County History

A Brief History of Madison County

Madison County was originally part of the Choctaw Nation. Just north of Spanish West Florida, it was claimed by Georgia until 1804 when it was ceded to Mississippi Territory. Pushmataha, Choctaw chief, relinquished Indian claim to most of the county’s area to Andrew Jackson and Thomas Hinds at Doaks Stand, a trading post or a way station, stopover place, in the second Choctaw cession of 1820. The treaty granted 1,000,000 acres to the United States.

In 1828 when Madison County was established, the area had included part of Yazoo City. Named for James Madison, forth president of the United States, the county is bound by the Big Black and Pearl Rivers; hence, “the land between two rivers.”

The land of the “New Purchase” was divided into counties in 1828 and Madison County assumed its present form in 1840, adding a wedge from the third Choctaw cession.

The Big Black River landing town of Beattie’s Bluff, founded in the early 1800’s was Madison County’s first county seat. This settlement is no longer in existence today.

Livingston, the second county seat, also no longer exists, although the outlines of the town square can still be seen just off Highway 22 near the Highway 463 intersection.

Canton, Madison County’s present county seat, is honored by having its downtown square listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area, with the newly restored 1855 Courthouse is a thriving business district.

Agriculture, including cotton, soybeans, cattle, and forestry, is still an industry. In recent years, however, manufacturing and commercial interests have experienced rapid growth. Madison County can boast of numerous national and international companies and corporate headquarters. Flora is the home to the only Petrified Forest east of the Mississippi River.

The proximity of South Madison County to the Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Jackson Metro area have resulted in tremendous population boom, and much new construction in the Madison-Ridgeland area.

Canton and Madison County was selected as the recent filming site for John Grisham’s best seller, A Time to Kill. The movie was released in late summer, 1996.