JAMES ELI MADDOX

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                                       The Story As I Know It:

James Eli Maddox was born on October 5, 1866.  His birth date and death date are on his tombstone - noted below.  All dates given in Marriage records and Census' agree. He was born to John W. Maddox and Susan Jane Greenwood in Trimble County Kentucky just before his family moved to Marshall County Kentucky. The Maddox family had owned a two-story brick farmhouse 2 1/2  miles south of Milton, in Trimble county. It was still standing in the summer of 1996 but overgrown and neglected. James' son, Homer stated in a letter about the family that the bricks were handmade by slaves.  He saw the house about 1980. He said that every room had a fireplace with hand carved mantles. The floors were solid 8 inch cherry boards, still in place after 125 years.

In 1910 Jim was living in Calvert town, now called Calvert City with his mother Susan Jane.  The 1910 Marshall County Ky Census was recorded on April 15, 1910 and lists:
Susan J. Madox, head of house hold, age 79, widow, mother of 12 children, 7 still living.
James Madox, son, age 42 , single, barber
Betty Burdos, age 20, servant, cook for private family

The last name is of particular interest because Jim married Bettie Burgess, age 21 later that year. There was a family story that "one day Jim was hanging out at the train station with his buddys.  Betty descended from a train.  She had jet black hair, bright blue eyes and was dressed beautifully.  Jim took one look and said, "there is the woman I'm going to marry!'" It was told many times but never was mention made as to why Betty got off the train in Calvert town. With this newly found census, thanks to Julia Mortenson, I believe the servant was Betty Burgess and Jim was at the station to meet the new servant. Besides being a stiking young woman, she must have been a pretty good cook.

Julia sent the following from the Marshall Co. Ky Marriage Record:

Record #6079, 8/7/1910,   Maddox, J. E.   43  - Burgess, Bettie   21  were married
by Elder R. F. Gregory at his mother's residence in presence of John Green and Jessey Tithner
Male: res. Marshall Co., 1st marriage, Barber, b. Trimble Co., Ky
Father: John Maddox   Mother Jane Greenwood
Female: res. Marshall Co., 1st Marriage, b. Livingston Co.

Betty Beulah Burgess was born on January 12, 1889. She was exactly half Jim's age when they married.

James Eli and Betty Beulah had two children:
1. Homer Kleedus Maddox born May 28, 1911.
2. Doris Imogene Maddox born October 3, 1914.

Jim owned his own barber business in Calvert City.  It had two chairs. But about 1918 they moved to the Paducah, Kentucky so that their children would be able to go to school through high school. He worked first for HD Hayes as a barber.  Then in 1824 Jim went to work for his brother-in-law, Charlie Wiggins as his second chair barber. Charlies wife, Alice was Betties sister. The first year the family lived in an apartment over the barbershop.  Later they moved into a house and his mother moved in with them.  By that time Susan Jane was in a wheelchair.

In 1925, the railroad set up maintenance shops in Paducah.  It attracted construction workers and railroad men from all over the south.  They bought a large house which Betty ran as a boarding house in Paducah. They housed 6 men during the week.  On week-ends they would return to their homes.  Doris said many were from Mississippi.  

Jim was a cheerful man who loved music and loved to dance the jig.  He played fiddle in a small group for many a "dance party".

Then the depression hit, both Homer and Doris worked and turned money over to their parents, but by 1932 they had lost the house in a bank foreclosure.  Worst of all, barbers were a luxury and Jim lost his job.  He owned his own chair which he placed in the hall of their house and would get a few faithful customers.  But Doris and Homer both recall that they were hard depressing years for their father. 

He returned to work for Mr. Hayes in 1936 when times improved.  I have an editorial from a Paducah newsletter dated about 1947 that described Jim Maddox walking into work each morning at age 80.  When I find the piece I will add the details and date

He died in Paducah, MaCrackin County Kentucky on June 2, 1949.  Services were held at the Margaret Hank Memorial Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  He was buried at Maplelawn Cemetery.

 

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Date Created: 1/9/2004
Date Edited 2/10/2014