Texas History Page

 

History of the Indian Trading Post

and

The Founding of the Town of Montgomery

in July, 1837

(From: The Early History of Montgomery County, Texas)

by: Kameron Searle 

 Texas Style Dogtrot House

Artistic Rendering of How W. W. Shepperd's Store/Indian Trading Post May Have Appeared in 1835

Courtesy of Marisa Searle

 

   "There were at that time a few of the descendants of the original settlers of this county who came with their parents to this section as colonists, but were altogether ignorant of the organization of the old 'principality' of Montgomery...W. W. Shepperd was the first to have a store at the old town of Montgomery under the hill...I am enclosing to you for your inspection the original draft of the flag of the Republic of Texas.  The work was without question the work of my father..."

Edmund B. Stewart (Son of Charles Bellinger Stewart)

July 7, 1922 Letter to Mrs. J. W. Brosig1

 

The Indian Trading Post that Became the Town of Montgomery, Texas

  This is the history of the Indian trading post founded in the Lake Creek Settlement that preceded the town of Montgomery, Texas.  This article also includes many details regarding the origin of the so-called "old town of Montgomery under the hill" and the so called "new town" of Montgomery on top of the hill. 

 

First Settlers Received Mexican Land Grants - 1831 

   The first settlers, in what would later become western Montgomery County, received their Mexican land grants in 1831.  The settlers who received land grants in this area included Archibald Hodge (April 3, 1831), Mary Corner (April 7, 1831), John Pevehouse (April 7, 1831), James Hodge (April 8, 1831), Owen Shannon (April 8, 1831), William C. Clark (April 10, 1831), William Landrum (April 10, 1831), Zachariah Landrum (April 10, 1831), William M. Rankin (April 10, 1831), Noah Griffith (April 11, 1831), Benjamin Rigby (April 14, 1831), William Atkins (April 18, 1831), Jacob Shannon (April 30, 1831), Raleigh Rogers (May 6, 1831), John Corner (May 10, 1831), Anna White (May 12, 1831), Thomas Corner (May 28, 1831), and John Cronkrite (June 21, 1831). 

   These settlers received their Leagues of land from Empresario Stephen F. Austin.  These Mexican land grants were located in Austin’s Second Colony.

 

John Corner's Mexican Land Grant - May 10, 1831

First Page of John Corner's Mexican Land Grant

   See Texas General Land Office, County: Montgomery, Abstract Number 8, District/Class: Title, File Number: SC 000011:1, Original Grantee: John Corner, Title Date: 10 May 1831, Patent Number: 1358,  Patent Vol: 5, Acres: 4428.4.

Texas State Library and Archives - English Field Notes 6-423 

1831 Plat Drawn by Surveyor Elias R. Wightmanof John Corner League 

   On May 10, 1831, John Corner received title to a League of land from Empresario Stephen F. Austin.  The John Corner League is very important to our study.  The trading post will be established on the John Corner League in 1835 and the Town of Montgomery will be founded on the John Corner League in July of 1837.

 

William C. Clark Purchased 600 Acres from John Corner - January 1, 1831

John Corner to William C. Clark

Image by Kameron Searle

   On January 1, 1831, William C. Clark purchased six hundred acres of land in the John Corner League from John Corner.  Below is a copy of the deed from John Corner to William C. Clark as later recorded in the Montgomery County Clerk's Office.  

Deed John Corner to William C. Clark, Montgomery County Deed Vol. B. p. 317

Deed - John Corner to William C. Clark

[Sic] Estado de Coahuila y Texas [Sic]

"At the Store of William W. Shepperd on the 15th day of September 1835   Before C. B. Stewart and William W. Shepperd of the first instance of the jurisdiction of the same name and before the instrument Witnesses whose names are at the end together with those of my assistance with whom I authenticate appeared the citizen John Corner whom I know and to whose act I give faith who Declares that for himself and the name of his children, heirs, and successors  He sells, and grants, in public and real sale and perpetual alienation by way of successive right forever unto the citizen, William C. Clark, six hundred acres of land out of the League of land granted to him by the State of Coahuila and Texas through the Empresario E Stephen F. Austin and commissioner Miguel Arciniega on the 10th day of May 1831, and which Six hundred acres of land are contained within the following lines and boundaries to wit, commencing at the North West corner of the aforesaid [John Corner] League and running thence South half mile English measure. Thence due East a line parallel with the East and west line of the same League such a distance as will make Six hundred acres or will inclose that amount of land and the upper line of the Tract to commence at the North west corner of the League and run East the distance requisite, and which tract of land  He declares to be his in property and possession and warrants and assures it to be free from all charges or incumberences whatever  that he has not heretofore sold leased or martgaged it and as such he sells it to the said William C. Clark for the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars payment of which he acknowledges to have received full and truly on the 1st day of January, 1831 before any of the improvements now made on the said tract were commenced ..."

