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.
One Room School Houses
Until public school consolidation in 1955, Montgomery County had 80 school districts, most of which consisted of one-room school houses. District 1 (Pine Knot) was in the northwest corner and District 80 (Best Bottom) was at the southern-most point of the County. Each district had a school at one time or another, and seven had high schools. Consolidation allowed for a more consistent education, equitable resources and increased salaries for teachers. It was, however an end of an era of “closeness and awareness of one’s neighbors that no longer exists.”
In 1974, the Montgomery County Extension Homemakers Association collected stories from teachers and students of the one room school house era. A 432 page hand typed book Reminiscences of The one-room District Schools documents various facts and valuable memories. A volunteer skimmed the book and summarized some of the common themes. Also included is the book’s Table of Contents and a list of the 80 district names. Click here.
MCHS Museum has a display of photos and information about the schools.
Family Burial Grounds Clean Up
MCHS long ago identified 221 burial sites, which fall into three categories: Private (for-profit or not-for-profit, such as churches); Public (operated by a local government); and Family. Family burial grounds are usually small and unincorporated. They are often abandoned and in appalling condition, but are sometimes maintained by the family or landowner. The County has no responsibility for their upkeep, except for a few instances where a trust has been created with adequate funding. See RSMO 214.140.
It is so sad to see the abandoned cemeteries and to hear stories about them being “farmed over.” However, here we share a positive story. A small family burial ground was respected by the landowner who fenced off the area to protect it from cattle. Descendants became aware of the poor condition and one family cleaned up the grounds at their own expense. They continue to mow it with the help of their grandsons. Before and after pictures are above. “Wet & Forget made the headstones look almost new. You just spray it on and after several months it kills the black moldy stuff.” A big THANK YOU to this family for their hard work!
What can you do to help preserve County history? What can you share with the MCHS webmaster to keep our webiste fresh?
Search Missouri Court Records
The Missouri's Judicial Records database can be searched by name. Historic court records offer tremendous insight into the daily lives of the past. Probate files offer insight into lives and relationships through wills, inventories, settlements, and even debts and credits. Additional Probate Records (Montgomery Probate 1889-1900 and Wills 1889-1922) are found on Family Search. Click here for more details on Montgomery County Probate records. Guardianships reveal details about a minor’s education, what they wore and ate and even apprenticeship information.
In an era when reputation was the basis for social standing, the only legal recourse was litigation. The opportunities for research into social history, commerce, freedom, architecture and other topics are tremendous. Missouri’s circuit courts heard cases dealing with everything from fur trade to the Civil War, steamboats to railroads and agriculture to urbanization.
The Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Database provides an index and abstract of the criminal and civil court cases that were appealed to the territorial Superior Court and state Supreme Court of Missouri up to 1874, and a partial listing of cases to 1889. Digital images are available for some case files dating from 1821 through 1865.
For a better understanding of our States judicial system, click here.
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”
- 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
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.
Click here for the history of St. Valentine.
Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents' Day after it was moved as part of 1971's Uniform Monday Holiday ...
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday.
Roots Tech Virtual Conference FREE
200+ NEW on-demand classes; Main stage presentations; Chat support and online research consultations; Virtual expo hall; Click here to register.
Research Scot-Irish with Ulster Historical Fdn
Sponsored by Mid-Continent Library. Discussion will cover Irish and Scots-Irish family history research; land, tithe, and estate records; and other resources, as well as a Q&A and ...