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.
Old Newspapers - 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 other old Missouri papers. Search for article citations from the Index.
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.
Best Bottom Store Ledger 1877-78
This story began when 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 here. Kallmeyer’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.
Click here for an article about the history of Best's Bottom and the Kallmeyer family, Appendix 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.
We struggle with how to share this treasure, too big for posting on the website. Contact the webmaster for more information. WHAT TREASURES DO YOU HAVE TO SHARE WITH WEBSITE VISITORS? A BIG THANK YOU TO THE GENTLEMAN WHO SCANNED THIS BOOK FOR US ALL!
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?
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 history of this holiday honoring military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Happy Father's Day
A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there but a guiding light whose love shows us the ...
MCHS Board Meeting
The MCHS Board meets monthly on the fourth Saturday at the MCHS building.
Happy Independence Day!
Montgomery County Fair
The fair has a lot of fun family events! Enjoy this year’s theme of “Sew it, Grow it & Show it” ...