Madison County was shared by the Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians. Neither tribe had a settlement here, but both made use of the plentiful wildlife. The Chickasaws owned the west side of the county and the Cherokees the east.
Madison County was incorporated in 1808 and was named for James Madison. In 1808, the population was 5,000 and by 1816 had grown to 14,000. By 1819, when Alabama became a state, Madison County's population was 20,000.
This urban Alabama county's population is made up of 189,197 whites, 48,116 blacks, and 12,984 Hispanics and others. There are 73 educational outlets in the county, and most citizens have completed four years of college.
Major agricultural crops in Madison County include cotton, wheat, soybeans, corn and beef cattle. Watercress is also grown. NASA and Redstone Arsenal make defense the major industry. It is also the home of of the Alabama Space and Rocket Center and Early Works.
The Madison County Extension Office has 15 full-time and one part-time employee. There are about 37 volunteers who help with Extension programs. About 4,000 youth are involved in 4-H.