Letter to the Editor - Part 1
Kameron Searle's Response to Robin Montgomery's Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Edition
Montgomery County News
On May 20, 2009, Robin Montgomery wrote a letter to the editor concerning my research and
my newspaper articles.
First let me say that Robin
Montgomery is a friend of mine. We became great friends following his presentation to the Montgomery Historical Society
regarding my historical research in 2008. He is one of the few people in the world with whom I can discuss the minutiae
of Montgomery County history. We have talked for hours and hours at a time about the history of Montgomery County.
I feel Robin also deserves a great deal of credit for having published the first history
of Montgomery County in book form. This is an accomplishmnet that no one can take away from him. It needed to be done, and
Robin was brave enough to go out on a limb and be the first. As such, he opened himself up for much greater critical peer
review of his work than previous Montgomery County historians.
Do not be fooled by the tone of his letter to the editor. There is really no antagonism nor
animosity between us. However it is a huge understatement to say that we both feel very strongly about our positions
regarding the Indian trading post that preceded the town of Montgomery as well as the origin of the name of the town and
We are two political scientists who both know the value of rhetoric in trying to influence
others. I am trying to influence you to my views, and he is trying to influence you to his views, nothing more and
nothing less. So when the language seems tough between us, understand that we are merely trying to persuade you to our
point of view.
I am extremely honored to have recently written an article with Robin Montgomery ["New Interpretations
of Montgomery County History: The Surprising Impact of Lake Creek Settlement," History of Montgomery
County, Texas - Volume II (Otter Bay Books: Baltimore, 2012)]. I may be wrong,
but I do not believe he has ever co-authored an article on the history of Montgomery County with anyone else before. I was very
honored to do so. Does this mean I agree with everything Robin has ever written? Absolutely not! Does this mean Robin agrees
with everything I have ever written? Absolutely not!
Robin's challenges to my research have been very productive, as he has forced me to work even harder and dig
even deeper into the primary documentation that I have gathered over the years. Because of this, several new and important
discoveries regarding the early history of Montgomery County have been made.
For example, at one point while writing our article, Robin mentioned a partial quote in William Harley
Gandy's thesis regarding a petition having something to do with the creation of Montgomery County. At his prompting, I was able to
discover the location of the two original petitions that led to the creation of Montgomery County and one petition strongly
opposing it. An article about this important discovery will be included in the new Montgomery County Family History Book being published
by the Montgomery County Genealogical & Historical Society later this year. [The article actually appeared in The Early History of
Montgomery, Texas by Kameron K. Searle (City of Montgomery, Texas: Montgomery, 2012) See below.]
These three petitions had never been located and transcribed before. This information appears in no other
history book currently in print. But for Robin's encouragement, the raw information contained in these petitions would still be hidden in
the Texas State Library and Archives in Austin and in the Star of the Republic Museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos. You'll have to get
your copy of the new Montgomery County Family History Book to read it though. Look for it later this year.
As Robin has raised a number of different issues in his letter to the editor, I would like to respond to
each of them. As such, my answer is rather long, and I am forced to answer his letter in several different parts over the next few weeks.
I believe it is a wonderful thing that the history of the town and county are being discussed, analyzed and debated before the public. As
Col. Ramon Laughter, Chairman of the Montgomery Historical Society, put it in his recent letter to the editor, "That is our mission...creating
a great deal of interest and curiosity about the genesis of Montgomery."
As a reference, please hold on to your copy of Robin's letter to the editor in last week's newspaper.
Next week, I take the off the gloves.
This article originally appeared in the May 27, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County
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