The first pioneer family to arrive in what is now Grayson County was that of DANIEL MONTAGUE who settled November 1837, close to Warren's trading post. As a surveyor, Daniel Montague amassed many acres of land. He was a leader in the fight against the Indian uprisings. While most settlers believed only in defending their families and property, Montague believed in going after the Indians. In 1843, he led a group of settlers who attacked and killed sixteen Indians in a grove of trees just south of Sherman. That grove has been called Montague Grove ever since.
Colonel Montague, whose name is synonymous with the early growth of north Texas, should be remembered as one of the most energetic men of that time. He was born 22 August 1798 in South Hadley, MA, the son of Seth Montague. He received a good education as a civil engineer and surveyor.
In 1820, Daniel, accompanied by his father and brothers, Rodney and Erastus, left MA for Hunter's Bottoms on the Ohio river in KY. Here the family split up. Daniel, twenty-one, went on down river to Louisiana.
For the next fifteen years, Daniel practiced his surveying profession and was settled on a plantation. Here he acquired many slaves and became a successful planter. He married first Rebecca (Covington) McDowell, a widow, and they had three children: Rebecca, Seth, and Luman. Only one of these children lived after childhood. This was Rebecca Montague, who married William Carroll Twitty in 1812 and died 21 March 1841. Rebecca left one daughter and there are descendants through this line only.
His first wife died and on 14 May 1833, Daniel married second, Sarah Margaret (Ross) Griffin, a widow. They had two children, Jane Ross and Elizabeth, born in LA before Daniel decided to come to Texas.
Upon hearing of the fall of the Alamo and the massacre a Goliad, he left his family in LA and hastened to Texas. By the time he reached Texas, the Battle of San Jacinto had been won. He returned home to take care of his business and bring his family to Texas.
In the fall of 1837, Colonial Montague settled his family at Old Warren, an abandoned trading post established by Abel Warren, about where Ambrose stands today. The Dugan family, who had been living near Orangeville, soon moved north to near Montague's homestead. This made the Montagues the first family to settle in what is now Grayson. However, after about ten years, Daniel Montague left Grayson Co. to settle in Cooke Co. The Dugan family was the first family to settle in what is now Grayson Co. and remain. Even today many Dugan descendants live in the Grayson Co.
Daniel Montague, upon his arrival in Texas, immediately began construction of a house that became the marvel of the region for its beauty and convenience. It had two large rooms with a wide hall between, side rooms, and a front porch. The logs were "finished off"and the cracks chinked with mortar smoothly put on. The whole inside and outside was treated to a coat of whitewash. The puncheon floor, made extra smooth, this was something few pioneer homes had. There was of course the deep and wide fireplaces for warmth and cooking.
The year of Montague's arrival, saw the creation of Fannin County from Red River County. The new county embraced numerous present day counties including Grayson, Collin, and Cooke Counties. In 1838 Warren was chosen as the county seat of Fannin County. Later it was moved to Bonham, which is the present day county seat.
Daniel Montague served in the Republic of Texas in the Snively Expedition in 1838-1839 as lieutenant colonel. But on Fourth of July 1839, his house was completed and the family settled in, so the invitations were sent to friends and acquaintances as far as Honey Grove and Preston Bend to attend this important event, perhaps the first ball ever held in Fannin County (now Grayson). Extensive preparations were made by the settlers to attend. "Biled" shirts (white dress shirts) came up from the depths of the family chests, forgotten finery saw light once more, and "bar" grease was in demand for the men's hair.
Turkeys, chickens, pigs, and wild game of all kinds were cooked by the wholesale in every known style by the backwoods culinary arts. All other edibles to be had, flanked by drinkables from persimmon beer to something a little stronger, were provided. For two days and nights mirth and good cheer reigned supreme. For a little while, troubles and anxieties were forgotten. The lads and lassies tripped the light fantastic to the music of fiddles. During the intervals, the musicians were tuning up and putting a little more rosin on the bows. What a flutter there must have been among the rustic belles when the call went out to choose your partner.
As surveyors were the most hated by the Indians, Daniel's scalp became a special trophy for any Indian to seek. So he felt that it was necessary for him to organize the settlers for protection against the Indians. As their leader, he was engaged much of the time in active Indian warfare. Many may look back and consider him ruthless, but killings took place on both sides of this conflict. Montague's leadership was appreciated by most of the people of that time.
In 1846, Montague joined the army to command a company as captain under Col. William C. Young in the Mexican War known as the "Red River Volunteers." When not engaged in military service or Indian fighting, he surveyed land for the government. He was paid in land grants and in this way, he accumulated a vast amount of land extending from Fannin Co. to the present town of Haskell, about 33,200 acres of land.
After moving to Texas, Daniel and Sarah had two more children: Nancy, born 15 Feb. 1839 and Daniel Ross born 31 March 1841. Nancy died when fifteen and Daniel Ross, the only son to reach adulthood, seems to have died at age 35 of a lingering illness. There is no record of his ever marrying.
