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.

Post Offices & Postmasters

MCHS has a list of the County’s Post Offices and Postmasters,complied in 1990 by the amazing volunteer and museum curator Marj Miller (1923-2017). The source is “Record Group Description 028 Postal Service Record of Appointment of Postmasters for Montgomery County, Missouri page 658 and Site location file R25/2716 Box 376.” Information after 1960 may have come from other sources. An unsubstantiated and undated newspaper article claims that “In 1894 Montgomery County became the first county in the US where the PO tired out its newfangled Rural Free Delivery [RFD] services.”

Click here for an Article on USPS Postal history website about RFD. The service began in 1896 to deliver mail directly to farm families. Before RFD, rural inhabitants had to pick up mail themselves at sometimes distant post offices or pay private express companies for delivery. More on RFD history from Wikipedia. In 2022, The U.S. Postal Service had almost 80,000 rural delivery routes serviced by some 133,000 rural letter carriers. See also the Missouri Postal History Society website.

Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

County Officials

Thanks to volunteers for compiling extensive lists of Montgomery County Officials. Most lists are scanned and found under Museum & Library > Research Documents > County Officials. Some include short bios.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

JOP Baker & Americus Court Records

A volunteer discovered an old municipal court docket book (1894-1909) in the MCHS files. The book is handwritten and includes civil and criminal court records of Justice of the Peace Benjamin Sharp “B.S.” Baker. He also ran a general store in Americus.Return address on envelope.
B. S. Baker descended from one of the original settlers in Montgomery County, who was also a JOP. The JOP concept originated in England and filled a need in the United States in areas where there were few lawyers. It allowed minor cases to be addressed quickly. The Americus cases are mostly about debts owed, but disturbing the peace and assault cases are also documented. There was a severe intolerance for gambling - the fine for such was up to $25, where as assault was penalized with a $1-5 fine. The index is found here. Photos of some pages are found here.
Click here for the article about the the court records and the Baker family. MCHS is thankful to Baker descendants Donald L. Baker, M.D. and Cheryl Baker Hagedorn for graciously sharing their family research and graphics for this article. Please contact the webmaster if you have something to share with visitors.
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.          Return to Top of Page

County Naturalization Records

Montgomery County Courthouse Naturalization records from approximately 1904 -1936 were indexed by an MCHS volunteer. The list is divided into Declarations of Intention, Petitions and Oaths, and Petitions for Naturalization. Also included are some Department of Commerce and Labor Certificates. Most researchers are familiar with the courthouse fires in 1864 and 1901. It is suspected that earlier naturalization records burned, but the exact inventory of lost court records is not clear. Researchers of families in Lower Loutre should also check naturalization / court records in Hermann, Gasconade County.
In general, naturalization was a two-step process* that took a minimum of five years. After residing in the United States for two years, an alien could file a "declaration of intention" ("first papers") to become a citizen. After three additional years, the alien could "petition for naturalization" (”second papers”). Here is an explanation of Naturalization Records and a  history of the Declaration of Intent.
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

December 9
Hometown Christmas
Museum & Library Open

December 12
Ellis Island in New York closes
From 1892-1954, millions of immigrants pass thru.

December 12
Bldg Open for Visitors

December 25
Merry Christmas!
Christmas became a public holiday in Missouri in 1856, but it was not until 1870 that President Grant declared December 25 a national holiday.