Madison was made the county seat October 12, 1875. It is beautifully situated at the junction of Union and Taylor Creeks. It is immediately surrounded by valley and rolling prairie, most of the land in all directions for a number of miles being well adapted to mixed farming. To the westward, in what is called the Knapp & Scheer settlement, are to be found farms equal, perhaps, to any in the State, both as regards their fertility and the improvements that have been made upon them. Good barns have been erected on most of the farms, which, on account of the scarcity of the timber, are seldom seen in Northeastern Nebraska, and, as a consequence many thousands of dollars have been lost to the farmers by the exposure to the weather, of their farm implements, vehicles and stock.
The first settlement made in Madison was by H. M. Barnes and his sons, Frank W. and William J., the town site being located on the claim of Frank W. Barnes, who built the first log house in the fall of 1868. The first frame house in Madison was built by H. M. Barnes, in May, 1867, and the first store was started in May, 1872, by Michael Bauch. The post office was established in 1871, Sylvester Speed, Postmaster. The first marriage was that of Frank W. Barnes to Phebe Bauch, May 2, 1871; the first birth that of their son, Edward Y., February 19, 1872. The first marriage in Union Creek settlement was that of Leroy S. Rounds to Mary E. Flowers, early in 1869.
Churches of Madison, Nebraska
The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1870. Rev. J. M. Wilson preached the first sermon during the same year, and their church was built in 1871.
The Methodists were organized in 1870. Their first sermon was preached to them the same year, by Elder S. P. Vandoozer, and their church was built in 1875.
The Catholics organized their church in 1880, and built their church edifice in 1881.
The Lutherans organized in 1875, but have no building.
The Madison County Sunday School Association was organized at Madison July 5, 1878.
Village of Madison Nebraska
Madison was incorporated July 6, 1876. Her first Board of Trustees were F. W. Barnes, C. Neidig, T. M. Blakely, E. F. Prince and H. E. Becker.
The village now contains five general stores, two hardware stores, two harness shops, two blacksmiths, two shoe shops, one furniture store, five agricultural implement dealers, one flouring-mill, two banks, three law firms, one doctor, two lumber yards, one brick yard, five stock-breeders, two hotels, two public and one private schools, one newspaper and about six hundred inhabitants.
On March 31, 1882, the question of bonding the school district in which Madison is located, in the sum of $5,000, for the purpose of building a new schoolhouse, was submitted to the electors.
One hundred and forty-nine votes were cast, thirty-one of them by women. Twenty-nine of these voted in favor of the bonds, which carried by eleven over the necessary two-thirds majority.
The first newspaper published in the county was the Madison Review, established in 1874, by T. M. Blakely, who continued its publication until 1878. The Madison Chronicle was started in 1879, by Phillip Bauch, and is the only paper in Madison. It is one of the few country newspapers that have discarded the ready print feature, and is bright and newsy.
Maps, Photographs and Postcards of Madison Nebraska
Source: Andreas, A. T. History of the State of Nebraska, p. 1107-1108. Chicago: The Western Historical Company. 1882.