Section I: History and Geography



Montgomery County was formed in 1851 from Pottawattamie County, which in turn was formed from the Pottawattamie Purchase in 1846.  It was named after Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War General who died in the assault of Quebec.


The first courthouse was built in 1857 in the community of Frankfort, located in Frankfort Township.  The county seat was later moved to Red Oak in 1865.  The current courthouse was built in 1890.  The sandstone and red brick structure is on National Historic Preservation Register.


Montgomery County is primarily an agricultural county.  The topography is rolling and is in the Nishnabotna and Tarkio watersheds.  Major streams that run through the county from north to south include Indian Creek, Walnut Creek, East Nishnabotna River, West Tarkio Creek and Tarkio River.


Early settlers came from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, the south and the middle west.  Swedes settled in the area around Stanton.  The first settlers of Red Oak came in the 1850’s.  In 1869, the Chicago, Burlington and Pacific Railroad was completed through the town.  This triggered an enormous growth to the town during the next decade.  The town became a regional trading center.  Early industries included meat-packing, a brewery, cannery, flour mills and a brick and tile works.  The wealth of the town generated between 1870 and 1916 is evident by the splendor of many turn-of-the-century homes built on the east side of downtown Red Oak. Several of these structures are also on the National Historic Preservation Register.




Montgomery County is located near the southwest corner of Iowa.  It is bordered by the following counties: West: Mills Co.; North: Pottawattamie and Cass Counties; East: Adams Co.; SE: Taylor Co., South: Page Co.; and SW: Fremont Co.


Current towns and communities (Zip codes given for towns having Post Offices)


Town/Community        Township                                             Population

1890                                  1990


Coburg 51635                Grant                                                        60                     58

Elliott 51532                  Sherman                                                 317                   399

Grant 50847                  Douglas                                                   100                   123

Red Oak 51566              Red Oak                                               3,321                6,264

Stanton 51573               Scott                                                       399                   692

Villisca 50864                East Jackson                                        1,744                1,332


Abandoned towns


Town                           Township                                 Town                           Township


Arlington                                                                       Oro

Biddick                                                                         Red Oak Junction          became Red Oak

Carr’s Point                                                                   Ross Grove

Climax                                                                          Rossville                       Jackson

Coe’s Grove                                                                   Sherman Center

Flora                                                                             Stennett                        Sherman

Grant                            Douglas                                    Sciota                           Washington

Gomer                          Lincoln                                      Tenville                          Washington

Frankfort                       Frankfort                                   The Forks

Hawthorne                     Garfield (was Walnut)                 Wallace

Holmstadt                                                                     Wales                           Lincoln

Milford                           Douglas                                    Wallin                           Frankfort

Morton Mill                    Douglas                                    Wilson

McPherson                    Garfield


Section II: Resource Centers




·         [MCCH] Montgomery County Courthouse

105 Coolbaugh Street

Red Oak, Iowa 51566


Libraries with Genealogical or Historical Collections


·         [ECPL] Elliott City Public Library

403 Main Street

Elliott, Iowa 51532

·         [ROPL] Red Oak Public Library

400 North 2nd Street

Red Oak, Iowa 51566

·         [SPL] Stanton Public Library

301 Broad Avenue

Stanton, Iowa 51573

·         [VPL] Villisca Public Library

204 South 3rd Avenue

Villisca, Iowa 50864

·         [IGSL] Iowa Genealogical Society Library

628 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

·         [ISHL] Iowa State Historical Library

600 East Locust Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50309


Museums, Historic Sites and Visitor Centers


·         Olson-Linn Museum

East 4th Street

Villisca, Iowa 50864




·         Federal: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Federal Indices: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         State: 1854, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1910, 1915, 1925, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         1854 Census Index: [IGSL]

·         Coulter: Montgomery County 1854 census, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Montgomery Co Gen Soc: 1856 Census, transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Montgomery Co Gen Soc: 1860 Census, transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Montgomery Co Gen Soc.: Montgomery Co. Census, City of Villisca, 1891, (1997): [IGSL] , [ISHL]


Vital Records


·         Births: from 1880, originals: [MCCH] ; 1879-1941, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Marriages: from 1855, originals: [MCCH] ; 1880-1925, microfilm: [IGSL] ; 1855-1925, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Montgomery County Marriages prior to 1860, transcripts: [IGSL]

·         McClelland: Marriages from The Villisca Review, 1870-1879, n.d.: [IGSL]

·         Deaths: from 1880, originals: [MCCH] ; 1880-1939, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]


Probate and related records


·         Probate records, from 1858, originals: [MCCH]

·         Bonds, oaths and letters, administrations, 1876-1889, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Record of estates, 1858-1886, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Probate records, 1858-1931, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Wills, 1856-1930, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Inheritance tax records, 1898-1926, microfilm: [ISHL]


Land and related records


·         Land records, from 1854, originals: [MCCH]

·         Land Grants, volume 3, transcript: [ISHL]

·         Land transfers, town lot transfers, 1855-1920, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Land deed records, 1854-1903, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Town lot deed records, 1854-1903, microfilm: [ISHL]


Maps, atlases and gazetteers


·         Plat Books of Montgomery Co., Iowa, 1945, 1968: [IGSL]

·         Anderson: Atlas of Montgomery Co., Iowa, (c1919): [ISHL]


Court records

·         Court records, from 1873, originals: [MCCH]

·         Divorce records, from 1873, originals: [MCCH]

·         Circuit Court calendar, 1869-1893, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Circuit Court records, 1866-1882, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Naturalization records, 1873-1930, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Court Affidavits, 1909-1944, microfilm: [ISHL]



·         Area cemetery records: [IGSL]

·         Walnut Creek, Hascall Cemetery records: [IGSL]

