Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The History of Madisonville

According to the town of Madisonvillle's website, after the Treaty of Paris was signed in February 1763, the British won rights to settle in West Florida without Indian interference. British land grands were given to people who took an oath of allegiance to King George. French settlers arrived on the banks of the Tchefuncte river in April of 1773. They made a living with tar, pitch and turpentine. The french settlers called their town Coquille (french for shells) which was abundant along the river and lake. In 1779, the news of Indian attacks in Mobile frightened the french settlers who packed their belonging and abandoned their homes along the Tchefuncte River.

The Tchefuncte River sat abandoned until April 24, 1783 when Jean Baptiste Baham (originally from Barsac France) arrived to settle on his 1000 arpents of land he received from a Spanish land grant. In 1811, the town was renamed Madisonville in honor of President James Madison. 

 After the death of Jean Baptiste Baham, his five sons divided his land into lots. The town was later incorporated in 1817.

The historical marker in front of the Madisonville town hall.

The Madisonville area chamber of commerce also has a history of Madisonville on its webpage. CLICK HERE to see that historical account.

View looking southward on Covington Street in Madisonville. The old Dendinger Bar is on the right. In present day the Piggly Wiggly would be on the Immediatel left and the Dendinger House would be on the immediate right. To the right and down the street, the two story building was the United Friends Benevolent Association Hall, built in 1891. That structure, a music and community house, burned in 1920.

In 1973, the St. Tammany Farmer published the account seen below. 
Click on the image to enlarge the view. 

The United Friends Benevolent Association (U.F.B.A) Hall in 1920

For a more definitive history of Madisonville, get ahold of a copy of The Madisonville Issue of the St. Tammany Historical Society's Gazette, published in March of 1980 and written by Ethel Haas Boagni.

Artist Winky Chesnutt's pen & ink sketch of the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse.
CLICK HERE for more information about the lighthouse.

 The oak tree at the old Madisonville cemetery
where the road bends. Click on the image to make it larger.