Montgomery Trading Post

Historical Marker

By Kameron Searle

(From the Appendix of the Early History of Montgomery County)

_______

Just as a mirage contains no water, the Montgomery Trading Post stories

 contain no historical evidence of a Montgomery Trading Post.

Kameron K. Searle

   Test In 1991, the Montgomery Intermediate School History Club in Montgomery, Texas, under the guidance of Bessie Price Owen, filed an application for an official Texas State Historical Marker for the so-called "Montgomery Trading Post."  In 1993, this application was rejected!  This page is about the history of the Montgomery Trading Post marker application and its rejection. 

Montgomery Trading Post Marker

   Included here will be documents and correspondence from the "Montgomery Trading Post" marker application file received the author from Sarah McClesky with the Texas Historical Commission on June 8, 2009. Special thanks to Sarah McClesky for locating this file regarding the rejected marker application after so many years.

   The history of the rejected Montgomery Trading Post marker application is important.  One of the important lessons to be learned from this file is that outsiders with no emotional attachment to the Montgomery Trading Post story realize immediately that the various Montgomery Trading Post accounts do not agree, have serious documentation problems, and "appear to be based on family legends." 

   The file is also important in that it tells us precisely which local historians knew about the existence of the Lake Creek Settlement between the years 1991-1993. As the file is examined, we will see the many reasons why the Texas Historical Commission rejected this application.  Many of the reasons for rejection of the marker stated by the Texas Historical Commission are also the same reasons stated by this author throughout the article "Evolution of the Montgomery Trading Post Myth."

 

Original 1991 Application Form Requesting an Official Texas Historical Marker

for "Montgomery Trading Post" from the Texas Historical Commission

1991 Application for Montgomery Trading Post Marker

Title of Marker: Montgomery Trading Post                

County: Montgomery

Marker Location: Highway 149 at Town Creek Montgomery (1mi. north of intersection of Hwy 149 and Hwy. 105)

Distance and direction of subject marker from marker site: approx. 300yds east of marker

Owner of Marker Site: Supervisor Resident Engineer Texas Highway Dept. Carl W. Ramert

Address: P.O. Box 1320 Conroe, Texas

Sponsor: Montgomery Intermediate School History Club

Address: P.O. Box 1475, Montgomery, Texas 77356

Signature of County Chairman: Gertie Spencer

Address 151 Texas Park Conroe, Texas

Date 4-4-91

   This application was dated April 4, 1991. The THC file stamp indicates that this application was received by the Texas Historical Commission on April 9, 1991.

 

September 20, 1991 THC Letter to Bessie Price Owen

Requesting Additional Information about the "Montgomery Trading Post"

[First Page]

September 20, 1991 THC Letter

   After reviewing the original narrative submitted by Bessie Price Owen with her application for the marker, the THC staff, which had no emotional attachment to the Montgomery Trading Post story, could instantly see the problems with the Montgomery Trading Post.  THC placed the application on hold.

  • "There seem to be different accounts of the Montgomery Trading Post from different sources."
  • "Both accounts appear to be based on family legend."
  • "Without clear documentation to support one or the other account, we may not be able to state categorically in a marker who did actually establish the trading post."
  • While the narrative gives a great deal of information on the Shannon and Montgomery families, very little is given on the trading post itself.

Second Page]

September 20, 1991 Letter, Page 2

  • Answers to the questions raised above should be submitted as an addendum to the original narrative, and should be documented with footnotes and bibliographic references.

   Between 1991 and 1993, Bessie Price Owen would respond to this and other letters from the Texas Historical Commission with at least two more addenda or narratives in support of the Montgomery Trading Post marker application.  In writing these narratives, Owen would enlist the assistances of William Harley Gandy and Harry G. Daves, Jr.  It is clear from the supplemental narratives that Bessie Price Owen, William Harley Gandy and Harry G. Daves, Jr. had knowledge of the existence of the settlement in Austin's Colony known as the Lake Creek Settlement by 1992. 

