Monday, October 29, 2007

Another branch of the family tree

The West Florida War, a book written by Dale A. Cox, was published in 1989 and 1999. It was made available online "to assist those researching family connections to the Battle of Marianna and in the hopes of stimulating new interest in this nearly forgotten Florida battle." - The West Florida War: A new look at the 1864 raid on Marianna

Probably one of the more entertaining episodes - or least destructive events - that Cox describes involves Home Guard member Bethel Mattox and a group of undercover Yankees:

Pushing on through the rain that had been falling almost continually since the raid began, the Federals [under the command of Brig. Genl. Alexander Asboth] crossed the Choctawhatchee at Cerrogordo [then the capital of Holmes County] on the 25th.

The column was again moving through an area regularly patrolled by a home guard company, but there is no evidence that Captain Sam Grantham [Holmes County Home Guard] or any of his men attempted to delay its progress.

At least one of Grantham's men, 45-year-old Bethel Mattox, was home with his wife, Edy, and their six children when the Northern troops arrived. All of his horses and guns were taken, except one favorite rifle which he managed to hide.

[In the following days . . . ]

Spurling [a Union officer who disguised himself and his men as Confederates] crossed the Choctawhatchee and rode nine miles to the home of Bethel Mattox by nightfall. The home guardsman was so glad to see uniformed Confederates that he provided them with supper, a place to sleep and information on the passage of the Yankees, "who," he said, had stolen "all his horses and guns except one favorite rifle."

Sergeant Butler [another undercover Union officer] suggested that he bring it out, as it might be needed should the enemy reappear during the night. Mattox agreed, never suspecting that the enemy sat across his table. Producing the rifle, he swore that "it would fetch a Yank at a hundred yards at every pop." - Part Two, The Raid on Marianna, Holmes County

[Then, following the raid on Marianna . . . ]

Even as the main body of the Federals was withdrawing from Marianna, Lieutenant Colonel Spurling and his small detachment of "undercover Yankees" were still missing. Asboth appears to have presumed them captured. In reality, quite the opposite was true.

While the main command was battling for its life in Marianna, Spurling and his disguised scouts were living quite well. Leaving the Holmes County residence of Bethel Mattox on the morning of the 27th, "with the present of a hive of honey to sweeten the way," the detachment crossed Holmes Creek and arrived in the Grace settlement (Graceville) just in time for dinner. - The Withdrawal

See also . . .

Note: The Mattox family had migrated from Georgia to Washington County, Florida about 1844. Bethel and his wife Edith "Edie" Folsom were my ggg-grandparents on the maternal side. Their children, all born between 1843-1865 in Holmes County: William Ira, Eliza, John, Aaron (my gg-grandfather), Ann America, George, Mary L., Jeff, Texas.


  1. Thanks for the heads up on this great Florida history resource. We are building a collection of Florida history/genealogy resources using the Diigo bookmarking system. The Cox book has been added to the collection and anyone who would like to add more resources is more than welcome.

    >> FL Genealogy Resources

  2. Re: MATTOX Ancestery

    Please contact me. We are definitely related--have all the exact same grandparents, etc. I don't see your email address anywhere.
    Susan Crowe