Tennessee was the site of the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States. The Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant began operating in 1996 and remains in operation today.
Madison County, located in western Tennessee, has a rich and diverse history that spans over two centuries. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Chickasaw, before European settlers arrived in the late 18th century. In 1819, the county was established and named in honor of the fourth president of the United States, James Madison.

During the early years, agriculture played a vital role in the county's economy. Cotton became the dominant crop, leading to the establishment of numerous plantations worked by enslaved laborers. The arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century fueled economic growth and connected Madison County to larger markets, facilitating the transportation of goods and people.

Madison County experienced significant strife during the American Civil War, with battles and skirmishes taking place in the area. The county was also impacted by Reconstruction policies following the war, as efforts to rebuild and transform the region were met with resistance and racial tensions persisted.

In the 20th century, Madison County evolved into a center for education and healthcare. The establishment of the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1927 and the construction of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in 1950 played crucial roles in shaping the county's modern landscape. Throughout the years, the county has continued to grow and diversify, becoming a vibrant community known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and strong sense of community.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Madison County, Tennessee.

  • 1821 - Madison County was officially established on November 7
  • 1822 - Jackson became the county seat and major city
  • 1835 - Lambuth College (now known as University of Memphis - Lambuth Campus) was established in Jackson
  • 1862-1865 - Madison County saw significant activity during the American Civil War
  • 1865 - Freedmen's Bureau established in Jackson to aid emancipated slaves
  • 1954 - Interstate 40 was completed, running through Madison County
  • 1979 - Casey Jones Village, a popular tourist attraction, opened in Jackson
  • 1999 - The West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex opened in Jackson
  • 2005 - Former President George W. Bush visited Madison County to view Hurricane Katrina relief efforts