Gazetteer of Montpeliers and Montpelliers in the United States


The United States can claim a full national spread of Montpel(l)iers, with examples in over 20 states from the eastern seaboard across to California, and south to the US Virgin Islands. Earliest occurrences are in Maryland and Virginia; most famous is Montpelier, state capital of Vermont, from which several more recent settlements in western states take their name.



Historical locale in north Baldwin Co, about 5 miles east of Blacksher. A settlement existed here by 1856, when it appears on John La Tourette's Map of the State of Alabama and West Florida. The principal building there today is Montpelier Methodist Church. Montpelier and Blacksher refer to the same general area in north Baldwin county, with Blacksher being the current name. Its origins lie in the 1812 war with Britain, when the Creek Indians were encouraged to rise in arms, massacring several hundred settlers who had taken refuge in Fort Mims, near the junction of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers. (At this time the area was in Mississippi territory, Alabama not achieving statehood until 1819.)

After the battle of Fort Mims in 1813, two more forts were built, Fort Montgomery and Fort Montpelier. A huge home with white columns was built at Montpelier, according to resident Tom Bradley, but burned in the early 1880s. The home that still stands in which Mrs. Frank Earle lives was constructed in 1884. Bradley's grandfather and Francis Earle lived in the first Montpelier home. Francis Earle's sister, Mary, married Bradley's grandfather and had two sons, Ulmer and J. T. When the original Montpelier burned, the Bradleys built a home across the highway from Montpelier. Francis Earle stayed in Montpelier and eventuallly left it to his son, Frank. Before his presidency, Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel stayed at Montpelier for five weeks in 1821. It was there he resigned on 31 May 1821 as governor of Florida. His troops were stationed at Montpelier. In its day, 150 years ago, Montpelier was the social place of its time.



A small settlement in Stanislaus Co., east of Denair. According to Erwin Gudde's California Place Names, the station here was named in 1891 upon the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad from Oakdale to Merced, probably named after the capital of Vermont. The name of the post office (now discontinued) was spelled Montpellier, but the present spelling is shown on the official railway map of 1900. The two-L spelling argues against a Vermont origin, but this is not conclusive.

Napa Valley, CA 94558

MontPellier Vineyards, producers of a Merlot and other varieties. Unusual for US in preferring a two-L spelling of the name.

San Diego, CA 92108

Has a Montpelier Avenue.

San Jose, CA 95116

Has a Montpelier Drive.


Orlando, FL 32821

Mason Dixon

Montpelier Village, a residential subdivision of Orlando. Includes a street named Montpelier Circle.


Montpelier, Baldwin County

A town was projected in 1801 ("Mont-pelier"), but seemingly never realised.

Montpelier, Bibb County.

A community in existence by 1920; no further details.

Montpelier, Monroe County

Also known as Montpelier Station. Formerly located 15 miles west of Macon. Settlement of about 1830 or earlier; the Montpelier Institute, founded here in 1842, was on the 800-acre site of Montpelier Springs, once a noted health resort with 14 springs. The Institute was the second oldest female school in Georgia; closed 1876. Montpelier Springs was the site of a Civil War skirmish in 1865.


Montpelier Avenue in Macon was probably an old "Montpelier Road" running west to the early settlement in Monroe County. Might be the same road as Montpelier Avenue in the city of Forsyth, Monroe County, GA.


Montpelier, Idaho 83254

Town of some 2,700 people (1997), Bear Lake County; founded by Mormon pioneers at a point where the Oregon Trail crossed a stream. Originally Clover Creek, it was renamed in 1864 at the suggestion of Brigham Young, for Montpelier, Vermont (his native state). Now a quiet town, though claiming a moment of fame in 1896, when Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed the Bank of Montpelier. He made his getaway up the nearby canyon and was chased by a sheriff on a bicycle.


Montpelier, Indiana

Town of 1995 people (1980), Blackford County; founded 1836 by Abel Baldwin and his son-in-law John J Cook, migrants from Vermont.


Montpelier, Iowa

Township of 849 people (1990) in Muscatine County; named in 1834 by Benjamin Nye, its first settler, who built several large gristmills in southeastern Iowa. The township became in 1850s a station on old stagecoach route between Muscatine and Davenport.


