Madison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 82,916. Its county seat is Richmond. The county is named for Virginia statesman James Madison, who later became the fourth President of the United States.
Madison County is part of the Richmond-Berea, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Lexington-Fayette-Richmond-Frankfort, KY Combined Statistical Area.
It is considered a moist county, meaning that although the county prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages (and is thus a dry county), it contains a city where retail alcohol sales are allowed. Nevertheless, two of Richmond’s 19 precincts are dry. Alcohol can also be sold by the drink in Berea and at Arlington and The Bull golf clubs.
Madison County is home to Eastern Kentucky University, Berea College, Boone Tavern, and Bybee Pottery,(closed February 2011) one of the oldest pottery operations in the United States. This is also where famous pioneer Daniel Boone lived and built Fort Boonesborough, now a state historic site.
Indian trader John Findley, Daniel Boone, and four others first came into the area that is Madison County in 1769 on a hunting and exploring expedition. The Transylvania Company, led by Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina, purchased 20,000,000 acres of land west of the Appalachians (including present-day Madison County) from the Cherokee in 1774. Daniel Boone was hired by the company to cut a trail through the Cumberland Gap and establish a settlement on the Kentucky River. The settlement at Fort Boonesborough began in April 1775.
In 1785, Madison County was established from land given by Lincoln County, Virginia.