Place:Montgomery, Maryland, United States


Alt namesMontgomerysource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates39.15°N 77.2°W
Located inMaryland, United States     (1776 - )
Contained Places
Hyattstown Cemetery
New Saint Mary's Catholic Church Cemetery
Inhabited place
Ashton-Sandy Spring
Aspen Hill
Bel Pre Farms
Bells Mill
Beverly Farms
Big Pines
Blackrock Mill
Blair Portal
Blueberry Hills
Bradley Farms
Browns Corner
Burnt Mills Hills
Burnt Mills Knolls
Burnt Mills Manor
Burnt Mills Village
Cabin John
Campbell Corner
Capitol View Park
Carderock Springs
Carole Acres
Cedar Grove
Cedar Heights
Chestnut Ridge
Chevy Chase Section 4
Chevy Chase Section Five
Chevy Chase Section Three
Chevy Chase View
Chevy Chase Village
Chevy Chase
Clifton Park Village
Colesville Manor
Colesville Park
Columbia Forest
Congressional Manor
Dunlops Hills
East Springbrook
Emery Corners
Emory Grove
Fawsett Farms
Forest Glen Park
Forest Glen
Fox Chapel
Fox Hills
Franklin Knolls
Franklin Park
Friendship Village
Garrett Park
Georgian Forest
Glemont Forest
Glen Echo Heights
Glen Echo
Glen Hills
Glen Oaks
Glenmont Hills
Glenmont Village
Good Hope
Goodacre Knolls
Great Falls
Green Tree Manor
Halpine Village
Hermitage Park
Highland View
Hillandale Heights
Holly Hill
Hollywood Park
Hunting Hill
Indian Spring Terrace
Indian Spring Village
Inverness Forest
Kemp Mill
Kensington Knolls
Kenwood Park
Kings Valley
Landon Village
Larchmont Knolls
Layhill South
Layhill Village
Lelands Corner
Manor Park
Manor by the Lake
Martin's Additions
McAuley Park
Mill Creek Towne
Mohican Hills
Monterrey Village
Montgomery Hills
Montgomery Knolls
Montgomery Square
Montgomery Village
Mount Ephraim
New Birmingham Manor
North Bethesda
North Chevy Chase
North Hills Sligo Park
North Kensington
North Potomac
North Sherwood Forest
North Springbrook
North Takoma Park
Northwest Park
Northwood Forest
Northwood Park
Old Farm
Old Germantown
Old Salem Village
Paint Branch Farms
Pine Hill
Pine Knolls
Potomac Hunt Acres
Potomac Manors
Quince Orchard
Randolph Hills
Rock Creek Hills
Rock Creek Knolls
Rocky Brook Park
Sandy Spring
Seven Oaks
Sherwood Forest
Silver Spring Park
Silver Spring
Sligo Woods
Somerset Heights
South Kensington
South Layhill
Spring Hill
Spring Lake Park
Springbrook Forest
Springbrook Manor
Stephen Knolls
Stewart Town
Stoney Brook
Sunset Terrace
Sycamore Acres
Sycamore Creek
Takoma Park
Thompsons Corner
Tilden Woods
Tulip Hill
Twin Brook
Washington Grove
West Chevy Chase Heights
Wheaton Crest
White Oak
Wildwood Hills
Willerburn Acres
Willson Hills
Windham Manor
Wolf Acres
Woodside Forest
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Montgomery County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland, located adjacent to Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 971,777, increasing by 9.0% to an estimated 1,058,810 in 2017. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville, although the census-designated place of Germantown is the most populous place. Montgomery County is included in the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn forms part of the Baltimore–Washington Combined Statistical Area. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, of which the most built up are Silver Spring and Bethesda, although the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers, as are many smaller but significant places.

As one of the most affluent counties in the United States, Montgomery County also has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate degrees. The county has been ranked as the one of the wealthiest in the United States. Like other inner-suburban Washington, D.C. counties, Montgomery County contains many major U.S. government offices, scientific research and learning centers, and business campuses, which provide a significant amount of revenue for the county.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early history

Before European immigration, the land now known as Montgomery County was covered in a vast swath of forest crossed by the creeks and small streams that feed the Potomac and Patuxent rivers. A few small villages of the Piscataway, members of the Algonquian people, were scattered across the southern portions of the county. North of the Great Falls of the Potomac, there were few permanent settlements, and the Piscataway shared hunting camps and foot paths with members of rival peoples like the Susquehannocks and the Senecas.

