Stephen F. Austin State University

Montgomery County

Montgomery County is located in southeast Texas, near Houston. The county seat is Conroe. Territory that encompassed Montgomery County was included in the land grants purchased for Stephen F. Austin's colony in the early nineteenth century. Shortly after Austin settled the area, Anglos began migration into the area, prominent among then Andrew Montgomery. In 1837, the government of the Republic of Texas formed and incorporated the land into Montgomery County.

Peoples from other states in the South migrated into Montgomery County between the 1840s and 1850s, which also included an abundance of slaves. By the 1850s, the county's economy switched into plantation farming, using slave labor. Montgomery County seceded from the Union and felt the effects of doing so afterward. The loss of slavery incapacitated the economy because slave labor accounted for nearly half of county's income.

Montgomery County sidestepped the political problems of Reconstruction that other counties and states in the South had. The economy plummeted and farmers experienced a shortage of land due to high prices. Many farmers switched to producing cotton, corn, and wheat as viable sources of income. Railroads in the 1870s and 1880s spawned the county's use of rich timber resources, along with the cotton, animal production, and the cultivation of tobacco. During World War II, the economy revived through the logging and oil industries. The latter half of the twentieth century, Montgomery County witnessed the expansion of tourism and manufacturing industries because of its location near Houston.


Museum/Historic Site

Text: Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association.