MONTGOMERY, TEXAS. Montgomery is at the junction of State Highway 105 and Farm Road 149, near the southwestern edge of Sam Houston National Forest fifteen miles west of Conroe and fifty miles northwest of Houston in western Montgomery County. It traces its roots to 1823, when Andrew J. Montgomery established a trading post a few miles to the west of the current townsite. On December 14, 1837, the town named for Andrew Montgomery became the first county seat of Montgomery County, the third county formed under the Republic of Texas.
The county originally extended from the Brazos River to the Trinity. A post office opened in Montgomery in 1846. The city was officially incorporated in 1848 with Judge Nathaniel Hart Davis as mayor. In the era of antebellum Texas Montgomery had a newspaper and a telegraph line and was at the crossroads of two stage lines. It became a trading center especially in lumber and cotton. In 1850 it had Baptist and Methodist churches, a Masonic lodge, a private school, a new courthouse, and two physicians, E. J. Arnold and J. H. Price.
In the 1850s a yellow fever epidemic reduced the population. With the Civil War and Reconstruction, the political and economic power in Montgomery County shifted away from Montgomery. When the Houston and Great Northern Railroad laid track through the center of the county in 1870, Conroe was established. In 1889 it was chosen the new county seat. The population in Montgomery dropped from 1,000 in 1890 to 600 two years later, although the town's businesses still included cotton gins, sawmills, and two hotels.
The population decreased to 350 by 1925 but revived after World War II, reaching 750 in 1950, when Montgomery remained a market and shipping center for the western part of the county. The population slowly declined to fewer than 300 in the 1980s, but 10,000 people lived within a seven-mile radius of the town. Real estate, ranching, and oil underpin the economy of Montgomery. In 1990 the population was 356. The population grew to 489 in 2000.
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