People of Madison: Dr. John Slaughter

Dr. John Slaughter, namesake of Slaughter Road, married Mary Lanford and had a daughter Charlotte (“Lottie”) who married James H. Cain, a Madison merchant.  Dr. Slaughter’s wife lived was raised in the mansion of her father, William Lanford, who was a son of Madison County pioneer Robert Lanford.  Robert and Bartholomew Jordan (a Revolutionary War patriot) were charter members of one of the earliest Methodist churches in north Alabama, known as Jordan’s Chapel, located near the Botanical Gardens on Bob Wallace Avenue.  Robert had come to the area with LeRoy Pope, the “Father of Huntsville”.  Robert’s son William married Bartholomew Jordan’s granddaughter Charlotte Fennell, daughter of Isham J. Fennell and his wife Temperance Jordan.  The Fennell monument is one of the largest in Huntsville’s Maple Hill Cemetery.

Dr. Slaughter was a physician in Huntsville when he married Mary Lanford, but when her father William developed stomach trouble in his latter years, he moved his practice to the Lanford mansion on the east side of Indian Creek, immediately north of the “S-curves” of Old Madison Pike.  The mansion today is almost entirely hidden from view by trees, but it is still one of the most impressive in the region, having been the social center of the area, with many elaborate dance parties held there in the 1850s and 1860s.  After William Lanford’s death in 1881, his plantation was divided between Mary and her sister Martha (Landford’s son Robert had been killed in the Battle of Shiloh), with Mary inheriting the house and the southern portion of the estate.  Dr. Slaughter built a small brick office building for his practice in front of the mansion, using the mansion’s basement as a laboratory.  However, after his death and Mary’s passing in 1913 the house was sold out of the family.  Eventually, Dr. Slaughter’s office was used as a hatchery for chickens, but today it is gone.

Dr. Slaughter’s daughter Lottie married James H. Cain in 1896 and moved to Madison.  She had her new house built at the corner of Arnett Street and Buttermilk Alley, which at that time was called Hobson Street.  Today Jeanne and Stan Steadman live in the large dwelling.  Jim Cain was a brother of Robert Parham Cain, who married Lena Martin, a daughter of Elijah Thomas Martin, who was a brother of George Washington Martin.  Robert Parham Cain operated a store at 110 Main Street (Whitworth Realty today), believed to be the oldest store in Madison.  This building was constructed for merchant G. W. Martin, who purchased the site on February 13, 1857, as the first known sale of a lot in the town planned by James Clemens.  A son of Robert Parham Cain, Robert Earl Cain, continued to operate a store there, but tragedy struck in the 1920s.  In April of 1928 his wife Annie Nance Cain was struck and killed by a train as she crossed the tracks in Madison.  In February of 1929, Robert Earl Cain Junior drowned in a cistern behind the store, and his father moved away from town to Lawrence County, where he became an automobile salesman.  He left his only surviving child, a daughter, in the care of his mother and visited her in Madison frequently until his own passing.  

317 Church Street

Charles and Sandy Nola live in a landmark house in the southwest corner of Mill Road at Church Street. The house was built in 1998, and the tax assessor's website shows it as having about 2,906 square feet. Its appearance exudes an appealing ambiance of Southern comfort and functionality. Charles and Sandy both have been active for years in the Madison Station Historical Preservation Society and now in the Derby Days celebrations in the town.

200 Main Street - Humphrey – Hughes Drug Store

This building was constructed around 1908 as the Burton & Wise Drug Store.  The Burton and Bradford families owned it until 1975, but G. W. Hughes rented it from 1925 to 1972.  The early manually-operated telephone switchboard for Madison was located here, in an upstairs apartment for many years.  Operator Viola Styles Keel slept on a cot beside the apparatus, while her two sons Buddy and Percy shared a bedroom in the apartment.  The downstairs was used as the drugstore of long-time pharmacist George Walton Hughes, known to all as "Doc" because he attended to a variety of medical conditions in the town.  When the town had only two telephones, one was in Doc's store so that he could provide medicine and news to the town folk.  

For many years during the Great Depression of the 1930s, this building was the location of Madison's renowned “chicken toss” on Christmas Eve.  Doc Hughes would go onto the roof and toss off live chickens that would fly to the waiting crowd on the streets below.  Each chicken had a prize coupon taped around its leg.  The coupons were redeemable for merchandise in Doc's store.  Many families of the time received their only Christmas presents in this manner, as well as getting a fine chicken dinner.
In later years, Doc moved his chicken toss to the 75-foot tall city water tank that stood at Garner and Martin Streets behind the 2-story second City Hall.

There are many stories of the Christmas Capers from Madison's early history.  One is that the event was so popular and the resultant crowd so large during the Great Depression years that one time a chicken was able to fly all the way across Main and Front Streets to land under the house at 25 Front Street now owned by Dennis Vaughn.  As the crowd chased the chicken to get the bird and the merchandise certificate, the press of people knocked down the fence in the front yard by the street.  Several men crawled under the house, and one finally got the fowl.  The certificates were not always for really large prizes as we think of such today.  I (John Rankin) have heard that sometimes they were for pencils or pads of notepaper and such, but for those who otherwise would have nothing to take home to their families for Christmas, the chicken and the pencils or just about anything was welcomed.

208-210 Main Street

Frank G. Hertzler, son of Dr. John Hertzler, operated a hardware store at this 208 Main Street site in partnership with Matthew Harvey Anderson, the banker who lived at 17 Front Street.  Frank built and resided in the house at 25 Front Street.  The original store structure here was destroyed in the 1912 fire, and the tax office records of the county show that the current building was constructed in 1940.  

A couple of years after Robert Edgar (“Pud”) True and his wife Gladys McFarlen True moved to Madison, they bought the building and operated a grocery store from 1944 to 1976.  In fact, during their first three months in Madison, the True's rented a room in the former residence of Frank Hertzler at 25 Front Street.  

The True's built a house in 1941 that was then in the county, just outside the town limits, at 318 Church Street.  They moved into their new residence on January 1, 1942, and became leaders in the community and in the Methodist Church on Church Street for the rest of their lives.  After Pud died, Gladys donated funds for the electronic chimes in the church that still sound throughout the historical district of Madison.  

For a time this building was also operated as an annex to the post office.when the post office was located next door in the 206 Main Street location. 

According to the 1890 Hartford Insurance Company map of Madison, an early structure at 210 Main was the office of Dr. Richard M. Fletcher.  A later use of the location according to the 1905 Alabama Mercantile Book was the drugstore of Pride & Bradford.  

