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The area now known as Montgomery County was originally a part of Charles County.
In 1696 parts of Charles and Baltimore Counties were split off to form the new Prince George's County. In turn,
in 1748, a portion of Prince George's County produced Frederick County. Montgomery County was formed in 1776 by
the splitting of Frederick County. The former Frederick County was subdivided into three; the central portion remained
Frederick County, while the western was named Washington County in honor of General (later President) George Washington,
and the eastern part was named Montgomery County in honor of another Revolutionary War general, Richard Montgomery.
In 1791, portions of Montgomery County, including Georgetown, were ceded to form the new District of Columbia,
along with portions of Prince George's County, Maryland, as well as parts of Virginia that were later returned
In 1828, construction on the C&O Canal commenced and was completed in 1850. Throughout the 19th century, agriculture
dominated the economy in Montgomery County, with slaves playing a significant role. In the 1850s, crop production
shifted away from tobacco and towards corn. Montgomery County was important in the abolitionist movement, with
slave Josiah Henson, who wrote about his experiences in a memoir which became the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe's
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Josiah, the inspiration for the character "Uncle Tom", was a slave in the county
and a slave cabin where he is believed to have spent time still stands at the end of a driveway off Old Georgetown
Road. In the 1860 presidential election, Montgomery County was one of only four Southern counties to vote for Abraham
On July 1, 1997, Montgomery County annexed a portion of Prince George's County, after residents of Takoma Park,
which spanned both counties, voted to be entirely within the more affluent Montgomery County.
The county seat is Rockville and the largest municipality is the city of Gaithersburg. Most of the county's residents
live in unincorporated locales, the most populous of which is Silver Spring.