   See John Corner to William C. Clark, Montgomery County Clerk, Deed Vol. B. pp. 317-319.  It is very important to notice that this land description begins in the northwest corner of the John Corner League and runs south a half mile.

Click here to see map enlarged.

Image by Kameron K. Searle

   William C. Clark paid John Corner $250.00 on January 1, 1831 for these six hundred acres of the John Corner League before John Corner actually received the title to it.  Given the fact that this purchase pre-dated Corner's receipt of his land grant, it appears that William C. Clark helped to pay John Corner's costs and fees to clear his title out of Stephen F. Austin's land office at San Felipe.

 

John Corner Received Mexican Land Grant - May 10, 1831 

   On May 10, 1831, John Corner finally received his Mexican land grant for one League of land [League No. 27] from Empresario Stephen F. Austin in Austin’s Second Colony.  As shown above, John Corner had already sold six hundred acres of land out of the John Corner League to William C. Clark on January 1, 1831.  See Deed - Government to John Corner, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A, pp. 32-35.  Also see, Deed - John Corner to William C. Clark, Montgomery County Deed Vol. B. pp. 317-319.  See partial transcription of this deed above.

 

Lake Creek Settlement  

   Soon after the first settlers arrived, the lands between the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and the stream called Lake Creek became known as the Lake Creek Settlement.  The area was also commonly referred to as the District of Lake Creek, Precinct of Lake Creek or simply Lake Creek. 

   For an early example of a document using the term Lake Creek Settlement, see 1833 Articles of Agreement, Jacob Shannon to Rutha Miller, Montgomery County Deeds, Vol. N, page 254.  Click here for more information about the Lake Creek Settlement.  The Lake Creek Settlement article currently lists more than 70 different primary documents (with digital scans) proving the existence of the place known as Lake Creek Settlement, Lake Creek District, Precinct of Lake Creek and Lake Creek.

 

W. W. Shepperd Purchased 200 Acres from William C. Clark - September 15, 1835

Click to See Map Enlarged   

Image by Kameron K. Searle

   On September 15, 1835, William W. Shepperd (hereinafter W. W. Shepperd) purchased two hundred acres of land from William C. Clark in the northwestern most corner of the John Corner League.  These were the two hundred western most acres of the six hundred acres that William C. Clark purchased from John Corner on January 1, 1831.  See Deed from William C. Clark to Wm. W. Shepperd, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A, pp. 29-32. 

Deed William C. Clark to Wm. W. Shepperd, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A. p. 29

Deed - William C. Clark to W. W. Shepperd - 1835 - 200 acres

William C. Clark

to  

Wm. W. Shepperd

Republic of Texas

County of Montgomery

                 Before me Jesse Grimes, Chief Justice of the County aforesaid, in open Court, on the Twenty Seventh day of February, came William C. Clark, who declares that on the 15th day of September 1835, he made and executed in favor of William W Shepperd, a Title for Two Hundred acres of Land, the same upon which Shepperd now lives...

[Scan of land description]

...within the following bounds, to wit  Beginning at the North west corner of the League of land granted to John Corner running South along the western boundary of said League one half mile English measure ...Thence East fifty chains English measure being two hundred poles...Thence North to the East and West line of the League of Said Corner and thence west upon Said East and West line to the place of beginning including two hundred acres of land more or less...

   It is here in the middle of the Lake Creek Settlement on the two hundred northwestern most acres of the John Corner League that W. W. Shepperd will found the first trading post.  Here, he will trade with the Indians and the early settlers.  Known as “the store of W. W. Shepperd on Lake Creek,” this is the Indian trading post that preceded the town of Montgomery. And it is exactly where the early historians said it was supposed to be – about a half mile north of the town under the hill on the creek that would later be known as Town Creek.  See the numerous deeds and other records executed at “the store of W. W. Shepperd on Lake Creek" at the Lake Creek Settlement link on the TexasHistoryPage.com.    