As Daniel traveled to survey and to record his findings in Austin, he brought back to the settlers the news of the surrounding territory. He seems to have met many interesting people who sometimes visited in his home. So you might say, Daniel Montague was a link between the settlers and the rest of the world.
Daniel was a leading merchant at Warren, which was a principal trading post with the Indians on both sides of Red River. In 1838 he and William Henderson built a merchandise store at Warren. His trading with the Indians and leading active warfare against them, may sound contradicting. But many Indians were on good terms with the settlers. Most of the Indian trouble was from renegade bands. Yet some of the Indians killed in raids proved to be among the "friendly" Indians who worked for and traded with the settlers.
It is reported in a Fannin County history book, that in 26 May 1837, Montague and a party of seventeen men, seemingly without provocation, attacked a band of Kickapoos, Shawnees, Cherokees, and Delaware near Warren. Several Indians were killed and their bodies burned. After this incident, there was open warfare between the Indians ans the settlers.
Montague's second wife died 21 March 1841, and on 14 November 1841, he married Mary Elizabeth Dugan, daughter of Daniel and Catharine Dugan. An account of the wedding is in " Indian Depredations" by Wilbarger: "Colonel Montague and Mary Dugan were married on a Sunday afternoon at Dugan Chapel, a large number of friends and relatives attending and witnessing the ceremony. On Monday morning after breakfast, the wedding party left for Warren, the bride accompanied to her new home by her brother George and her sister Emily." By nightfall, George and Emily Dugan had returned home. It was that night that Indians attacked the Dugan home thinking Daniel Montague would still be there.
Daniel and Mary (Dugan) Montague became the parents of two children: James Newell, born 9 Jan. 1843 and died 12 July 1843, and Catharine Vaden Montague, born 21 October 1845 and died about 1850. Mary Montague died of lung fever on 15 December 1846. She and her children are buried in the Dugan Cemetery.
Sometime after marrying for the fourth time on 1 August 1848, Daniel and his new wife, Jane Shannon, moved northwest of Gainesville where he claimed more land and continued to survey for the state of Texas. There were no children by this last marriage.
After his daughter Rebecca died, his daughter Elizabeth married Rebecca's husband, William Carroll Twitty. Twitty was a captain in the mounted volunteers at Marysville, TX, formed 22 May 1861. Elizabeth and William had no children. She died in 1919 at the age of ninety-three. Both Elizabeth and her husband are buried near Daniel and Jane in the Marysville Cemetery between Munster and Gainsville.
Daniel Montague was foreman of a jury that sentenced 41 people to hang in 1862, the Civil War period. Montague, a dyed-in-the-wool Confederate, was so devastated by the outcome of the Civil War that he left Texas to live in Old Mexico. He located in the Tuxpan River Valley and remained there eleven years. His wife Jane and his son Daniel Ross accompanied him there where they grew tobacco. His son, Daniel Ross, died 12 July 1876 and soon afterwards, Daniel and Jane decided to return to Texas.
They arrived at the home of his only living child, Elizabeth Twitty, in November of 1876. Daniel, now aged and feeble, was greeted by Elizabeth with both a tearful and joyful welcome. Just a few weeks later, while visiting a friend at Marysville, Cooke Co., Col. Montague was stricken with pneumonia. He died 20 December 1876 at the age of seventy-eight. Throughout his life, he was a consistent Christian and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The town of Montague bears his name as well as the county, Montague County, which was organized the first Monday in August 1857.
A Texas Historical Marker stands along Highway 82 in Cooke County near Lindsey in honor of the "First Cooke County Surveyor, Daniel Montague, 1798-1876." Besides being a surveyor, Daniel was a true pioneer, an Indian fighter , and a very colorful personality.
Compiled by: Lora B. Tindall
RESOURCE LOG: Montague Family Bible Records; Daniel & Catharine (Vaden) Dugan Bible Records; History of Grayson Co., TX, by Landrum; Handbook of TX; Montague Co., TX, Centennial Magazine; Indian Depredations of TX by Wilbarger (1890); Fannin Co., TX, Marriage Records; Old newspaper articles; Texas Landgrants and Deeds; History of Cooke Co., TX; The First hundred Years in Cooke Co., TX; Gravestone readings Marysville Cemetery (just north of a point between Munster and Gainesville on Hwy 82 in Cooke Co,) Gravestone readings from Dugan Cemetery north of Bells; The Southwestern Historical Quarterly Vol. XXIV p 56; Richard Montague and His Descendants, pub 1881; East Texas Historical Journal, The Dugan Family, Its contributions to Early Grayson Co., History, Vol. XL, NO. I, 2002 by Lora Whiting Tindall and Dr. Clyde Hall, pp 52-57