Montgomery County Courthouse in Clarksville
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
|Named for||John Montgomery|
|o Total||544 sq mi (1,410 km2)|
|o Land||539 sq mi (1,400 km2)|
|o Water||4.7 sq mi (12 km2) 0.9%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||371/sq mi (143/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
The county was named for John Montgomery, a soldier in the American Revolutionary War and an early settler who founded the city of Clarksville. It was organized in 1796 when the western portion of Tennessee County, which since 1790 had been part of the Territory South of the River Ohio, became part of the new state of Tennessee. (In 1790, North Carolina had ceded its western lands to the Federal government to create what was also known as the Southwest Territory.) The eastern portion of old Tennessee County was, at the same time Montgomery County was formed, combined with land taken from Sumner County to form Robertson County, Tennessee. Later acts of the Tennessee General Assembly had further reduced Montgomery County by 1871 to its current size and boundaries.
Montgomery County was the site of several early saltpeter mines. Saltpeter is the main ingredient of gunpowder and was obtained by leaching the earth from several local caves. Bellamy Cave, located near Stringtown, still contains the remains of two dozen saltpeter leaching vats. It appeared to have a large operation. Cooper Creek Cave also shows evidence of extensive mining and contains the remains of "many saltpeter hoppers". Both were probably mined during the War of 1812. Dunbar Cave is reported to have been mined for saltpeter during the Mexican War of 1848, but commercial development has destroyed any evidence of this. Little mining is likely to have happened here during the Civil War, since the Union Army captured and occupied this part of Tennessee in early 1862.
Montgomery County lies in a region of well-developed karst topography. A large cave system is named Dunbar Cave. Dunbar Cave is the centerpiece of Dunbar Cave State Park, which encompasses approximately 110 acres and is one of the most visited units in the Tennessee State Park System.
Dunbar Cave was extensively used by prehistoric Indians, who inhabited this area for thousands of years before European encounter. Remains of their cane torches have been found in the cave, and archaeologists have excavated numerous artifacts inside the entrance.[page needed] During a research trip into the cave on January 15, 2005, Park Ranger Amy Wallace, History professor Joe Douglas, local historian Billyfrank Morrison, and Geologist Larry E. Matthews, discovered Indian glyphs on the walls of the cave. Subsequent investigations by archaeologists from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville confirmed that these drawings were left by people of the Mississippian culture, which was active about 1000-1300 CE. These Indian glyphs were featured for a few years on the tour of the cave.
In 2009, the State of Tennessee closed Dunbar Cave to the public for several years because White Nose Syndrome was diagnosed in a bat and they did not want the disease to spread. The cave has since reopened and tours are conducted seasonally, from May to August.
As of the census of 2000, there were 134,768 people, 48,330 households, and 35,957 families residing in the county. The population density was 250 people per square mile (96/km²). There were 52,167 housing units at an average density of 97 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.17% White, 19.18% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 5.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 48,330 households out of which 40.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.60% were non-families. 20.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the county, the population was spread out with 28.40% under the age of 18, 12.30% from 18 to 24, 34.30% from 25 to 44, 17.20% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,981, and the median income for a family was $43,023. Males had a median income of $30,696 versus $22,581 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,265. About 7.90% of families and 10.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 10.70% of those age 65 or over.