Kathleen Maddox

 Ada Kathleen Maddox Bower; Mother of Charles Manson [DECEASED] (January 11, 1919 – July 31, 1973) 

Kathleen Maddox

Kathleen Maddox was born on January 11, 1919 in Morehead, Kentucky to her parents Charlie and Nancy Maddox.

Ada Maddox, who primarily went by her middle name, Kathleen, was born on January 11, 1919 in Morehead, Kentucky to parents Charlie and Nancy Maddox. She was the youngest child of her two sisters, Glenna and Aileen, and one brother named Luther. Her parents, whom were devoted Christians, concentrated on providing her a religious upbringing. Her father worked for the B&O Railroad and her mother was a homemaker.

While her parents concentrated on providing her the best guidance they could under their interpretations of Christian life, Kathleen found her parents religious ways to be fanatical, and fought back, as many kids do, to the immense pressure and control placed upon her as a teen, especially from all of the religious rules. For example, she was ridiculed for wanting long hair and was told no boys, no skirts, and no fun. As if that was not enough, she also had to contend with her grandmother who was even worse about the lifestyle. Kathleen wound up fleeing the home in 1933 when she was just fifteen years old.

By the time Kathleen was sixteen, just one year later, she was pregnant with a bastard child born on November 12, 1934 in a Cincinnati Ohio hospital. Listed on the child’s birth certificate was “Maddox,” “No First Name”. It is unclear when the child, a male, was officially named Charles Milles Maddox, but Kathleen went on to meet a man named William Manson, and Charles was given his last name becoming Charles Milles Manson. That relationship soured quickly and Manson stated in several interviews that he has no recollection of William.

As a mother, there are many stories which paint Kathleen in a terrible light, most of which describe her as a prostitute, a thief, even by Charles Manson himself. However, the stories have muddied some over the years and there is conflicting views on Kathleen’s life and what exactly led to her many difficulties experienced being on her own, not to mention her less than stellar choice of relationships. Yet one thing is certain, her parenting skills were clearly no good, and she wound up in prison by the time Charles was just five years old. Fortunately for young Charles, he was sent to live with his loving aunt, uncle and cousin rather than foster care.

They two new parental guardians were strict, but they couldn’t tame young Charles who was always looking for trouble. After three years, mother and child reunited when Kathleen was released and the two shuffled around from motel to motel, fending for themselves with little to show for it. At this point, Charles was being left alone while Kathleen went to bars and catered to the various men who would move in and out of her life.

Charles kept busy developing his criminal tendencies which were shining through in the form of petty thefts and robberies. Kathleen drank and left Charles to do his own thing. Eventually having a hard time controlling his behavior, Kathleen sent him away to boarding school. For the next ten years Charles bounced around from different types of youthful offender programs getting into all sorts of worse trouble along the way. By 1957 he found himself in Federal Prison in Washington State where Kathleen eventually relocated to be closer to him, however, that was the end of their relationship for the most part.

In a 1971 interview at about just the same time Manson was convicted of the Tate/Labianca killings, Kathleen stated she was five years into her third marriage with husband Gale Bower. She had a nine-year-old daughter and lived a quiet life. Kathleen Maddox died on July 31, 1973 at age 54 in Spokane, Washington. She’s buried at Fairmount Memorial Park.

A letter from Kathleen Manson to Probation Department.
A letter from Kathleen Manson to Probation Department.

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