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

     The Montgomery County Historical Society (MCHS) is a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Society owns two buildings in Montgomery City that house an extensive genealogical library and a museum of artifacts and antiques. All research requests replies, building staffing/maintenance and website management are donated by volunteers.
     If you like what you find here, please become a member and/or make a donation to help us continue our mission. We also welcome contributions of your own research, be it family history or documented historical articles that would interest other visitors.
     Pioneer Days, a 96-page illustrated history of the County, has been well-received by both those new to our history as well as long-time residents. 

Home page articles are archived to Misc.History Articles and
Rhineland Germans Articles all of which can be searched by keyword.

10th Annual Montgomery Fair - 1876

1876 Montgomery Fair Book CoverThank you to a website visitor who shared an original 1876 booklet from the “Tenth Annual Fair of the Montgomery City A and M Association.” It is scanned and found here. There were 53 enclosed acres and a one-mile track. Admittance was 40¢ per person plus various other fees for your child, horse or vehicle.

The booklet includes many rules for orderliness, safety and fairness of competition. An Art Hall displayed “domestics,” both factory and handmade. Farm produce and animals as well as farm implements and carriages were on display. All persons were “required to pay ten per cent entry fee upon all premiums contended for when the entry is made.” Advertisements from local businesses include all kinds of enticements. The “Grand Trotting Race” and “Grand Running Race” each paid out $150 to first place.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

Best Bottom Store Ledger 1877-78

This story began when a website visitor shared scans of an old store ledger identified in the page headers as Best Bottom. There are 144 pages and most handwriting is incredibly legible, showing debits for purchases and credits for trades of goods. The price for each individual item is clearly documented, an example page is here. Kallmeyer’s Best Bottom Store Ledger began on 10 April 1877 and the last entry was 1 November 1878. These dates represent a complete book - It is unclear how many volumes there were or how long the store operated. The original proprietor, Garrett Kallmeyer was appointed as U.S. Postmaster in January of 1874 and he later relocated his family to Los Angeles. He was replaced as U.S. Postmaster by William R. Van Booven on 28 Jul 1886. 
Best Bottom Store Ledger Header p.28
Click here for an article about the history of Best's Bottom and the Kallmeyer family, Appendix A shows an alphabetical partial list of last names of over 70 customers, so the reader can determine if their ancestor shopped at Kallmeyer’s Store. Appendix B shows an 1878 map of the area, illustrating that most customers lived nearby. Appendix C offers a wider view of the location. Kallmeyer also managed a boat landing on the Missouri River, a well-used mode of transportation prior to railroads, automobiles and reliable/quality roads. River travel by canoe, steamboat or ferry was quite common.
The Holtwick family's "shopping list" over this period is transcribed in Appendix D. It includes an apparent list of wedding gifts for their son - see how $8.85 helped start a young couple's household in 1878.
We struggle with how to share this treasure, too big for posting on the website. Contact the webmaster for more information. WHAT TREASURES DO YOU HAVE TO SHARE WITH WEBSITE VISITORS? A BIG THANK YOU TO THE GENTLEMAN WHO SCANNED THIS BOOK FOR US ALL!
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

One Room School Houses

Ebenezer School District #73, Lower Loutre, north of McKittrick, no dateUntil public school consolidation in 1955, Montgomery County had 80 school districts, most of which consisted of one-room school houses. District 1 (Pine Knot) was in the northwest corner and District 80 (Best Bottom) was at the southern-most point of the County. Each district had a school at one time or another, and seven had high schools. Consolidation allowed for a more consistent education, equitable resources and increased salaries for teachers. It was, however an end of an era of “closeness and awareness of one’s neighbors that no longer exists.”
In 1974, the Montgomery County Extension Homemakers Association collected stories from teachers and students of the one room school house era. A 432 page hand typed book Reminiscences of The one-room District Schools documents various facts and valuable memories. A volunteer skimmed the book and summarized some of the common themes. Also included is the book’s Table of Contents and a list of the 80 district names. Click here.
MCHS Museum has a display of photos and information about the schools.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.           Return to Top of Page 

Family Burial Grounds Clean Up

Before clean upAFTER clean up 



MCHS long ago identified 221 burial sites, which fall into three categories: Private (for-profit or not-for-profit, such as churches); Public (operated by a local government); and Family. Family burial grounds are usually small and unincorporated. They are often abandoned and in appalling condition, but are sometimes maintained by the family or landowner. The County has no responsibility for their upkeep, except for a few instances where a trust has been created with adequate funding. See RSMO 214.140

It is so sad to see the abandoned cemeteries and to hear stories about them being “farmed over.” However, here we share a positive story. A small family burial ground was respected by the landowner who fenced off the area to protect it from cattle. Descendants became aware of the poor condition and one family cleaned up the grounds at their own expense. They continue to mow it with the help of their grandsons. Before and after pictures are above. “Wet & Forget made the headstones look almost new. You just spray it on and after several months it kills the black moldy stuff.” A big THANK YOU to this family for their hard work!
What can you do to help preserve County history? What can you share with the MCHS webmaster to keep our webiste fresh?
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

Prussian Immigrants & Letters Home

Much has been written to answer “Why emigrate from Germany?” The common reply is “avoidance of military conscription,” but that is far too simplistic. Recall that the first arrival of Nordrhein-Westfalen immigrants into Loutre was in 1845. More appropriate responses to “Why?” include these historical facts, further explained in Modern Prussian History:
  • Population growth in Prussia (58% between 1816 and 1849); recall there was no “Germany” until 1871 (1850 map)
  • Bad weather and crop failures; 1845-47 are called “the hunger years”Prussian King Crown
  • Industrialization and cheap British imports replaced the handicraft home-based production; impoverishing the weavers in Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Conflicts regarding land use; aristocratic and bourgeoisie ownership
  • Mass poverty and “pauperism” due to all of the above
  • Disenchantment with the promised reforms of Frederick Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, whose reign began in 1840
These cold facts are personalized by an article (written by a German, circa 1950) that references letters home from a settler in Hermann, Missouri in 1851-52.  The reader can learn first-hand what rural Missouri life was like in the 1850’s. The immigrant’s enthusiasm for America also illustrates the academic term “chain migration.” He writes to his brother in Prussia: But if you are not willing to come, then stay in the land of the slaves, and slave yourself as long as you can.
If such "personalized history" appeals to you, also consider Our Daily Bread, German Village LIfe by Teva Scheer, to better understand the challenges our ancestors faced and feel what it was like to live (and starve to death) in the German states prior to 1850. 
Thanks to a member for sharing this article. If a reader has additional information regarding source or references, please share with the webmaster. If your personal files include such letters home (or similar treasures) please share a copy with MCHS.
Articles about Prussian ancestors archived in Rhineland Germans.Articles                    Return to Top of Page

March 25
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday.

March 25
Folklore of the Family
Midwest Genealogy Center Spring Seminar. Fee. Register.

April 22
MCHS Board Meeting
The annual meeting of the MCHS Board will be held at the Library .

April 23
Annual MCHS Dinner & Presentation
“Native Ground,”  Sunday @ 12:30pm,  $15 per person,  RSVP by Saturday, 8 April to Doug Dowling 573-564-3155 or 636-359-8161

May 27
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday.