Madison County History

Madison County, IllinoisOn September 14, 1812, Madison County was established in the Illinois Territory out of Randolph and St. Clair Counties, by proclamation of the Governor of Illinois Territory, Ninian Edwards. It was named for U.S. President James Madison, a friend of Edwards, and had a population of 9,099 people. At the time of its formation, Madison County included all of the modern State of Illinois north of St. Louis, as well as all of Wisconsin, part of Minnesota, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A meeting was held on April 5, 1813 at the home of Thomas Kirkpatrick, where appointed commissioners were to report on their selection of a county seat. A meeting was held on January 14, 1814, where the court ordered the sheriff to notify the commissioners appointed by law to fix the place for the public buildings (courthouse and jail) for Madison County. The county seat was established in the town of Edwardsville, with the first public building – the jail – being erected in 1814. The first county courthouse was erected in Edwardsville in 1817.

During the period 1819 to 1849, Madison County had been reduced in area to its present size, about 760 square miles. All of the public lands had become the property of individuals and had been converted into thousands of productive farms. New towns and villages were established, such as Collinsville, Highland, Marine, Venice, Monticello [Godfrey], Troy, and Alton.





History of the Illinois State Penitentiary in Alton (1833-1860), and the military post and Confederate prison (1861-1865).

Confederate prison in Alton, Illinois


Illinois GenWeb     USGenWeb