Livery Stable Tokens Presented to Montgomery Historical Society

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 04/25/2024


MONTGOMERY, TX -- In the early days of Montgomery, prior to the County even being chartered in 1837, a livery stable was located at 14259 Liberty Street, where the current Texas & Beyond Mini Plaza (home to a gift shop and art gallery). This was back in the day that McCown Street was the main thoroughfare through Montgomery, and the future Nat Hart Davis cottage built in the 1850’s would be facing east instead of west. The livery stable handed out the tokens that were used as a claim ticket for horses, mules and wagons to be stabled.

Billy Ray Duncan, and his brother Donald, were avid metal detectorists in the 1990’s, and found the tokens in 1994 after being given permission to detect on the then empty lot. The brothers noted the markings on the engraved coin numbers 4, 18, and 19, giving them to the Gains family, who owned the property at the time. The family later built the current structure on the property. The Gains’ gave the tokens to the previous lot owners, Darron and Emily Jones. It was The Jones’, who gave the coins to the current property owners Anthony and Rebecca Noreiga, who in turn donated them to the Montgomery Historical Society this past Saturday at the pavilion located outside the store.

“I am thrilled that the coins have found a home at the Nathaniel Hart Davis Pioneer Complex and Museum,” said MHS President Billy Ray Duncan. “We appreciate Anthony and Rebecca’s commitment to Montgomery, and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The Trinidadian couple, Anthony, a retired physician, and Rebecca, a retired engineer, adopted Montgomery as their home and opened their store last October, which has been a hit ever since. Donating the coins to the historical society was a wonderful gesture by The Noreigas’ and further establishes their roots in the community. And finding a permanent home for the coins that will be on permanent display at the museum forever links them to our fair city.

Texas & Beyond, offers opportunities for local artists to display and sell their new works, as well craft and art class opportunities for customers wishing to learn how to paint or do personal crafts. They have a wonderful gift shop for customers looking for that unique gift for that special someone, or anyone who wants unique decor to their home.

Legendary MISD history teacher and Montgomery historian, Mrs. Bessie Price Owen, passed away in 2004, remembered the coins from her conversations with old timers when she was growing up in town. Her dedication to the History of Montgomery has yielded a massive archive that will be noted later in a future story.

Also on that Saturday, the Montgomery Historical Society held a general meeting at the Old Baptist Church. MHS Vice President, Joy Montgomery, presented her research on Montgomery, and has found proof of a trading post that predates Montgomery just north of town. MHS President, Billy Ray Duncan, noted that Montgomery’s research has come about only since late last year.

“The trading post is the early center of Montgomery, and was set up as early as the late 1820s,” said Montgomery. “ It predates W.W. Shepperd’s trading post that was set up in 1835.”

Via ‘Light Detection and Ranging’ (LIDAR), gravesites have been noted on the old trading post site per documents noted from the early founders. The problem is that the current property owners have an intention to build over the site. Montgomery is bringing attention to the issue to preserve the graves, and has enlisted the help of State Archaeologists, as well as Texas Historical Commission. Joy also noted in a land deed, that the graves at the site cannot be infringed upon.

“Many people didn’t believe that the trading post existed,” said Duncan, “The post was the original site of the town, which had its own little natural spring, but mosquitos forced the migration of the citizens to the current Historic Montgomery.”

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