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

How much butter did your ancestor churn?

Federal Census - Agricultural Schedules were taken from 1850 through 1930. These schedules listed the names of the heads of households for farms valued at $100 or greater along with the types, amount, and value of crops, livestock and land. The qualifying criteria were changed in 1920 to include just farms with 3 or more acres or less than 3 acres that produced at least $250 worth of farm products.
As an example, in 1850, Mr. Adams managed a 200 acre farm worth $900 with $120 worth of farming implements that produced 300 pounds of butter (in addition to other crops). They milked 9 cows and slaughtered $200 worth of animals. The $70 worth of beeswax and honey reported was above average for the area.
The 1850-1880 Agricultural Schedules available online. The original records are available at the Missouri Historical Society Library. The below clip show some of the data collected in 1850 by Cole Diggs, the assistant to the Marshal of the District of Missouri. He stresses with underlines that this information is "to the the best of my knowledge and beleif," as sworn before Thomas McIntosh, J.P.
1850 Fed Census Agriculture Schedule 4 p1

Missouri Congressmen Denied Seats

As the second session of the 16th U. S. Congress convened November 13, 1820, Missouri had:
  • adopted a constitution and filed a duly authenticated copy of it in each house of Congress,
  • elected and appointed state and county officers, and
  • sent a duly elected representative and two senators to Washington.
Each house of Congress referred the Missouri Constitution to a committee, but the three congressmen were denied seats because Missouri had not been formally voted into the Union.
On December 11, 1820, the U. S. Senate, acting on the favorable vote of its committee, approved the Missouri Constitution and formal admission with the proviso that nothing in the Missouri Constitution should be construed as consent by Congress to contravention of the U. S. Constitutional provision (Article IV, Section 2) giving privileges and immunities of all citizens to the citizens of each state. This resolution as amended was sent to the U. S. House of Representatives for its approval. The House read the resolution the first time and tabled it. (An enactment in each house of Congress required three readings before passage.)
The House of Representatives committee favorably reported US Capitol 1827a resolution of its own to the full House recommending admission on November 29, noting that Delaware had a provision similar to the questionable language in Missouri Constitution Article 3, Section 26, requiring the General Assembly to pass laws to prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to and settling in the State. It further noted that whether this provision violated the United States Constitution was a question for the judiciary, not the Congress. The House resolution was given its first and second readings and referred to the entire House as a Committee of the Whole, where it was debated for a week before a vote defeating it 79 to 93 on December 13. Shoemaker in Missouri’s Struggle for Statehood, 1804-1821, attributes the action of the full House to Northern statesmen and their constituents, who were represented by a majority in the House of Representatives. The Senate, on the other hand was pretty well evenly split between slave and free states.
The parliamentary maneuvers in the U. S. House of Representatives all throughout its consideration of the “Missouri Question” are somewhat hard to follow because the House had before it, at the same time, the Senate’s resolution and various resolutions of its own and amendments thereto, both dealing with the same question.
The response in Missouri, seemingly taken by surprise by the inaction of the U. S. House of Representatives, was one of quiet determination. There were no public expressions of outrage or recrimination, although Senator-in-waiting Benton wrote in a St Louis newspaper that debate would show that about every State in the Union had the same provision in its laws as the offending provision in the Missouri Constitution. The official and private attitude, and that of the public, was that Missouri was a state, had been acting as such, and, after waiting more than three years because of an issue gripping the entire country, was determined to be formally admitted to the Union.
Missouri and the Nation went into 1821 still struggling with the question of admission of Missouri as a state in the Union.
This article is one of a series commemorating the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s steps toward statehood. See the previous articles in County History, Misc. Articles.
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Missouri in the 1840s

MCHS volunteers discovered a treasure trove of letters written from Montgomery County to relatives in Germany, 1844-1847. The entire story is told in the book Lives and Letters of an Immigrant Family: The van Dreveldts' Experiences along the Missouri, 1844-1866, by Kenneth Kronenberg and C. Hans von Gimborn. The authors (in 1996) shared translations of the letters relevant to Montgomery County. 
New Orleans 1840s Courtesty of The Historic New Orleans Collection
In January of 1844, Gerhard Lensing (1809-1879) wrote to his “old university friend” Theodor van Dreveldt (1811-1880) describing life in Montgomery County. Included are suggestions about what to bring if emigrating as well as a budget. Theodor traveled to what is now Rhineland (via New Orleans) and sent letters home about the land, crops, mosquitoes, drought, cornbread, illness, and many other details of life in 1845. Descriptions of a trip to St. Louis, Illinois, Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls, helps us visualize the Midwest in the 1840's. His enthusiasm about Montgomery County waned due to poor crops, malaria, miserable weather, etc. His family failed to send his inheritance money and by 1847 he was in low spirits, contemplating a move to Wisconsin. Theodor concluded his American adventure and returned to Emmerich, Kleve, in 1849, building a house in the American tradition. marrying and fathering 11 children.
In the conclusion, the author reminds of immigrants’ contributions to our heritage:
What is too often neglected in history … is the terrible price exacted upon people who wrenched themselves away from their families and familiar surroundings in order to remake themselves in a new land …Their best efforts were as often as not crowned by hardship, loneliness, and failure. Many died trying. That struggle – and failure – is a crucial component of the American experience.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                       Return to Top of Page

Famous County Residents

Admittedly, our County is not very well known, but we do have some past residents worth “crowing about.” See the section on Families, Bios, Records and learn about:
  • One of Missouri’s first State Supreme Court judges.
  • Children’s book author and illustrator.
  • Missouri pioneer who was a medical practitioner, writer and geologist.
  • Director of Legislative Service for the Missouri Farm Bureau.
  • Prohibition Party presidential candidate and college professor.
As always, we welcome any historical documents, etc. that you may wish to share!
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                       Return to Top of Page

Article Contributions?

The Montgomery County Historical Society welcomes corrections to its articles and written researched pieces for its library and possible publication.
Please share your research and knowledge.  Email and help us keep this site interesting and active.

December 12
Hometown Chrismas
MCHS building open and historical books available for purchase. Activities are scheduled at the Fairgrounds and the Knights of Columbus building. 

December 25
Merry Christmas!

January 1
Happy New Year!