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HISTORICAL – George Bell Madly, the “King of Egypt”


George Bell Madeley

George Bell Madeley

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George Bell Madeley Homestead, painted by Theat“Nan” Madeley.

The community of Egypt was located near the junction of Farm Roads 1488 and 2978 about nine miles southwest of Conroe in southwestern Montgomery County. In its heyday, Egypt was surely a land of plenty. What’s left of Egypt is on the northwest side of the Woodlands.

Egypt was settled by George Bell Madeley, who was born in Trittiford, near Birmingham, England, in 1815. Like his brothers, Madeley was educated at Yardley, England. After leaving school, he helped his family farm the land. When he was 22, his father died, leaving him the only man left on the farm. He lived there with his aging mother for eight years longer, and after her death, emigrated to the U.S. He arrived in Texas in 1845 at the age of 30. He lived in Houston for a short time and there found other settlers from Yardley.

He became friends with the Grant family and soon began courting Helen Adeline Grant. Even though George and Helen were both brought up in Yardley Parish, they never met while there. They were married in 1846. Madeley then purchased 320 acres of land in Montgomery County, 40 miles north of Houston, because the surrounding forest abounded in game of all kinds. He built a log cabin and gradually started clearing his farm. He later built a two-story home with an attached kitchen. The couple had seven sons, two of whom died in infancy.

Madeley became a successful planter. His farm — a model of self-sufficiency — included orchards, a cotton gin, a grist mill, vineyards and wine press, a sugar mill and herds of cattle, in addition to his cultivated lands of cotton and sugar cane. The services for his grist mill were paid for with corn instead of money. During a considerable period of drought, the people in the community had no corn due to crop

failures. The community farmers went to purchase corn and seed from Madeley, who gave his community cornmeal and seed during the time of drought. They named the area Egypt in reference to the Bible story in which Jacob’s family went to Egypt to buy corn from their brother Joseph in a time of famine (Genesis 41:56-57).

Madeley was probably one of the first wine exporters from Texas. He shipped many casks of wine that he made from his vineyards to his brothers in England. They commented that his wine was a fine gift. In later years, he and his wife were known all over the county as the King and Queen of Egypt.

George Bell Madeley died in 1879 and was buried in the family cemetery on the farm, which was established in 1848. Helen Madeley died in 1897 and was buried next to him. A Texas Historical Marker in the George Bell Madeley Cemetery honors his contributions to the area. His descendents have been influential in the development of the Conroe area and Montgomery County.

The area declined through the rest of the 20th century, and though Egypt was still shown on highway maps, by 1990 there was virtually no sign of the community. In 2006, a byway called Honea-Egypt Road reminded travelers of the former area.

 

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The Montgomery County Historical Commission provides the content for this page.

For information on the commission and its efforts, visit montgomerycountyhistoricalcommission.com.

 


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