Montrose dedicates historic marker


People from across Baldwin County came out Sunday afternoon for a historic marker dedication celebrating the Village of Montrose.

The dedication took place at the Montrose Cemetery, located on Sibley Street off of U.S. Highway 98, where more than 50 residents and well-wishers attended.

Montrose Cemetery Board Trustee Fred Bostrom thanked the crowd for attending and said the Montrose community was thrilled to be recognized with a historic marker.

“There is a great deal of history in this community that deserves to be celebrated and recognized, so we’re pleased that we’ve got this new marker to help share our history now and in the future,” Bostrom said.

In addition to the new marker, the Montrose community was presented with an Alabama Bicentennial flag by Claudia Campbell, former chairwoman of the Baldwin County Historical Development Commission, in recognition of the history that the Montrose area plays for both Baldwin County and Alabama’s histories.

Baldwin County Historic Development Commission member Gray Redditt told the crowd the Historic Development Commission initially came into existence because communities like Montrose wanted to protect their historic nature and design.

Montrose Cemetery Board members Dick Scott and Steve Moore got the honors of unveiling the new marker, which reads as follows:

“The Village of Montrose - In 1839, Cyrus Sibley of Massachusetts acquired land on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Eight years later, a village was formally platted, surveyed and was called ‘Sibley City.’ In 1852, it was renamed ‘Montrose’ as a tribute to the Scottish Duke of Montrose. After the War Between the States (1861-1865) and during Reconstruction, Montrose emerged as a prosperous, diverse, rural community centered on brick and pottery manufacturing, agriculture and timber. In 1856, Sibley and his wife, Eliza, donated land for a church, school and cemetery. The antebellum Grey-Oliver Cottage was built in 1856 and is one of a dozen beautifully preserved antebellum homes within the community. The restored cottage was relocated inside the boundaries of the nine acre cemetery in 1992 and now serves as a community meeting place. In 1976, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Historical Landmark by the Alabama Historical Commission.

“Montrose - Montrose was of little military importance to Federal forces during the War Between the States, but a significant event did occur here. On September 4, 1863, the Confederate Commerce raider ‘Florida,’ its crew greatly diminished by yellow fever, successfully ran the Federal blockade of Mobile Bay. Quarantined, damaged by the Federal flagship ‘Oneida,” unable to dock in Mobile, the ship crossed the bay anchoring at Steadman’s Landing at Sibley Street. Villagers allowed the burial of Seaman Dunkin and Lt. Stribling in the Montrose Cemetery. These are the only two Confederate Seamen known to be buried in Baldwin County. In April of 1865, rumors emerged that Federal troops at Spanish Fort were preparing to advance on Montrose. Breastworks and other defensive positions were built adjacent to Sibley Street. Volunteers prepared to defend the village, but news arrived on April 9 of the Confederate surrender and the defenses were abandoned.”