James Maddox and Hannah McComas in Harford County Maryland

I did some work this summer at the Historical Society of Harford County in an effort to find “nuggets”–in other words, any information that might lead to more information about the Maddox family that could illuminate their lives or lead my on a new trail.  I thought I would transcribe and comment on some of the documents I came across this summer.

James Maddox (Edward’s brother, John’s son) appears to have been born in 1776.  I base this on the fact that he is not enumerated on the Maryland Colonial Census of 1776 with John and Catrine Maddox and that in 1820, on the Darksville, Berkeley County West Virginia Census, “James Mattax” is presumably the oldest male in the house (age 26-44.  If he were 44 his birthdate would be 1776).  Many researchers in his family put his birth date at 1770, based on his age in the 1850 census, but I believe that could be an error.  In 1830, James and Hannah REDUCE their age so it is the same as their age in the 1820 census–an action more believable with a 1776 birthdate.  He could be younger.  Hannah’s age is listed 80 in the 1850 census, but a researcher at this site has given her birth date as 16 July 1784, and cited the records of St. James and St. George Parish.

In any event, James Maddox married Hannah McComas (daughter of a Harford County landowning family) in 1802 and in the years before he moved to what is now West Virginia, he transacted business that appears on record in the historical society’s court records.  Here is a summary of what I found.

In March of 1806 (CR 75: 75.20.10), John Ely, Peter Dungan and James Maddox are brought to court because they owe 6000 pounds of tobacco to the state of Maryland (unclear why).  They will lose all their property in order to pay this UNLESS John Ely will run an “ordinary” (tavern where official business was transacted) for one year in accordance with the laws of Maryland governing ordinaries.  This same deal appears again in the court record again on the 6th of September 1809.  This time the men who owe the 6000 pounds of tobacco are James Maddox, Peter Dungan and Solomon Maddox (probably James’ brother-in-law).  Peter Dungan promises to run the ordinary for one year in exchange for not forfeiting their property.

In 1809 and again in 1810, James appears in court regarding a debt he owes a John Rumsey:

March 20th, 1809

State of Maryland, Sheriff of Harford County

Commanded to appear in court August 1809, Yoeman James Maddox, who owes John Rumsey of Henry C. 106.91.

In March of 1810 the same debt to John Rumsey is called in, this time naming James Maddox and Charles McComas (probably another brother-in-law) as debtors.


In November of 1809, James’ father, John Maddox, appeared before James McComas to record the following sale to James:

“Know all men by the presents that I John Maddox of Harford County and State of Maryland for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred ten pounds ten shillings to me in hand paid by James Maddox of the County and State aforesaid the receipt wereof is hereby acknowledged and myself therewith fully satisfied, have bargained and sold, sett  over and delivered by these presents doth bargain, sell (illegible) set over and delivered to the said James Maddox one cow and one heifer, one sorrel mare and one cart, four strops, two furrow ploughs and one shovel ditto ten chains one sett of plough chains harness and collars one bed bedsted and furniture- To have and to hold the above mentioned property unto the only proper use and behoof of him the said James Maddox, his heirs and assignees forever adn the said John Maddox for my self my heirs executors and administrators all manner of persons claiming by through or under me the said bargained and sold premises unto the said James Maddox his heirs executors administrators and assignees will warrant and forever defend by those presents in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 8th day of November 1809-

Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presence of Jas. McComas

John Maddox X his mark

Harford County, State of Maryland to wit on the 8th day of November 1809 came the within  named John Maddox before me one of the Justices of the Peace for Harford County and acknowledged the within (illegible) of writing to be hiz act and deed and the property therein mentioned James Maddox his heirs and assignees forever agreeably to the true intent and meaning therin and the oath of assembly in such can be made and provided.

Received and recorded the seventh day of December 1809 in liber HD No. V Folio 114– one of the land records books of Harford County Courts and examined.

Henry Dorsey, Clerk

By October 29, 1810, James and Hannah have become residents of the city of Baltimore.  According to two land transactions made that day, this is their place of residence.  In both cases, they sell a small portion of Hannah’s inheritance, Clagett’s Forest.  Part to Issac Kennard for $80.92 (HD V 372, mdlandrec.net) and part to James McComas for $31.

On the 29th of January, 1814 James and Hannah are involved in another sale of land.  Once again, it is identified that they live in Baltimore County, Maryland.  It is interesting to note that this transaction was not filed with the court until November 13th, 1822.

“This indenture made and concluded this 29th day of January 1814 between Charles McComas, James Maddox, Hannah Maddox wife of James Maddox of Baltimore County, Solomon McComas, John McComas of Harford County of the one part and James McComas of Harford Count the State aforesaid on the other.  Witness that for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings to the said Charles McComas, James Maddox, Hannah Maddox, Solomon McComas, and John McComas paid in hand by the said James McComas before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof the said Charles McComas, James Maddox, Hannah Maddox, Solomon McComas and John McComas….” give to James McComas a portion of a tract of land on a rise near Winter’s Run called “Gresham’s College”. Mentions they affirm this against all manner of persons including their brother William McComas.

On December 23, 1822, James and Hannah Maddox, now residents of Berkeley County in the state of Virginia sell Daniel Jones part of a tract of Clagett’s Forest for $400.  They mention that it is part of what Hannah inherited from her father, Daniel McComas. In the description of the land it says one of the boundaries are the lands of William Norris, Solomon McComas and the heirs of Mary McComas.  It also extends to the lands of Nathaniel Hollingsworth (also called the Hollingsworth Line) and out into Winter’s Run and to the borders of Reese Davis’ land–in all about 50 acres.  James signed with his mark, the McComas family (including Hannah) used their signature.

The information about the land bordering that of Nathaniel Hollingsworth is interesting, because Hollingsworth’s land is now part of an educational site called Harford Glen in Harford County.  It is off Wheel Road, near Singer Road. Since it is part of a preservation site, a look around would show you something of what the McComas/Maddox families saw when they lived in Harford County.