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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July 15, 2023 By: Web Master
Americus Court Records & JOP B. S. Baker
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. The index is found here. Photos of some pages are found here.
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 sever intolerance for gambling - the fine for such was up to $25, whereas assault was penalized with a $1-5 fine. 
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. 
May 14, 2023 By: Web Master
Best Bottom Store Ledger 1877-78
A website visitor shared scans of an old store ledger identified in the page headers as Best Bottom. There are 144 pages and most handwriting is incredibly legible, showing debits for purchases and credits for trades of goods. The price for each individual item is clearly documented, an example page is hereKallmeyer’s Best Bottom Store Ledger began on 10 April 1877 and the last entry was 1 November 1878. These dates represent a complete book - It is unclear how many volumes there were or how long the store operated. The original proprietor, Garrett Kallmeyer was appointed as U.S. Postmaster in January of 1874 and he later relocated his family to Los Angeles. He was replaced as U.S. Postmaster by William R. Van Booven on 28 Jul 1886. 
Best Bottom Store Ledger Header p.28
Click here for an article about the history of Best's Bottom and the Kallmeyer familyAppendix A shows an alphabetical partial list of last names of over 70 customers, so the reader can determine if their ancestor shopped at Kallmeyer’s Store. Appendix B shows an 1878 map of the area, illustrating that most customers lived nearby. Appendix C offers a wider view of the location. Kallmeyer also managed a boat landing on the Missouri River, a well-used mode of transportation prior to railroads, automobiles and reliable/quality roads. River travel by canoe, steamboat or ferry was quite common.
The Holtwick family's "shopping list" over this period is transcribed in Appendix D. It includes an apparent list of wedding gifts for their son - see how $8.85 helped start a young couple's household in 1878.
May 14, 2023 By: Web Master
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.
May 13, 2023 By: Web Master
Old Newspaoers - Great Resources!
This list of Montgomery County Delinquent Taxpayers in 1833 is reprinted from a St. Louis Genealogical Society publication, XXVI, 4. The introduction states “This land was offered for sale by the state with the proviso that delinquent owners could reclaim it by paying the taxes and a fee.”
It was sourced from the Jeffersonian Republican dated 22 February 1834. The State Historical Society of Missouri has indexed this newspaper (1831-1844) and several others. Use this tool to search for article citations from the Index.
The Montgomery Tribune, 1900-1910, and The Rhineland Record, 1885-1952, can also be searched digitally.
April 9, 2023 By: Web Master
Dinner & Presentation "Native Ground"
MCHS Annual Dinner will take place on Sunday, 23 April. The speaker, Dr. Brad Lookingbill, will speak on Native Ground. Missouri was native ground to diverse tribal groups, who descended from the first people to make it home. The Osage, Quapaw, Otoe, Missouria, Ioway, and many other tribal groups resided in parts of the state before its boundaries appeared on a map. The original inhabitants developed fascinating cultures in relation to the rivers, prairies, plains, plateaus, and woodlands.
The most powerful tribal group in the early history of Missouri called themselves Ni‐U‐Ko’n‐Ska, meaning “Children of the Middle Waters.” Europeans referred to them as the Osage Indians. Their way of life represented a blending of indigenous cultures characteristic of both Plains and Woodland inhabitants. With the leadership of chiefs, the Osage exhibited customs and traditions that shaped social relations. See Chapter1 from Missouri: The Heart of the Nation, which includes a list for further reading.
February 19, 2023 By: Web Master
Where Towns Got Their Names

[transcribed from an old newspaper article, undated but from late 1800’s]

New Florence was laid out in 1857 by E. A. Lewis and the place named after his only daughter, Florence. It was soon discovered that Morgan County has a Florence so by a special act of the Legislature our town was made New Florence.

The East edge of Danville was settled in 1820. The town proper in 1834. The place was named for Danville, Va. The land was owned by Conrad Carpenter and Henry Davault

Mineola was laid out and platted by H. E. Scanland in 1879. Many think the town was named by combining Minnie and Ola but it was named for Minneola, Texas, which signifies healing waters. Jonesburg was named for James Jones who entered the present town site in 1829. The town is platted but has never been incorporated.

High Hill was the name of a post office in the vicinity of the site of Jonesburg back in the 30’s. When several buildings were built at the present site of High Hill the post office was moved to one of these buildings and the town then received its name.

Previous to 1854 Prices’ Branch was know as Woolam’s Mill. In that year a post office was established and named Prices’ Branch. In 1856 Hon. Carty Wells laid out the town of Wellsville and the place was named for its founder.

February 18, 2023 By: Web Master
1876 Montgomery Fair Booklet
Thank you to a website visitor who shared an original 1876 booklet from the “Tenth Annual Fair of the Montgomery City A and M Association.” It is scanned and found here. There were 53 enclosed acres and a one-mile track. Admittance was 40¢ per person plus various other fees for your child, horse or vehicle.

The booklet includes many rules for orderliness, safety and fairness of competition. An Art Hall displayed “domestics,” both factory and handmade. Farm produce and animals as well as farm implements and carriages were on display. All persons were “required to pay ten per cent entry fee upon all premiums contended for when the entry is made.” Advertisements from local businesses include all kinds of enticements. The “Grand Trotting Race” and “Grand Running Race” each paid out $150 to first place.
January 7, 2023 By: Web Master
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 burying 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 included here. “Wet & Forget made the headstones look almost new. You just spray it on and after several months it kills the black moldy stuff.”
What can you do to help preserve history?
January 7, 2023 By: Web Master
Missouri Digital Newspaper Project

The State Historical Society of Missouri is pleased to present a growing collection of digitized historic newspapers. These images are freely available to the public and are keyword-searchable.

Focused on merging meaningful historic content with innovative modern technology, newspapers in our collection are digitized to National Digital Newspaper Program specifications. Many of Missouri’s digital newspapers are also available through the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site, which ultimately aims to include newspaper pages from all states and U.S. territories in its collection. 

January 2, 2023 By: Web Master
One Room School Houses Reminiscences
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.