Thomas Logan Bradford was only 35 years old when he committed suicide by taking an overdose of morphine from this drugstore.  He had married Fannie Burton, a daughter of John Mullins Burton, who owned the competing drugstore at the 216 Main location.  The Bradfords had bought the house at 306 Church Street in 1906 and had a daughter born there.  Thomas had been employed by his father-in-law for a while, but resigned to go into partnership in the store at 210 Main by about 1904.  His suicide note mentioned failing health and business losses.
After the passing of Tom Bradford, there are indications the drug store reopened as the Phoenix Drugstore.  However, it may have also been the name for the rebuilt store after the fire of 1912 heavily damaged the structure. Tom's wife Fannie moved into her father's house at 21 Front Street and wrote a weekly column about Madison for the Huntsville newspaper for the remainder of her life.

A vintage comic book business utilized the 208 building in the 1990s, but it was later renovated by Walt and Larry Anderson to become the Bandito Burrito restaurant. The restaurant occupied not only 208 Main, but it later included the location at 210 Main Street.  

The Madison Drug Company was established at 210 Main by Dr. Luther Wikle and his partner Ben Porter in 1912.  It may then have been given the name of the Phoenix Drugstore.  Wikle later sold his interest to William Russell, a son of the constable of that name who also ran the gristmill for which Mill Road is named.  

Since 2015 208 and 210 Main have been occupied by Old Black Bear Brewing.  Old Black Bear is a favorite hangout for locals and guests.  Often on Friday nights during the summer there is live music on the patio to the east of 210 Main.  

206 Main Street

 Noteworthy in the time of an older generation of Madison residents was when this structure functioned as the store of Dea Theodore Thomas, who lived at 307 Church Street.  In much more recent years it has housed J's Salon.  The first known business to operate at this location was the store of George A. Fields, as shown on an 1890 Hartford Insurance Company map of Madison.  In 1912, this building along with 208 and 210 Main Street were damaged by fire.  The Thomas store had begun operations in 1904, and it was only slightly damaged by the fire, while the other two buildings were destroyed.  Dea continued operations in the store until his passing in 1917, when his brother-in-law, William Wann, took over the business and ran the store until 1940.  William Wann's sister Nora was Dea's widow.  When Dea died William was already was doing business as a retailer in the store on the other side the old bank building, at 202 Main Street where James H. Cain had his store.

There were a number of residents of old Madison who had come from Woodville in Jackson County, Alabama, probably due to ease of travel and moving household furnishings via rail between the two locations.  The Thomas and Wann families with children Dea Thomas and William Wann were enumerated in the 1880 Federal census as next-door neighbors in Woodville.  The father of William and Nora Wann was listed as Andrew, known to be a son of an older generation William Wann born in 1812 in Kentucky.  Andrew's occupations in various censuses of Woodville listed him as a schoolteacher, a merchant, and a Primitive Baptist preacher.  William Wann's wife was Vida Barclay.  Vida was a daughter of  James Barclay and Mary F. Woodall.  Vida's mother, Mary Woodall, also had roots in Woodville of Jackson County.  In 1900 the census of Woodville showed the family of James William Barclay with wife Mary and daughter Vida (at age 14, born Nov. 1886) living in dwelling 36, while Andrew J. Wann was in nearby dwelling 48.  Additionally, the Barclay family household included a nephew, Tabor J. Woodall at age 5.  The family of Emmett Woodall was living in 1900 in Woodville dwelling 50 per the census, while dwelling 49 was for a Gormley, another surname found in Madison.  Emmett Woodall soon afterward left Woodville and moved to Madison, where he was enumerated living next door to William Wann in the census of 1920.

From 1940 until 1962 the 206 Main structure housed the town's post office.  In the 1970s this was the location of J&B Electrical for a few years.

Affair At Madison Station

May 17, 1864

Both Civil War engagements fought in and around Madison occurred during unusual weather.  The one of December 23, 1864, at Indian Creek where Old Madison Pike crosses the water and along the campus of Madison Academy at Slaughter Road, was fought on one of the coldest days of a severely cold winter.  It was so cold that not only did the creek freeze over, but guns were of little use because no one could use their fingers adequately to reload after firing.  It was largely a saber fight.  However, artillery and guns were the weapons of the day when much warmer weather prevailed for the conflict that occurred on May 17, 1864.  

Both engagements began at dawn as surprise attacks on the entrenched forces.  The December Union attack started near the Indian Creek railroad bridge and continued west toward the town.  The May Confederate attack began in the town and continued east along the tracks to the Indian Creek railroad bridge.  May brought a Confederate rout of Federal forces, whereas the December struggle was a Union rout of rebel forces.  The December fight involved frozen water as a factor.  The May fight involved liquid water as a factor, because it was raining so hard that the combatants could barely see their opposition.  The Union accounts described the December event as a “grand victory”, reportedly involving far more rebels than could possibly have been present.  Some of the official reports claimed that 200 Union troops attacked a rebel force of 600, whereas more realistic descriptions show that a maximum of 150 rebels were surprised by over 300 Federals.  Yet, the official Union accounts of the May event term it as simply as an “affair” -- not even worthy of being called a battle.  However, the May attack by the rebel forces included four artillery pieces and over 1000 troops against a force of about 350 Federals who occupied the town of Madison.

Confederate reports are sparse from those last months of the war, but there are numerous documents of the engagement preserved in Union accounts.  The most descriptive Union reports were filed by Colonel Gorgas of the 13th Illinois Infantry.  He first told that a cavalry force of about 1,000 with four artillery pieces attacked on May 17 about 8 o'clock in the morning.  When General John Smith reported the engagement a day later, he stated that Madison Station had been attacked at 8 a.m. from all directions by a large force, numbering about 1,000 to 3,000 men with four pieces of artillery.  Gorgas recounted that “...we were obliged to fall back, after a severe fight, and, being completely surrounded, we cut our way through their lines, and fell back to the bridge and water tank, about three miles east.  We formed and returned to this place (Madison), and, after skirmishing, drove them from the town.  They captured several of our men, what number we are not able to say.  Our camp and garrison equipage, together with all the regimental and company papers, are either destroyed or carried off.  The depot buildings are burned, together with about 50 bales of cotton.  (He said 70 bales in a later report.)  The railroad is all right, telegraph lines cut.  We are left here without rations, and but little ammunition.”

A much more detailed account of the engagement was filed by Gorgas a day or so later.  In it, he specified that the artillery consisted of “four 12-pounder howitzers”.  He wrote that the attacking force was under the command of Colonel Josiah Patterson and included “two regiments of mounted infantry”.  He blamed the successful surprise upon local citizens guiding the rebels to the locations of his five pickets, who were then overwhelmed before they could sound the alarm.  In fact, subsequently the Union occupiers arrested Madison residents Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher, Edward Betts, and James Harvey Pride.  They were taken into Huntsville to be tried and hanged as spies for complicity in the event.  After a gallows was constructed, a recently-transferred and remotely-located but friendly senior Union officer who knew that Dr. Fletcher had compassionately treated Federal soldiers during the occupation years came to Huntsville and had the men released.