   Texas founding father C. B. Stewart will marry Julia Shepperd on these two hundred acres of land at “the house of W. W. Shepperd on Lake Creek” on March 11, 1836 while serving as delegate to the Convention at Washington.  See Deed Book A-1, Washington County Clerk, pp. 240-243.

   And, the town of Montogmery will be founded on these two hundred acres in July of 1837.

 

Town of Montgomery Founded - July 8, 1837

"Old Montgomery" or the "Old Town Below the Hill"

Saturday, July 8, 1837, Telegraph and Texas Register Newspaper (Houston, Texas), Vol. 2, No. 25, p. 3

July 8, 1837 - Advertisement for the Town of Montgomery

   On July 8, 1837, names “Montgomery” and the “town of Montgomery” appeared in print for the first time in the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper.  The town of Montgomery was founded in Washington County by W. W. Shepperd in association with J. W. Moody.  J. W. Moody was the First Auditor of the Republic of Texas.  The town is founded on the 200 acres of land W. W. Shepperd purchased from William C. Clark on September 15, 1835.  Shepperd had previously founded his trading post or store here.  Later historians will refer to this town as “the old town under the hill” or “old Montgomery.”

   W. W. Shepperd and his wife Mary Steptoe Shepperd, lived there in a house with their minor children.  There adult children also lived there.  By July 1837, Charles B. Stewart was living there as well.  The blacksmith was named Thomas Adams and he had built a house.  W. W. Shepperd owned a number of slaves.  His wife, Mary Steptoe Shepperd, owned at least eight slaves that she had inherited from her father.  Of course all of these slaves would have lived in houses there as well.

   Following the July 8, 1837 advertisement in the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper, W. W. Shepperd would begin selling lots on these 200 acres.  As an example, Charles Garrett, the son in law of Owen Shannon and Margaret Montgomery Shannon, purchased a lot from Shepperd here in 1837.  See Deed of William W. Shepperd to Charles Garrett, Montgomery County Deed Vol. B, p. 304.

Shepperd Street in Montgomery, Texas 

   W. W. Shepperd and his associate, J. W. Moody, named the town "Montgomery" after Montgomery County, Alabama where J. W. Moody had been the Clerk of the County Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, for many years before coming to Texas. Montgomery County, Alabama was named for Lemuel Montgomery who was killed in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

 

Montgomery County Created - December 14, 1837

   Five months after the Town of Montgomery was founded the Congress of the Republic of Texas creates Montgomery County out of the territory of Washington County.  President Sam Houston signed this act into law on December 14, 1837.  The county is named after the town.

An Act Creating Montgomery County

AN ACT

Creating the county of Montgomery

   Sec. 1.  Be it enacted, by the senate and house of reprsentatives of the republic of Texas in congress assembled, That all that part of the county of Washington, lying east of the Brazos, and southeast of Navisota rivers, shall consitute and form a new county to be known and designated by the name of Montgomery county. 

   The Act creating the County of Montgomery on December 14, 1837 included the following language providing for the appointment of nine commissioners to search for a suitable seat of justice:

   Sec. 3.   Be it further enacted, That James Mitchell, Pleasant Gray, William Robinson, Elijah Collard, Charles Garnett, Joseph L. Bennet, B. B. Goodrich, D. D. Dunham, and Henry Fanthorpe, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners, with power and authority (any five of them concurring) to select a proper place for the seat of justice for said county, and to obtain by purchase upon the faith and credit of the county, or receive by donation such quantity of land as will be sufficient for the erection of public buildings, and for defraying such other necessary expenses of said county as said commissioners may deem expedient and that the land so purchased or donated shall be under the superintendance and control of the board of commissioners of said county.

   See Laws of the Republic of Texas, In Two Volumes, Printed by Order of the Secretary of State, Volume II, Houston, Printed at the Office of The Telegraph, 1838, p. 33.

   Though no document has been discovered to show when these nine commissioners actually selected the town of Montgomery to be the seat of justice, it is obvious that they did so quickly.

 

The "Old Town" of Montgomery Was First County Seat

   A number of deed records and court records prove that the "old town" of Montgomery "under the hill" was the first seat of justice or county seat of Montgomery County.  This was the original town of Montgomery founded by W. W. Shepperd in July of 1837 on the 200 acres of land that Shepperd purchased from William C. Clark on September 15, 1835. 

