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

Online References

Older researchers (like your webmaster) remember sticking our heads into a microfilm box and serially scanning through reference material for hours, days and weeks for a mere tidbit of information. Today, many resources are available online with search capabilities that allow task completion in seconds. Many are even free!  See Online References for some sources we have found to be of value; including digitized books, maps and documents. Links to helpful websites are listed.
If you are aware of other useful sites, please send an email to webmaster@mchsmo.org and they will be added to the list. Thank you for taking the time to help your fellow researchers!                                                                            

A Much Appreciated Gift

The family of Clarence Nelson made a generous donation in his memory. We are very grateful for their financial support. Clarence died July 9, 2017, age 88. He was a native of Montgomery County, graduate of Jonesburg High School, 1946, and Westminister College in Fulton. His parents were Benjamin and Arline (Loyd) Nelson, both long-time Montgomery County families. 

MCHS is a not-for-profit corporation organized in 1976 with Federal 501(c)(3) status. We have a modest endowment from donations and memorials. The principal source of income is dues and donations. There are no paid employees or consultants, nor expense accounts for volunteers.

Rhineland, Remembering the Flood & Relocation

The Missourian newspaper's series on Missouri River flooding recently included this article: Uprooted and uphill: How a small Missouri village moved off the flood plain about the Great Flood of 1993.

Bicentennial of Missouri Statehood

1820 USA  Map illustrating "the Missouri Compromise"200 years ago, as 1820 dawned, enthusiasm for Missouri statehood again reached a high pitch. Memorials petitioning for statehood had been sent to the United States Congress as early as 1817. A statehood bill had been introduced in the United States House of Representatives in 1818, but amended to severely restrict, and ultimately ban, slavery in a new state of Missouri. This caused an unresolvable conflict with the Senate, which thought the question should be left to state discretion. Establishment of boundaries of the proposed state had been the subject of extended debate during much of 1819. By December, 1819 the boundaries questions were resolved; and, on December 18, 1819, the Missouri memorials, with no slavery restrictions, were again placed before the United States Congress and debated throughout the balance of 1819. Expectations for passage of a statehood bill were high.
But along came the citizens of Maine in December, 1819, with a petition to Congress to be admitted as a new state. The petition followed a popular vote earlier in the year to become separated from Massachusetts. The House of Representatives passed the Maine bill January 3, 1820, and sent it to the Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee, which also had a Missouri bill before it. The Judiciary Committee reported the Maine bill favorably to the full Senate with the Missouri bill, as an amendment to the Maine bill.
Parliamentary jockeying resulted. An effort to separate the two bills for the proposed new states, Maine and Missouri, failed. Senator Jonathon Roberts of Pennsylvania offered an amendment to the Missouri amendment to the Maine bill excluding the further introduction of slavery into Missouri. This seemed to be repeating the legislative experience of 1818-1819 and was defeated. Then, in what became the first "Missouri Compromise," Senator Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois introduced a bill that prohibited slavery in the territory of the United States north and west of the proposed state of Missouri. The southern boundary of Missouri, latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes north, was to be the line between free and slave states. The entire "Missouri question” being before the Senate, it was debated there for the rest of January. Record of the debate covers some 200 pages of the Senate Journal.
The House of Representatives took up the statehood question on January 24, 1820. Until February 16 it was the only issue of non-routine importance being considered. It is obvious that the question of slavery in the United States was already of primary concern to the 44 year old country some 40 years before it erupted into civil war.
Research tidbits are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.              Return to Top of Page

United States Postal Department

The U.S. mail service was an important factor in early Montgomery County life. The United States Postal Department dates from 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general. It was 1847 before stamps were used and no pre-payment of postage was required until 1855. For a list of U.S. post offices in 1857, see book under Online References. Free mail delivery began in 39 cities throughout the country in 1863. Click here for a link to the 1884 edition of the US Official Postal Guide.
Mail service to rural America was difficult. One had to go to the post office to get or post mail. The post offices were located where rivers and stage lines, later railroads, ran. Since much of America was miles, thus hours, from transportation lines, the postal department began to establish post offices, when petitioned to do so, throughout an area remote from cities. The number of post offices in the United States peaked in 1901 at 76,945. There were 23 in Montgomery County. Click here for a list of County post offices' dates of service.
The written histories are unclear as to the arrangements for getting the mail from the stage or rail line to the post office, often in a dwelling, five to ten miles away, on a regular basis. It seems likely that the postmaster made, or contracted for, trips once or twice a week, depending upon the distance and number of patrons served. The later designation of "rural free delivery" (RFD) indicates that before the government took over delivering the mail from the post office to the patron there was an extra charge assessed for delivery at the local office. RFD was first suggested in 1891 and tested in West Virginia. It was slow to catch on and not until 1896 did it become an official service with 82 rural routes nation-wide.
The first rural route in Missouri was out of Cairo (Randolph County) in October, 1896. In 1898 postal officials announced that any group of farmers could have free delivery of mail by petitioning their congressman with a description of their community and road(s). The first rural route in Montgomery County was out of Jonesburg in November, 1901. By the end of 1904 there were seven rural Montgomery County routes.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                 Return to Top of Page

February 29
History and Genealogy in Newspapers
Newspapers are excellent sources of historical and genealogical information, and digitization has made them more widely available. The class will cover 19th-Century U. S. Newspapers, ...

February 29
Deutschheim State Historic Site Open House
Visit the former home of the “Hermanner Wochenblatt,” a German language anti-slavery newspaper from 1845. The Deutschheim visitor center will be featuring one of only ...

February 29
Shared History of Germans & African Americans in Missouri
Panel Discussion, Live Music, Preview of An Amazing Story. Prior to the symposium, join an Open House at 10am at Deutchheim State Historic Site.

March 3
Genealogy Society Welcomes Visitors
The library and museum buildings are open to the public on Tuesday mornings until Noon, March thru November, weather permitting. Genealogy Society members are available ...

March 10
Genealogy Society Welcomes Visitors
The library and museum buildings are open to the public on Tuesday mornings until Noon, March thru November, weather permitting. Genealogy Society members are available ...