(A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin, December 23, 2010) 

Veteran's Memorial Park - Madison AL

The Veterans Memorial Park is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Church and Front Streets. The park was designed and constructed by Madison American Legion Post 229 in the spring and summer of 2001.

The park is dedicated to Jesse Ollie Wikle, Jr., who was the first
Madison man to lose his life in World War II and to the members of the United States Military from the city of Madison who lost their lives during the wars of the 20th century. Captain Wikle was a "Flying Fortress" (Boeing B-1 7) pilot, who named his aircraft "The Flaming Maymie" in honor of his red-headed Madison girlfriend, Maymie Louise Dublin. He was shot down and killed over Tunisia.

The flag pole was refurbished and relocated from its former location next to the old city hall on Main Street. Likewise, the monument was moved from its location on Main Street to its present location in
the park.

Water and electrical services were installed underground and the park was delineated by planting a hedge around it. A flower bed was constructed of landscaping bricks and is formed in the shape of a heart. The heart shape is symbolic of the Purple Heart Award presented to service men and women wounded or killed in combat operations.

There is a small plaque for each of the fifteen service men from Madison who gave their lives in our 20th century wars. Both the flag pole and the Purple Heart flower bed are illuminated during the hours of darkness.

The Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated on the 21st of September 2001 , only days after the
United States found itself in a new kind of war it had never known - a war with terrorists.

316 Church Street - Tribble - Beech Home

Caudis H. Tribble and Ozelle Hereford were married in Madison County in 1924. Their house in Madison is recorded in the tax records as having been constructed in 1939. When Gladys McFarlen True and her husband "Pud" moved to Madison, the couples became close friends. After a year of renting rooms in a house on Front Street, Gladys wanted to live next door to Ozelle, and the feeling was mutual. The Tribbles gave the Trues a deed to the corner lot beside them without a penny being paid.

Still, Gladys and Pud paid their friends for the lot within a year.They built the house shown below within a year their house payment was $29.50 per month. The Trues owned and operated a grocery store at 208 Main (later Bandito Burrito and now part of Old Black Bear) for over 30 years, remaining lifelong friends with the Tribbles.

The Tribble Home is now owned by Geoffrey and Karen Beech.

314 Church Street - Balch - Wann - Marler Home

This house was constructed in 1910 according to the Madison County tax assessor's records.
In 1916 it was sold by Samuel W. Balch to Ora B. Wann. Her husband Fred was never mentioned on the deed, so he may have died by then. Ora was a long-time Madison postmaster; Samuel Balch was a long-time rural letter carrier of the Madison area. Samuel married Martha A. Parson in 1875, and they had at least 12 children, according to census records, but by 1910 only 8 were still living. Samuel's father was Hezekiah J. Balch, an area pioneer and charter member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church between Nance and Jeff Roads.                   

Hezekiah married Tabitha Vaughn, a sister of George Washington Vaughn, connected to the Hughes
and Spencer families of Madison. Tabitha's father was Micajah Vaughn, who was a signer of the first Alabama State Constitution in 1819. Hezekiah served as the first Sunday School Superintendent at the church. His land is today the location of Kelly Springs, along Jeff Road.  Ora B. Wann has already been mentioned in association with the house at 302 Church Street. (Just imagine, Madison had an "0. B. Wann" long before George Lucas introduced a character with that name in the Star Wars movies.) The view of the Balch-Wann house below shows how deceptive the front appearances may be of the home along Church Street. The lots were very deep, so the houses were expanded behind the front faces over the years. This house is recorded in tax records as having 2456 square feet of space, typical of such homes along the street. The tax records also show that the current owner is Linda L. Marler.

313 Church Street

(Originally published on the blog of the current owners, Billie and Susan Goodson)

My previous post dealt with the topic of how we came about being the proud owners of Ms. Hessie's House, located at 313 Church Street in Madison, AL.  Some may be wondering who/why Ms. Hessie while others may be asking the question of where is Madison, AL.  I have to admit, when we lived in Huntsville in 1987/8, we never really even knew that the sleepy little berg of Madison lay only a little piece to the west of the apartment we lived in for the year.  I wish we had driven through Madison then, although we probably wouldn't have remembered much about it.  When we returned to Madison county in 2007, we were shocked at how expansive Madison City had become, especially considering we missed it entirely 20 years before!  Madison is a growing, vibrant community that we have really grown to love in the several months now that we have lived there.  You can learn more about Madison by visiting their city website here.  

Being a huge fan of history, I embarked on learning who Ms. Hessie was to add to my knowledge of the home. To me, understanding the personal side of the history of the home just adds so much character to the features of the home.  That is what distinguishes in my mind between a house and home.  Knowing the previous generations that have called this house a home helps us preserve the unique legacy of this house as a home.

The house at 313 Church Street was originally constructed for Nancy Hesseltine (Hessie) Gillespie Farley in 1911.  Miss Hessie (as she would be known) was the daughter of Campbell Milton Gillespie and Narcissa Lorinda Clark.  She was born on July 22, 1866 in Maryville, Tennessee.  The family moved first to Morgan County, Alabama in 1870 then relocated to Madison, Alabama in 1879.  Miss Hessie would graduate from honors from the Huntsville Female Seminary on May 30 1888 and became a teacher.  

Miss Hessie married Joseph Bruce Farley in 1892.  The couple had one daughter, Frances Lorinda Farley who was born in 1893.  Mr Farley unfortunately passed away from malaria in 1894 at the age of 28 and Miss Hessie would never remarry.  For a few years she went into partnership with her brother, William Gillespie to run Farley and Gillespie Drug Store in Madison.  After the store was sold, Miss Hessie accepted a teaching position in Tuscumbia.  She would return to Madison after the passing of her father in 1910 (her mother passed in 1907). Her sister, Miss Nora (Narcissa Elizabeth or "Sister") could not live alone, so Miss Hessie had the home at 313 Church Street constructed. 

Miss Hessie started teaching first grade in Madison, and Lorinda studied music at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia until 1914. Lorinda would marry Herbert Lafayette Thorton on January 21, 1920, shortly after he returned home from serving in France during World War I.  Their first daughter, Frances Farley, was born February 12, 1921 at Miss Hessie's home in Madison.  Two other daughters were also born in Madison: Nancy Kate on March 16, 1923 and Lorinda Clark on October 24, 1924. In 1935 Herbert became a charter member of Alabama's new Highway Patrol.

