Springs on a very bright and sunny morning.  We pulled off the road  into the old driveway.  Once off the road, you could see the remains of an old gatepost and what was left of an old wooden fence and the driveway disappeared up the hill into the weeds.  It was very rough, but I would try to drive up, at least as far as I could go.

At about 200 feet up, there was some old boxwood lining the drive! And we wouldn't be able to go much further. Nearly at the top, the driveway turned left and was impassable.   We bailed out of our Explorer and, filled with anticipation we took off on foot.  It’s so overgrown up there, we couldn't see much.  After all, there was no tourist sign leading us to the Maddox house that we so wanted to find.    Now, instead of low brush to make our search easier, we found much taller trees that obscured our view.  On the ground, we saw bits of junk and trash scattered around in the weeds. We trampled on. The top of the hill was flat, and under the weeds, we saw sandy soil.

About twenty five yards into the woods, we spotted an old barn-like out-building.  As we moved closer, we saw it was mostly still standing and we wondered and hoped this would be a real find!   What was it?  Just a shed?  An old slave quarters?   This could not have ever been a house.  We were deep in the woods.   So we shot a few pictures and looked around more.  Without the trees it would have been a good view to Chaptico River over a mile away.   There are still some fields nearby but no house and so we wondered which way was it back to the car.  We started back in the direction of the Explorer and here was more boxwood that caught our attention!   And there, through the weeds and trees, we spotted the red color of our old trusty Explorer.  But wait. Within fifty feet of us was a roof collapsed to the ground!

An 18 hundred mile drive from Kansas City to Maryland and we had stopped within 50 feet of it.  We almost missed it!    I guess the house has been empty since 1947 and had collapsed and was burnt.  It had fallen into its own basement.  About one quarter of the house still stood--probably a porch or a back entrance.  It was painted white with small columns.  We could see clapboards which were white.

Mr. Raley’s words came back, when he said he could still remember old Captain Maddox sitting out in the front of the big old white house on the bluff.  I handed my camera over to Rosalyn and worked my way around the whole house just looking.  It was hard work to move around because of the weeds and brush. I was almost all the way around when I came to the remains of a chimney with piles of bricks.   I thought I must have some of those old bricks from Green Springs!   My Grand Dad  (Samuel Everett Maddox) spent the last 15 years of a short life making bricks in Weir, Kansas.  I wondered,  how much history is here...how old are these old bricks?   I don't know, but I have a few as souvenirs to go along with my pictures.
                                               

    - - by Larry Maddox

St Mary's has a Unique History

The entire area is a rich archeological site because its land has been undeveloped in modern times.  Since it's off the beaten trail on what they call the Western Shore of the Bay, it is only now becoming a tourist area but residents are proud of the County's heritage.
  • Historic St Mary's City  has been a National Historic Landmark since 1968.  It is an 800-acre outdoor history museum which includes the replica of the square-rigged ship "Dove", reconstructed state house and a tobacco plantation.
  • Chaptico is site of Christ Church with a story so interesting we have devoted two pages to it.
  • Politically, it was the first successful Proprietary Colony in English America.
  • It contained the first Catholic Chapel (1635) and first practiced the separation of church from state in the nation with the Maryland Assembly's Act of 1649, establishing religious tolerance.
  • The first request for the right to vote from a woman in America was here--Margaret Brent in 1647.
  • It recorded the first black vote in a legislature--Mathias de Sousa, 1642.
    The county saw colonial wars with Indians, the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

    Maddox men found in History of St. Mary's County, 1634-1990

    American Revolutionary War

    The county militia, consisted of two battalions, an Upper Battalion and a Lower Battalion, so named to designate their location in the county.  Each battalion was comprised of nine companies.  In August 1777, a commission was issued to Second Lieut. Samuel MADDOX and he was assigned to the Upper Battalion

    War of 1812

    Hundreds of St. Mary's County men served in the military forces during the War of 1812.  Pvt. Samuel MADDOX was assigned to Capt. Thomas Blakiston's Company; also John MADDOX and Sam MADDOX were assigned to Capt. William T. Lee's Company. Ensign James MADDOX and Pvt. Edward MADDOX were assigned to Captain Thomas G. Neale's Company of the 45th Regiment, St. Mary's County.  Ensign William T. MADDOX was assigned to Capt. William Bean's Company and also assigned to Capt. Enoch J. Millard's Company, 12th Regiment, St. Mary's County, which was comprised of men from the southern half of St. Mary's County.  One other Maddox mentioned was Captain MADDOX who served in other units.