Montgomery County Seat - February 26, 1838 

Montgomery County Clerk, Deed Book A, p. 15

From  Mary Corner to Julia T. Stewart, Montgomery County Deed Book A, pp. 11-15

Republic of Texas

County of Montgomery

   Before me Jesse Grimes Chief Justice of the County aforesaid on the 26th day of February 1838, personally appeared Martin P. Clark and Gwynn Morrison witnesses to the within Title from Mary Coner to Julia T. Stewart who each and Severally Swear that they Saw Mary  Corner and Julia T. Stewart and Charles B. Stewart Sign and Seal the within Title as aforesaid, on the date therein mentioned and enumerated, and that they thereunto set their names as witnesses.  Given under my hand in the Town of Montgomery on the above date,

Jesse Grimes Chief Justice

County Court

Montgomery County

Filed of Record 26th Feby 1838

Recorded 28th Feby 1838

Gwynn Morrison

Clerk & Recorder

   This deed and other primary records prove that the county seat of Montgomery County was already located in the Town of Montgomery (the so-called "old town of Montgomery under the hill") by February 26, 1838.

 

Vol. A, p. 20

From Government to Mary Corner, Montgomery County Deed Book A, pp. 16-20

Town of Montgomery - February 26, 1838

 

Sworn to and Subscibed to before me in the Town of Montgomery this 26th February 1838.  And I affix my private seal there being no county seal yet esablished

Jesse Grimes

Chf Justice County Cour

Montgomery County

   Montgomery County Chief Justice, Jesse Grimes, and Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder, Gwynn Morrison, were conducting business in the "old town" of Montgomery as early as January 31, 1838.  As an example, see John M. Springer to Jeremiah Worsham, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A, pp. 3 and 4.  This deed was recorded on January 31, 1838 - a full month before the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting.  

Deed Book. A, p. 38-39

From William C. Clark to John Corner, Montgomery County Deed Book A, pp. 36-39

   Before me Jesse Grimes, Chief Justice and Ex Officio Notary Public in and for the County of Montgomery, Republic of Texas, In open Court, on the 28th day of February 1838, personally came William C. Clark, and said that he did on the 15th day of September, 1835, make and execute the foregoing Deed for seven hundred acres of land to John Corner, with the intention of going before the Primary Judge of Washington county to acknowledge the ame, and having failed to do so, before the Primary Judges or their offices were abolished, He now comes before me to ratify, confirm and legalize and render binding in law and equity, upon him, his heirs, suceesors, executors and assigns, the foregoing Title Deed to the Said Coarner, and in evidnece thereof is Signing his name , this 28th day of February 1838, in the Town of Montgomery.

William C. Clark

   Given under my hand in open Court on the day above written, wherefore I order the Same to be recorded and Conformably to Law,

Jesse Grimes Chief Justice

Montgomery County

 Republic of Texas   

Montgomery County             Probate Court

28 February 1838

   Then was the foregoing Deed filed in the Clerks & Recorders office for Record, and I certify that I have duly recorded the Same in Book A on pages 36, 37, 38 & 39.

Gwynn Morrison

Clerk & Recorder

   Chief Justice Jesse Grimes was very clear in this document as to his exact location and his acitivies on behalf of Montgomery County.  He was acting in his "...official capacity as Chief Justice and Ex Officio Notary Public in and for the County of Montgomery, Republic of Texas, In open Court, on the 28th day of February 1838... in the Town of Montgomery."  Court was being held in the town of Montgomery on February 28, 1838.

   W. W. Shepperd had only purchased the 212 acre Tract No. 4 from John Coner on February 26, 1838 and he would not donate a one half undivided interest in Tract No. 4 to Montgomery County until the next day on March 1, 1838.  The County Commissioners Court would not move the place of the town until March 1, 1838, so Jesse Grimes was conducting county business in the old town of Montgomery under the hill on February 28, 1838.

   W. W. Shepperd did not have to give the county the half undivided interest in the town of Montgomery to the county to induce the Commissioners to locate the county seat in the Town of Montgomery.  The county seat was already in the the old town of Montgomery under the hill before the first Montgomery County Commissioners' Court meeting on March 1, 1838.

   As I locate deeds and other county records that have earlier dates, I will include them here to try and pinpoint the earliest date Montgomery County began to conduct business.  I believe I have seen a document dated in December just days after the county was created on December 14, 1837.

