Martha M “Mattie” <I>Gaddis</I> Withrow

Martha M “Mattie” Gaddis Withrow

Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia, USA
Death 18 Jul 1938 (aged 76)
Burial Mineral Bluff, Fannin County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 58757512 · View Source
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Mattie was born in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, GA to parents Isham Marshall Gaddis and Elizabeth Reid Gaddis who married in the county in 1859, and she lived all her life on the lower Appalachian Mountains area where three states come together: North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Lumpkin County, GA is best known for gold being discovered in the 1830's which brought in many would-be miners including Mattie's grandfather Archibald James Gaddis who came from Burke County, NC. Most men in this county made their living either farming or mining gold, and coal and copper mines were soon employing men in the mountains of nearby Polk County, TN and Cherokee County, NC. Most of Mattie's family lived and worked in the three-state area all their lives. Mattie was one of at least eight children by her mother who was from South Carolina and she had two half-siblings on her father's side. Mattie was born during the early years of the Civil War and grew up during that tumultuous time and in the years of deprivation and hardship afterward. On her first census in 1870, Mattie's father said he owned $200 worth of land (he had owned $700 before the war) and she was the 2nd oldest child listed as 8 yrs old, the only girl of five children at that time:

29 Jul 1870 • Dahlonega PO, Lumpkin County, Georgia, USA

#725 - Isham Gaddis 33 Farmer $200 land/$125 personal GA, Elizabeth Gaddis 26 Not read/write SC, James Gaddis 10 Not read/write GA, Martha Gaddis 8 GA, John Gaddis 6 GA, Andrew Gaddis 4 GA, Henry Gaddis 1 GA

Mattie's father Isham moved their family a few miles north to Cherokee County, NC about 1875, his wife died in 1884 according to her monument and Isham remarried there on 13 Jan 1889. Isham was appointed Postmaster for Wolf Creek Post Office on 27 Dec 1889. Isham was also listed as an officer in the military on 1 July 1891. Isham survived until 1927 and was evidently a teetotaler because the week after his death a resident was quoted in a letter to the newspaper as saying his father and Isham Gaddis were the only two local men to vote for an anti-alcohol law proposed in the 1880's.

On 3 Jan 1878 in Cherokee County, NC, Mattie first married William Harris who was born in nearby Union County, GA about 1850 to Thomas & Perry Ann Lunsford Harris. It is not known what happened to William Harris, there are no more local records of him after 1880, but by the time the census came around two years after they married, they were no longer living together; on 17 June 1880, William was back living with his parents and his wife was back living with her family, they were both still listed as being married. It is not known if they ever had any children or were divorced, or how long William lived, but there were no children listed with either of them on the 1880 census.

Mattie lost her mother about 1884, and she started a relationship with the much older divorced Joseph Marion Withrow who was about 25 years her senior in 1888 and had eight or nine previous children by two women, she was his third known wife and they lived together almost 25 years, but I cannot find any marriage records for them (or for him to any previous wife/wives). Mattie's grandson says his aunt told him that Joseph was a philanderer who got pregnant a Native American woman who was working in his home as a servant. Joseph was listed as divorced and living alone in Cherokee Co NC by the 1880 census but both of his first two wives were still alive at that time in Georgia. (The first wife Rachel Minerva Newton - Withrow died in 1887, the other mother of his children Sarah Louise Odom - Manchester never went by Withrow and later moved first to Tennessee and then to Los Angeles, CA with her two sons, who went by Withrow.)

Joseph Withrow had a thriving life in Georgia the 1860's and 1870's. His family had moved to Georgia in the 1840's from the Buncombe/Haywood NC area and he had first married about 1853 and was listed on the 1860 Fannin County, GA census with $1250 worth of land; by 1870 he was listed with $2200 of land and $1150 of personal property (which was unusual for a southern farmer after the Civil War, most southern farmers were taxed so heavily after the war that they had to sell off land). His Agriculture and Population census's show him to be prospering both in farming and family, having on his farm by 1870 a wife, two sons and three daughters, with a thriving and increasing farm value that was now listed as:

JOSEPH WITHROW - Acres:100Cultivated/275Not=$2200 + $25 - 1Horse/1MuleOrAss/3milchCows/2otherCows/2oxen/11sheep/20pigs=$450Livestock - 1000buCorn/300buOats - 30lbsWool - 32buSweetPot - 300lbsButter - 110tonsHay - $110SlaughteredAnimals - TotalSales $1350? (hard to read)

Joseph is listed as a witness for a local man who put in a claim in 1878 for compensation from the federal government for aiding the Union Army during the Civil War, the claim was denied.

In the mid-1870's Joseph started a relationship with another woman by whom he had at least two and possibly three children; by 1880 he was listed as a divorced man living alone a few miles over the state border to the north in Hothouse TWP of Cherokee County, NC and according to Ancestry trees his oldest son James Hamilton Withrow was now living on his farm in Fannin County, GA, and his wife Rachel with their three youngest daughters were living in a separate house there as well as another daughter and his second family with Sarah Odom who had three Odom children. (There is a photo of his home on Ancestry.) Joseph Marion evidently stayed on the North Carolina side of the border for the remainder of his life and eventually started a relationship with Mattie Gaddis and built up his new life with her there.

