Madison County Historical Society


 A Brief History of Madison County, Indiana

Willkie Home 


 Post Office, Anderson, Indiana


The earliest inhabitants of Madison County were the Moundbuilders, an Adena-Hopewell people whose massive earthworks are still visible today.  In more modern historical times, this area was the home of the Delaware Indians.

Around 1794-95, Andersontown was a small Delaware Indian village and the home of the Great and Sovereign Delaware Chief Kikthawenud later known as Chief William Anderson.  Three Moravian missionaries settled here from 1801 to 1806.  After signing the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818, the Delaware Indians were moved westward in 1820-21.

Madison County, Indiana, was first created in 1823 from the New Delaware Purchase.  The county was named for James Madison, the 4th President of the United States.

John and William Conner arrived in the county at about this time.  William, son-in-law of Chief Anderson, established a large trading post.  He later sold it to John and Sarah Berry.  They donated 32 acres(downtown Anderson) to the state for a town and on November 7, 1827, Berry laid out the first plat and one year later Andersontown became the county seat.  It remained a small village until the early1850's with the coming of the Indianapolis Bellefontaine Railroad.

On March 31, 1887, natural gas was discovered in Anderson.  With this discovery, several businesses located here, lured by the prospect of cheap energy.  The natural gas wells which supplied the city with cheap energy began to run out by 1912.  Many of the industries which located here moved to other locations, but the Commercial Club(the early Chamber of Commerce) was able to persuade the Remy brothers to stay.  Remy Electric Company was eventually bought by General Motors and expanded.

No industry has been more important to Anderson in the 20th century than the auto industry.  An early automobile pioneer, John W. Lambert, located his Buckeye Manufacturing Works here and for several years built the Lambert automobile.  Before 1920, 17 different types of automobiles were made here.  Since the 20's, the auto parts industry has employed more people than any other in the county.

Source:  Anderson Public Library


 Madison County Historical Society|15 West 11th Street, P. O. Box 696, Anderson, Indiana 46015-0696|(765) 683-0052|