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, we hope you will 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 created by volunteers, has been well-received by both those new to our history as well as long-time residents. 

 

McQuie’s absence will be felt in so many ways

MCHS pays tribute to a lifelong County resident who volunteered many, many hours and resources. To say we have lost an icon and generous local benefactor is an understatement. Walt McQuie died on January 17, 2021, after complications from surgery at 91 years of age. He was the son of Walter, Sr. and Marguerite (Kim) McQuie and married Jane Scharnhorst. He was the father of four and grandfather of two.
 
Beginning in 1976, Walt and the organizing members of the Society purchased the buildings, accumulated donations and worked relentlessly for the MCHS mission to “preserve and perpetuate local history.” Walt and his wife have been selfless volunteers, responding to countless inquiries about family history and providing free research services to the public. He was always available to open the library and museum to visitors. He wrote articles for the local newspaper as well as numerous scholarly publications. He was diligent in the accuracy of his research and passionate about keeping people abreast of local history. [Please see the below article about Unidentified Civil War Soldiers.] We thank him and his family for numerous donations that helped MCHS stay viable and provide an educational experience for County schoolchildren as well as adults interested in their Montgomery roots.
 
Walt graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1953, and after serving in the Army for two years as a law clerk, returned to Montgomery City and practiced law for over 40 years. He was a member of the Missouri Bar and worked on multiple state committees to uphold standards of the profession. He was active in the community in Khoury League baseball, Kiwanis Club, Volunteer Fire Dept., and Chamber of Commerce. Later he served on the Montgomery Cemetery Memorial Trust Association and Senior Center Boards and also delivered Meals on Wheels. He was baptized in 1943 and ordained as an elder for the Presbyterian Church USA in 1963. In retirement, he taught himself to play the tuba and played in community bands such as the World Famous Montgomery Town Band, Washington, Hermann, Columbia, Fayette, and Roanoke local bands.
 
We as a Society would like to express our condolences to the family, our gratitude for his decades of community service and our profound sadness for our loss of a friend.
(Some info is from his obituary in the Montgomery Standard of Montgomery City, MO)                 Return to Top of Page
 

Search for Identity of 9 Civil War Soldiers

Grave Marker Wellsville City CemeteryIn an effort to honor Civil War veterans buried in Montgomery County, Historical Society (MCHS) volunteers attempted to identify the "Nine (9) Unknown U. S. Soldiers" that are recognized on a stone in the Wellsville City Cemetery. An extraordinary amount of time was expended in this research, resulting in a well-documented 18-page article that reads a bit like a detective novel. Records are limited, sources are contradictory and the lack of distinction between a gravestone and a cenotaph confuses the identification of actual burial locations. 
 
The article introduces multiple facts and sources, concluding with a theory that these soldiers were killed at the Centralia Massacre and Battle on 27 September 1864 and their bodies were transported on the North Missouri Railroad for burial in Montgomery County. Given the atrocities committed by the guerillas, the remains of most of the 148 men slain were never individually identified. Many were from the Missouri counties of Adair, Shelby and Marion. 
 
The slain men of the 39th Missouri Infantry have their names inscribed on monuments at Jefferson City and Centralia honoring their sacrifices. The names of ten of the soldiers on the train killed by Anderson's men have their names individually inscribed at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. No honor has been done to the other twelve soldiers on the train killed at Centralia. The name of one is not even known. The three civilians are forgotten. The nine soldiers buried at Wellsville remain unknown. MCHS welcomes any additional information readers may have regarding this topic. 
 
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                       Return to Top of Page
 

Why did the Germans choose Loutre in the 1840's?

Obit of Gerhard Lensing found in  Hermann Volksblatt
Those familiar with the southern part of the County know that it is home to many persons with German ancestry. Indeed, most of the permanent settlers in Loutre Township were from the same area in northwest Germany, near the Dutch border. Why did they choose Montgomery County?  Could it have been our delightful weather?

Research suggests that the first German settler was Gerhard Lensing and he helped coordinate the arrival of others in the mid and late 1840’s. A political dissident in what became Germany, he emigrated illegally to the United States (first to Hermann). He settled on Loutre Island and “never felt such pride in myself as now that I am a free farmer on my own land.” He married Christina Jahns in 1839 and they had at least 11 children over 28 years, nine of whom lived to adulthood. His younger brother established a similar dynasty in Austin, Texas.

Gerhard actively invested in property, was postmaster, raised stud horses, became a naturalized citizen, survived a bushwhacker raid on his home, served with the Union Army, and was a successful farmer. Click on his name above for the complete biography.
 
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                 Return to Top of Page
 

Hunt-St. Joseph Cemetery - History & Records

The cemetery on the hill behind St. Joseph's Catholic Church (renamed Church of the Risen Savior in 1979) in Rhineland, Montgomery, Missouri, (Twn46N, R5W, Sec 30, NE 1/4 of SW 1/4) has historically been referred to as Hunt-St. Joseph. As of July 2020, Find-A-Grave (FAG) shows 496 burials in "Saint Josephs Cemetery." The long-standing story is that the cemetery was begun with a donation of land to bury relatives who succumbed to the cholera epidemic (1849-1850). Yet, the earliest tombstone is for a death in 1865.  Neither does the cholera story make sense in relation to the cemetery’s namesake, Larkin William Hunt, a barber who lived from 1864-1941. There are no burials of persons named “Hunt.”
 
  - explains the original 1849 two acre donation by German immigrants,
  - reviews various records (land and other) to support the conclusion,
  - links to supporting references and
  - lists names of immigrants possibly buried in unmarked grave(s).
 
The blue circle on the image at left indicates the area of the older, mostly non-Catholic graves. The pink rectangle marks the likely location of the original church and a mass grave for cholera victims buried prior to 1850.
 
As always, we welcome additional information on this topic as well as your contribution of an article regarding the County's history.
 
Home page articles are archived under "Misc. Articles" in County History.                        Return to Top of Page
 

April 24
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday at the Senior Center while under COVID restrictions.

May 9
Mother's Day
The modern Mother's Day began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. 

May 22
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday at the Senior Center while under COVID restrictions.

May 31
Memorial Day
Click here for history of this holiday honoring military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

June 5
World Environment Day
Time for Nature.