Kathleen Maddox, the mother of the infamous cult leader, Charles Manson, is a name you don't get to hear anymore. Considering her son's reputation, it is pretty strange how obscure the name got in the years. To talk about her story is unraveling a series of contradictions.
Seeing what a monster of a mother Kathleen Maddox was considered, the story from her mouth seemed quite unflattering. She was regarded as a prostitute and an alcoholic who sold her son for a pint of beer.
Separating the real deal from the rumors won't be easy, but there is one truth around the corner that Kathleen Maddox was responsible for her son's unstable mind. So, take a peek into the real story about the woman of the 1930s.
Who Was Kathleen Maddox?
Born on January 11, 1919, in Morehead, KY, Ada Kathleen Maddox ran away from her home in 1933. She was only 16 when she became pregnant with her son. In November 1934, she gave birth to Charles Manson in Cincinnati, OH. It was her illegitimate son, who was initially called "no first name Maddox."
It was now when she met William Manson, who met the boy and gave him his last name and named him Charles Milles Maddox after her maternal grandfather. However, the relationship of Kathleen Maddox and Willian Manson soured away too soon.
Kathleen Maddox: A 1930s Wild Child
Kathleen's parents were focused on giving the best guidance to their children, following the Christian interpretations of life. But Kathleen opinionated her parents' beliefs to be fanatical and rebelled against such arrangements. She was against the pressure and control of her parents like most kids of her age.
She spent most of her life with her grandmother, who was also against her lifestyle choices. The family was against girls' long hair, friendship with boys, wearing skirts, and having fun. This made Kathleen escape home in 1933 and live life in absolute freedom. She was only 15 years old then, and a year later, she gave birth to her illegitimate son.
Kathleen Maddox: Her Role As A Mother
Kathleen Maddox could not quite fulfill her role as a mother ideally. She was the kind of mother that kids are taken away from and handed over to foster homes for a better future. Kathleen used to disappear for days, and sometimes, even weeks, she would leave Charlie with his grandmother or aunt.
Charles said that his mother had even traded him once for a pitcher of beer. Kathleen took her son to a café and conversed with a waitress who wished to have a child and found Charlie cute. Kathleen took this opportunity to trade her son for a pitcher of beer.
The waitress thought Kathleen was kidding and gave her a pitcher anyway. But Kathleen stayed true to what she said and left her son there after finishing her beer. Manson's uncle tracked him down days later and bought the kid home.
Later, in interviews and statements, Maddox said that it was not wholly accurate that Charlie was unaware of his biological father. Colonel Walker Scott, the person she met after she fled from home, was quite actively involved with Kathleen Maddox before he died of cancer in 1954.
Scott used to pick Charles up and keep him for the weekends with his own kid. The father loved the kid. Later on, Charles expressed his views about his mother as well. Although many writers portrayed her as a teenage whore, he believed she was only walking 30 years ahead of time.
Kathleen's act of leaving home was a normal reaction like any other kid, and Charles believed that Kathleen Maddox had only chosen a life to live on her terms. However, Kathleen Maddox did have a wild character that put her in trouble and separated her from her son.
She went hitchhiking at the age of 16 and had left her son with her parents when the poor boy was only four. She went to West Virginia, and two years later, Maddox and her brother, Luther, were taken into custody for committing a robbery at the gas station using a broken ketchup bottle.
Years After The Violence
Kathleen's life story got even more mysterious towards the end. In 1971, Maddox stated that she was in a five-year-long marriage with Gale Bower. She then had a 9-year-old daughter and lived a quiet life with only a few friends.
Although Kathleen Maddox is often blamed for the violence Manson later developed, she believed the precise opposite. Kathleen thought that her lifestyle choices made Manson over-confident. She said that Manson was a lucky kid to have everything offered to him. He need not have to choose a path of darkness, at least not until he was a grown man.
Kathleen Maddox died at the age of 55 on July 31, 1973, in Spokane, Washington. She was buried at the Fairmount Memorial Park. And her son, Charles Manson, died 44 years later in prison when he was 83.
There have been many stories about Kathleen Maddox. She was trashed for her lifestyle choices and getting pregnant at 16 with an illegitimate child. She was given names and called everything that would degrade her honor.
People termed her a prostitute, thief. Some bad names were even tagged by her own son, Charles Manson. But these stories faded over the years, and contradictions rose about her life and the challenges she faced alone throughout her life.
She had a complicated life ever since she fled from her mother's home and had stellar relationships choices. But one thing was for sure that she was not the best at motherhood. She went into prison when Charles was only five. But fortunately, Charles began living with his loving aunt, uncle, and cousin and wasn't sent to a foster home.