Both the town and county of Montague , Texas were named in honor of Daniel Montague, son of Seth. He was born on August 22, 1798 in Hadley, Massachusetts . Daniel migrated to Texas in 1836, was an Indian fighter, and fought in the Mexican War to help free the state of Texas . He was the first surveyor of Fannin Land District and surveyor of Cooke County . Part of this area divorced itself from Cooke County and founded its own Montague County in 1857. The town of Montague lies in north central Texas eleven miles north of Bowie on State Hwy. 287 and seven miles south of Nocona on State Hwy. 82.
The Texan’s pronounce their town and county Mon-teg , even though most of us use Montague. The local historian questioned whether they were using the correct pronunciation.
The small town of Montague , population around 300, is the county seat, and has a grand but old courthouse in the center of town. In earlier days it was the largest town in the county and a thriving, bustling city in the center of a prosperous farming community. At one point there was a proposal to build a railroad from Bowie , in the south, but that did not materialize. Today one cannot buy a meal or any gasoline in the town of Montague , but it has had a Post Office over the years with a zip code of 76251.
Cotton was the mainstay for many years in this once rich farming area. Other crops grown were typical of most mid-western towns of the time including; wheat, oats, corn, and peanuts. Also produced were cattle, chickens, hogs, and butter. At one time there were many cotton gins in the county, but now there are none. Small sprinklings of oil wells are still seen today indicating a more prosperous time.
The first recorded tornado was in 1889 with the last severe one in 1995. Storm cellars are still prevalent today, an indication of being in “Tornado Alley” of the mid-west. The “Chisholm Trial”, where cattle were trailed from southwest Texas to the Kansas rail-heads went through the area and crossed the Red River in Montague County . Before that, the Butterfield Stage crossed through the center of the county, carrying mail from St. Louis to San Francisco .
This still farming community of mostly cattle and hay seems peaceful and typical of many small towns in America . Residents have to drive a few miles on a paved road to get their supplies, in larger towns, as most of the local businesses have closed down.
I visited with Melvin Fenoglio, the chairman of the Montague County Historical Commission, while in town, and bought his book, “Looking Back With Moments in Montague County History”.
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Saturday, May 30, 2015 08:27:38 PM
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