The first American casualty of World War I was a sailor from Iowa named Merle Hay. He was killed when the German submarine U-58 torpedoed the USS Jacob Jones on December 6, 1917.
Montgomery County is a county located in southwestern Iowa, with its county seat in Red Oak. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Kanza, Illinois, and Miami. The first European settlers arrived in the early 1850s, establishing the first permanent communities in the county. Montgomery County was officially organized in 1853, named in honor of General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War hero.

During the mid-19th century, the county experienced rapid growth due to the construction of railroads. The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, later known as the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, played a significant role in the county's development, attracting new settlers and promoting economic growth. Towns such as Red Oak, Villisca, and Elliott emerged as commercial centers for agricultural trade.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw Montgomery County thrive as an agricultural region. Farmers cultivated corn, wheat, and oats, while also raising livestock such as cattle and hogs. The county's fertile soil and favorable climate contributed to its agricultural success. Manufacturing also became an important sector in the county, with industries such as flour mills, brick plants, and lumber mills emerging throughout the region.

In the 20th century, Montgomery County faced economic challenges as the agricultural industry underwent consolidation, reducing the number of small family farms. The Great Depression and declining population further impacted the county's economy. However, the county has since diversified its economy, with industries such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing playing prominent roles. Today, Montgomery County maintains a rich agricultural heritage while embracing new opportunities for growth and development.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Montgomery County, Iowa.

  • 1851 - Montgomery County established
  • 1875 - Red Oak, the county seat, founded
  • 1879 - First railroad completed in the county
  • 1885 - Formation of the first rural school district
  • 1891 - Construction of the Montgomery County Courthouse
  • 1929 - Great Depression begins, impacting the county
  • 1941-1945 - Montgomery County residents contribute to World War II efforts
  • 1972 - Montgomery County Historical Society founded
  • 1984 - Farm crisis affects the county's economy
  • 2011 - Flooding occurs along the Nishnabotna River