Captain John Smith of the English settlement at Jamestown was probably the first European to explore the area, during his travels along the Potomac River and throughout the Chesapeake region.

These lands were claimed by Europeans for the first time when George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore was granted the charter for the colony of Maryland by Charles I of England. However, it was not until 1688 that the first tract of land in what is now Montgomery County was granted by the Calvert family to an individual colonist, a wealthy and prominent early Marylander named Henry Darnall. He and other early claimants had no intention of settling their families. They were little more than speculators, securing grants from the colonial leadership and then selling their lands in pieces to settlers. Thus, it was not until approximately 1715 that the first British settlers began building farms and plantations in the area.

These earliest settlers were English or Scottish immigrants from other portions of Maryland, German settlers moving down from Pennsylvania, or Quakers who came to settle on land granted to a convert named James Brooke in what is now Brookeville. Most of these early settlers were small farmers, growing wheat and a variety of other subsistence crops in addition to the region's main cash crop, tobacco. Many of the farmers owned slaves. They transported the tobacco they grew to market through the Potomac River port of Georgetown. Sparsely settled, the area's farms and taverns were nonetheless of strategic importance as access to the interior. General Edward Braddock's army traveled through the county on the way to its disastrous defeat at Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.

Like other regions of the American colonies, the region that is now Montgomery County saw protests against British taxation in the years before the American Revolution. In 1774, local residents met at Hungerford's Tavern and agreed to break off commerce with Great Britain. Following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, representatives of the area helped to draft the new state constitution and began to build a Maryland free of proprietary control.


By 1776, there was a growing movement to form a new, strong federal government, with each colony retaining the authority to govern its local affairs. Member of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Thomas S. Wootton thought that dividing large Frederick County into three counties, each governed by elected representatives, would result in greater self-government.[1]

When Wootton discussed his idea with the residents of southern Frederick County, the residents supported his idea for a different reason.[1] At some point, almost everyone had needed to traveling to the courthouse in Frederick Town, and the travel cost and time was prohibitive.[1] The residents wanted a county courthouse to be located closer to the residents.[1]

On August 31, 1776, Wootton introduced a measure to form a new county from the southern portion of Frederick County.[1]

Wootton proposed naming the new county after the well-known Major General Richard Montgomery, who had served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.[1] Eight months prior, Montgomery had died in Quebec City while attempting an ultimately unsuccessful invasion of the Province of Quebec.[1] Montgomery had never actually set foot on the land that would bear his name.[1]

Wootton also proposed forming a new county from the northwestern portion of Frederick County, named Washington County, named after another well-known leader of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington.[1]

Several members of the Maryland Continental Convention opposed Wootton's proposal, and it was tabled.[1] Six days later, Wootton pressed for his proposal again, and it passed by a slim majority. As a result, Montgomery County came into existence on October 1, 1776.[1]

In 1777, the leaders of the new county chose as their county seat an area adjacent to Hungerford's Tavern near the center of the county, which became Rockville in 1801. When deciding its name, the original idea was to call it Wattsville, after Watts Branch, a stream that runs through the land.[2] Because Watts Branch is a small stream, the idea was reconsidered, and the area was ultimately named Rockville after the nearby and larger Rock Creek.[2]

For tax purposes, Montgomery County was divided into eleven districts, called Hundreds. The names and areas of each hundred carried over from when the area was still part of Frederick County.[3] The eleven districts were named as follows.

The first court was held at Hungerford's Tavern on May 20, 1777.[2] Court was held by Charles Jones, Samuel W. Magruder, Elisha Williams, William Deakins, Richard Thompson, James Offutt, and Edward Burgess, with Brook Beall as clerk.[2] Clement Beall served as the county's first sheriff.[2] The county's first courthouse was built soon thereafter, and the court was held at the new courthouse beginning in 1779.[2]

According to the 1790 census, the county's first, 18,000 people lived in the county, of which about 35 percent were black.[3]

Montgomery County supplied arms, food, and forage for the Continental Army during the Revolution, in addition to soldiers.