    Mexican War

    The United States declared war on Mexico in May 1846, a war that was fought by recruits from the then twenty-nine states.  Men from St. Mary's County, Maryland comprised a small group of that volunteer army. Second Lieut. Joseph H. MADDOX was commissioned on February 17, 1847.

    Civil War

    The January 3, 1861, Beacon carried the following notice:

    Volunteers wanted.  Citizens of the County desirous of uniting in formation of a Calvalry Company are requested to leave their name at the store of Messrs. Simms and MADDOX in this village (Leonardtown).

    The August 22, 1861, issue of the St. Mary's Beacon reported "Another Federal Visit:  About 200 marines and sailors were landed from the steamboats "Freeborn," "Baltimore," and Resolute," entered Leonardtown, and made a thorough search of dwellings and adjacent buildings.  On September 5, it was reported that Federal marines had surrounded the house of Joseph M. MADDOX  near Herring Creek and had arrested Joseph M. and Thomas H. MADDOX.   Lieut. Joseph H. MADDOX served on detached duty during the Civil War.  He died at his home in Alexandria, Virginia on May 4, 1887.  Ref: Pension application #4889, Certificate #23, Mexican War Pensions under Act of January 29, 1887.  National Archives, Washington, D.C.
    His lineage:
    Samuel MADDOX & Ann Notley
    Notley MADDOX & Margaret Goldsmith
    Notley MADDOX & Mary Warren
    John MADDOX & Elizabeth Jennifer
    Col. John MADDOX & Martha Harris
    William Theobolt MADDOX & Ann Marie King
    Joseph Harris MADDOX.  He married Laura Elizabeth Williams

    Maddoxes who held office in State Government

    In 1798 the Maryland Legislature passed an act authorizing the governor to appoint a seven-man Levy Court as administrators of county government.  This act continued in effect for St. Mary's County until 1839.  William T. MADDOX  was appointed in 1830.  In 1818 he was listed as St. Mary's County sheriff.  In 1843 he was appointed as Clerk of the Circuit Court.  The clerk's position since colonial times has been one of prestige and many duties.  The title "Clerk of the Circuit Court" originated with the Maryland Constitution in 1851.  A five-member Board of County Commissioners form of government remained in effect in St. Mary's County until 1892.  In 1853 and 1855  Edmund  S. T. MADDOX was elected to district #4.  It was reported in the St. Mary's Beacon on May 20, 1876 that Senator MADDOX died in office.  He was a member of the St. Mary's County Bar and served as state senator.  Mr. George Fred MADDOX was elected State's Attorney for St. Mary's County in 1863.  He was also elected to the Maryland Senate in 1866, 1867 and 1869.  House of Delegates:  Samuel MADDOX was a representative in the House of Delegates during the period 1821-1822. St. Mary's County marine police included William H. MADDOX.

    Postmaster

    Maddox Post Office, named for a family "native" to St. Mary's County since the 1660's, was established in 1892.  The post office was officially discontinued in 1960, but each day the mail was brought to Maddox from Chaptico and Elsie S. Raley, clerk in charge, continued to provide postal facilities and services for the people of that area. That service ended in July 1990 when Mrs. Raley retired.  George William MADDOX was appointed Postmaster of Maddox, Maryland on August 23, 1892.

    World War I

    Listed as a St. Mary's County Maryland veteran extracted from Maryland in the World War 1917-1919 (Maryland War Records Commission, Baltimore, 1933): William Jennings MADDOX, Address: Maddox, MD, Place of Birth:  Maddox, MD, Birth Date or age at date of Ind: 4-5-98, Service: United States Army, Page: 1310.

    Clifton Factory, Great Mills, MD

    Machinery for the "manufacture of cotton, woolen, and grist, and a weavinghouse, sulphur house, sawmill and a 60 ft. long tannery.  The property also included an eleven-room "tavern" with kitchen, smokehouse, dairy, stables, tailor's house and shop, a dwelling house, four other houses for hands, a three-room storehouse, 520 acres of land, cotton yarn, raw cotton, corn, wheat, cart, oxen, and many other miscellaneous items.  Although the company's assets were liquidated to settle the lawsuit, Clifton Factory continued to operate as a cotton factory.  In 1860 the business was incorporated under the name of The Clifton Manufacturing Company, Inc. with the capital stock valued at $25 per share.  One of the incorporators was Joseph H. MADDOX.  However, this attempt to execute a revival for Clifton Factory was unsuccessful.

    (Exerpted from HISTORY OF ST. MARY'S COUNTY, MARYLAND 1634 - 1990, Copyright 1991, By Regina
    Combs Hammett (Second printing 1994) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 91-91849)

    St Mary's City Official website

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