History of Western Civilization and Selected Local Histories

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Last updated 08/26/2011

A Brief History of Madison County, Georgia


Established in 1811. Named for James Madison, who was President at the time.

Botanist William Bartram accompanied the men who surveyed the boundary of 1773 land secession from which part of the county of Madison would eventually be formed. Although the land did have earlier settlers, his descriptions provide one of the earliest written descriptions of this county.

Land grants to Revolutionary War veterans and others were the most popular way of disbursing the land. Among the more famous was a grant to Count D'estaing, Frenchman who helped the freedom fighters of the American Revolution lose the battle of Savannah.

Organized originally as Wilkes County, The lands to the west were acquired from the Cherokee in the Secession of 1783-4. At that time a string of forts marked the western boundary of the Georgia expansion. Four of these forts were in present-day Madison County including Jones Station.

Farmers grew corn, beans and pumpkin at the start of the 19th century. Cotton production had not made it this far west at the time, and for most farming was a subsistence life. Starting about 1800 the agricultural base of the county began to diversify and products expanded to in cotton, beef, dairy and oats.

The county was created on Dec. 5 1811 from portions of Clarke, Oglethorpe, Elbert, Franklin and Jackson counties. The Henry Strickland home was used as the first courthouse. James Long of Danielsville was well recognized in the early history of the county. He was one of the first "bankers" albeit without the bank. He would loan money to the farmers, who would pay him back when the crop came in.

His son, Crawford Long, is generally recognized today as being the first doctor to anesthetize his patients. Long, who practiced in Danielsville before moving to Jefferson in 1841 had a brother who was a doctor and remained in Danielsville.

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