from Lake Creek Settlement
The Evolution of the Montgomery Trading Post Myth – Part 13
Austin, You’ve Got Squatters out There on the Coushatta Trace!”
In writing The
History of Montgomery County (Austin: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1975), the fifth work in our study of
Montgomery County histories, author Robin Montgomery introduced a previously undocumented trading post he called
the Andrew Montgomery Trading Post with an undocumented location that he called the Montgomery Prairie. The
writer gives no sources for this new information.
In his book, Montgomery tells us that Andrew Montgomery, a
filibusterer in the failed James Long Expedition (1819-1820), established his trading post about 1823. This
trading post supposedly was located two miles northwest of the present town of Montgomery at the
intersection of two roads Robin Montgomery identifies as the Loma del Toro and the Lower Coushatti
Trace. We are further advised that Andrew Montgomery operated the trading post for six years until 1829
when he “relinquished ownership” to Owen and Margaret Shannon.
On page 285 of
The History of Montgomery County, Robin Montgomery went on to write,
“Andrew [Montgomery] immediately set about encouraging settlers to venture down these roads [the Loma del Toro
and the Lower Coushatti Trace] to become his neighbors and clientele. In this manner Andrew’s Trading Post
became the major pivot point around which the settlement of the later Montgomery County region
In the past two weeks we have focused on the total lack of
primary historical evidence to support Robin Montgomery’s assertions regarding his Andrew Montgomery trading
post. Using historical information that we do know, we will focus this week on the extreme improbability of
this version of the Montgomery Trading Post myth.
A “squatter” is defined as a person who settles on
unoccupied land without legal title. At the time and place described by Robin Montgomery, Andrew Montgomery
would have been a squatter in the Mexican State of Coahuila y Texas and in Austin’s Second Colony. Not only did
Andrew Montgomery settle on unoccupied land without legal title, we are supposed to believe that he openly and
brazenly operated a trading post at the intersection of two supposedly busy roads for six
Empresario Stephen F. Austin received his second land
contract from Mexico in 1825. Austin made no land grants in the area alleged as the location of the Andrew
Montgomery trading post until 1831. If we subscribe to Robin Montgomery’s description for the location of the
Andrew Montgomery trading post, it appears that it would have been located on what later became the Benjamin
Rigby League in 1831, in Austin’s second colony.
According to Stephen
F. Austin’s Register of Families, Andrew Montgomery did not arrive in Austin’s Colony until October of 1830.
In Stephen F. Austin’s Register of Families, Andrew Montgomery’s
occupation is listed as “Farmer” and his place of origin is listed as “Alabama.” Wherever Andrew Montgomery may
have been in Texas prior to October of 1830, Austin’s Register of
Families is incredibly strong primary evidence that Andrew Montgomery did not arrive in Austin’s Colony
until October of 1830. See pages 83 and 84 of Stephen F. Austin’s Register of Families located in the Texas General Land
Office in Austin, Texas. Also see the book, Stephen F. Austin’s Register
of Families, edited by Villamae Williams (Austin: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1984), p.
According to Robin Montgomery, Andrew Montgomery
participated as a courier in the failed Long Expedition (1819-1820). The Long Expedition was an attempt by
American filibusterers led by Dr. James Long to wrest control of Texas from the Spanish colony of Mexico. As
such, Andrew Montgomery would have been a filibusterer. It is well documented that the filibusters who
participated in the short-lived Long Expedition were killed, imprisoned or driven out of Texas, in short, not
tolerated within the territorial boundaries defined by the Mexican government.
We are expected to believe that a participant in the failed
Long Expedition was allowed to openly and illegally operate a trading post in Mexican Texas from 1823 to 1829 on
lands belonging to the Mexican Government in what later became Stephen F. Austin’s Second Colony in 1825. Not a
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 eight 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 May 20, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County
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