Montpelier, Adair County

Adair Co. store

A general store was built here about 1838, and the post office was moved to this store in 1862. Here in 1888 Maurice Helm found the Montpelier Diamond, now on view at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Photo shows post office when the store business was sold.

Columbia, KY 42728

Has a Montpelier Road.

Fort Knox, KY 40121

Has a Montpellier Street.


Montpelier, St Helena County

Population 247 in 1990. According to local tradition, was founded in 1804, ie the year after the Louisiana Purchase. Certainly in existence by 1813, by which time it was the county seat. Was on the mail route from Natchez to New Orleans; has remained a small rural community. Assessed to have been named by migrants from East Coast.

Albany, LA 70711

Has a Montpelier Avenue, and a Montpelier Road. 'That portion of La. Hwy. 43 north of Albany is generally referred to as the Turnpike Road, particularly by the older residents. South of Albany the road is generally referred to as the Springfield Road, but in the incorporated area of Albany the official street name for La. Hwy. 43 is Montpelier Avenue, divided into North and South Montpelier Avenue, respectively, by the railroad. On the official US township plat map of T6S-R6E, dated 1845, the road is shown and designated as the Springfield and Montpelier Road, explaining two of the three names.' (from "The Free State - A History and Place-Names Study of Livingston Parish", 1976).


Montpelier, Knox County

Mansion and State Historic Site in Thomaston, Knox Co. The original mansion was erected in 1793 by General Henry Knox (1750-1806), Secretary of War to George Washington from 1785-95. Seemingly the only Montpelier named by a woman: the house's name was chosen by Mrs Henry Knox (Lucy Flucker Knox) in 1794. She had been travelling up the St George's River to her newly built home. The mansion stood on a point of land easily seen from the approaching ship. It was her first view of her new home and she stated that she thought a home that magnificent deserved to have a name. She decided on Montpelier before they docked in Thomaston.



Stray reference to an (old) house named Montpelier in Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland.

Baltimore MD 21218

Has a Montpelier Street. Existing since early 1900s; in an area of east Baltimore once known as the Old Annex.

Montpelier, Howard County

A house of pre-1740 date, associated with the Ridgely family. One Henry Ridgely "made his home at Montpelier" on his marriage in 1750; this Howard County house apparently built by his father, and believed to have been in existence by 1740 [Celia M Holland, Old Homes & Families of Howard County, MD 1987, pp 346-7]. Presumably nearby is Montpelier Road in Howard County, site of Montpelier Research Park, where a commercial real estate firm purchased 5.6 acres of land in 2001.

Montpelier, Prince George's County

Garden house at Montpelier

The hexagonal garden house at Montpelier, otherwise known as the Snowden-Long House, Laurel MD (photo taken in 1920s).

This mansion, which can still be visited today, was probably begun in mid-1700s by Thomas Snowden; completed by 1783. Christened thus by Anne Ridgely after her birthplace. Leading to it is Montpelier Drive, Laurel MD 20708.

Montpelier, Washington County

Family home of Mason family. A two-storey brick & stone manor house in Georgian style built around 1770 by Richard Barnes, a St Mary's County (Md) planter [Maryland - a New Guide to the Old Line State, 1976].


Montpelier, Clay County

Populated place and Post Office in Clay County; founded 1848; named by Harry C Kirby, a Virginian, after estate in Virginia. Pop (1936): 250.


Atlantic City

Has a Montpelier Avenue.


Was once compared with the (French) Montpellier. The History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men  by Major E. M. Woodward & John F. Hageman (1883) recorded that "The Climate of Princeton is salubrious, and such is generally conceded to be the climate of the whole State of New Jersey. Because of its healthfulness Princeton was called by Dr. Witherspoon [president of Princeton College, d. 1794] the "Montpellier of America".


Rochester, NY 14618

In the town of Brighton (part of Rochester), there is a street named Montpelier Circle. Seemingly part of a modern subdivision.


