I just looked back at the 1870 census page for Paulding County, and what I was reading as Irwin actually does appear to be James, although the middle initial could be a T or an F. But it really does look as if the families are one and the same.
I didn't see any sign of James Fort Poss in 1880, nor Madison after that census year. Do you have James in the census somewhere? And I don't see George or Mary, either. But only one of the kids with Madison in 1880 could possibly have belonged to the second Elizabeth. And he is another James.
Also how did James and company wind up in Alabama?
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