In 1791, portions of Montgomery County, including Georgetown, were ceded to form the new District of Columbia, along with portions of Prince George's County, Maryland, as well as parts of Virginia that were later returned to Virginia.

19th century

In 1828, construction on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal commenced and was completed in 1850. Laborers were primarily Irish immigrants. Throughout the 19th century, agriculture dominated the economy in Montgomery County, with slaves playing a significant role, though the vast majority of farmers owned 10 slaves or less rather than large plantations. In the first half of the 19th century, low tobacco prices and worn-out soil caused many tobacco farms to be abandoned. Crop production gradually shifted away from tobacco and toward wheat and corn. Prior to the Civil War, Montgomery County allied itself with other slaveholding counties in southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.[4] Montgomery County was important in the abolitionist movement, especially among the Quakers in the northern part of the county near Sandy Spring. Josiah Henson grew up as a slave on the Riley farm south of Rockville. He wrote about his experiences in a memoir which became the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). A slave cabin where he is believed to have spent time still stands at the end of a driveway off Old Georgetown Road.

Until 1860, only private schools existed in Montgomery County. Initially, schools for European American students were built. A school in Rockville for free African-Americans existed until 1866. Another school for African-Americans was opened by 1877 in Rockville.

Montgomery County's proximity to the nation's capital and split sympathies to North and South resulted in it being occupied by Union forces during the Civil War. The county was "invaded" on multiple occasions by Confederate and Union forces.

In 1855, work on the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began, in order to provide a route between Washington, D.C., and Point of Rocks, Maryland. In 1873, the railroad opened. The railroad spurred development at Takoma Park, Kensington, Garrett Park and Chevy Chase. By providing a much-needed transportation link, it also greatly increased the value of farmland and spurred the development of a dairy industry in the county.

During the Jim Crow era, masked mobs of local white men carried out two separate lynchings of African-American men in Montgomery County on Rockville's courthouse lawn. John Diggs was violently lynched in 1880 and Sydney Randolph similarly murdered in 1896. Neither man was found guilty in a court of law, nor was anyone punished for the lynchings. On that same lawn, the Maryland Historical Society maintains a monument to the Confederate army as "heroes of the thin grey line", because Montgomery County, like the rest of Maryland, was divided over the issue of secession. One vocal sociologist has claimed Montgomery County was not welcoming of the Confederates during the Civil War. No memorial exists for victims of Montgomery County's lynchings.

20th and 21st centuries

On July 1, 1922, the Montgomery County Police Department was established. Prior to that time, law enforcement duties rested in the Montgomery County Sheriff and designated constables. In 1922, the police department consisted of three to six officers who were appointed to two-year terms by the Board of County Commissioners, one of whom would be appointed as Chief.[5] In 1927, the police department was enlarged to twenty officers.[5]

The remains of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for the novel The Great Gatsby, are interred at Rockville Cemetery.

Home rule

The county began with most legislative power in the hands of the Maryland state government, with a five-person Montgomery County Board of Commissioners who oversaw the administration of the county but could neither pass county laws nor enact policies.

In 1915, Maryland amended its constitution.[6] According to the constitutional amendment, a county's residents may propose a petition to create a nonpartisan Charter Board.[6] If the petition receives signatures from at least twenty percent of the county's registered voters, all county residents would vote to select the members of the Charter Board during the next general election.[6] The Charter Board would be authorized to draft a new system of county government, which could include a county council with the power to enact legislation and policies.[6] The Charter Board's proposal would then be voted upon by registered voters during the following general election, and it would be enacted if approved by the voters.[6]

In 1930, two-thirds of Arlington County, Virginia residents voted to appoint a county manager, inspiring activists in Montgomery County to advocate for the same. In 1935, a group of farmers meeting in Sandy Spring decided that Montgomery County needed a new form of governance.[7] The farmers were in favor of a professional county manager and a home-rule charter for Montgomery County.[7]