 

W. W. Shepperd Purchased 200 Acres from John Corner - February 26, 1838

   On February 26, 1838, just three days before the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on March 1, 1838, W. W. Shepperd purchases four tracts of land containing 2,426 acres from John Corner on the John Corner League.   One of these tracts was Tract No. 4 which contained 212 acres of land.  These 212 acres of land are located immediately south of the two hundred acres Shepperd had purchased from William C. Clark on September 15, 1835.  

Deed John Corner to Wm. W. Shepperd, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A. p. 21

John Corner to W. W. Shepperd - February 26, 1838

John Corner                          Republic of Texas

To                                      County of Montgomery

Wm. W. Shepperd

This Indenture made and concluded this 26th day of February 1838- between John Corner of the County aforesaid of the first part, and William W. Shepperd of the same county of the second part...

Deed John Corner to Wm. W. Shepperd, Montgomery County Deed Vol. A. p. 24

 

Tract No. Four - John Corner to Wm. W. Shepperd - 1838

   "Tract No. Four commences upon the divisional line between this [John Corner] league and the league granted to Benjamin Rigby at a stake in the Prairie which is also the South west corner of the two hundred acre tract sold by William C. Clark out of his 600 acre tract herein mentioned to William W. Shepperd  from which Stake a post oak 20 in diam marked C. G. and above and below a notch bears So. 38 West 3 chains and 2 links distant Eng measure, this Stake is 950 varas from the N. W. corner of this league,

   Thence South upon the west boundary line of this League and divisional line between it and league of Rigby and Landrum Eleven hundred and fifty varas to the North west corner of tract No. 2 to the South west corner of the aforesaid Geline tract which is a Stake from which - - -    Thence North Eleven hundred and fifty varas to South boundary line of the before mentioned 200 acre tract sold by Clark to Shepperd to a Stake from which - - -

   Thence West along said South boundary line Ten hundred and fifty six varas to the place of beginning containing two hundred and twelve acres, more or less”

   See John Corner to Wm. W. Shepperd, Montgomery County Deed, Volume A, pp. 21-28. 

   The tract described as Tract No. 4 in this deed is important.  On March 1, 1838, W. W. Shepperd will donate an equal half undivided interest in 200 of these 212 acres of land to Montgomery County. Tract No. 4 will later be known in future deeds and documents as the “Town Tract” or the “Montgomery Town Tract.” 

 

W. W. Shepperd Makes Donation to Montgomery County - March 1, 1838

"New Town" of Montgomery

   At the first meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on March 1, 1838, W. W. Shepperd, through his agent, C. B. Stewart, donated an equal half undivided interest in the Town of Montgomery (200 acres) and sixty acres of pine land adjoining the town to the county.  "[I]t being put to question whether said donation should be accepted it was unanimously received - and the question being also whether the place of the Town presented by C. B. Stewart as agent for W. W. Shepperd should be received the same was also unanimously received and adopted.” Below are the original minutes of the first Montgomery county Commissioners Court meeting and the deed record of Shepperd's Donation to Montgomery County.

Minutes of First Montgomery County Commissioners Court Meeting

March 1, 1838

Page 1

Montgomery Commissioners Court - March 1, 1838

Republic of Texas

County of Montgomery

       At a Commissioners Court held for the County of Montgomery at the place appointed by law for holding the same, Being present Jesse Grimes president of the board of Commissioners, Martin P. Clark, George Galbraith, William Robert, and Hilloy M. Crabb commissioners of the Said County, on the first day of March 1838 - when they proceeded to ballot for two associate Justices of the County Court on the first there being a tie and no election it was agreed to defer the election until the last Wednesday of April next - - - -

       The president placed before the board the written act of donation of W. W. Shepperd to the County of Montgomery of an equal half undivided interest in the Town of Montgomery and Sixty acres of pine land adjoining - donated for County purposes and being put to question whether said donation should be accepted it was unanimously received - and the question being also whether the place of the Town presented by C. B. Stewart as agent for W. W. Shepperd should be received the same was also unanimously received and adopted  Zoraster Robinson a duly elected - Justice of the peace for the precinct of Viesca appeared and having taken and the signed the oath required by law, took his seat among the Commissioners

