Madison is a rural New York county with an area of 661 square miles and a 1990 population of 69,166. The county contains one city, fifteen towns, and ten villages. Pratt's Hollow, one of the smaller hamlets, is considered to be the geographic center of New York State.
Oneida Lake forms the northern border of Madison County. There are 14 other lakes, six of which are reservoirs built during the early to mid-1800's as water supplies for the Erie and Chenango Canals. The Oneida Lake Plain is characterized by level to gently rolling topography. The central and southern sections of the county consist of rounded hills and broad, deep, and steep-sided valleys typical of the Appalachian Uplands. The beautiful scenery of the countryside is a fitting backdrop for the historic homesteads and charming villages.
Chenango County, formed from Herkimer and Tioga counties in 1798, included Madison which became a separate county March 21, 1806. The county was named in honor of President James Madison.
Madison County originally consisted of five civil divisions: Brookfield, Cazenovia, DeRuyter, Hamilton and Sullivan towns.
Others were formed from portions of these original five. The names and 1920 population of the towns are: Brookfield, 2,092; Cazenovia, 3,343; DeRuyter, 1,141; Eaton, 2,223; Fenner, 780; Georgetown, 854; Hamilton, 3,354; Lebanon, 940; Lenox, 5,536; Lincoln, 821; Madison, 1,629; Nelson, 1,099; Smithfield, 767; Stockbridge, 1,413; and Sullivan, 3,002.
Madison is one of the central counties, bordered on the north by Oneida County; on the east by Oneida and Otsego; on the south by Chenango; and on the west by Onondaga and Cortland counties. The county has a variety of land surfaces from the swamp lands near Oneida Lake to the rich earth of the south. Central Madison County is on the water shed of many streams, some going north to the lake, others making their way to the Susquehanna.