Maddock, Joseph (1722-1796?)
Joseph Maddock (1722-1796), one of many Quakers and other pioneers who cam to the North Carolina Piedmont from Pennsylvania, was a miller, horticulturalist, and carpenter who became the leader of the sizable Eno Quaker colony near Corbinton (later Hillsborough) and an organizer and overseer of the Eno Preparative Meeting of Friends. His principal known building project was the First Orange County Jail (1757) in Corbinton. Although that log structure, like nearly all of its many contemporary log buildings, is long gone, its specifications survive to convey the character and expectations of early construction in the area and illustrate the common practice of erecting rudimentary log and frame structures as the initial public buildings in new county seats.
Maddock arrived in present Orange County, N. C., in the autumn of 1754, bringing with him from Chester County, Pennsylvania, his family as well as a miller’s apprentice, John Frasier. Maddock and Frasier quickly dammed the rocky Eno River a short distance below the mouth of McGowan’s Creek, and they had a water-powered grist mill in operation on the west bank of the river by August 4, 1755, when Maddock successfully petitioned the Orange County Commissioners of Roads to allow him to clear and build “a road. . . from the Court House to his mill on the Eno River and thence to the Trading Path.”
Both the building of Maddock’s Mill, later to become a historic landmark of the area, and the clearing of some two miles of road in the thinly settled county were no mean achievements for the two Quaker craftsmen and important steps in the county’s development by white settlers. Maddock was promptly chosen as one of approximately thirty County Road Commissioners, and apparently he was also selected as the undertaker (contractor) for the Orange County Gaol (jail) to be built near the Eno Ford, probably because his mill had demonstrated that he had tools, capabilities, and willing helpers in the Quaker community at Eno.
The wooden jail was erected by March, 1757, on a 25 by 25 foot plot at the northwestern corner of Lot 8 on King Street, just to the west of Lot 1 (the courthouse square). The specifications were apparently the same ones entered in the minutes of the Orange County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions at its first meeting on September 9, 1752: “The prison to be 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, with a partition in the middle, to be made of hewed logs eight inches thick, weatherboarded with feather edged plank, with a shingled Roof & floored above and below of hewed Loggs as afsd [aforesaid] which said work is to be finished in workmanlike manner. . . . “ No mention was made of a foundation or of a stockade to enclose an exercise yard. The primitive jail, providing shelter but not security, is shown on Swiss cartographer C. J. Sauthier’s Plan of the Town of Hillsborough in Orange County North Carolina . . . Survey’d & Drawn in October, 1768. Sauthier in 1768 also showed a tiny square outbuilding, probably a necessary, to the rear of the Gaol.
At the Court of March, 1757, a Minute read, “Ordered that the Sheriff pay Joseph Maddock for building the Prison and other matters relating thereto.” In December, 1757, Maddock was paid “twenty shillings Proclamation money above the Fifty Shillings like money to be paid for ground pinning the Prison,”presumably to secure the foundation of the structure. Proclamation money, issued by the colony, was worth less than sterling, the British standard. The Orange County Court Minutes thereafter are filled with the sheriffs’ constant complaints as to the inadequacy of the county jail and with scandalous reports of prisoners’ easy escapes. Maddock, a canny and independent Quaker, did exactly the amount of repair work requested of him for which he expected prompt payment, a fact which perhaps explains a Minute of June, 1758, “Joseph Maddock did not finish the Prison according to his agreement.” Nevertheless, in May, 1765, he was appointed to a blue-ribbon committee of politically powerful “Esquires” of the county (wherein he was elevated to the status of “Gentleman”) to plan a new, improved county jail.
In the autumn of 1767 Maddock led the first contingent of Quakers away from mounting (Regulator related) disturbances in the Hillsborough area to a new reserve of 40,000 acres in eastern Georgia. Altogether, 132 families eventually followed Maddock to the new town of Wrightsboro, laid out after the pattern of Hillsborough on the bank of a stream. Here Maddock built a new mill, dwelling-house, and cow-pens, and planted new orchards. Attacks by the Seminole Indians, however, eventually spelled the destruction of Wrightsboro. Maddock died in 1796 at the age of 74, but the location of his Georgia grave is unknown. A museum devoted to the Maddock-Stubbs families was maintained by descendant Roger Avery Stubbs. No structure built by Maddock is known to survive in North Carolina.
Editor’s note: The author’s research indicated Maddock’s birth and death dates as 1722-1796 (Augusta Chronicle and Gazette, Dec. 10, 1796). Some family accounts posted on Ancestry.com indicate a death date in 1794 and a possible birth date in 1712 or 1720. See Engstrom, “Joseph Maddock” in William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, for more on the political and religious tensions that spurred Maddock and other Quakers to leave North Carolina plus a detailed bibliography.
- Mary Claire Engstrom Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- Mary Claire Engstrom, “Maddock, Joseph,” in William S. Powell, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 4 (1991).