Montgomery County Historical Society Montgomery County Historical Society
Dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the rich local history of the Montgomery County, Missouri area.


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August 1, 2021 By: Web Master
Civil War Bushwackers in Montgomery Cnty
The population in the County in 1860 included 8,061 white persons with 1,647 slaves in their midst (about 17%), indicating that many had Confederate sympathies. The large German population in the southern part of the County was pro-Union. It was somewhat of a "border county" in a border state. State politics and the difficulties inherent in being a border state caused martial law to be established in Missouri in August 1861, giving the power to administer justice to the Union military. Secessionists fought back with guerrilla tactics. 
The first bushwacker murders were in July, 1861, and the Cobb brothers terrorized the County throughout the war.  Read this article to learn about the murders of John McClatchey, Thomas Page, Andrew Rincheval and Henry Bresser. It includes an extensive list of references for the curious reader.
Homes and farms were burned and possessions regularly stolen. Women were violated. Innocent citizens were shot in cold blood. Both sides commited vicious acts, in a non-ending circle of vengeance. A diary by James Rigg lists atrocities by the militia equal to that of the bushwackers.
July 31, 2021 By: Web Master
1862 Trial Transcript -McClatchey Murder
Bluffton resident John McClatchey was brutally murdered by bushwackers in 1861.  A transcription of the trial (in Mexico, Missouri at the Provost Marshall’s Office) of Henry Hill, James M. Davidson, and Charles S. Robinson is provided here, courtesy of a McClatchey descendant.  You can read and feel the horrors and tensions of the residents, in the words of those testifying in May, 1862, about life in a county where Union and Confederate sympathizers were neighbors.  Testimonies are provided by Wright, Glover, Decker, Davison, Robinson, Page, Hill, Poindexter, Price, Melius, and Steer (Stiers?). All three men were found guilty and sentenced to confinement in a military prison during the war. Henry Hill died in Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, Missouri. 
There is no record of the demise of John McClatchey's widow Susan Abernathy, who testified at the trail, and their daughters died in Pennsylvania prior to 1881. The McClatchey land was eventually inherited by John's brother Samuel who relocated to Missouri from Pennsylvania.  Born in 1837, he died in 1924 and is buried in Best Bottom Cemetery.
June 12, 2021 By: Web Master
Early County Tax Records
MCHS acquired .jpgs of early County tax records from the State Archives, including:1819 Tax List Montgomery Cty J Pitman Sheriff
  • Vol. 25: 1819-1827 tax lists. 
  • Vol. 26: 1828-1835, 1837, 1839-1841 tax lists. 
  • Vol. 32: 1836 Tax Lists by Counties, includes Montgomery 2 pages
The lists were certified by Jacob L. Sharp, Clerk of the County Court for all years; in Pickney (1822-23), in Lewiston (1824-1834) and in Danville (1835-1841).
Click here for an index that lists pages (.jpgs) available. The organization of the tax lists vary by year, remember the following when traversing:
  • Alphabetization is NOT 100% accurate
  • Some years separate property (real or personal) from land
  • 1819-1820 includes a section on confirmed/unconfirmed land
  • 1821 and thereafter separate “non residents” (on the final pages for the year)
  • 1822 separates townships Charette, Loutre and Elkhorn
  • 1825-1826 separate State and County tax lists
  • Click here for more details about column headings by year, etc.
The Lists of Real Property provide insight for historians and genealogists, from simply documenting a family’s existence in the County to estimating their wealth. Click here for an inflation calculator to compare the value of a dollar. Recall that “Original Claimant” details can be found in General Land Office Records at the Bureau of Land Management. Illustrations of locations by Section/ Township/ Range can be found in various atlases; the 1878 Historical Atlas is found here.   Pages are different sizes and are bound into volumes, so taking photos was challenging. We thank the State Archivists for their efforts.
On 21 February 1825, the General Assembly enacted a statute (61 sections, 22 pages) that initiated the modern local assessment, board of equaliation, collection and distribution of real and personal taxes. Section 20 thereof empowers county courts to levy taxes on all property subject to state tax for county expense, but the amount is limited to 50% of state tax in any one year. The tax levy ranged from 50% (1828-1830) to 200% (1837).
The revenue act by the General Assemby of March, 1836, provided that the local tax could not exceed the state levy. This was expressly carried forward in the 1855 and 1866 Revised Statutes. The 1875 Constitution, Article 10, Sec. 11b put dollar limits on local taxes per $100 valuation:
  • Municipalities         $1.00               
  • Large counties        $0.35
  • Small Counties        $0.50            
If interested in more recent tax records, the MCHS Library (in Montgomery City) house County Real Estate Books, 1910-1933, inclusie and persona tax books, 1908-1947 and 1973-1983, all inclusive.  