Mattie & Joseph stayed together from about 1888 until he died in 1912 and they had at least eight or nine children together, five of whom died in young adulthood of tuberculosis:

Thomas Dillard Withrow
Nancy J Witherow - Bryant
Whitelow Reid Withrow
Ora O Withrow - Bryant
Josephus Marion "Sephus" Witherow
Stella Bessie Withrow - Gaddis
Ethel Withrow - Post
Ava Withrow
Ruth Withrow - Ellis

On the 1900 census, Mattie's family are listed as:

7 Jun 1900 • Hothouse Township, Cherokee, NC, USA

#39 -- Joseph M Withrow 65 Mar11yrs FarmerOwnsFree Can read/write NC/NC/NC, Marth M Withrow 40 7/7 children Can read/Not Write GA/GA/SC, Thomas D 10 NC, Nancy J 9 NC, Whitelow R 2 NC, Ora O 6 NC, Joseph H 4 NC, Stella 3 NC, Ethel 10/12 NC, Mary A Ballew 27 Servant, William Mc. Ballew 1/12

Four years later on 14 Dec 1904, Joseph transferred legal ownership of his Cherokee County farm to Mattie, (according to the Jan 1941 newspaper notice of the upcoming sale of the 200+acres of land for taxes, which also listed the heirs). I wonder if this was his way of legally keeping his new farm from being taken away from Mattie and their children by his previous children after his death.

On his last census together on 25 Apr 1910, Mattie & Joseph were listed:

#86 - Joseph Withrow 79 Farmer NC/NC/NC, Martha Withrow 49 9/8 children Not read/write GA/GA/GA, Thomas 20 FarmLaborer NC/NC/GA(all children), Reid 17 FarmLab, Ola 16 FarmLab, Josephus 14 FarmLab, Bessie 12, Ethel 10, Ruth 6

Joseph died on 15 Aug 1912 and is buried at Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery #2 in Fannin County, Georgia.

In 1920, Martha was living on their farm in Cherokee County, NC with two of her youngest daughters and the two children of her recently widowed son Josephus "Sephus" Withrow whose 1st wife Zona was one of the early casualties of the 1918 influenza pandemic, Sephus was working in the coal mines in Polk County, TN just across the border from Mattie but he was missed on the 1920 census (I suspect he may have been living part-time in the boarding house where his 2nd and last wife Tilda Rich lived and worked as the cook). Sephus died on 28 Aug 1921 of a lung ailment like many coal miners, his two children Edna (who was vision impaired) and Winford by Zona continued to live with their grandmother Mattie after his death. On the 1920 census, Mattie's household consisted of:

8 Jan 1920 • Hot House, Cherokee, North Carolina, USA

#24/26 -- Martha Witherow 57 Widowed Farmer GA, Ora Witherow 25 Single Daut NC, Ethel Witherow 20 Single Daut NC, Edna Witherow 4 Granddaut TN, Winford Witherow 3 Grandson TN

By 1930 Mattie had lost seven of her nine children, two in childhood and five in young adulthood to lung ailments listed as TB, and she was now raising four grandchildren by herself:

10 Apr 1930 • Hothouse, Cherokee, North Carolina, USA

#77/78 -- Martha M Witherow 68 widowed Age16FirstMarriage Not read/write Farmer GA/GA/GA, Edna Witherow 14 Granddaut AttdSch Can r/w TN/GA/NC, Winford Witherow 13 AttdSch Can r/w Farmer TN/GA/NC, Annie Witherow 10 AttdSch Can r/w NC/GA/NC, Earl Witherow 7 NC/NC/

Mattie continued to raise four grandchildren until she died, and they continued to live on her farm for several years after her death. Cherokee County sold her farm for back taxes 10 Feb 1941 after putting regular notices in the local newspaper for over a year listing the heirs as: "TD Withrow and wife Leoria, Raymond Bryan and wife Lassie, Whitlow Reid Withrow and wife Esther, Tilda Withrow Paris, Winfred & Edna Withrow, Harvey, Windon, Alfred and Margaret Ruth Gaddis, John Post, Annie & Earl Withrow 'Ellis', and Ernest Gaddis." They also stated in one early notice that Mattie had failed to pay any land taxes on her farm of 200+ acres during the years 1930 - 1938.

I cannot find a death certificate for Mattie, but the local newspaper printed an obituary stating that Mattie died a short time after an attack of "acute indigestion" and was laid to rest near her husband JM Withrow who had pre-deceased her by 26 years, leaving 4 twice-orphaned grandchildren she had raised by herself.

July 2018

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  • Maintained by: Jeni
  • Originally Created by: Chuck Garland
  • Added: 16 Sep 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 58757512
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Martha M “Mattie” Gaddis Withrow (21 Mar 1862–18 Jul 1938), Find A Grave Memorial no. 58757512, citing Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery #2, Mineral Bluff, Fannin County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Jeni (contributor 47773508) .