MONTIER FAMILY STORIES
THE EARLY MONTIER SETTLERS
BY MYRTLE MONTIER
"Port Lavaca, Texas 1840-1990"
Two Montier brothers, David and Timothy, left Montiervilleres. France, in the late
1830's and sailed for Maryland.

Mary Saint Claire Kelley of Cork County, Ireland, traveling with her parents,
sailed on the same boat with the Montiers from Maryland to Galveston, Texas.  Mary
and Timothy were married in the late 1830's and the Montiers moved to Port Lavaca, Texas
in the early 1840's.

The Republic of Texas issued Head Rights to Timothy Montier of 640 acres and
David Montier 320 acres on December 26, 1839.  The land was near Hondo.

Three children, David 1843, Mary Jane 1840, and Elizabeth 1848 were born but
only Mary Jane survived.  She married Will Stanton.










Both Timothy and David Montier were cobblers.  Leather was plentiful in this
area at that time.  

They built a home about 1846, now numbered 713 Virginia, and is
still used as a residence.

After Timothy's death, Mary and David were married (October 30, 1853).  Their marriage
produced four children; Frederick Senator, Emil, Charlie and Timothy.  Emil
and Timothy died before 1888.  Charlie moved to San Antonio.

A Court Resolution in 1875 expresses appreciation for David's years of service
as a Justice of Peace.

Fred owned the first bakery in Port Lavaca,  The bakery oven was a brick
rectangle about 6 by 12 feet, set on a concrete slab, with a heavy layer of sand on
top.  Maude remembers playing with friends on the oven during cold days.  Among bakery
products were hardtack, which was made for the sailors.

Fred was elected Justice of The Peace in 1892, serving several terms until 1911.
A local Citizen related, "Mr. Fred performed my marriage ceremony while I was
dressed in my nightgown.  I had sneaked out of my bed but Mr. Fred knew that I was
of legal age".

In 1894 Fred added a confectionery to the bakery.  He also owned the first Port
Lavaca Bottling Works in the 1890's and early 1900's.

In 1904 Fred opened the Shell Fish Café which soon became well known for it's
seafood and especially for his original crab omelet.  Operation of this Café was continued
by his Son, Francis Frederick.
It was over 100 years ago when Frederick Senator Montier assumed management of
his family's French bakery and confectionery at the corner of Ann and Live Oak 1894, right
across from the county courthouse in Port Lavaca, Texas.  He married Francisca Gaines in
1885.  Fred and Francisca had seven children: Francis Frederick, Constant William, Charles
Peterson, Rosena Latita, Maude Ettie, Mary Grace and Pauline Arcelia.

Montier eventually opened the Shell Fish Cafe in 1904 at the corner of East Railroad
and Commerce.

Keeping it in the Family, Francis Frederick Montier, F.S. Montier's oldest son, bought
the business from his father in 1922.  Several years later, the Cafe was moved to a larger,
new building about a block away at Commerce and U.S. Highway 87 (Main Street).

Francis Frederick Montier's first business career started with a bicycle shop.  From
this, he joined his father in the bottling business that expanded into a bakery and ice cream
parlor.  In 1910 he married Elizabeth Starbuck from Indiana.  

The Shell Fish Cafe has changed hands several times since Francis Frederick sold it
in the mid-1940's, and remained in the family until it was sold in 1981 except for only one
short period of time.  When the Shell Fish Cafe was sold in 1981, the historic bells that
could be seen in front of the Cafe (the larger one being a fire bell; the smaller one uncovered
after a storm in 1929) were donated to the Calhoun County Historical Commission, and moved
to their new location at the Half Moon Reef Lighthouse (picture shown above) just across the
highway from the Shell Fish Cafe.

The business was purchased in 2007 by Al and Dianna Stanger, and was opened for
business in early 2009.  The "name" was kept alive with it's new name, The Shellfish Sports
Bar & Grille.


The 1840 Raid on Linnville, Texas
And Juliet Constance Ewing Watts - Mother-in-Law to
Mary Jane Montier Ewing


In August, 1840, the Commanche Indians raided and burned the town of Linnville.
A warehouse owned by John J. Linn was located at Linnville.  Housed here
were expensive apparel, the very latest in fine clothing, brought in from New York
by Mr Linn to be shipped inland to various locations.  The Indians found the clothing
and during their antics put on several pieces.  The men's evening coats were worn
frontwards and backwards.  Parasols were opened and paraded around.
One Indian found a bolt of red material about ten yards long which he tied to
his horses' tail.  When the Indians left, they took the articles
with them.    

