Madison County is
in the southeastern part of the state in the foothills of the Ozark
Mountains. It is bound on the north by St. Francois County; northeast by Perry County; east by Bollinger
County; south Wayne
County; and west by Iron County.
The first persons to
explore Madison County were Renault and La Motte and their companies
about 1721-23. They discovered minerals, principally lead,
but finding no silver ore did not establish a settlement.
One of the first recorded
settlement was in 1799. In 1806 the first brick house in the
county was built two miles west of St. Michaels.
Madison County was
organized December 14, 1818 and was named for President Madison.
The county was formed
from Cape Girardeau and Ste. Genevieve.
The first county seat was St. Michaels, but later moved to Fredericktown,
During the Civil War
the county furnished soldiers to both Federal and Confederate sides.
The people of Madison County found themselves victims of guerrilla
fighting and military activity throughout the war.
battle of Fredericktown was fought just south of the city along
Greenville Road on, October 21, 1861
A reenactment of the
Battle of Fredericktown is now held every other year during the
month of September.
has been a key industry in this area with Madison County recorded
as having the oldest lead mine west of the Mississippi River.
Lead mined at the Mine
La Motte has been used for the manufacture of bullets for every
military action of the United States from the American Revolution
to the Korean Conflict.
The public school system
was not started in the county until 1880.
The first newspaper
was the "Espial", published in 1847, and is said to be
the first Free Soil paper