Several examples in this state, perhaps for similar reasons to those in neighbouring Virginia, though they are not (yet) well documented. Oldest is probably the former plantation known as Montpelier at Williamsboro in Vance (once Granville) County, near the Virginia state line. This site first comes to notice as the home of North Carolina statesman and delegate to the Continental Congress John Williams (1731-1799). Williams sold the plantation (for 'love and affection and 5 shillings') to his son-in-law Robert Burton (1747-1825), who may have been the builder of the main house at Montpelier that stood until it burned (about 1997). During the Revolution, Burton was a lieutenant in the continental artillery and, later, quartermaster general of North Carolina with the rank of colonel. He was a member of the governor's council for most of the period 1783-1815, and served as its president three times. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1785 and 1787. In 1813, Burton served on the commission to establish the southern border of North Carolina. He also held several offices in Granville County and Edenton, including his appointment as sheriff in 1795. Burton was a successful farmer and planter. Granville County records for 1790 indicate that he owned fourteen slaves and 2,405 acres there, as well as nearly 6,000 acres in what would become Tennessee. His nephew, Hutchins G. Burton, was governor of North Carolina, 1824-1827. Robert Burton was buried on his plantation, Montpelier, 'at Williamsboro'. Today, an airport in Vance County carries the name Montpelier.

Further east, Montpelier was also the name of one of several fine old estates and homes at Edenton in Chowan County along the north shore of Albemarle Sound. Edenton was the first permanent settlement in North Carolina, and 'mothertown' of the state. The house, which still exists, is assumed to date from the 1800s, though the history is currently not known. The name is preserved in today's Montpelier Drive, Edenton, NC 27932.

The 1895 atlas of the US lists a settlement named Montpelier in Richmond County, to the south of North Carolina.

Elsewhere in North Carolina we find another Montpelier Drive in Winston-Salem, and Montpelier Presbyterian Church (in existence since at least 1850), on Main Street, Wagram NC 28396 (Scotland County).

There is a Montpelier Road at Charlotte, NC 28210.



Township of 96 people (1990) in Stutsman County; named about 1882 by Jerome J Flint and Bailey Fuller, both natives of Vermont.


Montpelier, Williams County

In north-west Ohio; population in 1990 was 4299. First settler in the area was George Bible, who in 1834 built a cabin some 2.5 miles south-east of the present village. Founded and platted in 1845, after survey by county surveyor, Miller Arrowsmith. Arrowsmith was given a ride to the site by Dr John Paul, a former county recorder; Paul told Jesse Tucker, one the people who had promoted the platting, that he wanted to name the town Montpelier after the capital of his native state, Vermont. First Post Office opened 1846; incorporated 1875.


Broken Arrow, OK 74012

Broken Arrow has a Montpelier Street; also an East Montpelier Street, .


Franklin County

Franklin County is home to Montpelier School.


Germantown attracted an early comparison: the following is taken from an advertisement for the Germantown Academy in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 5 March 1761: "The School House consists of 80 Feet in Front, and 40 Feet in Depth, two Stories in Height, with six commodious Rooms for the Use of the several Schools. To which are added as Wings, two convenient Dwelling-houses, with a lot of Ground to each, for the Residence of the Masters and their Boarders. The advantages of the School, with respect to Situation, must, if duly considered, contribute not a little to its Promotion and Encouragement. The House is built on a fine airy Hill, a little removed from the Public or Main street. The Air is known, from long Experience, to be pure and healthy; often recommended, by the best Physicians, to Invalids; and indeed the Place, without Exaggeration, may be justly termed the Montpelier of Pennsylvania".

Pittsburgh, PA 15216

Pittsburgh has a Montpelier Avenue.

Swanville, Millcreek Township, Erie County

Swanville has a Montpelier Avenue.


Montpelier, Edmunds County

Township (pop. 50 in 1990) in farming country in Edmunds County. The county was created 1873 and organised 1883; the township itself was settled from 1883 onwards (during the Great Dakota Boom) when the railroad made its way through Edmunds County. Bordering Montpelier Township to the south is Vermont Township, strongly suggesting that this Montpelier too was named by a Vermont migrant.


Mount Pelia, Tennessee

Mount Pelia was originally called Middlebury and later Montpelier. Mount Pelia is considered to be one of the oldest communities in Weakley County. It was first established in 1840 as Middlebury, but since there was another post office with the same name elsewhere in Tennessee the community was renamed to Montpelier then to Mount Pelia in 1916.

