A New Hampshire Joiner’s Wife: Malinda (Maddox) Knox (1812-1890)

"M. Knox with hands folded in lap"; daguerreotype c 1840-1860; part of the Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography; Harvard University, Houghton Library

“M. Knox with hands folded in lap”; daguerreotype c 1840-1860; part of the Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography; Harvard University, Houghton Library

The lovely face of gazes out at you from an ancient daguerreotype. “M. Knox, 12 Union St., Portsmouth, NH” is handwritten behind the plate. The photograph appears to have been taken between 1840-1855.  At that time, there was only one woman living in Portsmouth who could fit this profile.

Malinda Maddox was the daughter of Amos & Eunice (Day) Maddox; She born 10 July 1812 in Kennebunk, York Maine, and married Asa Knox.  They moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire by 1830 when they are found in that census.  Asa Knox was a joiner carpenter, and no doubt he had plenty of work in this thriving city.

They lived in a neighborhood of closely built houses, probably among other craftsmen and merchants of various kinds.  She had one child in Maine and then seven more while they were living in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, NH.  No doubt with all these children her household was lively, and she spent most of her day cooking, cleaning and sewing. Her youngest child was born in December 1850 in Portsmouth, but by 1860 they had removed to Berwick Maine.  She resided in that town until her death in 1890.

Her husband Asa was a joiner carpenter, according to the occupation listed on various census records.  According to the Colonial Williamsburg web site: “The main business of the colonial carpenter was to cut and join timber and board into sturdy wooden homes and shops. Joinery is one of the specializations of carpentry.” Joiners were also greatly needed in ship building, in which business Portsmouth excelled.


Asa Knox, son of John & Sally/Betsey (Dore) Knox, and a descendant of Thomas Nock of Dover NH was b 20 June 1811 in Berwick, York, Maine, and died 16 October 1890 in Underhill Vermont;  He m.  25 March 1834 in Somersworth, Strafford Co. NH to Malinda/Melinda Maddox, daughter of Amos & Eunice (Day) Maddox; She b. 10 July 1812 in Kennebunk, York Maine, and died 25 March 1890 in Berwick, York, Maine aged 77. [Her gravestone in cemetery in field of Freeborn, W. Bell Route 103, Berwick Maine, Salmon Falls Road, enclosed iron fence]. By 1830 this family was living in Portsmouth NH evidenced by the census of that year, and through 1850.  After the birth of their last child in 1850 and before 1860 they had removed to Berwick, York Co. Maine.
1850 US Census > NH > Rockingham > Portsmouth
Asa Knox M 38 Maine  Joiner
Malind Knox F 38 Maine
Emily A Knox F 16 Maine
Mary J. Knox F 14 NH
Asa W. Knox M 13 NH
John H. Knox M 11 NH
Eunice P. Knox F 9 NH
1860 US Census > Maine > York > Berwick
Arastus Hayes M 31 NH
Asa Knox 49 NH
Malinda Knox F 47 NH
Mary J. Knox 23 NH
Eunice Knox F 19 NH
Sarah Knox F 15 NH
William K. Knox M 12 NH
Charles W. Knox M 9 NH
1870 US Census > Maine > York > Berwick
Knox Asa 59 M W Carpenter Maine
Knox Melinda 58 F @ Keeping House Maine
Knox, William 22 M W NH
Children of Asa & Melinda (Maddox) Knox:
1. Emily Ann Knox, b 3 Nov 1834 Maine; m. Charles S. Durgin. Buried in Valley Cemetery, Manchester, NH.
2. Mary Jane “Mercy” Knox, b. 9 May 1836 NH; m. 15 Apr 1887 Erastus Twombly Hayes of Berwick ME
3. Asa Woodman Knox, b 10 Sep 1837 NH;  he m 4 July 1865 in Dover NH to Abbie H. Chick, dau of John & Lydia Chick. He served in the US Navy from Sept 10, 1865 ro June 11, 1865 while a resident of Berwick Maine, serving on the Vandalia, Colorado, St Louis and Princton with the rank of Seaman.
4. John Henry Knox, b. 30 Sep 1839, unmarried
5. Eunice Elizabeth aka “Eunice P.” Knox, b. 22 April 1841 NH; d. 22 Sep 1860, unmarried.
6. Helen Sarah aka Sarah Helen Knox, b 5 Nov 1845 in NH, and d. 8 July 1937 in Dorchester, Suffolk MA.  She married Amos Carlisle Humphrey of Underhill VT and had 7 children [HUMPHREY]: Selwyn Edgar, Eunice E. Rosewell Knox, Berton K., Ernest Carlisle, Emma, and Ross.
7. William Keith Knox b 8 Nov 1847 NH
8. Charles Wesley Knox b 20 Dec 1850 NH; m. Nellie Parcher of Waterboro, Maine.

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5 Responses to A New Hampshire Joiner’s Wife: Malinda (Maddox) Knox (1812-1890)

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  2. Dick says:

    It looks like an ambrotype copy of a daguerreotype. The original daguerreotype could have been taken in the 1840’s or 1850’s. This case looks like it dates from the late 1850’s or early 1860’s.

  3. Janice Brown says:

    Dick, it could very well be. The Harvard University Library who owns it, has it listed as a daguerreotype, so I simply trusted that the person properly identified it. Thank YOU for your comments about it.

  4. Melanie says:

    Sorry, I disagree with Dick. The faint, and superfine horizontal lines in the background are consistent with the buffering strokes made originally (the dag silvered plates were hand-buffered). There are some tarnishing spots, to be sure, but this is totally consistent with many other dags. The mat and preserver look to be a later addition and date it to CW era, which post-dates dags.

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