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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Blog Entries: 1 to 14 of 14
January 22, 2022 By: Web Master
Old Douglas - The Confederate Camel
He first served in the Battle of Iuka near the Tennessee-Mississippi border where he “stood bravely in the face of Union fire.” At the Battle of the Rail Roads, he again “faced the enemy bravely.” When the 43rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment was stationed in Vicksburg, replacements of all ages had come to fill the vacant ranks as casualties mounted. One of these was Old Douglas. By Natalie Maynor, Flickr General Grant changed his strategy from attack to siege in an effort to starve the city into surrender, all were trapped.
On the afternoon of June 27, 1863, Old Douglas stood silently, observing the battle from a hill safely behind the lines. At 3 pm, the frantic shout of a Confederate soldier, “They killed Old Douglas!” on a smoke-shrouded hill pierced through the crackling sound of rifle shots. Among the grave markers of the 5,000 Confederate soldiers buried at Soldier’s Rest in Vicksburg is a marble tablet that pays tribute.
The story goes back to the 1850s and Jeff Davis’ Texas Camel Experiment to see how useful camels would be in the American Southwest where horses were having trouble on long trips. Davis, then Secretary of War, believed camels’ tireless reserves, sure-footedness, lack of thirst, and the ability to carry heavy loads would enable movement of troops and supplies between California and the western frontier. Click here for the full article

December 29, 2021 By: Web Master
County Bi-centennial 2018
When Louisiana was admitted as the 18th state in 1812, the vast territory acquired from France in 1803 became the Missouri Territory with five counties and St. Louis as its capital. In 1813, Washington, and in 1816, Howard Counties were added to the five original counties: Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, St. Charles (including what is now Montgomery), St. Genevieve and St. Louis.
The 1818-1819 Territorial Legislature petitioned congress for authority to form a state government. Eight additional counties were organized: Cooper, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery, Pike and Wayne, in a configuration close to the shape of present day Missouri.
Montgomery County was officially established 14 December 1818.     
It included non-county Area 3, attached "for judicial, probate, administration and county purposes" (Mo. Terr. Laws, 1818-19, Ch 230, Secs 1, 8, PP 580-84). The County and Administrative Area was the entire southwest corner of St. Charles County. 
For a summary of the County's 2018 resolution and MCHS events / activities in recognition of the bicentennial, click here for reprints of articles from the local newspaper.
A 96-page illustrated and indexed "history" book was created by volunteers in conclusion of the years' events.
November 26, 2021 By: Web Master
Chas Leiper Grigg, Father of Soda Empire
Charles Leiper Grigg was born in 1868, in Prices Branch, Missouri, in a small log storeroom. His merchandising sense got its start in that hamlet where he started a general store. In looking over catalogues sent out by St. Louis wholesalers to the rural merchants, he wondered how these big city boys stayed in business. He wrote to one such company pointing out its mistakes and how he could do better. He was invited to come to St. Louis and do just that. At the age of 22, he left Montgomery County behind and worked for several dry goods firms, advertising agencies, and finally a soda bottling company. 
Grigg partnered with financier Edmund G. Ridgway and lawyer Frank Gladney to form the Howdy Company. Charles spent two years testing formulas and winning formulation consisted of seven ingredients--carbonated water, sugar, essence of lemon, essence of lime, citric acid, sodium citrate and lithium citrate. Lithium citrate had been used in patent medicines to improve mood. He named his new product Bio-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. Later it was changed to 7Up Lithiated Lemon Soda and finally shortened to 7Up.
The inventor died on April 16, 1940, at 71 due to complications from diabetes and was buried in St. Louis County. He left behind his wife Lucy and children Elizabeth and Hamblett Charles who became president of the old Howdy Company which had changed its name to the 7Up Company. Click here for the full article
November 6, 2021 By: Web Master
Thomas Jefferson Jackson See (1866-1962)
    Few historical figures of early 20th century science have inspired such rancor as did Thomas Jefferson Jackson See. An astronomer perceived to have great potential, it is generally agreed that he had no real accomplishments and is remembered for a career dogged by plagiarism, grand egotistical claims, and vicious attacks on fellow scientists.
    Thomas was born on February 19, 1866 in Montgomery County, Missouri, the sixth child of Noah See and Mary Ann Sailor See. He graduated from the State University of Missouri in Columbia and received a PhD in mathematics in 1892 from the University of Berlin. Employment in observatories in Chicago, Flagstaff, Washington, D.C. and California all ended unpleasantly. Continuing with studies of earthquakes, solar system evolution and physics, See’s publications were questioned by scientists.
    Other than the controversy he generated during his heyday; little is remembered of See’s work today. However, he played a large part in getting the average man on the street to take an interest in science and his devoted public following hailed him as a hero. Thomas Jefferson Jackson See died on July 4, 1962 at the age of 96. Click here for the full article
October 3, 2021 By: Web Master
Missouri History Scavenger Hunt

Organized by the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society in honor of Missouri's Bicentenial and featuring Callaway, Audrain, Boone, Cole, Montgomery and Osage Counties. Hit the road (October 1 thru November 30, 2021) and learn about our heritage! The 2021 Scavenger Hunt will take you to 21 historic sites in central Missouri. Start your journey by downloading the Scavenger Hunt packet with all 21 locations, directions, and site descriptions. Then travel mid-Missouri, visit the historic sites and capture a photo. 

Three easy ways to be entered into the prize drawing on Dec. 7 - Email, Facebook or In Person. Photos can be submitted as you go along, weekly or all at once. Please submit selfies/photos, even if you don’t visit all the sites — we want to see where people visit!

Those who visit ALL 21 sites and have photos authenticated by KCHS will have their names entered into a drawing on December 7, 2021, for one of three prizes.

October 3, 2021 By: Web Master
Bicentennial Century and Founding Farms
The MU Extension for the College of Agriculture published a booklet to acknowledge the generations of farm families who have helped build Missouri over the past two centuries. A special category of 30 Founding Farms have been in the same family for over 200 years. In Montgomery County, this group includes:
  • The Snethen-Cundiff Farm, original owner William Snethen
  • Graham Cave Farms, original owner Robert Graham
The annual Century Farm program grew out of Missouri 1976 Centennial Farm project. Since its inception, more than 8,000 Missouri farms have received the Century Farm designation. There were 231 applicants in 2021, the 200th anniversary of Missouri statehood.
From those first farm settlements to today’s enterprising operations that continue our state’s proud agricultural and ranching traditions, your families have been essential to America’s growth. Most important, your care of the land remains the bedrock of the communities you have helped create, sustain and shape.
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.
The transcript of the trial for the murder of McClatchey is found here. An article about the bushwacker attack on the railroad near Centralia is found here.
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.
Click here for addittional artices about Montgomery County in the Civil War, including Bushwackers in Montgomery County.
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
  • 1819 list of names transcribed for MoSGA, click here
  • 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
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.