June 12, 2021 By: Web Master
Truddy Riddle, Gen Society President
MCHS expresses our condolences to Trudy Riddle’s family and our gratitude for her longtime work with the Genealogical Society. She freely shared her research expertise and time, responding to countless public inquiries for family history information over the years. Trudy, aged 72, passed away on January 25, 2021.
Trudy was born to George and Doris Mae (Phillippe) Eldon in Fulton, MO. She had one son. A graduate of the University of Missouri/Columbia, she taught for 33 years for the Montgomery County R-2 school district, retiring in 2003. She substitute taught for another 17 years, completing 50 years of educational service. After retirement, Trudy worked at the Montgomery City Library. She enjoyed traveling and not only visited 48 states but also Mexico, Canada and Europe.
A friendly face, both as an educator and as a volunteer with a “can do” attitude, is how Trudy is remembered. Even though she did not grow up in Montgomery County, she spent most of her life here and used her knowledge of family connections to help everyone she could. She was also a tireless volunteer at the local State Retired Teacher group and GFWC Women’s Club. She spent many hours helping in whatever way she could to benefit the local community. Her dedication and helpfulness will truly be missed by many now and many years in the future.
(Information used in this article was partially gathered from her obituary in the Montgomery Standard)
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
Census Mortality Schedule & Death Detail
In 1850, 1860, 1870, & 1880 there were mortality schedules in the Federal census that listed those individuals who had died within the year ending on June 1 of the census year. They are transcribed and digitized for easy access by the State Archives.  A listing with links is found here.
The 1850 & 1860 schedules list the name; age; sex; color; slave or free; marital status; place of birth; month of death; cause of death; profession; and number of days ill.  The 1870 schedule adds columns for whether the individual’s parents are foreign born and deletes the number of days ill and the slave or free columns.  Finally, the 1880 schedule adds columns for residency, where the disease was contracted, and the attending physician’s name. Beginning in 1890, the mortality schedule was reduced to aggregate data for a few cities from each state.  Missouri cities in 1890 were Kansas City and St. Louis.  St. Joseph was added in 1900.
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
Montgomery County in the Civil War
According to an article in the Montgomery County Leader on 2 Feb 1949:
Nothing ever upset the people of Montgomery County as did the Civil War. Over night friends and neighbors found themselves enemies, families even split over the question of secession. Montgomery County was predominately a Unionist settlement, although there were many outright secessionists.
The various military units that were established are confusing for the genealogist. A MCHS volunteer wrote a four-page summary of the different types of service, explaining the nuances of each and how they were relevant in Montgomery County: Missouri Home Guard, Missouri Militia, Missouri State Militia, Enrolled Missouri Militia, Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia, and Provisional Enrolled Militia. Each of these groups had a different purpose, timeframe and organizational structure.
  • 1890 Veterans Schedule.
  • Assessment Lists, 1863 & 1864
  • Clothing Roster, Kendrick EMM
  • Rebel Sympathizers from 1902 News Article
  • Union Provost Marshal Papers index 1861-1866
What can you share from your files?  MCHS welcomes contributions and will share relevant scanned materials on the website.   
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
McQuie’s absence will be felt in so many
MCHS pays tribute to a lifelong County resident who volunteered many, many hours and resources. To say we have lost an icon and generous local benefactor is an understatement. Walt McQuie died on January 17, 2021, after complications from surgery at 91 years of age. He was the son of Walter, Sr. and Marguerite (Kim) McQuie and married Jane Scharnhorst. He was the father of four and grandfather of two.
Beginning in 1976, Walt and the organizing members of the Society purchased the buildings, accumulated donations and worked relentlessly for the MCHS mission to “preserve and perpetuate local history.” Walt and his wife have been selfless volunteers, responding to countless inquiries about family history and providing free research services to the public. He was always available to open the library and museum to visitors. He wrote articles for the local newspaper as well as numerous scholarly publications. He was diligent in the accuracy of his research and passionate about keeping people abreast of local history. [Please see the below article about Unidentified Civil War Soldiers.] We thank him and his family for numerous donations that helped MCHS stay viable and provide an educational experience for County schoolchildren as well as adults interested in their Montgomery roots.