   Below is a copy of W. W. Shepperd's land donation of one equal undivided half interest in the Town of Montgomery to Montgomery County on March 1, 1838.  See Montgomery County Clerk, Deed Vol. E, p. 285

 

Accepted Donation Montgomery From W. W. Shepperd     

W. W. Shepperd Land Donation to Montgomery County - Town of Montgomery

Accepted Donation Montgomery From W. W. Shepperd

Republic of Texas

County of Montgomery

      At a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners for the county of Montgomery holden on the 1st March 1838.  The Donation of of W. W. Shepperd of one equal undivided half interest in the Town of Montgomery to the county was taken into consideration together with the within plot of the Town, when it was ordered that the said Donation be accepted and that the within plan or plot of the Town be also received, together with its reservations on the part of W. W. Shepperd of thirteen Town lots marked to himself and former purchasers, and that the thirteen said lots to counterbalance the said reservations marked "county" be also received and that the within plan be received and made record of by the clerk of the county in order that the same be made the only and original plot whereby the identity of property be maintained to past and future purchasers, and also ordered that all future plots, plans and surveys of said Town be made conformably to and agreeing with the within plan and ordered that the boundary of said Town be received "to wit" To commence at the south west corner of Bennett's square, Thence South eleven hundred yards, Thence East half a mile or 880 yards, Thence North Eleven hundred yards, Thence West 880 yards or half a mile to the place of commencement.

      Given under our hands in the Town of Montgomery, this 1st day of March 1838.

Jesse Grimes

Zoraster Robinson

Geo. Galbraith

H. M. Crabb

M. P. Clark

Wm. Robinson

Wm. Robert

The plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners the 1st March 1838,

Attest     Gwynn Morrison      Clk. & Recorder

 

   The site selected by the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on March 1, 1838 as the location of the county seat is the same land purchased by W. W. Shepperd from John Corner three days before on February 26, 1838.  Later, historians will describe this as “the new" town of Montgomery to differentiate it from the "old town" of Montgomery under the hill.

Click to Enlarge

Image by Kameron Searle

   It is important to note that the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting was actually held in the "old town" of Montgomery.  The original courthouse was a house that belonged to W. W. Shepperd which was located in the "old town" of Montgomery.  It would also appear the original county courthouse remained in the "old town" of Montogmery for a period of time until it was moved up to the "new town" of Montgomery.   

 

Edmund B. Stewart Letter to Mrs. J. W. Brosig - July 7, 1922  

   On July 7, 1922, Edmund B. Stewart of Montgomery, Texas, wrote a letter to Mrs. J. W. Brosig of Navasota, Texas.  Historians in the town of Montgomery and in Montgomery County have cited this letter for decades to prove the provenance (history of ownership) and authenticity of Charles Bellinger Stewart’s original drawing of the Lone Star flag of Texas.  Edmund B. Stewart was the son of Charles B. Stewart and his second wife, Elizabeth Antoinette Boyd. 

   This letter originally appeared in an article, “Original Flag of Texas Shown Here Tomorrow,” in the August 11, 1922, Daily Examiner newspaper in Navasota, Texas.  This July 7, 1922 letter was the letter in which Edmund B. Stewart transferred the original drawing of the Lone Star flag drawn by Charles B. Stewart to Mrs. Brosig to display in her hardware store in Navasota.

   Edmund B. Stewart wrote,

"There were at that time a few of the descendants of the original settlers of this county who came with their parents to this section as colonists, but were altogether ignorant of the organization of the old 'principality' of Montgomery.  My father came to Texas in 1829 and joined Austin's colony at San Felipe.  Came to Montgomery and settled near the town in 1837.  W. W. Shepperd was the first to have a store at the old town of Montgomery under the hill.  It was later moved to its present situation.  My father, through his father-in-law, W. W. Shepperd, donated 100 acres of land for the purpose of building a court house and jail (log house)...I am enclosing to you for your inspection the original draft of the flag of the Republic of Texas.  The work was without question the work of my father..." 

   See the Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart Family Papers, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, [Texas Room, Julia Ideson Building, Houston Public Library, Houston, Texas.

