Madison County was formed on September 30, 1836 from part of Washington County and was named in honor of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. It has an area of 836 square miles. Two former governors have come from Madison County: Isaac Murphy (1864-1868) and Orval Faubus (1955-1967). The first session of the county court was held in the barn of Evan S. Polk, a little northwest of the present town of Huntsville. Later sessions were held at the house of John Sanders until July 22, 1839, when Huntsville was declared the permanent county seat. The first courthouse was a hewn log structure about 30 feet square, erected at a cost of $150. A brick courthouse was built in 1815 and served until 1863, when it was burned by Federal troops. After the war, sessions of the court were held at the home of John Vaughan and in the Masonic Hall until a new courthouse was completed in January 1871. It was destroyed by fire December 1, 1879, and the next courthouse was completed in October 1882. Long before settlers began arriving from Europe around 1826, the area that is now Madison County was home to many Native American tribes, including cliff dwellers whose artifacts have been found in caves and shelters along the county's waterways. The same natural resources that drew them to the area appeal to modern residents and visitors. The King's River in Madison County was the first stream in Arkansas to receive legislative recognition and protection. Also protected is the Sweden Creek Falls Natural Area in the Boston Mountains. An 80-foot waterfall maintains moist conditions where ferns grow naturally. Two wildlife management areas are located in the county — Madison County WMA and White Rock WMA. Both offer excellent hunting. War Eagle Creek also flows through the county offering family recreation with fishing, canoeing and camping. The rugged Ozark National Forest land attracts hikers and campers with its beauty. Withrow Springs State Park is located four miles north of Huntsville and offers camping, swimming and hiking suitable for the whole family. Poultry and cattle are raised on farms throughout the county. Some residents commute to more industrialized neighboring counties for work. St. Paul has no industry but used to be the hub of major railroads years ago. When the timber industry left, the railroads left with them. St. Paul is in the southern part of Madison County and was the home of Ralph Baker, who served as sheriff from January 1, 1973 to January 5, 1998. At the time of his death, his tenure in office was tied with only one other sheriff in the state. The population of Madison County is 16,521 (2020 Census).
201 W. Main St.
Phone: (479) 738-6514
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 329, Huntsville, 72740
Justices of the Peace
Bob Rawson, Cord Riley, Jason Yates, Sam Roddy, Wendy Pettz, James Eaton, Joe Wilson, Jerry Yates, Matt Cleaver