By 1885 there were two general stores, a grocery store, one saloon, six blacksmiths, a Masonic Hall, two churches and a school. The population that same year was about 100 people. As the city of Martin began to develop, many of Mount Pelia's residents relocated to the growing trade center. See Weakley County by Virginia C. Vaughan (1983).


See The Caribbean page


Montpelier, Washington County

Montpelier, Vermont

The state capital. Named thus ever since the original grant of land for a township in 1780. The choice was that of Colonel Jacob Davis, one of the original proprietors. He wanted to avoid the confusion caused by repeated reuse of settlers' hometown names, and to avoid the 'servility' implicit in any name of English origin; and he thought that the 'Mont' part of Montpelier would be apt for somewhere set in the mountains.

Daniel P Thomson's 1860 History of the Town of Montpelier gives the official account in full:

As enquiries respecting the origin of a name so peculiar as the one bestowed on this town will here very naturally arise in the mind of the reader, and some explanation as naturally be looked for in a work of this character, I will endeavor to meet this, and other anticipated queries of the kind, at the outset. The name in question was bestowed by Colonel Jacob Davis, a leading proprietor, and the first permanent settler of the town.

The Colonel being a man of an independent and originating mind, and consequently one of those who are not led by the examples and customs of others any farther than found consonant with their own notions, had noticed, with dislike, the propensity of the proprietors of most of the townships of the State [of Vermont] to bestow on their respective grants the names of the towns in the old States where they resided, or with which they were in some way associated; and he, therefore, resolved to have a new name for the township in which he was interested - one which should not be obnoxious to the imputation of such servility as had been shown in the naming of the other towns in the new State, and one, at the same time, which should obviate the inconvenience and confusion that he foresaw must someday arise in consequence of having so many places of the same name in one confederacy.

And in casting about for such a name as he would be willing to appropriate for the purpose, he thought of the city of France bearing the name of Montpelier, a word originally compounded, perhaps, of Mont, a hill or mountain, and peller, bare or shorn, and first bestowed on account of some bare elevation at or near the site of that city.

But however that may be, the name, the more particular applicability of which for the name of a town among the mountains was suggested by the first part of the word, seemed to strike the fancy and meet the requirements of the Colonel; and proposing it to his fellow petitioners for the proposed grant of a township here, it was at once adopted, the name of Montpelier inserted in the petition to the Legislature, and the grant made accordingly [in October 1780].

Thomson's etymology of the peller element of the French name is not now favoured. For general information on Montpelier, Vermont, visit the city's website.


Charlottesville, VA 22901

Charlottesville has a Montpelier Street.

Great Falls, VA 22066

Great Falls has a street called Montpelier Road.

Montpelier, Charles City County

Charles City

Small settlement in Charles City County, about 5.5 miles WNW of Charles City, on rte 609. Reference noted to member of Ladd family of Montpelier, Charles City County, marrying in 1827. Today the area appears to consist of around a dozen homes; if there was ever a larger house or plantation here, there is no obvious sign. Photo shows an abandoned property at the junction with Barnetts Road in October 2000.

Montpelier, Hanover County

Montpelier Pharmacy

Photo of pharmacy taken in October 2000.

Town in Hanover County, zip code 23192. Listed in 1833 gazetteer but possibly older than this; not very distant from the Madison Montpelier in Orange County, so possibly named after it.

Montpelier, Orange County

Portico Garden gateway Railroad station Information Centre

Photos (October 2000) show the portico of the Madison house; a view from a gateway in the garden; the nearby railroad station; and information centre.

Family home of 4th President James Madison. Originally called Mount Pleasant, the new name of Montpelier was chosen (about 1781) because of the pleasant situation of the house, its wholesome nature recalling the healthy reputation of the French original. A cousin of James Madison, writing in 1781 after a stay at the this plantation, commented thus on the good health of Madison's father: "though I was the less surprised at it, after experiencing the Salubrious Air of his fine Seat, not to be exceeded by any Montpellier in the Universe. Before the end of the 18th century, Montpelier had become the formal name of the mansion, which it retains to this day. Home later owned by the DuPont family, and now by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation. Go to James Madison's Montpelier website for more on this house and the surrounding estate. Adjacent, on the Southern railroad, is Montpelier Station. This was built in about 1904 for the convenience of the DuPont family and is no longer operational, though part of it now houses a small post office.

