I recently uncovered a trove of documents relating to the Madison Family at the Levi Watkins Learning Center Digital Library Madison Park Collection and the Trenholm State Technical College Madison Family Collection.
Both collections focus on the life of Elijah Madison, the Patriarch of Madison Park, Alabama. Eli Madison was born a slave in Alabama in 1839. At the end of the Civil War (1865), Eli and his wife Frances, along with half-brother Killis Marshall and Gadson Draw and their wives, and his friend Frank Felder, migrated to Hunter Station in Montgomery County, Alabama. After a short stretch in Hunter Station, the families moved to the King Hill Community to be closer to town. After a few years, the families, especially the Madisons, had accumulated enough capital to buy a plantation. King Hill offered only small to medium plots of land. The families were ready to move on.
The Flatbush Community, Northeast of King Hill going towards the city of Wetumpka, had several plantations for sale. The families pooled their resources and bought the May’s Plantation in 1880. In 1882, Eli paid $2,380.00 for 560 acres of land in northest Montgomery County. He named the community Madison Park. He and Frances Madison had 10 children and built a church, Union A.M.E Zion Chapel, a school and a community center. The plantation also included a gin house, grist mill, saw mill, shingle mill, a park and a store. The family home where the children were born still stands. Eli imbued in all of his children that there were a part of W. E. B. DuBois’ "talented tenth." Education was key, not for self, but as a tool to pass knowledge onto subsequent generations of the family and in the community as a whole. However, the teaching profession was not the only career he stressed. He told his children, "We need doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, bishops and every other profession that will uplift the race."