·         Works Progress Administration: graves registrations, (1938-1941): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Findley, Walnut Creek cemeteries: [IGSL]

·         Montgomery Co Gen Soc: Cemetery records for townships of Douglas, Washington and East: [ISHL]

·         Cemetery deed records, 1872-1954, microfilm: [ISHL]


Funeral homes (current)


·         Red Oak

·         Sellergren Lindell De Marce

509 North 6th Street, Red Oak, Iowa 51566

·         Nelson – Boylan LeRette Funeral Home

410 North 6th Street, Red Oak, Iowa 51566

·         Villisca

·         Wolfe Funeral Home

201 East 4th Street, Villisca, Iowa 50864




·         McClelland: Deaths from The Villisca Review, 1870-1879, n.d.: [IGSL]


Church, Bible


·         History of Center Ridge Presbyterian Church, (1988): [IGSL]

·         Artlip: Rural Churches of Montgomery County, (1996): [ISHL]




·         Red Oak Express: U.S. Government records: Soldiers living in Montgomery Co. in 1884: [IGSL]

·         Memorial to the World War II Dead from Montgomery County, Iowa (1945): [ISHL]


Newspapers:  (on microfilm) Dates given for each newspaper represents the time span the paper was published.  There may be gaps during the dates when the papers were not published.


·         Elliott

·         The Elliott Enterprise, (1880): [ISHL]

·         The Elliott Graphic, (1893-1942): [ISHL]

·         Grant

·         The Grant Chief, (1911-1921): [ISHL]

·         Red Oak

·         The Red Oak Express, (1874-1996): [ISHL]

·         The Red Oak Record, (1876): [ISHL]

·         The Red Oak Daily Record, (1882): [ISHL]

·         The People’s Telephone, (1880): [ISHL]

·         The Montgomery Co. Independent, (1887-1890): [ISHL]

·         The Red Oak Independent, (1890-1894): [ISHL]

·         The Red Oak Republican, (1900-1904): [ISHL]

·         The Sun, (1915-1955): [ISHL]

·         Stanton

·         The Stanton Call, (1911-1937): [ISHL]

·         Stanton Zephyr, (1949): [ISHL]

·         Villisca Review and Stanton Viking, (1977-1985): [ISHL]

·         Villisca

·         The Weekly Iowa Mercury, (1871): [ISHL]

·         Villisca Weekly Review, (1872-1878): [ISHL]

·         Villisca Review, (1878-1915), (1949-1996): [ISHL]

·         The Villisca Review and Villisca Letter, (1915-1949): [ISHL]

·         Villisca Review and Stanton Viking, (1977-1985): [ISHL]



Educational, business and other: (school annuals for this county)


·         School Days, Grant, Iowa 1888-1947, n.d.: [IGSL]

·         American Assn of University Women: Women of Montgomery Co., Iowa, (1982): [IGSL]

·         Business and Professional Women’s Club, Red Oak, (1953): [ISHL]

·         Artlip: Rural School Houses of Montgomery Co., Iowa, (1999): [ISHL]

·         Red Oak Commercial Club: Just a Glance at Red Oak (1913): [ISHL]




·         1881 Delinquent tax list for Montgomery: [IGSL]

·         Family Associations and reunions, (1959): [IGSL]

·         Historical Records Survey: Inventory of the County Archives of Montgomery Co. (1941): [ISHL]


County & Local Histories:


·         Iowa Hist and Bio Co.: History of Montgomery Co., Iowa (1881): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Red Oak Pub Library: Index of Persons in the 1881 Montgomery Co. History (1963): [ISHL]

·         Shaw: Montgomery County, Iowa, Illustrated (1889): [ISHL]

·         Lewis Pub Co.: History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa, (1892): [ISHL]

·         Merritt: A History of the County of Montgomery …, (1906): [ISHL]

·         Red Oak Public Library: Index to the 1906 Montgomery Co History, (1963): [ISHL]

·         History of Climax, Iowa, n.d.: [IGSL]

·         Artlip: A Diary of Sciola, Montgomery Co., Iowa, (1979): [IGSL]

·         The Way it Was, Tenville, Iowa, 1900, n.d.: [IGSL]

·         Wookey: Live on a Montgomery County Farm, (2000): [ISHL]

·         Elliott Centennial Committee: The History of the Elliot Community, (1979): [IGSL]

·         Artlip: Good Times in Montgomery County, 143 Years of Celebration (1996): [ISHL]




·         Iowa Genealogical Society: Hawkeye Heritage  articles through 1993, [IGSL]  (Entries indicate year, issue number and page number.)

·         1881 Montgomery County Delinquent Tax List, (1983), 2:69

·         Deaths from the Villisca Review, 1900, (1993), 4:211

·         Findley Cemetery, East Township, (1976), 3:132

·         Montgomery County marriages before 1860, (1981), 4:206

·         Soldiers Drawing Pensions, from The Red Oak Express, 1884, (1984), 4:201; (1985), 4:227

·         Veterans Who were Residents During 1885, (1984), 2:79

·         Will Decorate Their Graves, from the Red Oak Sun, 1926, (1993), 2:93

·         The following Montgomery County Publications are for sale through the Iowa Genealogical Society.  See the Iowa Genealogical Society Website for a detailed listing and availability.

·         Cemetery records for Douglas, East (Jackson) and Washington townships

·         Montgomery County Census, 1856, 1860

·         1891 Census for the town of Villisca


Section IV: Credits


We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the Montgomery County Genealogical Society, the Montgomery County Courthouse, the Iowa State Historical Society and volunteers at the Iowa Genealogical Society in providing data contained in this research guide. Their efforts have been of immeasurable help in gathering this information.