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History of Montgomery



Previous to 1869 the site of the present village of Montgomery was as wild and uncultivated a piece of land as the township contained. It was then an “oak opening”, and was rather looked upon as almost worthless land compared to the rest of the township, but the Fort Wayne. Jackson and Saginaw Railroad stretching through the town, and people began to look about them to select a better point for a station that would accommodate the farmers of the section. A t last the place selected, and immediately the spirit of enterprise developed itself in the people of that time and made itself manifest.

Tracts’ of land owned by Israel Shepard, G. B. Hewlett, R.B. Teachout and Joshua Dobbs, aggregating more than 80 acre were surveyed into village plats and thrown open for sale. These lots were quickly sold to a large number of mechanics, laborers and business men, and they erected houses, shops and stores upon them and a thrifty village sprang up as if by a miracle.

The first place of business was opened by A. P. Kellogg, as a hardware and grocery store and this was followed by 0. M. Hayward store. Soon afterthis Joshua Dobbs opened an extensive general store, dealing in dry-goods, groceries, hardware, crockery, clothing, boots and shoes.

The first hotel was built by William Hokes in 1870. A steam saw-mill was built by D.M. Orewlle in
1872. In 1874 a joint-stock company was formed for the purpose of manufacturing Strunk’s patent window blinds. A shop was erected and fitted up with machinery and a steam-engine put in. After running two years the business failed and operations stopped. Two Physicians settled there soon after the village was started. They were Dr. George Guy and Dr. J.M. Merry. Dr. Guy remained only a short time and then moved to Camden.

Though popularly designated as “Frog-Eye” because of all the ponds there and known to the old-timers simply as “The Station” when they went to register. “The Station” the register of the county, William Montgomery said that that wasntt a real suitable name for a town but that if they were willing he would lend his name at no cost. So “The Station” became Montgomery.
Montgomery contained at one time 6 stores, 3 carnage and black-smith shops, 1 steam saw-mill, 2 meat markets, I hotel, I school house, the railroad buildings and nearly 100 houses.

The first preaching of the gospel was during the winter 1839 when Rev. Smith a Methodist itinerant, held the first services at the home of Easton Chester. The first church erected in the township was in 1873 it was of brick construction and would seat about 400 people. Montgomery now has 2 churches, Montgomery United Brethren in Christ at 311 Hayward St. and Montgomery United Methodist Church at 218 South Michigan St.

Montgomery still has a few businesses open and doing well, but some people say that when the importance of the railroad faded so did much of Montgomery.

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Mongomery school [Click here to view full size picture] The Montgomery High School about 1922, this building was later used by the Crotty Corporation, maker of sea safety, Mae West life jackets
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