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There are many reasons why a place might want to incorporate as a town. It is easier to apply for state monies, establish banking systems and receive support for public improvement projects. Also, this gives a town more control to direct rules and laws for its own advantage. The leaders of Madison understood this and in 1824 Madison applied for town incorporation.
In the latter half of 1823 Madison applied for incorporation and on December 22, 1823 this was granted. Seven men were elected by the General Assembly as trustees of the town. From these seven men a president would be elected. This body would have the power and authority to conduct the business of the town. The act of incorporation took effect on April 15, 1824.
Henceforth, elections were to take place on the first Monday of each April and at that time the trustees would be elected for a term of one year. The trustees had power to pass any by-laws or laws for the regulation of the town that were consistent with the constitution of the state and the United States. The president of the board and two assistants were to oversee the elections. One of the assistants would act as clerk. Judges would certify the election and deliver the results to the clerk. All free white male inhabitants of 21 or older who had lived in the town for one year were allowed to vote. Any unforeseen vacancy was filled by the trustees.
This was a big step for Madison. She was no longer just a settlement along the Ohio River. With the incorporation she had gained the status of a real town.
MJCPL: History of Jefferson County, Ind. by E. O. Muncy
MJCPL: Historical Files
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