Category Archives: Montgomery

Amanuensis Monday – Flo Ought to Be Proud of That

Irene, Lawrence, and Flo Montgomery

Irene, Lawrence, and Flo Montgomery

In the fall of 1945, when she was not yet sixteen, my dad’s second sister left home.  Irene had worked as a babysitter for a family in Idaho; when they moved to Albany, Oregon, Irene went with them to continue babysitting and complete her high school education.

Dorothy Irene Montgomery (known by her middle name) had been born 11 November 1929 in Winner, South Dakota, the daughter of Lawrence Theodore (or Conklin) Montgomery and his first wife, Antonia Marie Jelinek. Irene was four months old, and the elder sister, Flo, only two years older, when their mother died in Yankton, South Dakota.  Later that year Grandpa married Blanche Agnes Wilson (my grandmother); Grandpa and Grandma would eventually have ten more children. Aunt Irene’s letters home provide a glimpse into the life she was living far away from her family as well as her pride in her older sister back home.

Albany, Oregon
April 2, 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & kiddies,

Received your letter yesterday and was I tickled to get it.
Yes, Mom, I am feeling fine now. Am so glad.
We have 2 days of Spring Vacation.

Flo ought to be proud of that because it really [is] a great honor. We had an initiation of the “National Honor Society” last Fri. You have to have real good grades, you have to have some qualities of a leader, and you have to be quite popular, I mean you should [know] most of the kids in school. No, she didn’t write me about it, yet.

Those pictures were awful, but I just sent them.

I don’t have to wear my glasses only when I read they are for close up work now, Mom.

I will find out when [I] get out of school because I want to be there so bad for her graduation.

This coming Saturday the Band is going to Salem for our contest. We compete against all of the cities around here.

I am glad the kids can have some fun like that. Have they learned to skate real well. I can waltz with skates now, but I can’t skate backwards.

I would write to Myrt, but I have so many notebooks, speeches and etc., to get in this week and the next. We have been rehearsing for the concert at nights. Tell Myrt to excuse me this time if she will.

We have had pretty fair weather lately. We are voting for Carnival Princesses & Queen for our big All School Carnival which they have every year. We vote 3 princesses out of each class and a Queen from the Senior. I was a candidate for princess in two rooms, but didn’t get it. Must close.

Lots of love
Irene

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Census Sunday – Grandpa in 1920

Lawrence 1920

Just in time for Memorial Day, here is Grandpa Lawrence Montgomery‘s 1920 census record. I still haven’t found him (or his father) in 1910, so this is the first record where he appears. In that year he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His age is listed as 21, which is consistent with the (incorrect) birthdate Grandpa gave when enlisting in 1917. Grandpa was really only 18 in January 1920. Nebraska is listed as the birthplace of Grandpa (which is correct), as well as his parents (which is incorrect). His occupation is “soldier.” Grandpa’s military records give a little more information on his military service, though Grandpa also told some (as yet unsubstantiated) colorful stories about his experiences:

  • Being stationed in Hawaii
  • Being sent to climb up a pole to cut down an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • While operating the base movie projector (which his records confirm he did do), hollering at someone who came in to the projector room to put out their cigar, only to have someone tell him he had just yelled at General Pershing

Whatever Grandpa’s role, I’m grateful for his service.

Sympathy Saturday – Manhattan (the Kansas One)

Joseph, Sarah, and Vellah Montgomery

My mom and I attended the National Genealogical Society‘s annual conference last week.  I’d never been before – what a great experience! I’m now determined to bring some semblance of organization to not only my genealogy files and records, but also to my genealogical searches. So now my genealogy tasks are threefold:

  1. Continue the never-ending census project (tracing all families in the “easy” censuses, from 1850-1940)
  2. Share my various findings through this blog
  3. Select one mystery or problem, and focus on trying to solve that in a structured and organized way

First mystery? Trying to trace the elusive Montgomery family’s origins in this country (or at least back another generation from William Montgomery, my 3G-grandfather, born 1802).

With this aim in mind I’ve been focusing more on those Montgomery connections, so Joseph (William’s son and my 3G-uncle) seems a logical topic for today’s post. Joseph S. Montgomery was born in August 1847 in Ohio, son of William and Mary Ann (Extell) Montgomery. He was the eighth of thirteen children and on New Year’s Eve in 1874, he married Sarah Ann Achor.  Joseph, Sarah, and their first child, Viola, then five years old, appear in the 1880 census, enumerated in Clarke, Clinton County, Ohio.

By 1900 the family had moved to Liberty Township, Geary County, Kansas.  Viola is no longer in the household, but two new children are listed – J.W., a son born in February 1882 in Ohio; and Vellah, a daughter born in August 1886 in Kansas.  In 1910 and 1920, J.W. is not with the family, but Joseph, Sarah, and Vellah continue to live in the same household. Sarah died in 1923; by 1940 Vellah, unmarried, is listed as head of the household in Lawrence, with Joseph enumerated as her 92-year-old father.  He would live six more years, dying in 1946 at nearly 99 years of age.  Vellah lived to be 87, dying in April 1974.  Joseph, Sarah, and Vellah are all buried together in Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas.