Walt graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1953, and after serving in the Army for two years as a law clerk, returned to Montgomery City and practiced law for over 40 years. He was a member of the Missouri Bar and worked on multiple state committees to uphold standards of the profession. He was active in the community in Khoury League baseball, Kiwanis Club, Volunteer Fire Dept., and Chamber of Commerce. Later he served on the Montgomery Cemetery Memorial Trust Association and Senior Center Boards and also delivered Meals on Wheels. He was baptized in 1943 and ordained as an elder for the Presbyterian Church USA in 1963. In retirement, he taught himself to play the tuba and played in community bands such as the World Famous Montgomery Town Band, Washington, Hermann, Columbia, Fayette, and Roanoke local bands.
We as a Society would like to express our condolences to the family, our gratitude for his decades of community service and our profound sadness for our loss of a friend.
(Some info is from his obituary in the Montgomery Standard of Montgomery City, MO) 
February 10, 2021 By: Web Master
Why did the 1840 Germans choose Loutre?
Obit of Gerhard Lensing found in  Hermann Volksblatt
Those familiar with the southern part of the County know that it is home to many persons with German ancestry. Indeed, most of the permanent settlers in Loutre Township were from the same area in northwest Germany, near the Dutch border. Why did they choose Montgomery County?  Could it have been our delightful weather?

Research suggests that the first German settler was Gerhard Lensing and he helped coordinate the arrival of others in the mid and late 1840’s. A political dissident in what became Germany, he emigrated illegally to the United States (first to Hermann). He settled on Loutre Island and “never felt such pride in myself as now that I am a free farmer on my own land.” He married Christina Jahns in 1839 and they had at least 11 children over 28 years, nine of whom lived to adulthood. His younger brother established a similar dynasty in Austin, Texas.

Gerhard actively invested in property, was postmaster, raised stud horses, became a naturalized citizen, survived a bushwhacker raid on his home, served with the Union Army, and was a successful farmer. Click on his name above for the complete biography.
February 10, 2021 By: Web Master
Hunt-St. Joseph Cemetery - History
The cemetery on the hill behind St. Joseph's Catholic Church (renamed Church of the Risen Savior in 1979) in Rhineland, Montgomery, Missouri, (Twn46N, R5W, Sec 30, NE 1/4 of SW 1/4) has historically been referred to as Hunt-St. Joseph. As of July 2020, Find-A-Grave (FAG) shows 496 burials in "Saint Josephs Cemetery." The long-standing story is that the cemetery was begun with a donation of land to bury relatives who succumbed to the cholera epidemic (1849-1850). Yet, the earliest tombstone is for a death in 1865.  Neither does the cholera story make sense in relation to the cemetery’s namesake, Larkin William Hunt, a barber who lived from 1864-1941. There are no burials of persons named “Hunt.”
  - explains the original 1849 two acre donation by German immigrants,
  - reviews various records (land and other) to support the conclusion,
  - links to supporting references and
  - lists names of immigrants possibly buried in unmarked grave(s).
The blue circle on the image at left indicates the area of the older, mostly non-Catholic graves. The pink rectangle marks the likely location of the original church and a mass grave for cholera victims buried prior to 1850.
As always, we welcome additional information on this topic as well as your contribution of an article regarding the County's history.

December 4, 2020 By: Web Master
Search Identity of 9 Civil War Soldiers
In an effort to honor Civil War veterans buried in Montgomery County, Historical Society (MCHS) volunteers attempted to identify the "Nine (9) Unknown U. S. Soldiers" that are recognized on a stone in the Wellsville City Cemetery. An extraordinary amount of time was expended in this research, resulting in a well-documented 18-page article that reads a bit like a dectective novel. Records are limited, sources are contradictory and the lack of distinction between a gravestone and a cenotaph confuses the identification of actual burial locations. 
The article introduces multiple facts and sources, concluding with a theory that these soldiers were killed at the Centralia Massacre and Battle on 27 September 1864 and their bodies were transported on the North Missouri Railroad for burial in Montgomery County. Given the atrocities commited by the guerillas, the remains of most of the 148 men slain were never individually identified. Many were from the Missouri counties of Adair, Shelby and Marion. 
The slain men of the 39th Missouri Infantry have their names inscribed on monuments at Jefferson City and Centralia honoring their sacrifices. The names of ten of the soldiers on the train killed by Anderson's men have their names individually inscribed at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. No honor has been done to the other twelve soldiers on the train killed at Centralia. The name of one is not even known. The three civilians are forgotten. The nine soldiers buried at Wellsville remain unknown. MCHS welcomes any additional information readers may have regarding this topic.