In 1936, the Montgomery County Civic Federation announced its support for a home-rule charter, a merit system for Montgomery County's employees, and a comptroller to administer the county's finances.[7] The following year, the Montgomery County Civic Federation appointed Woodside Park-resident Allen H. Gardener to head a committee to study the reorganization of the Montgomery County's government.[7] The committee recommended massive changes and, in February 1938, the Montgomery County Civic Federation passed a resolution urging the Montgomery County commissioners to engage a professional group to study the county's government.[7]

In October 1938, the Montgomery County Commissioners held a public hearing on the proposal.[7] The Commissioners decided to authorize a study of the existing county government structure with the goal of suggesting recommendations.[7] In November 1938, the Commissioners selected the Brookings Institution for Government Research to conduct the study. The 720-page report opined that the county had outgrown its form of government.

The Brookings Institution's study recommended the creation of a nonpartisan county council consisting of nine members representing defined districts of the county who could pass legislation, determine policy, and control over the administration of the county.[8] The county should hire a county administrator, create an independent comptroller in charge of county finances, consolidate welfare services, and establish a three-member non-political civil service commission.[7][8] Black children deserved better schools, and all children should receive military training and learn about democracy.[7] The Liquor Control Board should be abolished, and the county should hire a full-time attorney rather than retain multiple part-time legal advisers.[7] A professional consultant should reassess taxes, and the tax rate should be increased enough to retire the county's debt.[7] The Montgomery County Civic Federation praised the study for its comprehensiveness.

The county commissioners appointed a citizen's committee to determine how to enact the study's recommendations. The county commissioners strongly criticized the recommendation to create a county council, both because the council would be nonpartisan and because each county resident would be able to vote for only one representative rather than for all nine.[9] Implementing some of the recommendations weeks later, the county commissioners appointed a permanent Board of Assessors, reorganized the Welfare Board, hired the a County Attorney and a purchasing agent, and hired sixteen police officers.

In 1942, Montgomery County Charter Committee was organized, which was formed primarily to circulate petitions to form a Charter Board. The Charter Board petitioned to form a county council with the power to pass laws without the consent of the Maryland General Assembly and with authority over the administration the county. While the Democratic Party did not explicitly denounce the charter, it issued a statement calling out the ostensibly nonpartisan movement for hidden partisan goals and claimed that backers of the charter petition for their alleged personal and political attacks on the Democratic Party and its officials. The newly formed Independent Party endorsed the charter, praising county residents' goal of improving their form of government. In the November 1942 election, county residents voted in favor of forming a Charter Board.

In 1943, the Charter Board released its draft charter. The council would have nine unpaid members,[10] of which five would represent each of five single-member districts and four would represent the county at-large.[11] Council seats would be nonpartisan, each seat would be held for four years, and elections would occur every two years.[11] The council would have the power to enact legislation and hire a county manager, to whom all governmental department heads would report.[11] All sessions of the council would be open to the public.[11] The office of county treasurer would be abolished and replaced by a director of finance, who would be responsible for assessment and collection of taxes, assessments, and licenses, custody and disbursement of public funds and property, and preparation of monthly financial statements.[11] A department of public works, department of education, department of safety, department of welfare, and department of health would also be created.[11]

The Montgomery County Charter Board opened its campaign headquarters in Bethesda, to serve as an information center regarding the draft charter. The Charter Board emphasized that the draft charter would allow for county affairs to be decided by local representatives rather than by a vote of members of the Maryland General Assembly who represent citizens of all parts of the state.[12] Another group opposing the draft charter opened its headquarters in Bethesda. The group said there was no good reason to abolish the functional state-level system already in place, and that the draft charter would increase taxes and establish heads of governmental agencies with indefinite terms who are not directly accountable to the public.[10] The group also said that making the council seats nonpartisan would go against the country's political history.[10] The editorial board of The Washington Post supported the draft charter. The Montgomery County League of Women Voters also endorsed the draft charter.

In a near-record turnout, a 1946 vote to enact a home-rule charter failed by a vote of 14,471 to 13,270. Following the vote, proponents of the charter said they would not give up the fight.