   The Anna Landrum Davis history essay, Old Montgomery, was written in 1925.  The Edmund B. Stewart letter to Mrs. J. W. Brosig pre-dates the Anna Landrum Davis history paper by three years making his letter the earliest account.  It is the family history of a member of the C. B. Stewart household. There were only three men that had an active role in the founding of the trading post and the town of Montgomery: W. W. Shepperd, J. W. Moody and C. B. Stewart. C. B. Stewart had been married to his first wife, Julia Shepperd on the land that became the origianl site of the town of Montgomery under the hill.  Stewart had owned land in the original town of Montgomery under the hill.  Julia Shepperd, Stewart's first wife, was the daughter of William W. Shepperd who Founded the original town of Montgomery under the hill.  C. B. Stewart helped locate the site of the town of Montgomery at the new site on the hill on March 1, 1838.  Edmund B. Stewart grew up listening to his father, C. B. Stewart who was an eye-witness to the events surrounding the founding of the town of Montgomery. 

   Though this family history is a secondary source, it is reliable in that it is the family history of a member of the household of one of those intimate with the actual details of the earlier trading post and the founding of the town.  C. B. Stewart was married on the two hundred acres where the trading post was located. Stewart was the son-in-law of W. W. Shepperd.  C. B. Stewart's dry goods were sold at the store of W. W. Shepperd on Lake Creek.  Stewart and his wife Julia Shepperd owned land and lived in the “old town” of Montgomery.  C. B. Stewart acted as W. W. Shepperd's agent at the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on March 1, 1838 when the "new town" of Montogmery was selected as the county seat.

   Edmund B. Stewart's letter is also well corroborated by a large number of primary historical documents. 

   Edmund B. Stewart was born June 26, 1852.  E. B. Stewart was the son of Charles Bellinger Stewart and his second wife, Elizabeth Antoinette Boyd.  When his father died in 1885, E. B. Stewart was 33.  E. B. Stewart would also be the executor of his father's estate. 

The Willis Index

January 29, 1886 - Probate Notice

1886 Probate Notice - Estate of Charles Bellinger Stewart

Probate Notice

THE STATE OF TEXAS,

To the Sheriff or any Constable of Montgomery county - GREETING:

You are hereby commanded to be caused to be published in The Willis Index, a newspaper published in said Montgomery county, for twenty days prior to the 15th day of February 1886, the following notice:

THE STATE OF TEXAS,

To all persons interested in the estate of C. B. Stewart, deceased:

E. B. Stewart and Thos. S. Griffin, executors of the said estate have filed in the County Court of Montgomery county their first and last report and exhibit and prayer for partition in the estate of C. B. Stewart, dec'd, which will be heard and acted upon on 3rd Monday and 15th day of February, A. [D. 1886 t]he same being the next regular ter[m] [sic] Honorable County Probate Court [sic] [s]aid Montgomery county, Texas ..."

 

   See The Willis Index, Friday, January 29, 1886, Vol. III - No. 3, p. 2, "Mary Davis Collection", Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History.  

   At the time E. B. Stewart wrote his letter to Mrs. J. W. Brosig, he was 70 years old.

   E. B. Stewart died on March 31, 1925.  Later that year, Anna Landrum Davis will enter her essay Old Montgomery and the Montgomery Trading Post myth will begin.  For birth and death dates, see Early Settlers of Montgomery County, Montgomery Genealogical and Historical Society, Conroe, 1991, p. 66, "Application of Virginia Stewart (Lindley) Ford" pp. 52-67.

 

Map Showing the Northwest Corner of the John Corner League

Northwestern - Most Corner of the John Corner League and Town Creek

On the map above, Town Creek is north of the present town of Montgomery. Town Creek is on the John Corner League, not the Owen Shannon League.  William C. Clark purchased these 200 northwestern-most acres from John Corner in 1831 (as part of the 600 acre purchase).  W. W. Shepperd purchased these 200 acres from William C. Clark on September 15, 1835.  Shepperd would establish the Indian trading post/store on these 200 acres.  In July of 1837, Shepperd would found the "old town" of Montgomery on these 200 acres in the northwestern-most corner of the John Corner League.

   Where many Montgomery County historians seem to have made their mistake is in assuming that the two hundred acres of land the present town of Montgomery was founded on was the northwestern most corner of the John Corner League.  Under this assumption, the land north of town would be the Owen Shannon League.  But, as we have seen, this is not the case.  The two hundred acres due north of the “Montgomery Town Tract” are on the John Corner League.

   It is extremely important to note here that Town Creek is located on the John Corner League and not on the Owen Shannon League.  See map above.  It is another detail repeated in almost every version of the Montgomery Trading Post myth that is completely wrong. 