   William Harley Gandy had written a masters thesis in 1952 titled, A History of Montgomery County, Texas.  Gandy had made no mention of the Lake Creek Settlement in his 1952 thesis.  By 1992, both Gandy and Daves were aware of the existence of the Lake Creek Settlement.

   In late 2001, Harry G. Daves, Jr., a descendant of Owen Shannon and Margaret Montgomery Shannon, published an article which included Daves' research regarding the Lake Creek Settlement.  See the publication of the Montgomery County Genealogical & Historical Society, The Herald, Volume 24, Issue Number 4, Winter 2001, "Owen Shannon’s Grave," pp.161-169: 

"For some reason our Shannon and Montgomery family have tried to contend that the home site of Owen and Margaret Shannon was located within the settlement called Montgomery, which is also false. The settlement was known as the Lake Creek Settlement..."

   As the Lake Creek Settlement could actually be documented with primary historical sources and the Montgomery Trading Post could not, the THC would eventually reject the marker for the Montgomery Trading Post and suggest that Bessie Price Owen make a new application for a marker regarding the history of the Lake Creek Settlement.

   Since 1993, the quantity of primary source material proving the existence and historical significance of the Lake Creek Settlement has grown substantially.  Click here for the latest research about the Lake Creek Settlement.

  

1993 Letter from Texas Historical Commission Rejecting 

THC Marker for the "Montgomery Trading Post"

1993 Letter Rejecting Montgomery Trading Post Marker

June 24, 1993

Re: Montgomery Trading Post

Montgomery County, Job #26491

Dear Mrs. Owen:

The State Marker Review Board has completed its evaluation of the above-referenced historical marker application. I am sorry to inform you that the Board has voted not to approve this application for a marker.  In making their decision, the Board members took into consideration the relative lack of concrete information on the Montgomery and Shannon trading posts and their locations, as well as the lack of documented historical significance. One member suggested that he might be willing to consider a new application with a wider focus on the history of the entire Lake Creek Settlement...

Cynthia J. Beeman, Administrator

Official Texas Historical Markers

Local History Programs

   The State Marker Review Board correctly rejected the marker for the Montgomery Trading Post due to "the relative lack of concrete information about the Montgomery and Shannon trading posts and their locations, as well as the lack of documented historical significance."  There simply was no evidence to support the existence of a trading post called the "Montgomery Trading Post" owned by anyone named Montgomery or Shannon.  The Montgomery Trading Post is in fact a myth.  Click here to see detailed information as to how the Montgomery Trading Post Myth got started and evolved over time.

   Recent evidence proves that the trading post or store that, in fact, preceded the town of Montgomery, Texas was actually a store owned by a man named W. W. Shepperd for which there is a considerable amount of concrete information and documented historical significance. The actual trading post was known as "the store of W. W. Shepperd on Lake Creek."  W. W. Shepperd would found the town of Montgomery, Texas in 1837. For more information about the store that preceded the founding of the town of Montgomery, Texas, see the article, "History of the Indian Trading Post." 

 

In 1993 Rejection of Montgomery Trading Post Marker

 Al Davis Suggested Marker for Lake Creek Settlement

Rejection of Montgomery Trading Post Marker

"I had difficulty (after reading all the material) finding much of substance related to the actual trading post.  Perhaps it is too obscure to provide more information.  I would support a final effort to suggest focusing on the Lake Creek Settlement or one of the founding members."

   In his rejection, one of the State Marker Review Board members, Al Davis, indicated he "would support a final effort to suggest focusing on the Lake Creek Settlement or one of the founding members."  Probably due to her age (80 in 1993), Bessie Price Owen did not make a new application with the Texas Historical Commission for a marker for the Lake Creek Settlement.  Click here to see the most recent research and up-to-date information about the Lake Creek Settlement in Texas.