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.
which can be searched by keyword.
Charles Leiper Grigg, Father of Soda Empire
Click here for the full article. 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 at age 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.
Thomas Jefferson Jackson See, Scientist
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 seriously questioned by colleagues.
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.
Church Records for Rhineland-area Ancestors
When civil vital records are not available, another important resource is church records. My second great-grandparents were Catholic German immigrants so I started with the local Catholic Church in the Rhineland area, searching for baptism and marriage records from the late 1840’s and early 1850’s.
The origins of the Church of the Risen Savior’s predecessor parishes date to 1847, with a Jesuit missionary, Father Anthony Eysvogels. Circuit riding Jesuits often provided the sacraments to early settlers in this region. St. Martin’s was not assigned a permanent pastor until 1867.
I found baptismal records in the St. Martin’s abstracts, but I could not find all the records for my ancestors. The “History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis” reported that the mother church for the Rhineland area was St. Francis Borgia in Washington, about 40 miles down the Missouri River. Indeed, I found my ancestors’ marriages and baptisms of several of their children in the St. Francis Borgia records.
Click here to read the full article, which is well-documented with helpful references. Learn more about early church history. Thank you, Susan S., for sharing your research and “how-to” information which will greatly assist others researching in this area.
Families Peters, Holschlag, Brinker, Engelbrecht
We are grateful to the author, Norman R. Peters, for sharing his family history and his skill of turning research into a great story. Follow the links to learn how an expert followed the clues to bring his ancestors to life. Mr. Peters also donated a copy of Rhineland area obituaries which were compiled by Floyd Van Booven (beginning 1925). Thank you for sharing!
Bicentennial Century and Founding Farms
The MU Extension for the College of Agriculture recently 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.
Resources for Bocholt Germany Emigrants
Here are some recently discovered resources for those researching German families who migrated from the Bocholt area. These are the kinds of finds that make a genealogist salivate! What can you share?
- This link to the Nordrhein Westfalen Archives offers a variety of resources. One researcher found some great Dingden maps of 1828 and 1839 that showed Koermann resident locations. If a photo icon appears after you search a keyword, the resource is available for free.
- Another researcher shared Floyd Van Booven’s 94 page book of Rhineland obits (beginning 1925 and ending about 1980). Thank you NP!
- Early (prior to Starkenburg records) marriages and baptism of the original German settlers were found in the St. Francis Borgia, Washington, Franklin, Missouri records on the LDS Family Search site. Thank you SS!
- German 1749-1750 population registers, the “status Animarum” created by the Catholic Church for tax purposes (I think) can be found here. You will search by town/parish. Thank you GK!
- Bocholt civil status records1654 to the 20th century. Head and personal appraisal registers, fire cadastre, residents' registers and house appraisals from the city of Bocholt, from municipalities of the Bocholt office and today's Bocholt districts of the former Liedern-Werth office help with genealogical, prosopographical, architectural and / or economic-historical research. Thank you SS!
- The Hermanner Volksblatt Newspaper (1875-1928) is available on Newspapers.com and via Ancestry's All Access membership.
As always, MCHS asks that you share your finds and documented research to help us with the mission of preserving and perpetuating the rich local history of the Montgomery County. What can you share?
Pearl Harbor Attack
In 1941 Japanese warplanes attacked the US Naval base and took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans.
Ellis Island in New York closes
From 1892-1954, millions of immigrants pass thru.
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Flight of man-powered airplane
By Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903.