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.
1862 Trial Transcript - Murder of John McClatchey
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. Read and feel the horrors and tensions of the residents, in the words of those testifying in 1862, about life in a county where Union and Confederate sympathizers were neighbors. Testimonies are given 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. Henry Hill died in Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis.
There is no record of the demise of John McClatchey's widow, Susan Abernathy, who testified at the trial. Their daughters died in Pennsylvania prior to 1881. The McClatchey land was eventually inherited by John's brother Samuel (photo at right) who relocated to Missouri in 1881 from Pennsylvania. Born in 1837, he died in 1924 and is buried in Best Bottom Cemetery along with his wife and two of their five children. Much of the original 320 acres stayed in the McClatchey, Northern and Rose families (three generations) until the last of it was sold in 1945.
Civil War Bushwackers in Montgomery County
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 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.
Old Threshers Event at Fairgrounds
Volunteer to staff MCHS booth - call/text Cathy 314-623-6110 to help.
The Montgomery County Old Threshers Association is a Missouri not for profit corporation organized at the Bellflower community building October 16, 1976, and incorporated May 10, 1977, to promote interest in and exhibit antique farm equipment and machinery. The founding Board of Directors included Oscar Hesterberg, Melvin Nilges and Hubert Poindexter. The first officers were Joe Poindexter, President, Arthur Gilbert Vice-president, John Baker, Secretary, and John L. Maskey, Treasurer.
The first show was held in August of 1977 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and there has been a show on the third week-end in August each year since. Vintage steam and gas-powered motors, farm machinery and antique cars are featured. Demonstrations include threshing, bailing, lumber sawing and corn grinding.
Ancillary events are a flea market, arts and crafts and commercial displays, musical entertainment, gospel singing and a church service on Sunday. There is a "parade of power" each day as the first event of the afternoon; and a parade of tractors, autos and trucks through town on Friday evening.
Over the years there have been fiddlers’ contests, antique tractor-pulls, a spelling bee at the old one-room school, children's games and other events that recall and celebrate a time when there were many more working farms -- and work and relaxation on the farm were often neighborhood events.
Early County Property Tax Records
MCHS acquired .jpgs of early County tax records from the State Archives, including:
- 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.
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.
Old Settlers Parade
Activities begin after 10am Parade on Picnic Rd.
Adult Ice Cream Social
Celebrate Missouri's Bicentennial at Montgomery County Senior Center.
Declaration of Independence Signed
Formal signing of the US Declaration of Independence by 56 people (date most accepted by modern historians)
Visit MCHS booth in the Merchant's Building for information about the Society and books for purchase. Get in touch with your history to prepare for your future! ...