Lincoln Assassination

I have an article written by my grandfather (John William Maddox) about his father (John Napoleon Maddox 1872-1945, son of Joseph Maddox).  It is a short article, about 2 pages.  But it does speak of a Maddox link to the assasination of Lincoln.
                                  Steve Maddox

John "Poly" Napoleon Maddox

 by John William Maddox

 John Napoleon Maddox, known as “Poly”, was born May 21, 1872 near Hopkinsville, Kentucky.   When asked of his nationality, his answer was “Kentucky Corn Cracker”.  When he was four years old, his Mother (Susan M. Jones) passed away.  Shortly after his Mother’s death, he was brought to Crawford County, Illinois.  Several Maddox’s had already migrated to the Heathsville area.  At age eight, his Father (Joseph Maddox)  passed away.

 Poly had two full sisters, Viola and Ruth.  (also half brothers which will be discussed later)  No history is available of Ruth.  Viola was taken to a foster house at Lickskillete and soon moved to around Atlanta, Georgia.  Poly and his sister Viola did not see one another for around forty years.

Poly went to a foster home to live with Mrs. Roena (Grandma) Magille (12-16-1839 – 4-7-1928).  Her husband had been killed in the Civil War, but his body was not brought back to Illinois.  Here, Poly was to receive room and board and at age twenty-one he was to receive twenty dollars plus a horse and buggy.  This they did plus selling him sixteen and one half acres off the east side of their farm.  Here he built a house, barn and out building and spent most of his adult years, except a short time living east of Robinson and a short time at 404 E. Harrison Street, Palestine, where he died.

At nine years of age Poly broke a leg and during this time of healing he pieced a quilt. His foster parents consisted of Grandma Magill, her son Byron (5-18-1859 – 12-26-1943), daughter Nancy Laura (12-31-1861 – 5-25-1928) who was a deaf mute that was seldom seen by visitors at the Magill home, a daughter Ida who married a White.

Poly's First Marriage

In the early 1890’s, Poly married Francis D. Gaines 12-24-1878 – 1-22-1908.  Fanny’s mother was a sister to Asa Lackey, Mrs. Elias Brashears father.

To Poly and Fanny were born four children, Lloyd J (6-15-1896 – 1-1-1970), Francis Leroy (6-19-1899 – 1976), Irene Diana (Lolyth) (9-16-1903), Milford (7-1906 – 4-9-1942).

Fannie’s mother was living in the home.  Fannie died when Milford was two years of age.  For a few years Poly kept the family together, then he hired Martha Jane (Mattie) Cook to stay in the house as housekeeper.  Fannie’s mother died in the home.  Mattie cared for her until her death.

Poly's Second Marriage

On October 23, 1915 Poly and Mattie (10-17-1892 – 11-28-1979) were married.  Six years later they had their first child, Leo Eugene (Jack) (11-21-1921 – 4-10-1942).  Leo died as the result of a car wreck in Gary, Indiana.  His half brother, Milford was also killed in this accident.  They ran into the rear of a semi-trailer that was stopped at a rail road crossing in the early morning of 4-9-1942.  A double funeral at Goodwine Funeral Home in Palestine preceded the burial in Grace Methodist Cemetery.
Jane Elizabeth (Jill) 9-3-1923, Viole Ruth 2-15-1926, John William 7-1-1929 are their other three children.  (Ed. Note:  John William Maddox is the author of this article.)

Mattie was a Practical Registered Nurse. She cared for many people in her lifetime.  She will ever be remembered for her kind and loving care and readiness to help those who were down or in need.

The Assassination Conspiracy

One of Poly’s half brothers was named Wes.  Since Kentucky and Missouri chose to be neutral states in the Civil War, the men of these states could choose which side they fought.  Poly had half brothers who fought with the South and some fought for the North.  Poly told of a brother who was in on the conspiracy to kill Lincoln.  They pricked their fingers and signed in blood that whoever was caught, suffered the penalty and would not tell who the others were.  John Wilkes Booth fell and broke a leg and was listed as the killer of Lincoln, but Poly said his brother was holding a fresh horse by a creek close to Washington.  The real killer took this fresh horse and rode off…his name and destination unknown.

According to history, this story is logical.  The 1980 World Almanac, page 710 states four co-conspirators were hung July 7, 1865 and John Wilkes Booth was reported dead April 26, 1865, but the Booth family in northern Illinois claim that John Wilkes Booth was their relation, and that they have proof that he migrated to another state, married and raised a family.  This Tim Booth Family in Zion is trying to clear the Booth name of the actual killing of Lincoln.

According the history Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set Booths leg only as a doctor caring for a patient, was convicted as a conspirator in the death of Lincoln because the officials could not find the real assassin and Dr. Mudd himself reported to authorities he had doctored Booths leg.  Dr. Mudd was convicted, almost died in prison at the Federal Sharks Prison.  During an outbreak of yellow fever in the prison, when he could have escaped, he stayed and was responsible for breaking up this epidemic of yellow fever in the prison.  He was promised a parole for his heroism but a new commander of the prison refused.  His wife, never losing faith and love, gained an audience with President Johnson, who signed his parole.  The Mudd family through the years have tried to clear their name.  Most of them are in or around Ann Arbor of Detroit, Michigan.  President Carter, after over one hundred years, has given a full pardon to Dr. Samuel Mudd.

We do not know the full names of Poly’s brothers due to the many Maddox’s, nor can we get the information necessary to prove our story.

Poly was over six feet tall, weighed around two hundred pounds, later in life had white short hair, like to play cards as a pass time, always working his way toward the light of a window in the day time or to the kerosene lamp at night, taking the card table with him.  The ones playing with him would have to scoot their chairs every once in a while to keep close to the table.  He was bothered with head aches and dizziness later in life.

Poly was proud of his family and did not ask much for himself.  He wore bib overalls, was a loving father who did a lot of hard work in his time.  Like Paul, (in the Bible) he seemed to be content in whatever state he was in.  Poly seemed to fit the poem “The House by the Side of the Road”  He was a friend of man and lived in a house by the side of the road.