Alabama Maddox's & History


In March of 1817, Congress divided the Mississippi Territory, and in December of that year the western portion became the state of Mississippi.  The portion east of the new state became Alabama Territory.


The greater portion of the new territory was still in the possession of the Indians.  The very heart of the area became, by treaty, the property of the United States Government.  Alabama was "good land."  The things that make it so are excellent climate, an abundance of water, superior soil, majestic forests, and a variety of fish, birds, wild game, and fur-bearing animals.  When the first men came to settle Alabama, the Muscogees were occupying the greater portion of the state


By 1818, emigrants from Virginia, the Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky poured into the new territory.  Settling in St. Clair County, among others, were the Maddoxes.

The pioneer families that came to Alabama were of sturdy stock, people who were seeking new homes in the wilderness.  Very few of them wanted to become wealthy land owners.  Most of them brought families and slaves, if they had any.  The Maddox name had rich roots in the early history of Calhoun County (formerly called Benton County).  John Maddox was appointed as one of the
five county commissioners on January 12, 1833.  This would have been one of the first appointments since the county was organized only the month prior to this date.


In 1906, the state legislature passed a bill providing for the establishment of a standard high school for each county.  St. Clair was one of the first counties to take advantage of the privilege.  J. L. Maddox was on the first board of trustees who were responsible for having the St. Clair County High SChool built in Odenville, Alabama.  The school opened in the fall of 1908.


Great Grandma Maddox was 111

Thanks, Brenda
Mabel Dent Maddox Genealogy
Article for Cherish "The Quarterly Journal of the St. Clair County Historical
Society"- By Dorothy Bishop:

Mabel Dent Maddox was born November 8, 1885 in Calhoun County, Alabama.  She was the daughter of Mary Jack Maddox and James Andrew John Franklin Maddox. Her parents were first cousins.  Mary Jack being the daughter of Justinian Washington "Jesse" Maddox and Margaret Melissa Hughes and James being the son of Justinian's brother, Samuel Carroll Maddox and Luarky Dillard Burke.  Her father wrote a manuscript on the "Maddox Family" and a copy is in the St. Clair County Archives, Ashville, Alabama.

"Dent"  (pictured here)  as she was known to her family and friends, wrote the Postmaster of Odenville, Alabama in 1953 inquiring if any of her Uncle Ben's children or grandchildren were living anywhere in the area.  Uncle Ben in reality was Chesley Benton Maddox and his grand daughter, Myrtle Anne Maddox Kenney, lived in Odenville so he gave the letter to her.  This began ten years of corresponding between them.  They exchanged family records and Dent shared many stories from when she was a small child and she and her mother would visit kinfolks in Odenville.  She stated that her family had left Alabama in 1890, whenever she was only five years old, and moved to Texas, Oklahoma and finally settled in New Mexico in 1910.  She said that her father drifted from job to job so they never had a permanent home as they moved about every two or two and a half years.

She married her first husband, Carl A. Sorensen, in 1905 in Humble, Texas and they moved to Grady, New Mexico in 1910.  They were the parents of two sons. 

The youngest son, Louis, was a farmer and lived about 36 miles from Clovis, New Mexico.  The other son, Einar, lived in Washington State.  She said that her first husband went to work in Los Angeles, California and never returned.
 He died there on June 20, 1936 after being struck by an automobile.  She married Grover C. Little on December 29, 1933.

One of the family stories she wrote about concerned her Aunt Maggie (Margaret  Melissa Maddox), who was her mother's sister.  Seems as though Aunt Maggie wouldn't let Uncle Frank Harrison ask for her hand in marriage, knowing that her parents wouldn't be willing, so they eloped.  They stayed away for about two years and when they finally moved back to the vicinity of her parents they didn't visit them.  Someone asked Maggie's mother why she didn't send and ask Maggie to come visit.  Her reply was that she didn't send her away and wasn't going to send for her to come back, that she knew the way if she
wanted to come.

Sick Kids and Home Remedies

One day her Aunt Kate (Sarah Caroline Chamblin who married William Teague Maddox) and Aunt Maggie went to see her parents and the others at home.  Aunt Maggie had a baby boy and said that he was a sickly little thing and very fretful and cried a lot.  She said it was more like a whimper
than a cry and that he would roll his head from side to side fretfully.

Maggie's mother asked her what was the matter with the baby but she said she didn't know.  Finally her mother decided there must have been something that she craved whenever she was carrying the child that she didn't get satisfied about and asked her what it was.  Maggie denied there being anything that she could remember.  She told her that if a pregnant woman craved any kind of food and didn't get enough to satisfy her hunger for it, that the baby would
be marked with the same craving.  After dinner the baby kept fretting so Aunt Kate took him into the kitchen and put some butter and honey in a saucer and mixed it well and fed it to the baby a little at a time until he fell sound asleep. 

Whenever the baby didn't wake at the usual time and fret, Aunt Maggie began to worry and went in to look at him every little while.  She finally got so worried that she asked her mother if she thought he was all right.  Her mother looked at him and told her that she thought he was all
right as far as she could tell.  Her mother had raised 11 out of 13 children and had certainly had plenty of experience.

