William A. T. Maddox(1804 ~ 1889)

The USS Maddox, destroyer in the American Navy, was named after William Alfred T. Maddox.

He was born in Charles Co., MD, where his Maddox ancestors had lived since the 1660s, shortly after what we know of today as Maryland was first inhabited by Europeans. His birth year of 1804 based on the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses of Charles Co. His father was apprently Frederick Maddox b. 1785 near whom William always lived. Frederick's father was apparently John Maddox, the only Maddox in Charles County in 1810, with one male over 45 years of age and another 25-44 which would have been Frederick. Living nearby was one of many Notley Maddoxes, age 25-44, probably Frederick's brother and William's uncle. The specific area where he grew up was known as Allen's Fresh District, and a community of that name is still there. He lived just southeast of Washington, D.C. and SW of Annapolis, and with water on three sides, things that would influence his career.

He apparently attended a university, for he was appointed First Lieutenant in 1836 and commanded a company under General Jessup during the Creek and Seminole Indians wars in Florida. Then on October 14, 1837, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps at Maryland. His uniform would have been like this

He was in the 1840 census of Charles Co, Md, age 20-30 with an apparent wife 20-30 and two daughters, one under 5 and the other over 10. Living six houses away was James F. Maddox, 30-40, who may have been a brother.

In 1845 at the beginning of the Mexican-American War, he was assigned to the sloop (sailing ship rigged with guns) CYANE, Pacific Squadron. They landed at Monterey, Mexico, July 7, 1846 just when the American flag was being hoisted, thus aiding in taking the country.. Walter Colton, chaplain for the US Navy at the time, was aboard the frigate CONGRESS which sailed from Norfolk, under south America, over to Hawaii, and to San Francisco. On that assignment, they sailed into Monterery, Mexico, one week after William Maddox's ship arrived.

The wind continued very fresh through the night. Not wishing to make the land till daylight, we furled our top-gallant sails, hauled up our courses, double-reefed our topsails, and still run eight knots. As day dawned, Point Pinos rose fifteen miles directly ahead of us. But as the first rays of the sun tipped its forest-tops with flame, a bank of fog rolled between. Not a vestige of the coast was seen for hours, and we wore ship and stood out to sea.

It was nearly noon before the fot lifted. We then made sail, and in two hours rounded Point Pinos, and entered the harbor of Monterey. We discovered at anchor the US frigate SAVANNAH bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Sloat, the US sloop-of-war CYANE [the ship Maddox was on] Captain Mervin, and the US sloop-of-war LEVANT, Commander Page. We ran up the red pennant, and saluted the blue of Commodore Sloat with thirteen guns, whcih were returned by the SAVANNAH. As we rounded under her sterm for our berth, her band struck up "Hail Columbia!" We came to anchor in graceful style, outside the CYANE. Here will we rest and let the winds rave on.

On August 15 Maddox was appointed by Commodore Stockton to take command of two companies of mounted riflemen to go against General don Ysidro Alvarado. They marched 500 miles between Monterey, Mexico, and San Luis Obispo in mid-California where there was a heated battle and many prisoners taken.

On September 18, 1846, Lt. William Maddox was then appointed Military Commandant of the middle district of California headquartered at Monterey, CA. In January the following year, he led his troops heroically in the Battle of Santa Clara. In May he intercepted a Mexican force near the Rio Colorado, and overall kept the peace and order in central California.

On June 4, 1847, he was assigned to the frigate (mid-sized sailing war ship) COLUMBUS where he stayed for ten months. He was promoted to Captain for gallant and meritorious conduct at the Battle of Santa Clara and the insurrection at Monterey during his time as commandant in middle California. And he was reassigned to the Marine Headquarters in Washington D. C., where he remained for the next thirty years.

During that time, he maintained his residence nearby at Allen's Fresh some 20-30 miles south of Washington. He was in the 1850 census, Household 129, age 45. Also in the household were May Bilee, 9, and Georgeanna Bilee, 1. That is a strange situation for a military bachelor. Living nearby was his apparent father, Frederick Maddox, 65, and probably a sister, Violetta, 49, along with her children.

He was in the 1860 census of Allen's Fresh, age 56, living alone, and with $7000 worth of assets. He was in the 1870 census of Allen's Fresh, Doneaster P.O., 65, with $100 in assets. Living with him was a black family by the name of Hawkins.

Capt. William A. T. Maddox retired from the US Marine Corp in 1880. He died January 1, 1889 in Washington, D.C. He had traveled thousands of miles both by land and sea during his career, spanning the entire United States and back again. Three US Naval destroyers were named after him in the following century ~ the USS MADDOX.