Several months later, Montgomery County Democratic Party leader Col. E. Brooke Lee said he would support Montgomery County home rule by way of an act of the Maryland state legislature.[13] Lee proposed a bill to create a position of county supervisor, who would be in charge of routine county business, would appoint county employees subject to civil service rules and regulations, would supervise expenditures, and would prepare the operating and capital budgets. The bill did not disband the county commissioners or create a county council.[14] The bill passed the state legislature and was signed by Governor Herbert R. O'Conor in 1945.[14] The county commissioners appointed Willard F. Day to the position.[14]

In 1948, by a vote of 17,809 in favor and 13,752 against, voters approved a charter for a "Council-Manager" form of government, making Montgomery County the first home-rule county in Maryland. The charter created an elected seven-member County Council with the power to pass local laws.[15] All seven Council Members would be elected at-large by all county residents. Five would have to live in five different residence districts, while the other two could live anywhere within the county.[16] The Council would serve as both the legislative and executive functions of the county. Council members would elect one of their own to serve as president of the Council.[17] The charter also authorized the hiring of a county manager, the top administrative official, who could be dismissed by the Council after a public hearing. The charter created a department of public works, department of finance, and office of the county attorney, while it abolished the positions of county treasurer and police commissioner.[18] The first County Council was elected in 1949.[19]

County Executive

In 1962, a county civic group advocated for the election of a county executive. The group's report said that the new position would give citizens another place to go if their concerns were refused by the Montgomery County Council.[20] The group said that the fact that the county had four appointed county managers in thirteen years demonstrates that establishing the position in 1948 had not been a stunning success.[20] The group also advocated for nonpartisan elections for council members. Among the reasons for the suggested changes in governance is the fact that the county's population had more than doubled since the governmental system had been established in 1948.[20]

In 1966, the Montgomery County Council adopted a proposed charter amendment to create a new elected position of County Executive. Elected to a four-year term, the County Executive could veto legislation passed by the County Council, although five members of the County Council could vote to overrule the veto.[21] All Council Members would continue to be at-large, but they would need to live in seven different residence districts.[21] Republicans favored a referendum on the proposed charter amendment, while Democrats favored it in principle but urged the specific amendment's defeat because the duties of the County Executive were not specific enough. In the referendum held in September 1966, the referendum was defeated, with 57 percent of voters opposed.

In February 1967, the Montgomery County Council formed a commission to draft a charter amendment to elect a county executive. The commission's plan was to separate the legislative and executive functions of government.[17] The county council would continue to be the legislative branch of county government, and an elected full-time County Executive who could veto legislation passed by the Council; it would take five votes by the Council to override a veto. The County Executive would hire a chief administrative officer to supervise the daily operations of the government.[22] All Council Members would be elected at-large by all county residents, but five of the seven would need to live in each of five different residential districts of substantially equal population.[22] In November 1968, the charter amendment was approved, with 53 percent of votes in favor.

In the first election for County Executive, held in 1970,[23] Republican James P. Gleason defeated Democrat William W. Greenhalgh by a margin of 420 votes.

In November 1986, voters amended the Charter to increase the number of Council seats in the 1990 election from seven to nine. Now five members are elected by the voters of their council district and four are elected at-large. Each voter may vote for five council members; four at-large and one from the district in which they reside.


In November 1995, the City of Takoma Park held a state-sponsored referendum asking whether the portions of the city in Prince George's County should be annexed to Montgomery County or vice versa. The majority of votes in the referendum were in favor of unification of the entire city in Montgomery County. Following subsequent approval by both counties' councils and the Maryland General Assembly, the county line was moved to include the entire city into Montgomery County (including territory in Prince George's County newly annexed by the city) on July 1, 1997. This added about 800 residents to Montgomery County's population.


Date Event Source
1776 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1777 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1800 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 18,003
1800 15,058
1810 17,980
1820 16,400
1830 19,816
1840 15,456
1850 15,860
1860 18,322
1870 20,563
1880 24,759
1890 27,185
1900 30,451
1910 32,089
1920 34,921
1930 49,206
1940 83,912
1950 164,401
1960 340,928
1970 522,809
1980 579,053
1990 757,027

Note: Parts of Prince George's and Montgomery Counties were taken to form the District of Columbia in 1791.

Research Tips

External links

  • Outstanding guide to Montgomery County family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, wills, deeds, county histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

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