History comes alive in Madison County, through tales such as the story of the lost settlement of Bucareli. The La Bahina Road and the Old San Antonio Road — originally Indian trails — carried countless travelers and long-lost
tales through town. Tales of visits from famous outlaws abound, while some even speculate that the French explorer LaSalle was killed at a site just south of Madison County. The famous Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie penned a chapter about lost Spanish gold thought to have been buried in Eastern Madison County in his famous book, “Tales of Old Time Texas.”
Texas history buffs often enjoy experiencing Madison County on their own treasure-hunting
expeditions. A trip of this nature should always start at the Madison County Museum, which
features displays about local history as well as some of the most knowledgeable local histori ans around. While the rural area of Madison County holds many of its historical treasures, a quick trip to downtown Madisonville also holds many exciting pieces of history.
The territory in present-day Madison County was occupied by members of two Indian
groups – the Caddoes and the Atakapans. The Caddoes were among the most advanced of
the Texas Indians and were considered wealthy as well as friendly. They lived in large villages
and constructed beehive shaped houses. The Bedias, who were principal residents of the
area now known as Madison County, belonged to the Atakapan group. They, along with the
Deadose Indians, themselves also Atakapans, occupied the Trinity River valley in the heart of
the county. The main village of the Bedias was located at the confluence of the Trinity River
and Bedias Creek.
Closely associated with the Caddoes, the Bedias were agriculturalists, known for raising
corn. They also depended largely on hunting, especially of deer.
Though they were never a large group, they were decimated by epidemics and incursions
by hostile tribes. The Kickapoos, migrants from the east who settled among the remnants of
the Caddo confederacies, also resided in the area at one time; Kickapoo Creek still bears their
Major W.C. Young is generally agreed to have been the first Anglo-American to settle
permanently in the area. He left South Carolina in 1829 and moved to Texas, where he participated in the battle of San Jacinto. Prominent among other early settlers and instrumentalin settlement and development were James Mitchell, Job Starks Collard and Dr. Pleasant W. Kittrell. Mitchell kept a well-regarded hostelry at the parting of San Antonio and La Bahia roads and established the first post office in Madison County. Collard, a member of the Austin colony, was granted a league of land by the Mexican government on May 28, 1835. In 1853, he donated 200 acres for the establishment of a townsite, on which the county seat Madisonville was founded. Kittrell was the impetus behind the
organization of Madison County.
The judicial Madison County was formed on February 2, 1842, from Montgomery County. Judicial counties were later declared unconstitutional because they had no legislative representation. Because resident of the northern parts of Walker and Grimes counties lived 40 to 50 miles from their county seats, they petitioned the legislature for the establishment of a new county. Settlers in the future Madison County witnessed the Runaway Scrape in 1836, as
citizens of Texas rushed towards Trinity in an effort to escape the advance of Santa
Madison County, reported to have been “wild and wooly” before and after the
Civil War, was referred to as the “Free State of Madison.” Between 1854 and 1873 the
county lost three courthouses to fire, and in 1967, yet another courthouse burned to
the ground. The present building was completed in 1970 and is the fifth courthouse
to serve Madison County. In 2013, it was listed as “Five Of The Ugliest Texas County
Courthouses” by Houstonia magazine.
The Madison County Public Library has an extensive genealogy section, as well as
lots of books penned by local families, recalling the oral histories of some of the earliest settlers of the region.
It has evolved from a sleepy and sparsely used facility into
a growing and vibrant addition to the City of Madisonville’s
Madisonville Municipal Airport (51R), is an unmanned general aviation utility airport located three miles southwest of
Madisonville off of FM 1452, at an elevation of 287 feet above sea
level. It also has fuel for both Jet A and LL100.
The airport property accommodates Runway 18/36, hangar access taxiways and aircraft tie-downs. The airport is situated on 40
acres of land owned by the city of Madisonville. In 2018 it received
the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation’s Most Improved
The airport services corporate, governmental, recreational,
student and private pilot activities. It continues to be an essential component in the economic development of the City of
Madisonville and Madison County.
The Texas Skydiving Company, Wanda Collins, Professional
Pilot Services and Madisonville Flying Services operate out of the
Since 1962, the Madison County Chamber
of Commerce, which includes more than
115 individual and business members,
has been a trusted resource for local and
regional businesses and their employees.
Membership with the chamber generates many
benefits. The board of directors and many dedicated
members work to facilitate and maintain a dynamic,
highly productive organization.
The chamber’s purpose is to make Madison
County the most economically prosperous region in
the Brazos Valley.
As a member of the Madison County Chamber
of Commerce, you enjoy a host of professional development and networking opportunities for a very
reasonable annual fee; but that is just scratching the
surface of how chamber partnership benefits you
and your business.
A nationwide study of over 2,000 adults revealed
that when consumers know that a business is a
partner of their local chamber of commerce, they
are 44% more likely to think favorably of it and 63%
more likely to purchase goods or services from the
company in the future
For over two decades the Madison County
Economic Development Corporation has
pushed to promote industrial and commercial
development in the area, while enhancing local business retention and expansion.
“Our main goal is to provide the highest
quality of life in the region and prepare for
future growth,” said Dave Ward, who helped
develop the corporation in 1997.
One of the organization’s largest developments — a 67-acre industrial park in northern
Madison County — now sits at full capacity
with businesses such as Texas Pride Trailers,
DaSilveira Southwest, B&J Machine Works and
Global Oilfield Equipment Company. The site is
also home to the Madison County Fairgrounds.
“It took us a few years, but we don’t have a
spec of land out there that is not under development,” Ward said.
In recent years, the EDC launched the
Community Development Corporation, which
builds and renovates homes in the area.
The EDC’s office is located at 113 W. Trinity
Street in Madisonville
Madisonville is a laid-back town that’s perfect for unwinding and de-stressing. With fewer than 5,000 residents, you will never have to
contend with big-city lines or traffic, regardless of what you decide to do.
Known as “The Mushroom Capital of Texas,” Madisonville is a lively community about 40 miles northeast of College Station. When you visit, you’ll find charming lodging, lovely outdoor venues, down-home eateries and friendly locals welcoming you to explore and enjoy their city
The City of Madisonville is a community that
is beautiful, rich in history, culturally diverse,
affordable and safe. Our citizen’s come together to improve the standard of living and quality of life; working together and taking care of each other.
Whether you’re golfing, fishing or wandering
around town, Madisonville is a refreshing retreat from the big city. Visit soon and see what you’ve been missing.