At the time of my return home to North Texas I veered to the west toward Houston County to see the area where the Edens-Madden Massacre took place, one of several significant events which occurred during the uprising in 1838 known as the “Cordova Rebellion”. While on leave my hosts and I scoured the worldwide web looking for information and maps. Remaining fond of Google Maps, although not always so accurate, I, without question drove West on the 103 towards Crockett out of Lufkin. I’ll take you to that remote location in a following paragraph or more. As for the story of the massacre there are a dozen or so versions. Everyone has their angle, you could say, both fictionalized accounts and slightly accurate recollections. I am not too concerned about the exactness of it all for this violent attack ended the lives of many. The Kickapoo and Cherokee were eventually expelled from this region. This is one of many of my own personal excursions for family history research.
While a stack of Madden history lies on a manila folder on the table, I take a sip of favorite beverage with little bubbles while listening to Gregory Porter’s “Children, Your Line is Draggin’”. I am unable to read some of my scribbled notes taken while skimming the pages of books and notes left on my Grandmother’s desk last month. There’s enough to figure it all out. She used to tell me about the Edens Madden Massacre years ago and I actually have that recorded on a cassette tape.
Let me take you down this interesting and scenic route through the Davy Crockett National Forest. If you haven’t been through there I suggest you alter your next East TX drive right on through it. It’s pretty. And there are so many historical markers, it will take hours to get to the other side if you stopped to read them all. I had no time at all except for the ones that had anything to do with the Madden family.
The pin shows this site to be on the edge of the Davy Crockett National Forest. I followed the 21 and found the 1543 that winds and curves and changes becoming a dozen or so other numbers and you must pay attention to the direction you are driving. At the least have a compass because GPS can vanish on narrow unpaved sandy road of the dark forest. My Droid maintained contact with the virtual world so I had little problem.
This is a Sunday morning, mind you, and this is the Bible Belt. People go to church out here as remote as this area is I passed ten or more car/truck loads of churchgoers headed one way or another to congregate in rural worship houses, some with their own Texas historical marker firmly planted front and center of the church building. I got invited to church by a passerby who stopped while I was seated in my car on the edge of the red dirt road looking at my bewildering Google map. Onward I traveled and the road became more narrow and sandy. I’m now on the 544. Want to know what’s back there? Trees. Tall pine trees. And a gate. There was nothing but a gate with more trees on the other side. This is exactly where the map said the place was but there was nothing to see except for pine trees. I’m miles from civilization and no public restrooms or refreshment stands to be seen. One must do what is necessary and move on.
I drove West to the 2022 where a historical marker stood right on the corner. I was as happy to find it as I was to see pavement.
I suspect the area described above was the Edens land. I should have conducted more research. But alas, there was more Edens-Maddens history a few miles ahead in Augusta.
This is one of four markers located in Augusta at the site of the massacre according to Dana Goolsby of TexasEscapes.com. A mile or so and a left turn the Augusta Cemetery sits long the 1680. The gate was closed but there were no “do not enter” signs so I opened and drove through toward the back. Edens and Maddens can be found buried there. I did not take a log with me and mark off who is who on the massacre list. Some were buried on Edens cemetery and others apparently here.
When I pulled out of the cemetery closing the gate behind, I drove slowly through town in hopes to find a local walking along the road carrying groceries or sitting on the porch watching people like me read the historical signs so that I could interview them. I met one man with his wife researching the DeWitt family. They were from Georgia.
Turning East toward Alto, a patch of bright yellow daffodils swayed in the breeze while the sky darkened threatening rain. I rolled the window down halfway and turned up the radio to listen to “Back Roads” by Brandon Rhyder.