Welcome to Madison County ILGenWeb
Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser
BRIEF HISTORY OF MADISON COUNTY
Named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States and father of our Constitution, Madison County was established in the Illinois Territory on September 14, 1812 from Randolph and St. Clair Counties. At the time it was established, Madison 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. In 1814, the formation of Edwards County removed almost half of the eastern part, and the final boundary change came in 1843, when a small portion on the northeast corner of Madison County became part of Bond County.
On September 19, 1812, Illinois Territory Governor Ninian Edwards appointed Isam Gilham as the first Sheriff of Madison County, with William Rabb, John G. Lofton, and Samuel Judy as judges; and Josiah Randall as Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas. Josiah Randall was named Recorder, and Robert Elliott, Thomas G. Davidson, William Gilham, and George Cadwell were appointed Justices of the Peace.
Edwardsville, the county seat, was laid out in 1815 on the site designated by Governor Edwards in his proclamation organizing the county. It was named in his honor, and later became his residence.
THE ST. JAMES HOTEL, EDWARDSVILLE
Hugh Kirkpatrick was born in Randolph County, Illinois, in September 1832. He engaged as a clerk in St. Louis for two years, then lived in Sparta, working as a salesman. He later embarked in the mercantile business, then opened the Shannon House in Sparta. He moved to Edwardsville in 1861, and in October of that year opened the Union House, which he conducted with considerable success until 1874. For several years he had entertained the idea of building a large hotel in Edwardsville. He began work on the brick structure, and in 1874 the St. James Hotel was opened. The St. James was one of the finest hotels in the area. Kirkpatrick died in May 1895, leaving a widow and four children. His funeral was held at the St. James.
The St. James Hotel was located on the east side of North Main Street, just south of the Wildey Theater. Including grounds and furniture, it cost $20,000. It was a fine brick structure, three stories high, with a basement. It had the capacity of accommodating 75 guests, and had two sample-rooms, a commodious office, and a dining room. An 800-seat opera house – the Tuxhorn Theater - was connected to the St. James by a second-floor walkway.
The St. James was destroyed by fire in October 1932. The remains of the building were razed in April 1934. A parking lot now stands at the site.