The men from Linnville took off in pursuit of the Indians, as they had
taken several women as prisoners.  After meeting up with men from
Victoria and joining forces, they also met soldiers.  A chase lead them to Lockhart,
Caldwell County, Texas, where a battle at Plum Creek ended with
the death of approximately twelve Indian chiefs from the one thousand
Indians in the battle.  This ended the Indian raids in this part of
the country.
by Lonnie Ficklen


Juliet Constance Ewing Watts - Mother-in-Law to
Mary Jane Montier Ewing


When the Indians were first seen near Linnville, they were thought to
be friendly but their mission soon became known.  Many of the inhabitants escaped to a
boat in the bay, which was kept for just such an emergency.  The men hid in trees.  After
boarding into the boat, Mrs. Juliet Watts, a bride of a few weeks, recalled a gold watch
that she prized highly, and insisted on returning for it.  Her husband,
Major Hugh Orem Watts, the local Custom Collector, accompanied his wife
ashore.  Mrs. Watts was taken prisoner and her husband tomahawked.  His
grave is in the Ranger Cemetery and his tomb carries the notation of
the raid and the date.
The posse caught up with the Indians, and Mrs. Watts
was freed after being shot with an arrow which was deflected by a
steel stay in her corset.  Rev. Z.N. Morrel, a traveling
Baptist minister, came up on Mrs. Watts, and pulled the arrow from her
breast.  She recovered from her wound, returned to Port Lavaca, and
married a Mr. Stanton.  They later received the first divorce in Calhoun
County, and she then married Dr. John R. Fretwell, a prominent resident
of Port Lavaca from 1853 to 1874.
He was a distinguished physician, munitions
expert in the Confederate Army, and an eminent Freemason.
The Fretwells operated a rooming house in Port Lavaca.  1860 Census
shows two sons: William Stanton age 15 (married Mary Jane Montier)
and Benjamin R. Fretwell  age 4.  Fretwell suffered heavy financial losses in the Civil War.
He went to Galveston, and then to Alabama in 1874.  Mrs. Juliet Fretwell reputedly
died in Port Lavaca in 1878.  Dr. Fretwell was buried April 17, 1885 in
Mobile, Alabama, and was survived by his second wife named Martha.
The Story about Dorothy Grace Montier's
first husband William L. Russell







TULSA WORLD NEWS  -    9/26/2010

The news that her uncle had gone missing in action during a failed bombing mission hit Cindy
Finley's family like a bombshell.

DNA sleuthing helps Tulsa woman find uncle killed in WWII


WWII CASUALTY
William L. Russell: After his small dive-bomber vanished over a Papua New Guinea island in
1943, Russell was declared missing. With all signs pointing to a crash, he was later declared
killed in action. In 2007 an island resident found what U.S. military officials later
determined to be the plane's wreckage, along with the remains of two occupants.

By TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
The news that her uncle had gone missing in action during a failed bombing mission hit Cindy
Finley's family like a bombshell. Finley, who never got to meet William L. Russell of
Cherokee, would never feel his loss as acutely as her elders, though.

By the time she was born, World War II was over and the missing Navy serviceman had
been declared dead. "He was a picture on the mantel in my grandmother's house in
Cherokee," said Cindy Finley, a Tulsa resident.  "I remember looking at it whenever we went
there. But all that Mother ever said was that he died in the war."

Some 70 years after her relative disappeared, Finley is feeling a lot closer to him now,
having played a personal role with her brother, Tulsa resident Chris Miller, in bringing his
story to a much-deserved conclusion.

Thanks to DNA samples that the siblings provided, Russell's remains were finally identified
earlier this year after being discovered with his plane's wreckage on an island.

A memorial service for William Russell, who was awarded the Purple Heart, will be held
Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

A pilot who died with Russell, Francis McIntyre of Mitchell, S.D., will be buried at the
cemetery along with him. A service for McIntyre will be held Wednesday at Arlington.

"I was just in shock when I got the call," Cindy Finley said of learning that after seven
decades her uncle's remains might have been found. "We had always believed that he was
buried somewhere over there and accounted for. It took us a while to realize what they
were saying."

After his small dive-bomber vanished over a Papua New Guinea island in 1943, Russell, a
Navy radio operator, was declared missing. With all signs pointing to a crash, he was later
declared killed in action.

In 2007, an island resident found what U.S. military officials later determined to be the
plane's wreckage, along with the remains of two occupants. To confirm the identities with
certainty, though, required a DNA match with family members.

Russell, who graduated from Cherokee High School before joining the Navy in 1941, had
three younger siblings, all of who served in the war effort.

Russell's two brothers, Edmond Russell and Howard Russell, joined the Army Air Corps, while
their sister, Maxine Russell, who was Finley's mother, was an Army cadet nurse.

All three of the siblings died previously, though, leaving just Finley and Miller and another
nephew in Andover, Kan., Mike Russell, as William Russell's nearest surviving relatives.

Surprised that DNA testing was even possible after all these years, Finley and Miller sent in
their requested samples, and several months later they learned the results.

"Then it became real," Finley said. At last they knew with certainty that their family
member had been found.

Finley, whose father had survived the Bataan Death March as a World War II prisoner of
war, said they considered having Russell buried in Cherokee near his mother.

"But he lost his life serving his country, and we wanted to give him the honor that he
deserved. And the highest honor we could think of was to take him to Arlington," she said.

More than 72,000 Americans who served during World War II remain unaccounted for,
military officials said.

One final puzzle related to William Russell remains:

According to Navy records, he left behind a wife, Dorothy Grace Russell of Port Lavaca,
Texas. But Finley has not been able to find out anything about her. "We don't know her
maiden name or anything," she said. "We don't know where she was from. They may have
met in that port. We just don't know."


Tim Stanley  
tim.stanley@tulsaworld.com