Rachel Maddux

Houston County is proud to boast Rachel Maddux as one of its residents. Rachel Maddux and her husband of 40 years, King Baker, moved to Tennessee Ridge in search of a simpler, slower paced life. With the help of long time friends, they found Houston County and King decided to plant an apple orchard. There was none in this area prior and since. It took determination and four years, but King was able to make a viable living from his 100-acre plot where his apple orchard grew. Later he expanded his crop to other fruits and included cider.
Writing under her maiden name, Rachel Maddux authored a number of novels including Green Kingdom (1957), Abel’s Daughter (1960), and her first published work, Turnips’ Blood. Her novella, A Walk in the Spring Rain (1966), was made into a movie featuring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn in 1970. Her last book, The Orchard Children (1977), recounted in fictional form the real-life adventures she and King Baker experienced in moving from Los Angeles to Tennessee Ridge, planting the orchard, raising goats, and caring for two needful children only to be blocked from adopting them. That work was developed into a film for television with Len Cariou and Shirley Jones, titled Who Will Care For The Children? Under the pen name “Apple Annie” Rachel wrote a column for the weekly Buffalo River Review of Linden, Tennessee, for about two years. In that casual and personal format her essays lamented the absence of Chinese cricket cage, commented wryly on the hazards of ordering a lamp by mail, and chronicled the blooms and delights of the rural setting and seasons as well as the losses to late freezes of two successive apple and peach crops. Rachel Maddux Baker died November 9, 1983, after a brief illness. After her death, UT Press published her autobiography, in 1991, Communication, written in 1941 when she was twenty-eight.
The Houston County Public Library has a display of memorabilia from Rachel and any of her work may be checked out there.