Although a life-long Presbyterian, Miss Hessie taught Sunday School in the Baptist Church. She was active in school, church and many civic organizations.  She taught her forty-two consecutive years.   She had a deep love for teaching and dreaded the day she would have to retire. That would never happen as she would suffer a stroke during the Christmas holidays and died on January 1, 1939.  She is buried beside her husband Bruce in the Farley Family Cemetery.  As a side note, following Miss Hessie, Mrs. Howard Hughes was appointed to replace her as the first grade teacher.  She would hold that position for thirty-seven years.  Combined, Miss Hessie and Mrs. Hughes taught first grade at Madison Elementary for 65 years!

Nancy married J.B. Womack from Lynchburg, Tennessee.  Herbert died on August 7, 1961. He was buried in Madison the Madison Cemetery.  Nancy and J.B lived with Lorinda until she died on January 1, 1966. She is buried beside Herbert.  After J.B. passed, Nancy married Orval Cooper. Nancy would pass on December 13, 2004, and Orval would pass on July 31, 2016.  Nancy had two daughters, Pat Womack Edwards and Kathy Womack Williams Lee.  A rich heritage laid within the walls and boards of the home at 313 Church Street.  

It is our sincere hope that the home on Church Street will continue through the ages to be a home where family is loved and cherished.  May the walls of this home soak up more generations of love and may the feet that cross the threshold always find joy within the walls.  We so deeply appreciate the rich heritage of this home and strive to honor it.  May it always be Miss Hessie's, who laid a deep foundation in service and love to her family and community.

20 Main Street

The building now on this site was constructed as a post office and dedicated by pharmacist and former mayor George Walton (“Doc”) Hughes on May 6, 1962.  

Since the relocation of the Post Office, businesses and a church have occupied the space.  The lot was the original location of the store owned/operated by George Washington Wise.   George's brother James Arthur Wise was his partner.  

James and his family lived in the house at 16 Main Street for several years.  The store was torn down after 1910.  George Washington Wise was a son-in-law of Madison's first merchant, George Washington Martin.  G. W. Wise lived just a short distance away, across Martin Street.

See the article on G.W. Wise here.

Madison People: George Washington Wise

George Washington Wise was born in 1854 in Virginia to Samuel and Sarah Wise.  Though they had several children in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Samuel and Sarah purchased a farm just south of Madison, moving here in 1872 with their two youngest sons, G. W. and James Arthur.  By the early 1880s, G. W. was a merchant in Madison, and James was a farmer in Limestone County.  During the next several decades, both brothers bought several parcels of land in Madison.  George became a partner of the Burton & Wise Pharmacy, but soon set up his own general store with his brother.  He was also in partnerships with the Hertzler family and with B. F. Harper, mayor of Madison in 1900.

George Washington Wise in center.  The other two men
are unidentified, but the man on right with similar mustache
may be brother & partner James Arthur Wise.

 Among his other accomplishments, G. W. became the President of the Bank of Madison and a trustee of both the Madison Training School (1913) and the Madison Male and Female Academy (1885).  In 1893 he married Hattie Martin, a daughter of Madison’s first lot owner and merchant, George Washington Martin.  Hattie was a twin sister of Hassie, who died tragically in a railroad accident, as did their mother, Nancy Leeman Martin, in an earlier accident.  Perhaps the best life summary of G. W. Wise was given in his obituary as published in the Huntsville Daily Times on September 10, 1931:

George W. Wise, 78, for 40 years a leading merchant of Madison Station, died at his residence yesterday afternoon after a brief illness.  Mr. Wise was born in Winchester, Va., and moved to Madison at the age of 38 years (should be 18 years).  He was one of the leading residents of the community and took an active part in all community affairs.  He was an active member of the Methodist Church.”
 “Surviving are a son, George W. Wise, Jr., of Madison, and a daughter, Mrs. R. S. Banks of Birmingham.  Funeral services were conducted from the Madison Methodist Church this afternoon at 4 o’clock, the Rev. Ted Hightower officiating.  Burial followed in the Madison cemetery, with Womack in charge.  The following served as pallbearers:  D. S. Lanier, J. L. Brewer, R. E. Cain, J. S. Cain, Ernest Cain and C. H. Dublin.”

George’s father Samuel died in 1876 at age 65.  His mother Sarah died in 1895, after a life of 79 years.  His wife Hattie died in 1915.  His brother James died in 1889, living to only the age of 28 and having a son Arthur Sydney who died at 7 months of age.  James in 1884 married Lucy F. Harris, daughter of Thomas Harris, who has the earliest death date on a tombstone in the city cemetery.  Lucy’s father Thomas was a son of Dr. Algernon Sydney Harris of Madison.  Thomas died in Madison in 1869, before the Wise family came to Madison, from wounds received at the Battle of Manassas.
 Postcard photo of home of George Washington Wise, located at the southwestern corner of Garner and Martin Streets.  The dwelling is long gone, but it was truly impressive for its day.  George married Hattie Martin, a twin of Hassie, daughters of Madison's first merchant and lot owner, George Washington Martin and his wife Nancy Leeman, a granddaughter of the owner of Leeman's Ferry.

It is ironic that one of the most involved and prominent early citizens of Madison is buried in the city cemetery without a tombstone.  There is an enclosed plot for the family of George Washington Wise, including his parents and a brother – all of whom have monuments except G. W. himself and his son of the same name.  It is not known why G. W. has no headstone, but his life certainly had a strong influence on the town.

G. W. Wise and his wife Hattie had sons G. Cantor (1898) and George Washington Wise Jr. (1904).  They also had a daughter named Sarah Betty (1901).  Sarah married Robert S. Banks in 1926 and lived in Decatur before moving to Birmingham.  George Jr., a farmer, never married and died in 1937 in Decatur at his sister’s house.  He is buried beside his parents in Madison’s city cemetery, without a tombstone, just like his father.

106 Main Street -- Opie Balch Realty

Elbert and Opie Balch operate a realty company in this building now, also containing an office for their son, Matthew J. Balch, Attorney at Law.  The present building had been constructed as a post office in 1928.  It served that function until the early 1940s when it was moved to the Dea T. Thomas building at 206 Main Street.  

The building at 106 Main was then sold to Robert Shelton for his barbershop following the 1942 fire in Jim Williams' store building at 100 Main.  Shelton's barbershop was operated by his son Hoyte Shelton after Robert retired.  Hoyte lived at 114 Church Street and died in 1997.  Then the  building was inherited by Teresa Reed and Pat Whitworth, his nieces.  For a while the building was operated as a florist shop, then leased to Dana Burrows for her hair and nail salon business called Studio 106.  In 2012 Studio 106 moved to 16 Main, perhaps in a sense losing only the “0” from the name.

104 Main Street - Zion Gourmet Popcorn

 Now hosting Zion Gourmet Popcorn, this structure previously housed Sallie's Whistlestop Sweet Shop.  The structure was previously the office of Billy Nolan Drake, a grandson of Jim Williams.  This location was also part of the site of the Jim Williams' store that encompassed the parking lot along Wise Street as well.  The large oak trees shown in front of the building have been removed since the older photograph was made.

