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William Watters Shepperd – The Founder

  

Here is the real history of the founding of the Indian trading post and the Town of Montgomery.  Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you different again. Make them prove it!  My detailed evidence and scans of the actual documents can be seen at the TexasHistoryPage.Com.

The earliest settlers of the area around present day Montgomery received their Mexican land grants in 1831.  Shortly after the first settlers came in 1831, the area between the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and the stream known as Lake Creek became known as the Lake Creek Settlement.

John Corner sold William C. Clark 200 acres in the northwestern-most corner of the John Corner League on January 1, 1831.  On September 15, 1835, William C. Clark sold these two hundred acres of land to William W. Shepperd. 

Shepperd built a trading post or store there in 1835.  The location of the store was about a half mile north of the present town below the hill on the creek that later became known as Town Creek.  It is extremely important to note that the creek that later became known as Town Creek ran through the 200 acres William C. Clark sold to W. W. Shepperd on the John Corner League.  It is just as important to note that Town Creek does not run through the Owen Shannon League.

Local Indians tribes would have had to deal with Shepperd, as his was the only store in the Lake Creek Settlement. Prior to W. W. Shepperd’s store, records prove that the early settlers had been taking their trade to San Felipe de Austin and Washington (later Washington-on-the-Brazos). 

On May 17, 1837, W. W. Shepperd became the first postmaster, and his store became the first post office in the Lake Creek Settlement.  This was about a month and a half before the town of Montgomery was founded and about seven months before the county was created.  Shepperd would be the postmaster of Montgomery, Texas until 1840.  In April of 1840, his son-in-law, C. B Stewart, would succeed him as postmaster.

W. W. Shepperd founded the town of Montgomery in July of 1837 in partnership with Major John Wyatt Moody.  This town was located on the 200 acres Shepperd had purchased from William C. Clark in 1835.   Later historians would call this town “the old town of Montgomery” or “the town below the hill.” 

Shepperd’s partner, J. W. Moody, was the First Auditor of the Republic of Texas and a very influential man in the Capital down in Houston.   Moody had been the County Clerk of Montgomery County, Alabama for many years before coming to Texas.  The primary historical evidence strongly suggests that the town of Montgomery, Texas was named for Montgomery, Alabama and/or Montgomery County, Alabama. 

Montgomery County was created December 14, 1837.  Montgomery County was named for the old town of Montgomery below the hill.  The old town of Montgomery below the hill was the first county seat of Montgomery County.  Court was held there and documents were filed and recorded there as early as January and February of 1838.

On February 26, 1838 W. W. Shepperd purchased 212 acres of land from John Corner due south of the 200 acres he had purchased from William C. Clark in 1835. On March 1, 1838, Shepperd through his agent, C. B. Stewart, donated an equal half undivided interest in 200 of these 212 acres of land to the County at the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting. The Commissioners Court then selected this new location as the county seat of Montgomery County. This location would later become known among early historians as the “new town of Montgomery” or “the town on the hill.”

W. W. Shepperd even provided the first courthouse of Montgomery County.  The first courthouse was a house belonging to Shepperd. The county originally agreed to purchase the house but later just paid rent for it.  This building was located below the hill in the “old town” of Montgomery from 1838 until it was moved to the “new town” on top of the hill in 1841.

W. W. Shepperd founded the Indian trading post, the “old town” of Montgomery and the “new town” of Montgomery.  He was the first postmaster in the Lake Creek Settlement and the town of Montgomery and his store was the first post office in the Lake Creek Settlement and the town of Montgomery. And W. W. Shepperd’s house was the first courthouse of Montgomery County. 

The five earliest historians, especially Gandy, all mention Shepperd’s important role in the early history of the town and the county. It is very important to note that in Robin Montgomery’s 1975 book, The History of Montgomery County, all of these important details of William W. Shepperd’s substantial role in the early history of Montgomery County were omitted.  Everyone should be asking the same question. Why?

I have decided to focus my attention directly on my book regarding the early history of Montgomery County and other obligations.  As such, I have decided that this will be my last article in the Montgomery County News for a while.  Thanks for reading!

 

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 nine 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 June 3, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County News.

 

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