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


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Blog Entries: 1 to 10 of 19
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
Census Mortality Schedule & Death Detail
In 1850, 1860, 1870, & 1880 there were mortality schedules in the Federal census that listed those individuals who had died within the year ending on June 1 of the census year. They are transcribed and digitized for easy access by the State Archives.  A listing with links is found here.
The 1850 & 1860 schedules list the name; age; sex; color; slave or free; marital status; place of birth; month of death; cause of death; profession; and number of days ill.  The 1870 schedule adds columns for whether the individual’s parents are foreign born and deletes the number of days ill and the slave or free columns.  Finally, the 1880 schedule adds columns for residency, where the disease was contracted, and the attending physician’s name. Beginning in 1890, the mortality schedule was reduced to aggregate data for a few cities from each state.  Missouri cities in 1890 were Kansas City and St. Louis.  St. Joseph was added in 1900.
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
Montgomery County in the Civil War
According to an article in the Montgomery County Leader on 2 Feb 1949:
Nothing ever upset the people of Montgomery County as did the Civil War. Over night friends and neighbors found themselves enemies, families even split over the question of secession. Montgomery County was predominately a Unionist settlement, although there were many outright secessionists.
The various military units that were established are confusing for the genealogist. A MCHS volunteer wrote a four-page summary of the different types of service, explaining the nuances of each and how they were relevant in Montgomery County: Missouri Home Guard, Missouri Militia, Missouri State Militia, Enrolled Missouri Militia, Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia, and Provisional Enrolled Militia. Each of these groups had a different purpose, timeframe and organizational structure.
  • 1890 Veterans Schedule.
  • Assessment Lists, 1863 & 1864
  • Clothing Roster, Kendrick EMM
  • Rebel Sympathizers from 1902 News Article
  • Union Provost Marshal Papers index 1861-1866
What can you share from your files?  MCHS welcomes contributions and will share relevant scanned materials on the website.   
April 11, 2021 By: Web Master
McQuie’s absence will be felt in so many
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) 
February 10, 2021 By: Web Master
Why did the 1840 Germans choose Loutre?
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.
February 10, 2021 By: Web Master
Hunt-St. Joseph Cemetery - History
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.

December 4, 2020 By: Web Master
Search Identity of 9 Civil War Soldiers
In 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 dectective 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 commited 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. 
December 2, 2020 By: Web Master
Christmas in the County in 1820
As 1820 drew to a close Missouri was a state in the Union in every respect except being accepted by the United States Congress. It had a constitution written by men selected locally, an elected governor (rather than one appointed by the President), a general assembly of two houses elected by the people, a court system separate from that of the federal courts and self-imposed local governments. The local politicians, and, indeed, all Missouri residents, looked back on a tumultuous year.
But how was December 1820 spent on the Missouri frontier? It is safe to say it was not dominated by Christmas as has become the custom. In fact, Christmas was probably sparsely observed. It was not looked upon as a national holiday until the mid-1850s. It was then that Christmas cards had their beginning in the culture. Gift giving did not come on the scene until the 1870s and 80s. It is estimated that by 1900 only one family in five had a Christmas tree, which was a German custom. Christmas became a public holiday in Missouri in 1856, but it was not until 1870 that President Grant declared December 25 a national holiday.
It is safe to say Missourians of 1820 celebrated, or didn’t celebrate, Christmas according to the custom of their home country. In ancient times the Romans celebrated Saturnalia during the month of December, honoring their god, Saturn, with food, drink and revelry. The Germans observed Yule during an 11 day period following the December solstice by feasting and drinking. Pope Julius (337-352) established December 25 as a holy day to offset Saturnalia but its observance early on was sporadic, even in the Roman Catholic Church outside of Italy.
The puritans who settled New England in 1620 (there is scant to no record of any puritan settlement in Missouri) held that the scriptures named only the sabbath as a holy day. They worked in the fields on December 25. The United States Congress met in regular session December 25, 1789. The U. S. Senate met December 25, 1797 and the U. S. House met December 25, 1802.
In 1820 the Germans had, for the most part, not yet come to Montgomery County. Nor were there many Spanish immigrants, who popularized decorating for Christmas with luminaries - brown sacks with sand or small gravel in the bottom anchoring a small candle. Many English people customarily celebrated Christmas with feasts, dances, gambling, hunting and visiting friends and relatives. However, participating in these activities depended upon a number of people living in close proximity. Hardly the situation of the pioneer family in Upper Loutre or Prairie Townships in Montgomery County in 1820. The population of the County in that time was along the rivers, The Missouri, Loutre and Cuivre. Nor were there churches in these areas for those disposed to observe Christmas as an occasion for religious worship.1824 is the first record of a Montgomery County church, Freedom Baptist in Southern Montgomery County.
Probably the most recognizable symbol of Christmas, Santa Claus, brought to New Amsterdam by the Dutch, had its genesis in Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Roman Catholic saint who was the patron saint of many with a legendary habit of secret gifts. The image of Santa Claus was popularized by Thomas Nast, an illustrator for Harpers Weekly magazine, who based his 1863 drawing on the description in “A Visit from St Nicholas,” popularly known as “The Night Before Christmas,” published in 1823.
So, despite an eventful and stressful year for Missouri, the pioneers on the frontier of Montgomery County had little Christmas, as we know it, to put a pleasant cap on 1820 and start 1821 with optimism.
November 3, 2020 By: Web Master
Missouri Congressmen Denied Seats 1820
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 a 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.
October 28, 2020 By: Web Master
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.
For example, we learn that in 1850, Mr. Adams managed a 200 acre farm worth $900 with $120 worth of farming implements and machinery that produced 300 pounds of butter (in addition to other crops). The family 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 are available online. The original records are available at the Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center. The information was 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.
October 28, 2020 By: Web Master
Online References
Older researchers (like your webmaster) remember sticking our heads into a microfilm box and serially scanning through reference material for hours, days and weeks for a mere tidbit of information. Today, many resources are available online with search capabilities that allow task completion in seconds. Many are even free!  See Online References for some sources we have found to be of value; including digitized books, maps and documents. Links to helpful websites are listed.
If you are aware of other useful sites, please send an email to and they will be added to the list. Thank you for taking the time to help your fellow researchers!