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WTXL Road Trip: The History of Madison County

WTXL Road Trip: The History of Madison County
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-16 12:25:57-04

MADISON COUNTY, FL (WTXL) - Madison County is sandwiched between the Aucilla River, the Suwanee River and has the Florida-Georgia line garnishing it on top.

The county, which dates back to 1827, has had a big history compared to it's small population of less than 20,000 residents.

Bill Bunting, a Madison County historian says one former resident played a big role in World War II, "Captain Colin Kelly was the first declared hero of World War II, he grew up here in Madison County, his family is here and his dad had a big agriculture business here."

The City of Madison's website says that Kelly's plane was hit by a Japanese cruiser 3 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kelly was able to keep his plane in the air until his crew could parachute to safety and died during the attempt.

Bunting says that history crafted Madison to be what it is today with many buildings and homes beginning to take shape in the 1900s. One of those buildings is the Treasures of Madison County in the City of Madison. Bunting says, "The building that it's in is now on the National Historical Registry. It was built in 1892 and was originally an opera house upstairs, and it's now a collection of things throughout our county's history."

The main industries that supported the county were far from city centers though. According to the City of Madison's website, cotton was big in the area until it boll weevil arrived in 1916 and destroyed the cotton industry. After cotton was dethroned, the next big money maker for Madison County was the tobacco crop.

Today Madison County is a blend of a rich past and healthy future. Bunting says, "The people in this community are just wonderful people, the history is great, I love to brag on my county and talk about it all the time."