101 Main Street -- Main Street Cafe

This structure was erected in 1954-5 as a multi-function third City Hall.  The first City Hall was the original Roundhouse.  The second was a two-story wooden building located at the southwestern corner of the intersection of Garner and Martin Streets, where George Washington Wise's house had been.  The City Hall building is visible in the upper right of the 1951 aerial photograph below.  Since the early 1990's Madison has enjoyed a modern fourth City Hall on Hughes Road, also depicted below in an aerial photograph.  

The facility at 101 Main Street is a restaurant, with an outdoor pavilion and inside seating, including two of the 1950's jail cells.

16 Main Street -- Clay House

Sarah Russell Clay, Civil War widow of Andrew Clay, was the first owner of Lot 7.  However, she initially lived on the south half of Lot 7, later dwelling on Lot 9.  The north “part” of Lot 7 was deeded by Sarah to Thomas and John Hopkins, grandsons of Alabama's second governor Thomas Bibb, acting as agents for a Protestant Episcopal Church.  The deed stipulated that the property was to be used as a "Poor House" for widows and orphans of soldiers and other destitute persons.  The occupations of subsequent owners indicate that the structure was used through the years not only for family residences, but also probably as Madison's first hotel, mortuary, hospital, museum of fine china, and art gallery.

Today the structure is the business location of Studio 106 and several other enterprises.

It is not clear as to whether or not a Protestant Episcopal Church was ever built on the lot after Thomas and John as trustees purchased the north part of Lot 7 in 1874.  However, it is certainly possible that the original structure at the location did serve as a church and/or an orphanage for a time.  It is further known that Thomas B. and James B. Hopkins were two of the group of five or more men who in 1884 formed a committee to incorporate a public school that had begun operations in 1883 as the Madison Male and Female Academy.  The school was located in the area along what is now the southern end of Pension Row on the west side of Sullivan Street.

The Hopkins family members associated with Lot 7 of Madison have a rich history in the town and in  These local Hopkins men were grandsons of Governor Thomas Bibb through his daughter and youngest child Eliza, which probably accounts for their middle initials as “B.” for Bibb.  They no doubt would have attended various parties and social functions in Huntsville and in the nearby Limestone County community of Belle Mina, where Governor Bibb had impressive homes.  Eliza married Arthur Mosely Hopkins, whose father Arthur F. Hopkins (1794-1866) served as a chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and as a U. S. Senator for the state.  He was also the President of the Mobile & Ohio RailRoad.  Arthur Mosely Hopkins fought for the Confederacy in battles at Selma and in Tuscaloosa.  His own accounts of participation in the conflicts can be seen in correspondence contained in the Frances Cabaniss Roberts Collection of the Special Collections Archive of the Salmon Library at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  Images of the correspondence may also be accessed via the Internet on the website of the University or by selection of the Roberts Collection at for as long as that private server hosts the digitized data.
the state.

In the 1840s there was a firm of Bibb & Hopkins operating in Huntsville, probably involving the governor and Arthur F. Hopkins.  During the 1870s and 1880s there was the firm of “John W. Hopkins & Brother” doing business in Madison as grocers, dry goods, and cotton buyers.  There was a “sister” store also in Nashville, Tennessee, involving Hopkins.

The 1870 census shows Eliza Hopkins as 48 years old, a widowed head of household in Madison with her son Thomas B. at age 25 living in her house.  Next door was the household of John W. Hopkins at age 29 with his wife Anne and two children.  Thomas and John were both listed with the occupation as retail grocers.  Eliza's occupation was given as seamstress.  John was also the administrator of the estate of prominent Madison merchant Charles H. Rhea in the 1870s.  By the late 1880s the Hopkins families sold their properties in Madison and moved away.  An 1887 deed shows James B. Hopkins and his wife Madeline selling Lots 21, 22, 24, and 25 to Isaac Hoffman, including a notation that parts of the property had been owned by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  That church had moved into a building shared with the local Masonic chapter under an agreement that specified the days each organization would have use of the structure.  The building was also located in the Pension Row area.
Prior historical accounts from verbal memories and tradition have attributed the structure now designated as the Clay House on 16 Main to be the house of Sarah Russell Clay.  However, later in- depth research has proven that she never actually occupied the north half of Lot 7.  Yet, she did in fact purchase the complete Lot 7, but she then soon sold the north half of it to the Hopkins brothers.  Land deeds indicate that Sarah also owned Lots 8 and 9, residing on the southern half of Lot 7 for a time, then living on Lot 9 at the time of her passing in 1886 when her daughter Maggy Clay Gray sold the rest of the lands that she inherited to James Arthur Wise, brother and store partner of George Washington Wise.

12 MAIN STREET, The Strong – Whitworth House

The house at 12 Main stands on Lot 2 of the original town plat of James Clemens' land that became the City of Madison.  Lot 2 was first purchased at the October 5, 1868, Clemens estate auction by Hamilton G. Bradford.  The property changed hands many times until Seymour and Indiana Doolittle built their home here.  They also purchased in an 1876 auction the adjacent Lot 1, which had been bought at the 1868 auction by John J. “Studdivant” (Sturdivant) of Limestone County.  The Doolittles likewise purchased Lots 3 and 4 that had initially been purchased by Theodorick S. Clay, a brother of Thomas J. Clay and Andrew Clay, all of whom appear in the history of Madison.  Andrew died in the Civil War while his family lived in Limestone County in the Shoal Ford area.  However, Andrew's widow Sarah Russell Webb Clay moved into Madison and ended up purchasing Lots 7, 8, 9, and 10 by 1869.  Theodorick and his wife Jane purchased Lots 17 and 18 for their house across the tracks near Thomas J. Clay.

Sarah Russell had married Robertson Webb, a man 41 years her senior.  In the 1850 census she was 24, and he was 65.  They had several children together in addition to being guardians of the three Clay brothers, who were children of Robertson's sister (or daughter?) Nancy Webb Clay.  After Robertson passed away, Sarah married Andrew Clay, one of the matured children that she and Robertson had raised, but who was still closer to Sarah's age.  More of Sarah's story is told in relation to the Clay House at 16 Main Street.

The Doolittles built a log house on Lot 2 and operated a large blacksmith shop on their adjacent   However, in Madison County of Alabama he married for a second time in 1875.  His second wife was American Indiana Pocahontus Gewin, a member of the Gewin family who lived with the Chickasaw Indians in Mississippi for a time but became a postmaster family of long duration in Madison from 1875 to 1915.  In 1902 the Doolittles sold Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 to Charles and Maggie Strong and J. A. Strong (an unmarried man).  The Strongs were also blacksmiths, and they added a gasoline-powered gristmill to the blacksmith operation on the property by 1913.  The original Doolittle log home burned in 1905, but with help from the townspeople, a new house was constructed on the lot within the same year.
Historic Bailey family cabin in
home of  Dr. Charles Whitworth 
properties with Seymour's brother Jared. Seymour Doolittle was born in Connecticut, where he married for the first time and then had children born in Michigan.

