The town was first established in 1820, just one year after the formation of Owen County. The records in the Owen County Clerk's office show among the first orders entered, one granting John Duvall the right to construct and operate a grist mill, on the waters of Cedar Creek. Col. John Duvall was a man of note. He lived near Georgetown, Kentucky and was a captain in command of a company in the American Army during the second war with England in 1812.
In the year 1821, John Weems, a Scotchman, opened a small store at Monterey. His stick consisted chiefly of whiskey, with a little sugar, coffee, tallow candles, etc. Weems was a Scottish Highlander - a man, who had been buffeted about the world on land and sea. When a youth, he followed the life of a sea-faring man. Tiring of the hardships of a sailor's berth, he cast his lot with a company of French voyagers in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company and with these hardy adventurers, he hunted and trapped along the Canadian border and the great Northwest. Drifting almost across the continent, he finally landed in the wooded wilderness of Kentucky. He was a man of athletic frame and vigorous health. The exposure and hardships through which he had passed, however, began to admonish him that his health and strength were failing. While traveling from Port William (now Carrollton, Ky.) to Frankfort, Ky., he with a party of companions, stayed awhile at the mouth of Cedar Creek. the streams afforded fine fishing, while the wild game in the woods was plentiful and easily secured. Weems liked the country, so he returned and began in a small way to sell such few articles as the sparsely settled country needed - such as powder, lead, and other things mentioned above.
excerpted from the News-Herald, July 18, 1907