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The Story as I Know It

Betty Beulah Burgess was born in Livingston County, Kentucky on January 12, 1889.  Betty always noted that her birthday was just one month before  Abe Lincoln's.  Her parents were Mansfield Burgess and Roberta Fredona Ray.   Betty was the youngest of 8 children.  She was just about 1 year old when her father died.  By 1894 the eldest surviving brother was married and head of the household.  We have a photograph of the family at that time.  If you want a copy  CONTACT US.  Roberta died of cancer in 1900.  She and Mansfield  are buried in Lower Leper Cemetery in Smithland.  Livingston Couty Ky Cemeteries 1738-1976, pp. 216 .   They lived in the country on a poor farm. 

A recent discovery by Julia Mortenson was the 1910 Marshall County Ky Census  recorded on April 15, 1910.  It  lists:
 in Calvert town, now called Calvert City  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

In August of that year, 1910, Bettie Burgess married James Maddox in Calvert.  I believe that Betty Burdos, 20 year old cook was our Bettie Burgess. 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, the story fits, with the added idea that Jim was at the station to meet the new servant. Besides being a striking young woman, she must have been a pretty good cook.

Julia sent the following also 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

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

When the children were old enough to go to school Betty insisted that they move to Paducah so that they could get an education.  She had not been able to go to school and bitterly regretted it.  So Jim sold his barber shop and became second chair in the barber shop of his brother-in-law, Charlie Wiggins.  Charles was the husband of Betty's sister Alice .  The first year the family lived in a second floor apartment near the barber shop. 

Betty always worked hard. While the children were in grade school, she worked in retail on the week-ends.  Homer and Doris would spend the day at the library.  Reading became a lifetime joy.

In 1925 Railroad Shops were opened in Paducah and it brought a lot of men into the town to build the Shops and then work the yard.  Many of the workers were from further south in Mississippi, Alabama.  They went to Paducah for the week and then returned home on the weekend.  Betty saw this as her opportunity.  She bought a large house and set up a Boarding house.  There were often 6 - 8 men at a time there, and many returned as a matter of course.  One of her young cousins from Livingston County came to live with the Maddox family and work for Betty.  She prepared all the food from scratch.  Her daughter remembers Betty walking into town to buy vegetables and fruits in large quantities for canning.  She never took the bus, to save the nickle.  Doris also recalled that Betty enjoyed the conversation and teasing that went on over dinner and the music sessions after dinner in the parlor.

By about 1931 the Depression caused the closing of the barbershop where Jim worked.  Jim had a few customers that came to the house.  Both children contributed what they could to the household finances but it became impossible to meet the mortgage payments.  The Bank foreclosed and the Maddox family had to move.   They were very hard days.  

Eventually both children married and moved to Indiana.  Jim Maddox  died in 1949.  Betty  then took a Hotel Management course and in her 60s began a career of managing resident hotels in and around the Paducah area.  She always made ends meet, and survived as a fixture of Paducah till her death in July,1981 at the age of 93.  Betty Burgess Maddox is buried in Maplelawn Cemetery in Paducah next to Jim.


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Maier_Associates: Copyright 20014

Doc; gsbur010
Date created: 2/23/2005
Date edited 3/7/2014