The Strong house was extensively remodeled by Thomas and Sara Landman Whitworth, who purchased it in 1952.  Both Whitworths passed away in 2008, and then the property became owned by Lottie S. Downie but occupied by David  Ballard and Daniel Stagner, co-owners of the Animal Trax exotic pet store beside the railroad tracks on Church Street in Madison.  Still, the older residents of Madison associate the house at 12 Main with Sara Whitworth as its resident owner of many years.

Sara Landman Whitworth was a descendant of William Landman, who is buried on Redstone Arsenal in a family cemetery on his land.  William was a son of a German immigrant, and he patented 160 acres of arsenal land in 1813, owning 240 acres by 1815.  His children included Perlina, who married Joshua H. Beadle, a prominent Madison-area landowner who had a store in Huntsville.  Another child of William was George Landman, who lived beside three Beadle families, including Abraham Beadle and his nephew Joshua.  George had a son James Henry Landman, who worked as a clerk for six years in the store of Joshua Beadle.  James was later assistant quartermaster in Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command.  James became Madison County’s Tax Assessor in 1880.  By his second wife, James had at least four sons, including Charles T. Landman, who was the father of Sara.

Thomas Jerome Whitworth was licensed to marry Sara Landman on March 1, 1950, per Madison County Marriage Book Volume 95, page 22.  Sara Whitworth was best known to Madison residents as the owner of Whitworth Realty, operating out of the oldest storefront in town, at 110 Main Street.  As advancing years curtailed Sara’s active business participation, her realty office became for a time an art gallery of her son “Jerry” (Thomas Jerome, Jr.), of Paris, France.  Jerry himself paints, as well as collecting art in Europe and New York.  Another son, Dr. Charles Darwin Whitworth, is a local veterinarian, who lives in a house on Mill Road that incorporates and preserves the two-story log cabin of James and Sarah Bailey.  That log cabin is almost certainly the oldest house in the Madison area, if not all of northern Alabama.  It is believed to date back before 1818, when it served as the first stagecoach stop on the route from Huntsville to Mooresville at Bailey Springs.

Sara Whitworth in her office
at 110 Main Street in 2004
The Whitworth heritage of the area goes from Thomas Jerome to Arthur David, called “Dutch” Whitworth.  Dutch married Leona Alvada Sexton in 1912 and had seven children: Brazzie (died young), Arthur David Jr. (“Shine”), Jeffolene, John Marion (“Buck”), Kathryn, Thomas J., and Emma Jeanne.  Shine married Edna Doris Tuck, Jeffolene married Stanley Vance, Buck married Willie Metta Strong, Kathryn married Jack Lewter, and Emma Jeanne married Marshall McAfee.  Dutch’s father was John David Whitworth, who married Emma Virginia Tribble in 1896 and had eleven children.  Emma was a daughter of Robert Donnell Tribble and Mattie Gooch (granddaughter of Roland and sister of William Tell Gooch, who married John David’s sister Ada).

John David Whitworth was a son of William Whitworth and Mildred Bowers, who were married in 1858.  Mildred was a daughter of David Bowers.  William’s middle name is reported as Jason, Jansen, and Jefferson in various records.  He was a son of Daniel Whitworth and Elizabeth Dedman, who were married in 1833.  Elizabeth was a daughter of Madison County pioneer Francis Dedman.   Of John David Whitworth’s siblings, Mattie Susan married Madison entrepreneur Jim Williams and lived at 19 Front Street, Laura married William Dublin, Ada married William Tell Gooch (brother of Mattie Gooch Tribble, mother of John David’s wife Emma), Archie married Mattie Trotman, and Charles Hatton married Maggie Donaldson.  John David’s father William J. had siblings Samuel Thomas, James Edmund, Elizabeth, Martha Ann (married Charles Carter), Powhatan, John, and Carter or Cortes (also known as Toby) Whitworth.  Samuel married Ann Carter and was severely wounded at Cold Harbor during the Civil War, while Powhatan was killed at Chickamauga.  Daniel’s father was Rowland Whitworth, earliest known of the line.  Rowland married Martha, a daughter of Daniel Walthall, in Virginia in 1790.  Their children besides Daniel were Jane, Thomas (who married Susannah Winn), Nancy (who married Walter Aday), William, Sophia, Elizabeth, Edmund, and John (who married Francis Alice Watson).  John, Edmund, Elizabeth, and Nancy are all known to have come to Madison County, as well as Daniel Whitworth and his descendants.  Perhaps no other pioneer family was so extensively integrated by marriages into the fabric of Madison.
Below are shown the 2012 senior Madison Belles:
(L-R) Ramsey Griffin, Juliana Johnson, Alecia Eidsaune,
and Joylyn Bukovac at 12 Main Street.

Main Street Madison

When Madison was established in 1857 by the sale of lots in the town planned to be called “Clemens Depot” by initial landowner James Clemens as his namesake along the railroad, it consisted of only 55 total lots.  Of these, 29 fronted to some extent along the railroad, intended by Clemens to serve as “storefronts” and called such by the fact that an owner would operate a store in the front of any structure, while living with his family in the back.  Later, about a dozen of these 29 lots would hold only residences, but even some of the lots not fronting along the railroad had stores at various times in the 1800s.

Today the old business district includes various retail and commercial establishments along Main Street and a few more around the intersection of Church and Front Streets.  However, there are a couple of old homes along Main Street, one of which has been converted entirely into business operations. The additional residences along Church, Martin, Arnett, College, Maple, Martin, and Sullivan Streets are also considered be in the historical district, but these locations are typically not occupied for commercial enterprises – still with a few exceptions for businesses.

Main Street itself was not given a name in the plat by James Clemens.  It is known that on the 1890   Clemens' plat showed Lots 1 – 13 from west to east along the south side of today's Main Street.  It also included Lots 46 – 48 on the eastern end of the street, where it connects with the southern end of Church Street today.  Church Street was initially called the Huntsville – Triana Pike after it got any name at all as part of a county road.  Today's Garner and Wise Streets were not shown on the original plat.  They were later created from alleys taken from the bounds of various lots along their routes.  Martin Street was shown on the original plat, but it had no name initially.
Hartford Insurance Company map of Madison, this street was titled as “Broadway” and what is today's Front Street north of the railroad was titled as Railway Street.