  Whenever it was time for the aunts to go home, the baby was still asleep and she was sick with worry.  She kept on worrying and asked Aunt Kate what she had given him.  Her answer was "I gave him all the butter and honey he would swallow".  Then Aunt Maggie asked her mother if she thought it would hurt him.  Her mother told her, "No sick baby sleeps like that and butter and honey never hurt anybody that she
knew of".  Aunt Maggie aroused the baby to nurse and then he was dried and he went back to sleep.  The aunts went home and the baby thrived from then on. 

She said that the baby was Sanford "Buck" Harrison and that he lived a long and healthy life and was still living in 1956 at the age of 86 years of age.

Signs and Omens

Another story about the Harrisons that happened some years later was a time when her Uncle Frank was going hunting one day and Aunt Maggie begged him not to go as one of their children was sick.  Uncle Frank didn't think that the child was bad sick so he went hunting anyway.  He hunted for sometime but neither he nor his hounds could locate anything.  Uncle Frank stopped to rest and his main hunting dog came and sat down in front of him and looked up into his face and stuck his nose up in the air and started howling.  No doubt Uncle Frank was already nervous and disgusted and maybe his conscious was bothering him because Aunt Maggie had begged him not to go hunting.  She said that he tried again to locate a squirrel without success so he took off for home.  Upon arriving home he found that the child was worse than when he had left and the child died a few days later.  Uncle Frank felt that the dog was warning him as they believed in signs and omens in the olden days.

Finding their way--a trek by train and mule

One story that she wrote about took place in 1889 whenever she was about four years old. John Luther Maddox (Luther) of St. Clair county visited them and her papa let her mother and her go home with him to visit with her mother's older brother, Chesley Benton Maddox.  They went by train and whenever they arrived at the nearest station Luther left then at the depot and walked home to get a wagon and came back for them.  They left the depot late in the evening, but not yet dark. They got in the wagon and started out and after sometime Luther couldn't tell where they were as he had tried a new road that had just been cleared of trees, but still had plenty of stumps.  The mules didn't know that road and kept circling around despite Luther trying to guide them in what he thought was the right way.  The night was cold and Luther didn't have an overcoat so the quilt on the wagon seat was put around them and she was told to stand between Luther's knees.  Finally he got out to lead the team into the new road or old road, which ever he could find.  He walked for sometime but couldn't find the road but did see a faint light in the distance.  Luther began to yell and every time he would yell - Aunt Ann's (Anna Graves Majors who married Chesley Benton Maddox) old ganders would honk!  He kept yelling and the ganders honking! 

Finally Uncle Ben told Sammie (Samuel Wilson Maddox, who was later to marry Wright McLaughlin) to go see what was the matter with the geese.  He went with her with a torch of pine splinter.  When they got outside the ganders honked again and they began to listen.  In a minute or so they heard Luther yell and they began to call back and forth.  Uncle Ben finally got Luther located and he and Sammie started out to meet them calling out ever now and then to make sure they were going in the right direction.  It seemed like a very long time to Dent before they finally arrived but said it couldn't have been very long.  She said that the grownups took turns carrying her and that made her very happy.

 Whenever they got to the house Aunt Ann had supper ready for them and she was so hungry!  She said she remember Uncle Ben cautioning Luther to give the mules their heads whenever he had to be out after dark again because they would go straight home.

Indian neighbors

Dent's grandparents first lived in Calhoun County, Alabama and had Indians for neighbors but none of them ever harmed them.  Jesse and Melissa Maddox always treated them well and the Indians were their friends.  She said that whenever her grandfather had an occasion to be away from home overnight that an Indian Squaw would come over right before dark and bring her blanket and sleep on the floor and would say "Me stay with you, no afraid."  The children were small so she guessed that the Indian Squaw was welcome.  She said that her grandmother would always give the Indian Squaw supper and breakfast.

Moving by mule

In a letter written April 18, 1954 Dent wrote about the time that her Aunt Becca (Rebecca Maddox, who married Abe Aderhold) and her family were moving from Calhoun County to Etowah County, Alabama and they moved in wagons with mules or horses as teams.  They took their livestock along and drove them behind the wagons.  They had to cross the Coosa River on a ferryboat.  When the cattle were being ferried over, some of the cows jumped overboard and tried to swim back but they were turned right by some of the riders.  Aunt Becca was on the ferryboat and whenever the first cow jumped into the river she said, "There be God!"  She wrote that women weren't suppose to cuss in the olden days but that she didn't miss it far.

Old letters bind a family

Dent wrote that she had always been poor and could only work at laborer jobs due to her lack of education.  Her letters were very interesting and full of family stories and history.  She referred to everyone by kick names and I had to figure out whom she was talking about. Being a family researcher I soon discovered their proper names and family connections and all the letters made sense.  She loved to correspond with family that stayed in Alabama and wrote that she would dearly love to come visit them but wasn't financially able.
Myrtle offered to pay for her bus fare but Dent wrote that if she couldn't make it on her own speed she wouldn't come and she never did.  She always longed to return to her native state.  Her last letter to Myrtle was dated December 26, 1960 and she was still seeking family information.  She stated that she was nervous but was in pretty good health, for which she was thankful.  She died December 8,1963 and was buried in the Grady Cemetery, Curry County, New Mexico.
Submitted by: Dorothy Maddox Bishop

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