Montpelier, Sperryville, Rappahannock County


Photo (Oct 2000) shows the immense porch of this house.

Antebellum house in Rappahannock County; on Montpelier Lane, just off Rte 231 - between Buckners Corner and Revercombs Corner. Listed in Farrar and Hines Old Virginia Houses: The Piedmont(1975) - monumental house, 110 feet long and 36 feet deep, with an 8-columned portico spanning the front. Built by Francis Thornton for his son William who married Martha Stuart. Research on genealogy sites shows a long-established Thornton family in this part of Virginia. Francis Thornton III - father of William 'Montpelier' Thornton - married in 1736, and died in 1749 - which means the house was probably built in the 1740s, though it is not known exactly when it acquired its present name.

Full details about Montpelier, Rappanhannock Co:

(pronounced Montpeleer, with stress on last syllable) This is the name of a substantial and very distinctive mid-18th-century house, set in a rural county of Piedmont, Virginia, long held by descendants of the family of its builder, and today on the US National Register of Historic Houses. It is on a favoured site overlooking the open rolling fields of the F T Valley at the foot of the Blue Ridge. As the major house in an isolated and sparsely populated area, it was formerly the seat of much hospitality. It is a monumental house, 110 feet long and 36 feet deep, with an 8-columned portico spanning the southern facade. Built of brick, it is stuccoed and scored in a square pattern. The pine panelling and other interior details show the hand of master craftsmen.

According to research at the Rappahannock Historical Society, there was a log structure at this site from about 1730, when Francis Thornton (after whom the F T Valley is named) moved his family from the unhealthy malarial area of the Virginia coast to the Piedmont, where his enormous land holdings (royal grants, reportedly of over 40,000 acres) lay. The Thorntons were one of the first families to settle in Rappahannock. From 1736 on, they gained additional smaller grants from Lord Fairfax, apparently sought to round out specific sites where Francis was building homes for his sons. In 1747, we begin to hear of a manor house at the site where Montpelier stands -- though its name at this point is uncertain. It is generally believed that the house was built by 1745, for Col William Thornton (one of the sons of Francis) and his wife Martha Stuart. A near contemporary building is neighbouring Thornton Hill, built for another of Francis's sons.

The genealogical detail is not fully established, but the father, Francis Thornton III, is stated to have been born in 1704, married on 3 September 1736 to Frances Gregory, and died in 1749. Their children are listed as Francis Thornton (IV), George, William, John, Jane Boteler Mildred, and Mary. Here we face a slight problem, with the father apparently building great houses for sons who can scarcely have been in their teens when he died. Either the reported death date is wrong, or we should read the houses as having been built for the sons in accordance with the father's prior wishes. The Thorntons were cousins to the family of George Washington, who is credited with frequent visits to them. (William Thornton's brother John of Thornton Hill married a cousin, Jane Washington, daughter of Augustine Washington.)

Be this as it may, Montpelier underwent a substantial addition after the marriage in 1812 of William's son Dr Philip Thornton to a bride of French origin, Caroline Homassel, the interior being decorated in accordance with her fine tastes. A romantic tale is told of the couple's first meeting, on the night of a fatal theatre fire in Richmond in December 1811. Tradition also has it that when Louis Phillippe was in exile in America, Caroline entertained him at Montpelier. Philip Thornton, a member of the Virginia Legislature, was physician to Edgar Allan Poe.

There is no definite record of why the name was given to this property, and some uncertainty about when it was first applied. No earlier name is reported, so `Montpelier' may have been in use since the first days of the mansion - in which case, given Thornton senior's reason for seeking land in the mountains of Virginia for his family's well-being, the healthful air and fine views could well have prompted the choice. If early references to the name at this site remain absent, then an alternative suggestion gathers weight. This is that Dr Philip Thornton's wife Caroline's parents came from southern France, and that she would have been familiar with the name - but more importantly, she was, before her marriage, a frequent guest at James Madison's Montpelier in Orange County, VA. She was very fond of the Madison family and indeed had been betrothed to Madison's nephew Alfred, until his untimely death at the age of 21. After her first visits to her husband's home, she records in her diary her delight in its peaceful, beautiful, location, and it may thus be that she named her new home after the place where she had earlier been so happy.