Lots 1 – 13 along Main Street were typical of Clemens' plan for storefronts facing the railroad, as were Lots 14 -23 along today's Front Street.  That plan laid out lots that were 66 feet wide and 198 feet deep.  This was based upon the 66-foot length of the standard surveryor's chain for measurements – one chain wide, three chains deep.  This choice of lot dimensions allowed for a dwelling structure to be constructed for merchants that would measure basically up to 66 feet wide and 66 feet deep.  The front of such a structure would be used for merchandising, facing the street and the railroad.  The next 66 feet of depth in the lot would nornally be used for such things as a cistern, possibly a chicken yard or coop, and perhaps a small vegetable garden.  The back 66 feet of a lot would be used for pasture for a milk cow or a horse, plus the location of an “outhouse” (outdoor toilet) as far from the living quarters as possible in the lot.  Apparently, James Clemens envisioned a town populated by merchants in the most favorable locations for such livelihoods.  Other lots were mostly of varying dimensions, as can be seen in the plat.

2018 Madison Tour Of Homes

The first official event of Madison's 2019 Sesquicentennial is the December 1st, 2018 Tour of Historic Madison Homes.  The tour, sponsored by the Madison Station Historical Preservation Society will kick off the holiday season in beautiful Madison, AL!  

From 11:00 - 3:00 the first Saturday in December downtown Madison will be the place to be with five outstanding historic homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, carolers in period costumes performing throughout the tour at the Gazebo and downtown businesses welcoming shoppers and visitors!  

Ticket information coming Soon -- Tickets should be on sale in early November!

For more information visit:  

QR Codes

What is a QR Code?

QR codes are pretty amazing, and we hope to use them a lot for the Madison Station Historic Station.
("QR" is short for Quick Response.) They work a lot like the bar codes that you might have seen on items at your local grocery - except you can use your cell phone to scan them.

Now that you know what they are, you will see them on many everyday things like on a map, sign, poster, etc. They can be used for all sorts of things, but the Madison Station Historical Preservation Society uses them to link back to articles on our website and blogs.

Make sure you download QR code reader app for your smartphone before you visit us and be on the lookout for QR codes in windows and other markers.. That way, you will be able to scan any QR code on your printable map and read all about whichever location you are currently visiting. This groundbreaking technology brings a new element to your visit in Madison, making it even more noteworthy.

There are many QR code readers in the App Store, and any should work with any of them. All you have to do is download one! If you don't know which App to chose, you can always click on the links below to help get you started!

iOS App     Google App

17 FRONT STREET, Anderson -- Sensenberger House

Matthew Harvey Anderson, Merchant and Director of the Bank of Madison, built this house sometime after July of 1904, the date when he purchased Lots 23 and 24.  It was occupied by Dr. James Allen Kyser for about 50 years before falling into neglect.  Tony and Cindy Sensenberger purchased the ready-to-collapse structure at auction in 1997.

The house is located on original Lots 23 and 24, including possibly part of Lot 22 in the yard.  Lot 24 was first purchased from James Clemens by carpenter Edmund “Ned” Martin on 5 March 1860, just about three months before Clemens’ death and about a year before the start of the Civil War and the associated Emancipation Proclamation. It was the last lot sold by Clemens himself. Edmund was a “free man of color” per deed recordss and the 1860 census. That census showed that Edmund was thirty years old, had a wife named Sarah at age forty-five and a daughter named Lucinda at age nine, all born in Alabama. They were enumerated in a complex of free black households clustered around the house of blacksmith William T. Dunnivant, who lived next door to Theodorick Clay, who lived on today's Front Street at the west side of Buttermilk Alley. Additional data in the Madison County deeds show that Edmund Martin was born in Morgan County.  He was living in Valhermosa Springs of Morgan County at the time of the 1870 census.

It may be that events related to the Civil War led to Edmund Martin abandoning Lot 24 or otherwise leaving Madison. The fact is that after the Reconstruction-era chancery court’s handling of the Clemens estate in 1868, physician and depot agent William Dunn sold Lot 24 to Bettie Turner. She was noted as his “coloured” servant in Deed Book JJ, pages 455–6. The sale was witnessed by Richard A. Wiggins and his son, Robert E. Wiggins. Richard's wife, Jackey G. Dunn. Wiggins, was a sister of William Dunn, who was enumerated in Richard’s household in the 1850 census. The Wiggins plantation was located near the southeastern corner of the Martin Road and Wall-Triana Highway intersection. After leaving the Wiggins plantation, Dr. Dunn may have initially lived in the first depot building, or he may have built a house on Lot 24, where Bettie would later live.  It is known that Dr. Dunn lived on Martin Street in the 1860 census.  Dr. Dunn's last house is known to be incorporated into the large house next door at 19 Front Street on Lots 20 and 21. Dunn purchased Lot 19 in January 1860, so he may have lived there for a time.  He also owned Lots 22 and 26–28 north of Front Street before his passing in 1871.

During the Civil War, Dunn had a “movie script” experience. According to the 1913 special edition of the Huntsville Weekly Mercury newspaper that related the history of Madison, when the Union army first occupied Huntsville and wanted to go by rail to Decatur, they feared sabotage and attacks along the way.  When they reached Madison, which was not yet occupied by Union troops, they took Dr. Dunn and tied him to the front of a flatcar placed ahead of the engine.  The theory was that if a derailment or an attack came, he would be the first to suffer. The federals also suspected that Dunn had information that he would not tell. It turned out that the tracks were sabotaged, and the federals were fired upon as they reached Beaver Dam Creek, west of Madison. When the car with hostage Dunn left the tracks, he became dislodged from his bindings and fell into some bushes, where he hid until after the ensuing skirmish. The Union forces found him frightened but unhurt. Soon thereafter, Madison itself was occupied by Union forces, during which time there was no post office, and only the Federal's supply store was allowed to operate in the town. Of course, the men who owned the other stores were all gone to serve in the Confederate military. Growth and commerce in Madison were halted during the war, but they quickly returned at the end of hostilities.

In 1871, just weeks before his death, William Dunn also sold Lot 23 to the same Bettie Turner for use “during her lifetime,” per Deed Book RR, page 584. After Turner’s death, in December 1901 Mrs. Annie E. Wiggins Sanders filed a copy of Turner’s last will and testament with the probate court. The filing showed that Turner had died with no heirs or next of kin and that she left all her property “of any kind” to Mrs. Sanders. The original of her will had been given to Dr. Isaac F. Deloney for safekeeping, but he had moved to Leighton in Lawrence County and misplaced the will, according to his testimony. The copy held by Sanders was validated by her uncle, Dr. William Dunn (before his death), and by Dr. A. S. Harris of Madison. Thereafter, Lots 23 and 24 began a new series of ownership, becoming the property of Matthew Harvey Anderson in 1904.  Harvey Anderson was one of the Directors of the Bank of Madison which was founded in 1904.  He also was a principal partner of both Anderson–Bronaugh & Company and the Hertzler–Anderson Company.  Both businesses were general stores which, according to the 1905 Alabama Merchantile book listings, sold groceries and other merchandise -- there being 12 such listings in Madison.  Harvey and his wife, Annie Hertzler Anderson, were both from Ohio with Pennsylvania roots.  In fact, Annie’s father, Dr. John Hertzler, also came to Madison from Ohio following the Civil War.  Annie's brother, Frank Hertzler, later built and lived in the house at 25 Front Street.

