Montrose IA, A Look Into the Past

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More History
Half-Breed Tract

Standard Garden Tool Co.

When Montrose
Was A Live Town

Pictures of:

 Montrose Area:

Allen Building

Blacksmith Shop
Bluff Park Well
City of Nauvoo-Ferry
Montrose Depot
Iowa Fruit Co.
Opera House
Shingle Mill
Standard Garden Tool Co.
Wahrer Store

Montrose School
 1908 or 1909 Class
1912-1st Grade
1912-3-6th Grades
1912-7th Grade
School Sports:
Boys Team-Year?
Boys Team Roster 
Girls Team Roster
Graduating Classes:
1897 & 1900

People of the Area
Dr. Buck
Bill Cooper
George Harper? /
Head family
Adolphus Johnson family
Arthur G. Maxwell
Wm. Petty family
Girls by Post Office
Friends at Snag Lake
Calvin & Benjamin- Strange
John Tweedy Family
Louis &Cora Wahrer, Sr.

Montrose Twp. 
Galland School
Montrose Twp. 
Galland School

  Wharton Reunion
Petty Reunion(1930?)
Post Your Reunion

Montrose Today:

Cemetery Entrance 
Galland School
Fire Station & Post- Office
School Memorial
Wahrer Building

View or Post a Surname

Index 1887-1961  H.S. Graduates

Business Directories:
1886 Directory
1892 Directory
1906 Directory

Montrose Journal 

Montrose Journal Every Name Index 

John H. Noonan
Egner Christensen

Obituaries and Misc. Family information

Steamboat Men

Post or read questions pertaining to Montrose.

Please contact me if you are interested in sharing any pictures/information  or have any comments pertaining to the site.

Thank you and hope you enjoy the site!



*** Please note that my email address has just been changed to the correct one.  I apologize for the  long absence from this website.  I have not had time to maintain this site, and although I'm still very limited, I can now make minor changes, or additions.  Thank you-Ruth

Welcome to the Montrose, Iowa site!  There are two ways to view the pictures located in the left column.  You may either click on the main page for each category, (Montrose Area, School Students,etc.), to view thumbnails for each picture under that category or click the links for individual pictures.  If you have any comments, or pictures you would like to add to the site, please email me here.  Thank you and hope you enjoy the site.  Ruth

The town of Montrose, Iowa was originally named Mount of Roses by David Kilbourne in about 1837. He named it Mount of Roses because of the beautiful roses that were covering the hill sides along the Bluff Park. The name was later changed to Montrose. The town was first settled in 1832 by Captain James White, established in 1854 when Mr. Kilbourne drew the original plat of the town and later incorporated in 1857.

Tesson stoneGoing back to the history of the area before Montrose was even a town, the first white man to live in this area was Louis Honore Tesson. Mr. Tesson was a French Canadian and was issued a claim by Zenon Trudeau, Lt. Governor General of Upper Louisiana, on March 30, 1799. This was quite a large claim which included Montrose. It is believed that Tesson's home was located near the foot of the hill on what is now River Road in the southern part of Montrose. In this claim Tesson was required to plant trees, sow seeds, help the Indians to cultivate the soil and plant seeds, but mostly to encourage them to accept the Catholic religion. Mr. Tesson and several friendly Indians then traveled on horseback to near St. Louis where they bought apple trees to plant Iowa's first apple orchard.(The stone in the above picture was placed in  Montrose to commemorate  the Tesson Orchard - click on the picture to read the plaque).

The Indian village located here was called Cut Nose Village.

Many of the male white adventurers, trappers,and traders, inter-married with the Sac and Fox women. Because of these marriages that produced half-breeds, a treaty was made on August 4, 1824 between the Sac and Fox and the United States. This treaty included the south part of Lee County, totalling about 119 thousand acres, to be reserved for the half-breeds to live on but not to own. Later in 1834 the half-breeds could acquire the land in fee simple. Because of this speculators who knew the weaknesses of the Indians rushed in and purchased land from the half-breeds knowing that often times a gun, blanket, pony or whiskey was enough to purchase a large piece of land. Illegal claims made by speculators and half-breeds brought many conflicts as there had been no authorized surveys or boundary lines for claims. To settle these disputes it was decided to sell the whole tract of land to Hugh Reid. Once again errors were made so the judgment titles failed. It was then in 1841 they decided the only legal way to sell would be by "drawing lots" of 101 shares.

Montrose was settled in 1832 by Captain James White. He enclosed six or seven acres and built a double log cabin from trees growing on a nearby island, not far from a creek, which was thought to have been Jack Creek. In 1834 the government then bought the land from Captain White for a military post. This was called the First Fort Des Moines. The military post was occupied by three companies of the First U.S. Dragoons. The Dragoons stayed at Montrose until the spring of 1837.

It was after this time then that the town of Montrose began to grow. Montrose was an important river town during the 1850-1870's. Boats had to stop at Montrose to unload or load due to the shallow rapids of the Mississippi River. It brought many jobs to the area and was then that many immigrants began to settle in this area. The town grew with up to 1200 residents by the 1870's.

The town population soon became much smaller with the building of the government canal in 1877. Boats no longer had to stop at Montrose to unload or load their goods. Then the building of the Keokuk dam in 1913 flooded many business that were located at the riverfront. Today the population of the town of Montrose is about 957.

Button Factory
At one time, Montrose consisted of many factories and businesses, making it a very busy town. To the left is the Curtis Button factory, established in 1903. This factory along with a sawmill, a distillery, two canning factories,and pickle works were all situated near the mouth of Horton's Creek in an area nicknamed "Catarogus".


The Montrose Sawmill shown at the right was operated in 1877 by Guy Wells, G.B. Fett, and D.J. Spaulding. This business employed between fifty and seventy-five men and could cut over fifty thousand board feet of lumber a day. This sawmill also made shingles and lath and fence pickets. Mr. Anderson of Anderson Windowalls Co., began his career in the lumber business in Montrose in the early 1880's and was part owner of this sawmill around 1884. The sawmill closed around 1908.

~~~~~Photos courtesy of the Montrose Library~~~~~

Montrose History & Pictures - Continued on Page 2

A special thanks to ROOTSWEB for sponsoring this site.

Sally Youngquist, co-coordinator of the Lee County website, for all her help and encouragement with this site and to Lana Clark, Montrose Librarian, for all her help in getting information and pictures.