The History of Madisonville


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Madisonville is located on the historic Tchefuncte River on Louisiana Highway 22 between Mandeville and Ponchatoula, Louisiana.

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 1782 when Juan Baptiste Baham (originally from Barsac France) arrived to settle on his 1000 arpents of land he received from a Spanish land grant. Shortly after his death in 1814, his five sons divided his land into lots and named the new town Madisonville in honor of President James Madison.  The town was later incorporated in 1817.

Madisonville is one of the oldest settlements in the state of Louisiana and is the oldest permanent settlement in St Tammany Parish.  It is the southern end of the pony express.  Mail carriers delivered their mail on horseback to Post Oak, a large oak tree that once stood on the Tchefuncte river.  From there, the mail would travel by schooner to New Orleans.

History comes alive in Madisonville as we rediscover our romantic past in the expansion of the Northshore.