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Sequoyah Research Center

William Montgomery

William Montgomery migrated from Tennessee to the Louisiana Territory in 1810, then to Arkansas Post where he owned and operated a small store until 1820. After the territorial capitol was moved to Little Rock, Montgomery believed that the mouth of the White River would be of more commercial importance than Arkansas Post, so he purchased 500 acres of land there. The tiny settlement at the mouth of the White River was almost as old as Arkansas Post, having been established in 1776 by Francois D. Armond, a wealthy fur trader who erected some log buildings and made it his home. However, after Montgomery’s business interests prospered, it became known as Montgomery’s Point, and its importance in the early steamboat ear cannot be overemphasized. Charles Fenton Mercer Noland wrote that in 1826 it was the great trading point for all of North Arkansas, and for a great deal of South Arkansas. Most boats passing from either the Arkansas or White rivers touched at Montgomery’s Point. The remarkable aspect, Noland noted, was that a person could pass down those rivers into the Mississippi without going through the mouth of either, which was accomplished by a chute between rivers.

When Montgomery moved to Arkansas, he was accompanied by David Miller, a young man who came to the Post in 1819 with Governor James Miller’s party. The shrewd and personable Miller, who was a native of Buffalo, New York, married one of Montgomery’s daughter, which led to the formation of Montgomery, Miller, and Company, until it dissolved after David Miller’s death in June of 1833. William Montgomery died in his home in 1835.

Source: Duane Huddleston, “The Volant and Reindeer Early Arkansas Steamboats,” Pulaski County Historical Review, 24 (June, 1976) p21-33

Updated 8.4.2010