Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dr. Alexander Montgomery - Waco, Texas

By: Mrs. A. M. Woodward

Folk Stuff - Life Sketches - Pioneer History

Mrs. Ada Davis, P. W., McLennan County, Texas

REFERENCE: Mr. A. M. Woodward, Bosqueville, Texas, pioneer

Dr. N. J. W. Wortham, uncle of Mrs. A. M. Woodward came to Bosqueville, McLennan County before the Civil War. He purchased a large acreage of land in and around the present town of Bosqueville. He donated the land upon which the Baptist Church and the Methodist Church at Bosqueville, now stand and also, he donated the land for the Bosqueville cemetery, one of the oldest in the county. Robert Wortham was the father of Mrs. A. M. Woodward. Robert and Frank Wortham came with their mother to Texas, and stopped at Bosqueville about 1858 or 1859. Anyway, it was before the Civil War. Robert Wortham had sold his home in Louisiana before coming to Texas, but he had not bought any land when the war broke out. He enlisted in the Confederate service. When the war closed and he was mustered out, he returned to Bosqueville and soon afterward, married Miss Eleanora Scott, who had just graduated from the Bosqueville Seminary, at the time Prof. John Collier was president of the institution and Prof. Krause was the music teacher.

Her father came to Bosqueville about 1857 and placed Eleanora in the seminary. About 1852 or 1853, Mr. W. H. Cobbs, Sr., and Mr. Hawk Sparks had persuaded Prof. Collier to come to Bosqueville and establish this seminary. 

The Bosqueville Baptist church was organized in November of 1854 by Rev. Solomon G. O'Brian, and the Methodist church was organized before that time. In the very early days of the settlement, there was also a Presbyterian church, but it disbanded many, many years ago. Bosqueville was six miles north of the present town of Waco. Elder Solomon G. O'Brian, principal of the seminary, stressed classics and mathematics. The school was conducted in a large frame building, made of lumber hauled one hundred miles from East Texas, in ox-drawn wagons. The seminary operated six years. It closed when O'Brian accepted the pastorate of the Waco church in 1859. He was pastor of the Waco church for six years.

Dr. Alexander Montgomery of Hartford, Ohio county, Kentucky was one of the first doctors who moved to Waco, and he had a large practice in Bosqueville. He was one of the old-time botanical doctors, who made most of his medicines out of herbs that grew around them, i. e., lobelia and other plants. They thought it was almost a crime to give calomel. Dr. Alexander Montgomery was a graduate of a medical university in Ohio. The doctor's family consisted of his wife and seven children. He brought his wife and four children to Texas, traveling in a two-horse wagon, which was unusual at that time, for most people traveled in ox wagons. He "landed" at Waco Village, November 20, 1851. In a few weeks, his wife traded two bed quilts and a rag carpet which had been made in Kentucky, for ten acres of land, part of which is now in the city of Waco. It is near what is known as the "cedar brakes" out near Cameron park. This was wooded land, from which they cut fire wood and fencing material. It was the custom of most of those who lived in the Village of Waco, to purchase a "woods lot" as near town as possible. Two of the Doctor's children are buried in the old First Street Waco cemetery. One of his daughters was an honor graduate of the Methodist Female College, Waco. He practiced his profession for many years, and was the only doctor between Waco and [Claburne?]. He rode horseback and never turned down a call, day or night, fair or stormy weather. Dr. Barnett Montgomery was his son.

When the time came to decide which settlement in the county would become the county seat, Bosqueville gave Waco a stiff fight for selection because, at that time, Bosqueville was really a larger town than Waco Village.

Benjamin Moore was the first settler at Bosqueville, and the settlement sprang up about 1858. A Mr. Gamble operated a general store. Wortham's bend was named for the Wortham family which settled at Bosqueville in early days. Ben Giles built and operated the first gin in the community; Colonel Hamilton Brown donated land to add to the white cemetery and to make a negro cemetery. Other early families to settle at Bosqueville were the Gregorys, Scotts, McKenzies, Lillards, Crumps, Keas, Steinbecks, Blairs, Washingtons, Whites, Jenkinses, Waddells and Gorhams. Descendants of these first families are at present leading citizens of Bosqueville or of Waco.

Bosqueville was an early educational center in the county, and its seminary library was one of the finest private libraries in Central Texas. The collection belonged to Prof. George Anderson, a lawyer who taught in the law department of the Seminary. Among the oldest living students of this seminary is A. [Watt?] Scales of Lyle Avenue, Waco.

The first Masonic lodge in McLennan County was organized at Bosqueville in 1851, and known in its charter as Bosque Lodge No. 92. It was chartered January 23, 1852. Later, its name was changed to Waco Lodge No. 92. For a period of twenty years, Bosqueville threatened Waco as the leading town of the county.

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