Montgomery County Towns and Villages

County Towns

The principal towns at present are Montgomery City, Wellsville, New Florence, Jonesburg, Middletown, High Hill, Rhineland, Bellflower and McKittrick. Each of these towns is incorporated under its own government.

Montgomery City

Montgomery City, now the largest town in the county and with a population of 1,789, was laid out in 1853 by Benjamin P. Curd. Mr. Curd, as an inducement to the North Missouri Railroad Company, agreed to give every other lot in town plat if the railroad company would build its road through and locate a permanent depot therein. The town was named in honor of the county. The grading for the railroad reached Montgomery City early in 1856 and the track was laid about December, 1857, after which the cars began to run regularly. The Montgomery College was established in 1859 with the Rev. William A. Taylor as principal. About this time many other improvements took place at Montgomery and the town grew rapidly. It is a progressive town and its citizens have contributed much to the early history of the county, as well as its present prominence. It has several large stores, electric lights and ice plant, and fine residences. For a number of years it has been a freight division of the Wabash Railroad, but this was recently moved to High Hill.


Upper Loutre Township in the northern part of the county comprised a considerable extent of territory at first, but in January, 1872, the county court made a division, establishing therefrom Montgomery Township. The principal town of Upper Loutre Township is Wellsville, laid out by Hon. Carty Wells in 1856. He was the original owner of the town site and deeded to the railroad company five acres for the depot and railroad purposes. The town was named for its founder. Wellsville is now a splendid little city, the second largest in the county, and recognized as the greatest trading point between St. Charles and Mexico. Two very large department stores draw trade from adjoining counties, and it is no uncommon sight to behold farmers driving from twenty to twenty-five miles turkeys in herds of 1,000 to 1,500 to the Wellsville market. It has an electric light plant, ice plant, refrigeration plant and ice cream factory. Its population is now 1,194 and steadily growing.


Now Florence was laid out in 1857 by Hon. E. A. Lewis who purchased the land from Mortimer McIlhaney. The town was first called Florence in honor of the only daughter of Judge Lewis and was so platted and recorded, but after a time it was discovered that there was a town of the same name in Morgan County, so by an act of the legislature in March, 1859, the name was changed to New Florence.


The town of Jonesburg is located on lands first settled by James Jones for whom the town was named. Jones settled in this county in 1829 and at his home was a "stand" for the stage coach line that ran from St. Charles to Boon's Lick in Howard County.


Charles Wells, a familiar family county name, resided at the place now Middletown in 1817. Middletown is claimed by some to be the oldest town in the county, but the claim is not clearly established. The first farm opened in the vicinity of Middletown was in September 1824 by James Smith. In 1829 Richard Cox located in this vicinity and became one of the pioneer families of the county. The first business house built in Middletown was on the site of the present hotel and was occupied by Josiah Willbarger, who surveyed the town and platted it for its original owners, James Lynn, John Dudgeon and Stewart Slavens. Captain S. W. Hammock was one of the early Middletown settlers and for years surveyor of the county. Presley Anderson settled on Cuivre near Middletown in 1818. Mr. Anderson, while hunting one day, killed a wolf and throwing it into the stream named the stream Wolf Creek, which bears the same name to the present day. Reuben Pew located near Middletown also in 1818 and was elected colonel of the first war company ever organized in the county. Middletown has more gravel streets than any town in the county. Not far away it has a coal mine undeveloped, but shows veins measuring sixteen feet.

High Hill

One of the early post offices in the county was known as High Hill and located near the present site of Jonesburg. As time moved onward this post office was moved westward and was finally located at a place now called High Hill. In 1851 the present town of High Hill was platted. Hance Miller was among the first to settle at this place. He, in connection with William H. Hoss and John S. Howe, erected a grist mill which is still standing, and in operation.


In 1846 six German families settled in the southern part of the county. In 1853 one of their number laid out a small village, naming it Rhineland in honor of the River Rhine. Here Hugo Monnig conducted a store for many years. With the coming of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, the town was moved some little distance east. It is now a prosperous little village, surrounded by a wealthy German settlement.


Bluffton is also located on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway. The first settlements date back to 1844. Samuel Miller, who conducted the Bluffton Wine Company in 1866, was the founder of the town.


The town of McKittrick is situated in the extreme southeast corner of the county on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway. Here the railroad company has watering and coaling stations. The town has a large flouring and grain elevator, several business houses, bank, Methodist church and Sunday school.


The town of Bellflower is the newest town in the county, being incorporated about two years ago. John W. Schowengerdt was owner of its present site and platted the town. He did more for its advancement than possibly all of the other citizens together. He built a great many houses, public business places, improved its streets, located a beautiful park and contributed in every way possible for the advancement of the town. It now numbers about 400 people and is located on the Burlington Railroad, the principal town on that road in the county.


Buell is a small town located on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway and surrounded by a very rich section of the county. It has a bank, churches, a good school and is the railroad shipping point for Middletown.

Mineola Springs

The most historical, interesting and attractive place within the county is Mineola Springs, located on Loutre river, one among the first places to be settled in the county. At this point are several mineral springs which have gained notoriety for the medicinal properties throughout the United States. Health seekers from far and near have visited here. Mineola was laid out as a town by H. E. Scanland in 1879, who owned the large farm upon which the springs were located. The town was named for Mineola, Texas, signifying healing waters. It is located upon the cross-state highway between St. Louis and Kansas City and is recognized as the most scenic point en route. Here many noted characters have visited, camped and refreshed themselves from the mineral waters. Here Thomas H. Benton stopped and designated it as the "Bethesda of the West." Here Washington Irving spent a number of days and upon the mantel now resting in the old Van Bibber tavern, penned some of his brightest thoughts. In bidding goodbye to his friend, Major Van Bibber, said: "When I get rich, I shall buy this place and build me a home."


In the southeastern part of Montgomery County there is a huge, singular-looking rock known as the Pinnacle. It stands alone in the midst of a small valley and rises perpendicularly to a height of 75 feet. Its area is about one acre and is covered with trees. A winding path takes the visitor to the top, where have often been held preaching and Fourth-of-July celebrations.

The population of Montgomery County is principally American and German. The Germans largely inhabit the southern portion of the county.

In addition to the railroad towns, Mineola, Americus, Big Spring, Price's Branch, Gamma, Marling and Egbert are inland hamlets surrounded by a thrifty citizenship. The rural free delivery mail system practically covers the county and with daily mail and telephone service the farmers are in close touch with each other.  


© Missouri American History and Genealogy Project
Created August 16, 2017 by Judy White

Source: History of Northeast Missouri, edited by Walter Williams, Volume I, Lewis Publishing Company, 1913