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The Evolution of the Montgomery Trading Post Myth - Part 12

 

Major Difficulties Out on the Loma del Toro

 

In his 1952 master’s thesis, “A History of Montgomery County, Texas,” William Harley Gandy introduced three possible explanations for the name of the town and county of Montgomery.  One theory was that the county was named after Brigadier General Richard Montgomery of the American Revolution.  The second theory was that the town and county were named for a trading post operated by Owen Shannon.  The third theory was based on an interview with J. L. Montgomery of Richards, Texas in 1952.

Based on this interview with J. L. Montgomery, Gandy wrote the following on pages 48 and 49 of his thesis:

“Another local story has it that Montgomery took its name from William Montgomery, a surveyor and widower, who came to Texas in 1822 with his sons….In 1830, he settled some seven miles southwest of the town of Montgomery in what is present day Grimes County….It is claimed by the descendants of these two brothers [John and Andrew] that the county was named for the surveyor William Montgomery.” 

Nowhere in what Gandy wrote, based on his 1952 interview with J. L. Montgomery, do we find any mention of a trading post established by William Montgomery or his sons.  In 1952, J. L. Montgomery believed the county was named after the surveyor, William Montgomery.

In 1975, with the publication of Robin Montgomery’s book, “The History of Montgomery County,” suddenly and for the first time ever, we find the Andrew Montgomery trading post.  The Andrew Montgomery trading post is presented with pages and pages of accompanying details and historical anecdotes surrounding it.  For the first time in any history, we find a trading post established by Andrew Montgomery in 1823 at the intersection of the roads called the Loma del Toro and the Lower Coushatti Trace.

In the Addendum to Robin Montgomery’s book titled  “How Montgomery County Received Its Name” on page 285 of “The History of Montgomery County,” Montgomery writes, “This book has shown that the reason the town and county came to be named for Andrew Montgomery lies in the events surrounding his trading post.”  Montgomery goes on to write, “Andrew immediately set about encouraging settlers to venture down these roads [the Loma del Toro and the Lower Coushatti Trace] to become his neighbors and clientele. In this manner Andrew’s Trading Post became the major pivot point around which the settlement of the later Montgomery County region revolved. Andrew’s last name became a unifying element among the gradually expanding circle of settlement.”

And yet, before 1975, no one had ever written anything about it.  In the 152 years between the date the Andrew Montgomery trading post was supposedly founded and the publication of Robin Montgomery’s book, no one had ever written anything about it.  Though it was “the major pivot point around which the settlement” grew, Gandy makes no mention of it in his thesis following his interview with J. L. Montgomery in 1952.

On page vii in the Preface of his book “The History of Montgomery County,” Robin Montgomery wrote that, “The impetus for this book was provided by the author’s grandfather, John Lee Montgomery, who whetted the appetite of his family for a deeper knowledge of Montgomery County history.”  I can only assume that the J.L. Montgomery of the 1952 interview with William Harley Gandy was the same John Lee Montgomery mentioned by Robin Montgomery in his Preface.

J. L. Montgomery was obviously concerned with making sure that the role of William Montgomery and his family in the history of Montgomery County would be preserved.  Yet, he apparently mentioned nothing to William Harley Gandy about a Montgomery Trading Post much less an Andrew Montgomery Trading Post at the intersection of the Loma del Toro and the Lower Coushatti Trace that was “the very pivot point around which the settlement of the later Montgomery county region revolved.”  As crucial as the Andrew Montgomery trading post was supposed to have been to the development of Montgomery County, not one single document has ever been located to prove it ever existed.

 

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 to TexasHistoryPage.com.

 

This article originally appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County News.

 

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