News from Lake Creek
Evolution of the Montgomery Trading Post Myth –
As we have
seen in the last few weeks, the lands around what would become the
town of Montgomery were originally known as the Lake Creek
Settlement. Primary historical records prove conclusively
that, prior to the founding of the town of Montgomery in July of
1837, the area was known as Lake Creek Settlement, District of Lake
Creek, Precinct of Lake Creek or simply Lake Creek. These same
documents prove conclusively that the area was not known as
Montgomery Trading Post, Montgomery Settlement or Montgomery
Montgomery Trading Post is a myth. A myth is defined as "a
fictitious narrative presented as historical but without any basis
in fact." Many people have wasted decades searching for the
archeological remains of the Montgomery Trading Post when they
should have been searching for a single primary document that
proved it ever existed. Even though the Montgomery Trading
Post has been referred to in any number of histories over the last
8 or 9 decades, no Montgomery County historian has ever bothered to
locate a single primary historical document that mentions such a
place prior to the founding of the town of Montgomery. The
romantic story of a trading post that traded with the Indians and
early settlers was just to good to tamper with.
cynic Voltaire, wrote, "History consists of a series of accumulated
imaginative inventions." This is where the Montgomery Trading
Post comes from -a series of accumulated imaginative
inventions." As we go through each of these histories over
the next few weeks, we will see the evolution of the Montgomery
Trading Post myth. As we proceed, the reader will observe
many changes in the "history" of the Montgomery Trading Poet.
The ownership will change, the locations will change, the years of
operation will change, explanations for the name will change,
etc. And these changes will occur with no primary historical
evidence to back them up or explain them.
begin our study with a paper entitled "Old Montgomery" by Anna
Landrum Davis. This appeared in the University of Texas
Bulletin No. 2546: December 8, 1925, pp. 42-47. Also see The
Texas State Texas State Teachers Bulletin, Vol. XIII, No. 1.
This article seems to be the earliest appearance of the Montgomery
Trading Post myth.
Montgomery" provides, "Montgomery is one of the oldest towns in the
State. It had its beginnings in 1830 when Jacob Shannon,
James Montgomery, and one or two others built homes on Town Creek,
about a half mile north of the present site of the town.
Jacob Shannon, who had come from Kentucky in 1826, and who had
taken part in the Fredonian rebellion, established a trading post
here. He carried beautifully dressed hides bought from the Indians
to Kentucky, and brought back horses and goods for the
settlers. Local tradition says this little settlement took
its name from James Montgomery and his wife, Margaret Montgomery,
and that the county was afterwards named for the town.
William Sheppard [sic] donated one hundred acres to the county
commissioners for the county seat. This was on the hill south
of the old town."
historical inaccuracies jump out immediately even to the most
casual reader of Montgomery County history. Stephen F. Austin
did not make the first land grants in the area around the present
town of Montgomery until 1831. James Montgomery was not
married to Margaret Montgomery. Owen Shannon was married to
Margaret Shannon. Town Creek was not called Town Creek until
sometime after the town of Montgomery was founded in July
1837. Town Creek flows across the John Corner League, not the
Owen Shannon League. There is no record of anyone by the name
of James Montgomery living on either the Owen Shannon League or the
John Corner League. Several documents prove that Jacob
Shannon and other members of Shannon family believed they
lived in the Lake Creek Settlement.
Shepperd donated a one half undivided interest in two hundred acres
of land to Montgomery County not one hundred. There was no
"old town" prior to the founding of the town of Montgomery by
Shepperd in July 1837. W. W. Shepperd's compound (his house,
store, gin, stockyard, and slave quarters) was the only thing
located where the Town of Montgomery was founded in July of
1837. The town founded by Shepperd in 1837 was the original
town of Montgomery. There was no earlier town before it.
As will be
seen over the coming weeks, later historians, over the next 70 or
80 years will make many changes to the details regarding the
Montgomery Trading Post first mentioned in Anna Landrum Davis' high
school history paper. But, none of them will provide a single
primary source or document to prove it ever really
Kameron K. Searle is an attorney in Houston, Texas who has
thoroughly researched the history of the Lake Creek Settlement and
the early history of Montgomery County for the last eight years.
For more information about the Lake Creek Settlement, the Indian
trading post or the founding of the town of Montgomery, go online
This article originally appeared in the February
25, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County
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