Madden Community

By Peggy Smith Hake

The name Madden is prevalent in southern Richwoods Township with the name given to a cemetery, a community, an old school, an old church, and now a county road (Madden Ford Rd.). I had an inquiry wondering if I knew where the name came from that was given to all these places near the Big Tavern Creek in the southern Richwoods........

There were two separate families named Madden who settled this area---one before the Civil War and the other probably just after the end of the war. James Madden Sr., his sons, Edmond, James Jr., Andrew J., H. W./Woody, and William, came to Miller County as early as 1860 and settled south of Iberia near the Big Tavern creek. Some of their neighbors were the Carrolls, Moffitts, Johnstons, Phillips, Beards, Porters, Nulls, Brown, and Carltons. Later Sarah Madden, widow of Samuel Madden, was living in Richwoods Township with 5 of her children. Samuel and Sarah were natives of Virginia who later moved to Tennessee where their children were born. The other Madden families I mentioned were also from Tennessee.

The children of Samuel and Sarah Madden included: Amanda, Caroline, Mary Ann, Nancy J., James, John, William, Peter, Thomas W., Matthew, and Armstrong. Most of these children were born in Polk County, Tennessee (extreme southeast corner of the state). The children from the two Madden families who came to Miller County from Tennessee married into the families of Miller, Elsey, Thompson, Shelton, Mansell, Carlton, Spearman, Pickering, Gott, and Loague. Later generations of the Maddens married into the families of Elder, Burks, Teaverbaugh, Groves, Wall, and Casey.

While researching the story of "The Shootout on the Streets of Iberia on Christmas Day 1865", I learned that two Madden men were involved in that fight. Old hatreds from the Civil War continued to rage on after the war was over and the fight at Iberia in 1865 was a prime example. The Maddens were Southerners who evidently had Confederate sympathies even though William Madden had served as a Captain in the Union Army in the 42nd Enrolled Missouri Militia. That was not uncommon during the war because many pioneers came to Miller County from the southern states but eventually fought off the Union.

The Madden community never had a post office and most of the mail was delivered from either Iberia or Hawkeye. The old Faith post office was located in the Curry district and I do not know if people living in the Madden community ever had mail delivered from that early post office and trading post.

There are several members of the Madden family buried at Madden Cemetery which sits atop a hill overlooking the Big Tavern creek as it meanders north and east through Miller County. Others are buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery and the old Rankin Wright/Spearman Cemetery, both located in the same area of southern Richwoods Township.

The Madden church, which existed for several years of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was of the Methodist denomination. It was located near the Madden country school, both close to the Big Tavern as well. The old Madden school still exists as the remodeled home of the Malmberg family.

The Madden school has records that extend back to 1874. The first person to teach the school was Caroline J. Madden, daughter of Samuel and Sarah. She taught 1874-1877. In October 1876, Caroline married Charles M. Shelton and at the end of the 1877 school year did not teach anymore but began to have her children. For several years during the 1880s, 1890s, and the early 1900s, the school was taught by Edmond F. Madden, the only child of James and Martha (Spearman) Madden. During the 85 years the school existed (1874-1959), there were 47 teachers who taught the country school. Six are still living----Hilary Pemberton 1925-26; Ruby Shelton Robertson 1933-36; Glenn Casey 1938-40; Imogene Barnett Reimensnider 1945-47; Anna Jean Malmberg Swope 1947-48; and Ruby McCubbin Spearman 1948-49.

When the new 911 telephone system was begun a year ago, all roads in the county had to be re-named. It seemed feasible that the roads should be identified according to their historical significance, if possible. Madden Ford Road was the name given to the road that ran from Highway 17 through the Madden community which eventually reached Pulaski County. How fitting it was given this name because the old road has existed since 1848 when the Miller County Court ordered a road be marked out by Jonathan Blevans, Nicholas Long, and Obadiah Dyer. The road was then built after being surveyed out by the men named and is the same route of Madden Ford Road today. In 1848, when built, it ran from south of Iberia, then crossed the Big Tavern Creek where it proceeded on over the Clinkenbeard Creek and hollow, finally reaching the Pulaski County line. For about 20 years after the road was built it was probably not called anything in particular, but after the Maddens moved into the area, the road and community has been known as "Madden".

Miller County Museum and Historical Society
P.O. Box 57
Tuscumbia, MO 65082
2007 - Miller County Historical Society

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