The pronunciation, different from the standard US `Montpeelier', may indeed be linked to Caroline's preferred way of saying the name, but it does not in itself prove that she named it. First documentary evidence (yet to hand) of the name in Rappahannock is in 1819, when Philip and Caroline Thornton agreed with Stuart G and Adaline Thornton to partition a 2458-acre tract west of the Hazel river - in what was then Culpeper County. Part of the land in question is named the `Montpeleer' tract. On the death of Caroline Homassel in 1876, Montpelier was purchased by Zechariah Hudson Shackleford, in whose family it remained for most of a century.

Even after it came into the ownership of James William Fletcher and his wife Mildred Thornton (a descendant of Francis) in 1969, it continued to be known for a time as the Shackleford place. By the will of James William Fletcher, the house is now (1999) owned by his daughters, who live outside the county. The property though unoccupied, is being cared for, and even in its present run-down state, remains impressive. In summary: perhaps one of the earlier Virginia examples of the name Montpelier, if the use here is as old as the c.1745 structure, but possibly the name is an 1812 emulation of Madison's [1781] Orange County example.

Sources include - Cynthia Macleod, The Houses that Thornton Built, in Country magazine, April 1981 - extracts from various undated leaflets, press cuttings and guide books - Old Virginia Houses: The Piedmont by Farrar and Hines, 1975: B&W photo of large house, Montpelier - `pronounced Montpalair'. `Built by Francis Thornton for his son William who married Martha Stuart' - implicitly, at least a generation before a Dr Philip Thornton who was a young man in 1811 - but not otherwise dated. Photo supports the written description: `a monumental house, 110 feet long and 36 feet deep, with an 8-columned portico spanning the front. Brick, stuccoed and scored in a square pattern. Presently owned by Mr and Mrs James William Fletcher'.

Research on genealogy websites shows a long-established Thornton family in this part of Virginia. For example, one site gives the above marriage as Francis Thornton III (b 1704, d 1749) married 3 September 1736 to Frances Gregory. Six children. The third son was William `Montpelier' Thornton, who married "Mary" Martha Alexander Stuart. If these dates are correct, it is not quite clear how/why Francis was building for a son who would have been only 13 at the time of his father's death, but the provisional conclusion is that this Montpelier was built in the 1740s.

Montpelier, Richmond County

Site in Richmond County; listed in 1844 gazetteer of VA., but no further detail at present.

Montpelier, Surry County

Surry County

Photo (Oct 2000) shows the roadside sign to this house.

Antebellum house in Surry County, situated off Rte 602, south of Cabin Point. Listed in Farrar, Old Virginia Houses: along the James  (1957). The history of the site and its various owners is complex (described in James D Kornwolf's 1976 bicentennial Guide to the Buildings of Surry and the American Revolution), the land having been patented by 1647. The present structure, of one storey and a half, with dormer and gable windows, dates from some point in the 18th century. The site was originally known as 'Indian Fields'; the Montpelier name seems to have come into use by 1794, no reason being yet apparent.

Petersburg, VA 23805

Has a Montpelier Road. At #1641 is the home of the American Needlepoint Guild, Inc.

Richmond, VA 23231

Has a Montpelier Street.



Apt name of restaurant at the Madison Hotel.



Populated place near Clarksburg, county seat of Harrison County.

Clarksburg's Montpelier Addition, a residential development from the time of the First World War, was given its name in memory of President James Madison's home. Its owner, the Jackson Land and Mining Company, was one of the business enterprises of James Madison Jackson, Jr., of Parkersburg, West Virginia, whose great-grandfather, congressman and federal judge John G Jackson of Clarksburg (1774-1825), had been President Madison's brother-in-law in the days when the Jackson family's fortunes were established (John G Jackson's first wife Mary Payne was the sister of Dolly Madison - their marriage was the first celebrated in the White House).



Town in Kewaunee County. Thomas Paddleford was the first settler. He came in 1855 and named the site after his former home, Montpelier, Vermont.