HARVEY MADISON. It would be difficult indeed to find in Macoupin county a more worthy subject for review in a historical work pertaining to this section than Harvey Madison. He has been a resident of the county since 1836 and, by a life of earnest and persistent industry, he many years ago became one of the most highly respected men in Nilwood township - a man whose integrity has never been questioned, and whose acts have reflected credit upon himself and all with whom he had associated. He was born August 11, 1824, a son of Henry and Mary (Smith) Madison, the former of whom was born in Vermont and the latter in New York state. He is also a grandson of Daniel Madison, a native of England, and David Smith, who was born in Germany.
In 1836 he came with his parents to Bird township, Macoupin county, and continued under the paternal roof until 1848. In the district schools of Sangamon and Macoupin counties he gained his preliminary education, but was not satisfied with the limited training afforded in his youth and has greatly widened his knowledge by reading and observation. At the age of twenty-four he went to Montgomery county and engaged in farming on his own account, remaining there until 1855, when he returned to Macoupin county and for a short time engaged in selling merchandise in Nilwood township. Upon giving up this business, he resumed the occupation to which he had been reared and gave his close attention to agriculture and stock raising for about forty years. In 1900 he took up his residence at Carlinville but moved to Chicago in 1908 in order to be near his children. He was not satisfied with life in a large city and, after a residence of one year at the great metropolis of the lakes, he returned to Girard where he has since resided.
In 1848 Mr. Madison was married in Bird township to Miss Mary Waters, of Morgan county, Illinois, a daughter of Zachariah and Mary (Canady) Waters, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. Four sons were born to this union, two of whom, John R. and Peyton C., are living in Chicago. The other two, Zachariah and William are deceased. The mother of these children died in 1882, and two years later Mr. Madison was married in Nilwood township to Miss Rebecca Paden, of Montgomery county, Illinois, a daughter of Leroy and Jane (Fletcher) Paden, the former of whom was born in South Carolina and the latter in Kentucky. Mrs. Madison has proved to her husband a sympathetic and helpful companion and they now enjoy at ease the results of many years of patient application.
Mr. Madison gives his political support to the prohibition cause and has long been an earnest advocate of the abolition of the saloon, believing that it is the greatest evil with which the country is afflicted. He was for a number of years an active member of the Sons of Temperance and the Good Templars and assisted to the extent of his ability in advancing the interests of those organizations. He served as highway commissioner and also for several terms as member of the school board. As a young man he became connected with the Methodist church and ever since 1850 - a period of sixty-one years - he has been a steward in the church. This is a record that it would probably be impossible to parallel in the state of Illinois. Throughout life steadfast and outspoken in his views, he has been upright in his dealings and is, therefore, eminently worthy of the deep respect which is due to one who has ever heeded the voice of conscience and the call of duty.