The Madison :Scuttled in Troy Spring Run

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The lower ribs of the steamship, Madison, in Troy Spring Run at Troy Spring State Park.

The remains of the steamship, Madison, are located within the boundaries of Troy Spring State Park in Troy Springs, Florida. The Madison was originally constructed sometime between 1844 to 1854 for Captain James M. Tucker. It was named for Tucker’s hometown, Madison, Florida and it originally served as a floating mail service and trading post. In the 1850s, there were few road going into or out of Troy, and those that existed were often in poor condition. Additionally, the railroad had not yet arrived. For transportation, commerce and basic necessities, area residents relied on the service of Captain James M. Tucker and the steamboat Madison.

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War the Madison was used by the Confederates as a privateer and jerry-rigged gunboat. Lafayette county was a known refuge for Union sympathizers and Confederate deserters. This put Captain Tucker at odds with many locals. In 1863 it was scuttled and set on fire in the spring run at the request of Captain Tucker in order to prevent the Union from taking it over.  Today some remains of the Madison are still visible in the spring run, mainly metal spikes, the keel and lower ribs.

Troy Spring State Park is a recent addition to the Florida State Park system. The 70-foot deep, first magnitude spring offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Troy Spring State Park is located off of County Road 425, 1.3 miles north of U.S. 27. While we are on the subject, this is a great opportunity to remind you that the theme for Florida Archaeology Month in March 2012 is the Civil War. What a perfect excuse to check out Troy Spring and explore the Madison! Please remember the old scouting motto though, “take only pictures, leave only footprints” (or in this case, bubbles!). We want everyone to be able to enjoy their scuba or snorkel adventure on the Madison, now and long into the future!