Monday, May 29, 2006


This morning, a distant relative contacted me and inquired about the line of Joseph Maddera Jr. and Margaret Womble. Though I am not descended from this line, I do have some information that might help those who are researching it.

According to two independent Maddrey family researchers:
Joseph was born between 1752 and 1755 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He married Margaret “Peggy” Womble (alternate spellings: Wombwell and Wombell) in Isle of Wight in 1784. According to one of the two researchers, the couple had four children by 1790. Joseph, a miller by trade, moved to Wake County, North Carolina, in 1797. Two of Joseph and Peggy’s children, born after the 1790 census was taken, appear to have been raised in Wake County: Josiah and “Frankie.”

Josiah married Polly Betts, daughter of Andrew Betts, on Oct. 3, 1810, in Wake County. The late Dr. Charles E. Maddrey (1876 – 1939) wrote:
“Joseph Maddry was evidently a miller by trade and came into southern and southwestern Wake with the families of Norris, Burt, Womble, Beets, Carter, Holleman and many others who came from the Isle of Wight and adjoining counties into Wake about the close of the eighteenth century. Josiah Maddry, evidently the son of Joseph Maddry and Margaret Womble, was born in Isle of Wight about 1790. There was always a strong and persistent tradition in the family that Josiah was born in Virginia and came to North Carolina when he was a boy. When I, Dr. Charles E. Maddrey, was a young man, my great aunt Tempy, then living in Texas, and nearly ninety years old, wrote me that her father was born in Virginia.” Later, Josiah “conducted a mill on Buckhorn Creek, a tributary of the Cape Fear River in Southwestern Wake County. In all probability the mill was on the site of the present Rollings Mill. Josiah was also engaged in farming. The family lived near the present railway junction known as Duncan. Josiah was a charter member of Holly Springs Baptist Church when it was reorganized in 1822. He took a letter from this church in the fall of 1822 and together with Polly his wife, became a charter member of Shady Grove Baptist Church located five miles west of Holly Springs.”
Dr. Charles E. Maddrey lists three children of this marriage: Jane, Samuel and Tempy. He notes that, according to the 1860 census, Josiah and his family later moved to Floyd County, Georgia.

In his pamphlet, “From Quakers to Crackers,” Robert F. Madry adds this intriguing anecdote about Maddrey descendants in Georgia: “The 1860 census of Floyd County, Georgia, lists a Joseph Madra who apparently relocated there. Some of his descendants owned and operated a traveling circus through the southeastern United States from 1830 to 1870. The circus was known as the Circus Madras and was based in DeKalb County, Alabama, but was moved to southern Alabama during the Civil War.”

I’d love to hear from descendants of Josiah or descendants of Frankie (who may be in Louisiana). If you can add to any of this, please post your comments on this weblog or email me.


1 comment:

  1. The following comes from the research of Rick Wallace:

    Archibald T. Maddera was born 8/10/1792 in Surry Co, VA, according to his obit. He died 10/26/1849 in Madison Co, Ala where he had resided for 30 years (at least since 1819). Archibald Maddera married Mary Oney 1/9/1813 in Surry Co, Va, according to the book "Marriages of Surry Co, VA 1778 - 1825" written by Catherine Knorr. The Virginia Marriage Index 1740- 1850 lists the year as 1812. Archibald Maddera was a Private in the 6th Regiment, Virginia Militia, War of 1812, which means he may have marched through North Alabama, then Alabama Territory, in 1813-1814 with General Andrew Jackson to fight the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend - the last major battle of the war.

    I found two historic reference books on early Madison Co with Archibald mentioned in them. In 1819, he was a hotel and Tavern owner: "Archibald Maddera's Tavern was the headquarters of the delegates to the Territorial Constitutional Convention held at Huntsville in 1819". Archer T. Madra married Susan H. Vest on 3/7/1821 according to early Madison Co marriage records. Archibald & Susan appear SEVERAL times in compiled probate records later on pertaining to Susan's father's estate with the correct spelling of Archibald Maddera's name. The 1830 Madison Co Census lists Archibald with one male 10-15 years old, one male 15-20 years old (either one of these males are in the "ballpark" to be James Thomas Madderra). These children are to old to belong to Susan, the only female (Susan) is listed as being between 20 & 30. I suppose it would be biologically possible for the males to be Susan's, but I really doubt it, especially since they married in 1821.

    We all know that James Thomas Madderra married Nancy Ann Lawless in Lumpkin Co, Georgia. We all know that my GG Grandpa James Tanner Madderra was born in Lumpkin Co, GA in 1838. I have a 78 year old uncle who did some gene work several years back -before I really became interested. He has been in bad health for the last few years and I haven't bothered him with it. Several years back, my uncle told me that he had found the deeds and checked the plats where one of our ancestors owned land around the "Big Spring" in Huntsville (I think he was talking about James Thomas -possibly an inheritance). The "Big Spring" is within a "stones throw "of where the early Madison County history books say that Archibald Maddera's Tavern was located - down to the present day street. My Uncle doesn't know who James Thomas' father was so he must have not caught onto Archibald or didn't dig deep enough.

    Having said all of the above, this is MY THEORY: Archibald T. Maddera & his first wife Mary Oney and at least one male child (I believe James Thomas Madderra) came to Huntsville, Alabama Territory, sometime before 1819 as he is proven to be an established business owner in 1819. There was at least one other male child born to them in either VA or after they got to Alabama, and my guess is Mary died in childbirth after they got to Alabama. James Thomas Madderra was about 20 years old when GOLD was discovered in the North Georgia mountains circa 1834 (in Dahlonega, Lumpkin Co, GA). I believe that he went on the gold rush and while he was there, he met Nancy Ann Lawless and married her in 1836. In 1838, my GG Grand James Tanner Madderra was born in Lumpkin Co and some time later, James Thomas and Nancy Ann returned to North Alabama, probably after the Circus days. I have always had it in my mind that James Thomas Madderra came FROM Virginia, where he was born, THEN to Lumpkin Co Georgia and THEN to Alabama. What I now believe really happened is that James Thomas Madderra came to the Alabama Territory from Virginia as a child, with his parents Archibald Maddera and Mary Oney. James Thomas Madderra went to Georgia for a time during the gold rush and then came back to Alabama where he had practically grown up and where his father, Archibald, still lived or if his return was after 1849, where his father was buried. In the 1840s thru the 1850s, James Thomas was evidently "on the road" with the circus. Archibald Maddera and James Thomas Madderra are buried less than 50 miles apart.