Alabama Counties
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Alabama Counties

Alabama currently has sixty-seven counties. The oldest county, Washington, was created on June 4, 1800, when what is now Alabama was then part of the Mississippi Territory. The newest county is Houston, created on February 9, 1903.

Madison County, Alabama History

Madison County Education, Geography, and HistoryMadison County, Alabama Courthouse

Madison County is a county of the state of Alabama. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 334,811. Madison County was created on December 13, 1808 from the Cherokee and Chickasaw Cession of 1806 (Additional land was added until the county achieved its current form in 1824). The county seat is Huntsville. Madison county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States of America, and the first to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.

Madison County is included in the Huntsville, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Madison County Name

The county was named for President James Madison.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Madison County History

Madison County, Alabama

Madison county was formed by Mississippi Territory Governor Robert Williams on December 13, 1808. Additional land was added until the county achieved its current form in 1824.

The county is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.

This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2005 population of 298,192.

Madison county was named for President James Madison. The county is located in the north-central part of the state, bounded to the north by the State of Tennessee and to the south by the Tennessee River. It encompasses 806 square miles. The first white settlers entered the area in 1804. The area was previously inhabited by Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians. The county seat was established at Huntsville. Huntsville also served as the temporary State capital in 1819. Today, Huntsville is the home of the Marshall Space Center. Other towns located in Madison County include New Market, Normal, Madison, Owens Cross Roads and New Hope.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 813 square miles (2,110 km2), of which 802 square miles (2,080 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.4%) is water.

The Tennessee River is the county's major waterway. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, completed in 1984, opened up river travel to the port of Mobile from Madison County. Tributaries of the Tennessee River include the Flint River, which runs through the county from its headwaters in Tennessee, and the Paint Rock River, which in its lower course comprises part of the boundary between Madison and Marshall Counties. The Paint Rock River supports an extremely diverse array of aquatic life, including some one hundred species of fish and about 45 different mussel species.

The topography in the southern and eastern portions of the county is dominated by the dissected remnants of the Cumberland Plateau, such as Keel Mountain, Monte Sano Mountain and Green Mountain. The northern and western portions of the county are flatter.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Lincoln County, Tenn.
  • Northeast: Franklin County, Tenn.
  • East: Jackson County
  • Southeast: Marshall County
  • Southwest: Morgan County
  • West: Limestone County


The Madison County School System runs public schools throughout the unincorporated areas of the county and the incorporated and unincorporated communities of Gurley, New Hope, Meridianville, Hazel Green, Toney, Monrovia, New Market, and Owens Cross Roads. The system runs 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 5 high schools and a ninth grade school, and a career/technical center.

High schools in the Madison County School System are:

  • Buckhorn High School (New Market, Alabama)
  • Hazel Green High School
  • Madison County High School (in Gurley)
  • New Hope High School
  • Sparkman High School (in Harvest)

There are a number of private schools serving Madison County. These include Madison Academy, Westminster Christian Academy, Faith Christian Academy, and several others.

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