After constructing a large house on the lot along Front Street, the Anderson's sold it by 1926 to Dr. James Allen Kyser. Dr. Kyser was recognized by the U.S. government for helping to bring the 1918–9 flu epidemic under control in north Alabama. The Kyser family lived in the house for nearly fifty years, and then it was purchased by Billy J. and Nancy Jane Jones of Huntsville.  In 1997, the collapsing and abandoned old house was purchased at auction by Tony and Cindy Sensenberger. They lovingly restored and expanded it, keeping as much of the original structure as possible. Today the house has surpassed even its former glory.

320 Martin Street, Pride – Bashore House

William Thomas Pride and his wife Mary Fletcher Pride built this house in 1911.  While their marriage is not included in the on-line listing provided by the Madison County Records Center (courthouse probate archives) at, the marriage is mentioned in the book about Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher, as written by his daughter Octavia in the early 1900's.  Octavia's sister Mary, wife of Dr. William T. Pride, was known to the family as "Tee".  Tee and "Willy T." Pride were probably married in Limestone County, since the Fletcher family had roots there.  In the census records of 1910 and 1920, Tee is shown as Mary G. Pride, born 1875, whereas William T. Pride was born about 1865.  Their firstborn son was listed in 1910 as James W. Pride (age 2), but in 1920 he was listed as Wilsey J. Pride (age 12).

Doctor Pride was one of six children of James Harvey Pride and his wife Amanda Butler.  James Harvey Pride was one of three respected citizens of Madison who were seized by the Union forces following a battle in the town on  May 17, 1864.  They were taken as presumed spies, to be executed for supposedly guiding the Confederate forces to eliminate the Union sentries, but a more reasonable Union officer intervened after a time, and the men were released unharmed.  The parents of James were Wilsey and Rebecca Pride.  Wilsey's will of 1848 was entered into probate in 1849.  Testators were Samuel Trotman, David Blackburn, and James Irvin.  The will listed as heirs Wilsey's widow Rebecca and seven children.  Specifically named were Mary Jane, Alexander, and Martha, all born to his second wife.  The listed heirs also included children by his first wife, who was Eleanor Gray.  These children were William, James H., Burton, and Margaret (born 1818, married to John Maxwell).  Eleanor was a daughter of William and Eleanor Wardrobe Gray, and she married Wilsey Pride in 1805.  After her passing, Wilsey married Rebecca Gray Love in 1839, according to several family trees posted on  Those trees show that Wilsey was born in 1783, a son of Burton Pride and Sarah Bizwell.  Burton Pride was a son of Thomas Pride, whose ancestry was shown back to the 1600s in Virginia and England, including intermarriages with the Burtons and Fowlers, surnames  found as pioneers of Redstone Arsenal lands.

James Harvey Pride's brother William G. Pride married Ellen Jane Gray.  In the 1850 census of Monroe County, Mississippi, the family of William G. Pride included Nancy Gray, age 65, born in Virginia, so the Pride and Gray families of Madison remained closely connected through the years.  James' son Walter married Katie Garner, and James' son Wilsey married Katie Mason.  Wilsey fathered another James Harvey Pride, who was born in 1877 and died by 1935.  This younger J. H. Pride, grandson of the senior and nephew of Dr. William Pride, was a partner in the firms of Pride & Bradford (drugstore) and Pride & Carter (general store) in Madison, according to the 1905 Alabama Mercantile Book.  He became an attorney, according to the 1929 Alabama Blue Book and Social Register.  This nephew of Dr. William Pride married Sallie LeRoy Betts, daughter of Judge Tancred Betts of Madison.

Tancred Betts was a son of Edward Chambers Betts.  Tancred served as Madison County Attorney, as well as Judge of Circuit Court and later as Judge of the Law & Equity Court.  He was a trustee of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University), and served for 10 years as Chairman of the Madison County Democratic Executive Committee.  He married Maude Minor Broun, a daughter of Dr. William LeRoy Broun and Sallie Fleming.

Edward Betts (father of Tancred) was born and raised on his father Charles Betts' plantation, a part of which was located between what is now Hughes Road, Gillespie Road, Brown's Ferry Road, and Wall-Triana Highway.  This is where the Kroger Shopping Center, the Madison Branch Library, and Bob Jones High School are today.  Members of the Maxwell family (married into the Pride and the Blackburn families) are buried in the Gray Cemetery, used by the old Providence Presbyterian Church, just to the northwest of the plantation.  There is another old cemetery on the plantation that could have originally been used by the Betts family, but it has no tombstones today, so the Betts family perhaps used the Gray Cemetery.  Edward Betts' father, Charles Edward Betts, lived in Lunenburg, Mecklenburg County, Virginia before coming to Madison County, Alabama to establish his local plantation.  He married Martha Cousins Chambers, a sister of United States Senator Henry Chambers, namesake of Chambers County, Alabama.

Edward Betts was the first Commissioner of Agriculture for Alabama, as well as an attorney and judge of the County Court.  He was educated in private schools in Madison County and by private tutors, going to the University of Virginia before studying and traveling in the east and abroad.  After practicing law for a number of years, he retired to the family plantation, serving as trustee of the University of Alabama.  In 1854 Edward married Virginia Augusta Swope in Lawrence County, Alabama.  She was a daughter of John Swope and Cyntha Early.  Cyntha shared common ancestry with General Jubal Early of the Confederacy and her Swope ancestors came from Ireland to Virginia in 1702.  The family is descended from Carbri Lifichar, an ancient King of Ireland, born in 225 A.D.

Interconnections of the Pride, Fletcher, Maxwell, Betts, Mason, Brown, and Gray families of the Madison area led to some interesting interactions.  For example, when Amanda Pride, widow of the older James Harvey Pride and mother of Dr. William T. Pride, went to court in Madison County to establish the right to inherit and sell the lands of her deceased husband, the case was adjudicated by Judge Tancred Betts, a relative.  In fact, one can be sure that members of these interconnected families visited the house at 320 Martin Street in Madison on many occasions as they celebrated special events, like the birth of sons James Wilsey Pride and Richard Fletcher Pride to Dr. William Pride and his wife Mary Fletcher.