Thriller Thursday – Winston Churchill

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There is always a thrill in discovering a famous relative. In this case, the relative in question is Winston Churchill – can’t you see the eerie resemblance?! Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, born November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, was my half eighth cousin three times removed. I even visited Blenheim in 1994 while on a semester abroad program during my junior year at Sewanee (The University of the South). This was long before I discovered my familial connection to the Prime Minister through his American mother, Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome. Jeanette’s 6G-grandparents were William Gifford and Elizabeth Grant. William and his wife Patience Russell were my 10G-grandparents (William – Hananiah – William – Joshua – Ann – Joseph Davis – Cornelius – John – Lucinda Blanche – Carl Ozro Wilson – Blanche – Theodore Montgomery – me). Interestingly this means that Winston Churchill was also 6th cousin twice removed to another of my famous relatives: Lizzie Borden.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Joshua Ousley Montgomery

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One of many family graves seen during last year’s visit to Mansfield, Illinois, was that of Joshua Ousley Montgomery, a first cousin twice removed. Grandson of my great-great-grandparents John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, he was born February 3, 1893 in Mansfield, to Thomas Milton and Frances May (Hoover) Montgomery.

His World War I draft registration from June 1917 lists him as “Joshua Oozley Montgomery,” age 24, of medium height and build, with light blue eyes and light-colored hair. In the four censuses in which he appears, he is enumerated with his parents. By 1930 he is listed as divorced. Cousin Janet Alvis indicates that his wife was a Leona H. Brooks, born about 1902, and that Leona and Joshua married May 6, 1922.

Janet has also provided the following obituary information for Joshua on the Find-a-Grave website:

Joshua O. Montgomery, 44, World War veteran and life-long resident of Mansfield was instantly killed at 10:50 pm Sunday, March 28, 1937, when he was struck by a car two mile east of Mahomet on Rt 150. Services were conducted in Mansfield Wednesday afternoon with burial in Mansfield cemetery. 

He was born on a farm near Mansfield, the s/o M/M T. M. Montgomery. He had just started construction of a home near his parents’ residence in Mansfield. Besides his parents he leaves two brothers: Fred of Chicago and Thomas of Mansfield; three sisters: Bertha Thomas, Stella McIlvain and Hattie Hannah, all of Mansfield. He was unmarried.

Amanuensis Monday – The War News Is Sure Terrible

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Sometime in the early 1940s Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery wrote to her sister Mildred. The letter is partially lost now but somehow found its way back to Grandma in an envelope addressed to her mother, Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. This is the same envelope that contains a number of recipes from a “Mrs. Dickinson.” Grandma and Grandpa and their children were living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where Uncle Gene (Alwin Eugene, born in November 1940) was apparently doing his fair share of tumbling and falling. The letter is full of family news and inquiries but touches on the horrors of war. It was also baking day – what I wouldn’t give for Grandma’s bread recipe!

[no postmark, return address, or stamp] Addressed: Mrs. Sophie Wilson, Winner, S.D. 628

[two pages missing; remaining pages labeled “3.” and “4.”]

…radio. I’m sure glad you write for Mamma as I know its hard for her to write. Hope she doesn’t have to work as hard as she did last winter. Yesterday was Pearl’s little girl’s birthday wasent it. I wanted to send her something but I didn’t think of it in time.

Do you still have the girls at your house. Am glad Herman has a new job.

Where did Monte fall from read it in Maude’s card. Alwin has fallen a lot he has a sore eye most of the time lately. I don’t know what’s wrong. He must have hurt it.

Be sure and tell Mamma & Lester hello from us all. Glad Lester likes school so well. What subjects does he take?

The war news is sure terrible. Even thinking about it makes you shiver.

We would like to take a trip up to Denver. Do you know if Clara is still there? Esther didn’t say.

I am baking bread today so must close & get busy. Am afraid it’s too cold in here as I let the fire go down.

With Love & Best Wishes May God bless you all. Blanche, Lawrence & children.

P.S. No we haven’t seen any of Carrolls. There are lots of S.D. cars but 14 or 15 thousand people in Scottsbluff, You seldom see many you know.

[at top of page 4:] I canned around 200 qts so that helps some.

Census Sunday – William Montgomery, There You Are!

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There is irony in the fact that the line I’ve had the least success in tracing is my own paternal Montgomery line. I currently hit the proverbial brick wall with my 3G-grandfather, William Montgomery. Born February 19, 1802 in Pennsylania, his parentage is as yet unknown.

That was the paragraph I had written earlier today. I probably would have continued on to talk about how a fairly common name like Montgomery, and no specific city for beginning my search, complicates matters. But in reviewing sources on Ancestry.com I discovered something brand-new (to me): baptismal records for Old Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia – and there is William – the February 19 birthdate that appears on his tombstone, and a baptismal date of March 21. These particular records still don’t list William’s parents – but this gives a whole new avenue for the search!

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So, to continue with what I already knew before today…

William married Mary Ann Extell on September 27, 1827 in Pleasant Mills, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, New Jersey; William was 25 and Mary Ann 18. According to their marriage record, William was from Batsto and Mary Ann from Pleasant Mills.

The 1830 census finds the family in Fairfield, Cumberland County. Their location in 1840 is uncertain (tracing census records prior to 1850 when each individual began to be enumerated individually by name is always trickier). By 1850 the family has moved westward to Clark, Ohio; William and Mary Ann are now joined by John, aged 20; Samuel, 18; David, 16; Thomas, 14; Mary E., 10; Susan, 8; William, 5; Joseph, 3; and Edward, 7/12.

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William appears in only one more census, again in Clark, Ohio. Another child, Sarah (age 6) has been added to the family; other children had apparently been born but hadn’t survived. On October 6, 1868 William died in Lynchburg, Ohio. He is buried in Lynchburg’s Masonic Cemetery.

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