   See Montgomery County map 83 by Hodge Mason Maps, Inc. in the Montgomery County Appraisal District Office in Conroe, Texas.  This map shows the City of Montgomery as well as the boundary lines of the John Corner League and the Owen Shannon League.  Also see map 86 which shows that Town Creek is not on the Owen Shannon League for its entire length.  To obtain you own copies of these maps, contact Hodge Mason Maps,Inc.

 

W. W. Shepperd Sells "Old Town" and "New Town" of Montgomery to James McCown

October 21, 1839

McCown Street in Montgomery, Texas.

[Scan of Deeds and Bonds Coming]

 

Gutav Dresel Buys Whiskey from W. W. Shepperd

   In his journal, Gustav Dresel a German traveler who visited Montgomery County and the town of Montgomery mentions making a purchase from W. W. Shepperd in Montgomery on Christamas Eve in 1839.

   Before Christmas [1839] my corn business recalled me to Montgomery.  By the roads previously described, I arrived at Stoner's, with whom I took quarters again this time...Christmas Eve was simply spent with Stoner...Americans allow all these fine festival days to go by uncelebrated, even New Year's Eve.  This prosaic life did not please me.  I designed a plan to prepare new enjoyments for these backwoods people...Escorted by a fellow conspirator, I galloped the four miles to Montgomery to buy as much whiskey as our saddlebags would hold.  By means of four dollars and good entreaties I succeeded with Mr. Shepeherd, the only one in the region at that time who had a small supply of the most wretched bad spirits in his possession, in purchasing four jugfuls.  Happy in the possession of a means for bringing human company together, we set out on the return journey.

   See page 90, "A Yuletide Excursion," Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal, Adventures in North America and Texas, 1837-1841, Translated by Max Freund, Austin, University of Texas Press,1954.

Conclusion

   W. W. Shepperd founded the Indian trading post or store on the 200 acres of land he purchased from William C. Clark on September 15, 1835.  William C. Clark had purchased these 200 hundred acres as part of his 600 acre purchase from John Corner on January 1, 1831.  W. W. Shepperd founded the trading post in the middle of the Lake Creek Settlement in 1835

   When Shepperd created the town of Montgomery in July of 1837, the town of Montgomery was located on the same 200 acres he bought from William C. Clark on Septemeber 15, 1835.  This will be referred to by later historians as the "old town", "old Montgomery'', "the old town below the hill" and "the old town under the hill." 

   It is important to note that Montgomery County officials such as Chief Justice, Jesse Grimes, and Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder, Gwyn Morrison, had already been conducting county business in the "old town" of Montgomery located on the 200 acres that Shepperd had purchased from Clark in 1835. They had been doing so for several days before the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting.

  Note: No one named Jacob Shannon, Owen Shannon, Margaret Montgomery Shannon, William Montgomery or Andrew Montgomery had anything to do with the founding of the trading post, the "old town of Montgomery" or the “new town of Montgomery.”  W. W. Shepperd founded the trading post (1835), the "old town" of Montgomery (1837) and the "new town" of Montogmery (1838).

Where Many of the Historians Made Their Mistake

Northwestern - Most Corner of the John Corner League and Town Creek

   As we surveyed the primary documents, we saw where many previous historians made a huge mistake.  They assumed the 200 acres of land that the "new town" of Montgomery was founded on March 1, 1838 was in the northwestern-most corner of the John Corner League.  That would make the lands "below the hill" part of the Owen Shannon League.  This is not true. 

   The Indian trading post and the "old town" of Montgomery were founded on the two hundred acres of land on the John Corner League due north of the present town of Montgomery.  These two hundred acres were the two hundred northwestern-most acres of the John Corner League. 

   It is also important to remember that Town Creek, which is almost always reported as the location of the Indian trading post by other historians, is in fact located on the John Corner League not the Owen Shannon League.

 



1. Letter from Edmund B. Stewart to Mrs. J. W. Brosig, Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart Family Papers, MSS 150, Box 1, Folder 2, Texas Room, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library, Houston, Texas.

 


Photograph of dogtrot house at the top of this page was taken by and made to look like a painting by Marisa A. Searle.  All rights reserved.  The actual dogtrot house that was photographed is located in San Felipe, Texas.  A dogtrot house usually consisted of two log cabins separated by a dogtrot or breezeway under a single roof.