1. Anon. 1986. Family Histories, 1797-1986.
Christian County Genealogical Society, Hopkinsville, KY, p. 149. Biographical
sketch of James DAVIS. Mentions that John MONTGOMERY married
Phoebe RAMSEY, sister of the Hannah RAMSEY who married James DAVIS.
. Find-a-Grave: Entries (online at findagrave.com):
|Except for the tombstone images and occasional
mention of a death certificate, this database consists of undocumented
patron submissions, so caveat emptor.
||Lieut John Montgomery
||Nov. 27, 1794
||[Contains some factual errors. For example, if he descends
from a Scottish family that immigrated in the 17th Century, how can John
have been born in Scotland? Indications are he was born in VA.] Ends
with, "Montgomery was killed near Eddy Creek, Kentucky on November 27,
1794 by an indian ambush while hunting.
||Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial
Smithland, Livingston Co., KY
CLARK'S ILL REGT
VA STATE TROOPS
CAPT JOHN MONTGOMERY
1748 [emblem] 1794
||Life-size bronze statue of our subject standing on a granite base
with plaque in the "Clarksville Public Square, TN."
||"Southern Roots"; Jan 12, 2007
. Albert V. Goodpasture. 1919. "Colonel John Montgomery."
Historical Magazine V(3): 145-150 (boldface and color added):
COLONEL JOHN MONTGOMERY
John Montgomery, founder of Clarksville and eponymist of
Montgomery County, Tennessee, was a native of Southwest Virginia.
An officer in the militia of Augusta County, he took part in the Sandy
River expedition against the Indians, under the command of Maj. Andrew
Lewis, in 1756.1 He was a justice of the peace of
Botetourt County from its organization in 17702 until it was
divided in 1772,3 when he became a justice of Fincastle County,
which office he continued to hold under the State constitution of 1776.4
He was also a member of the Revolutionary Committee of Safety of Fincastle
Being brave, restless, and adventurous, like most of our earlier
pioneers, in 17716 he explored the Cumberland Valley, in company
with Mansker, Drake, Bledsoe and others, distinguished
in the annals of its settlement. But events in the course of the
Revolutionary War changed, for the time, the current of his activities.
In 1777 George Rogers Clark conceived his bold scheme for
the conquest of the Northwest, and immediately repaired in Williamsburg
to lay his plans before Gov. Patrick Henry. Gov. Henry
at once recognized the immense possibilities of such an enterprise.
He conferred the rank of Colonel upon Clark, and gave his authority
and unqualified support to his Northwestern campaign. But the success
of his operations required absolute secrecy; and the exigencies of the
war on the seaboard forbade the withdrawal of troops from that quarter.
He, therefore, authorized Col. Clark to enlist seven companies,
each of fifty men, to be raised from the frontier counties west of the
Blue Ridge, without disclosing to them the true object of his campaign.
When the call reached the frontiers of Holston_Capt.
Montgomery enlisted a company of volunteers, and was ordered to the
Falls of the Ohio, for the defense of Kentucky. He moved with such
promptness that his company was the first to reach the place of rendezvous,
where he waited until May 27, 1778, when Col. Clark arrived with
his Kentucky troops.7 Here,
1Summers' Southwest Virginia,
2Summers' Southwest Virginia, p. 108.
3Summers' Southwest Virginia, p. 130.
4Summers' Southwest Virginia, p. 242.
5Summers' Southwest Virginia, p. 201.
6Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, p.105.
7Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol.
3, p. 441.
||for the first time, Capt. Montgomery's
men learned that they were intended for service in the Illinois; they were
surprised and disappointed, and many of them deserted, but with those who
remained he embarked with Col. Clark, June 24, 1778.
The first phase of the expedition was a complete success — Kaskaskia
was taken without firing a gun, Cahokia and Vincennes submitted and took
the oath of allegiance to America, and Fort Jefferson, south of the Ohio
in the Chickasaw country, was erected and garrisoned. After remaining
in the country until circumstances seemed to permit his absence, Capt.
Montgomery returned home with his volunteers, being instructed to wait
upon the Governor as soon as possible with letters and verbal messages
which Col. Clark had entrusted to him.8
Having reached the seat of government and communicated with the
Governor, Capt. Montgomery was commissioned Lt. Colonel, and
ordered to raise three hundred men and rejoin Col. Clark as soon
as possible. He succeeded in raising the greater part of the troops
authorized, and embarked them down the Holston
River, on his way to the Illinois.9
In the meantime, news of Col. Clark's successful campaign
against Kaskaskia having reached the British Governor Hamilton at
Detroit, he determined not only to drive Col. Clark from the Mississippi
Valley, but to deliver a blow against our northwestern frontiers that would
prevent a repetition of his bold exploits. Leaving Detroit with a
strong force, he took Vincennes, December 17, 1778; but instead of pushing
forward and destroying Col. Clark, as he might have done, he devoted
the winter to planning and organizing a great spring campaign, in which
he expected the assistance of five hundred Cherokee, Choctaw and other
Indians, who were to rendezvous at the mouth of the Tennessee River.
British agents collected a supply of stores and goods at Chickamauga
to the value of $125,000 for distribution at that meeting. Before
the arrival of spring, however, Col. Clark, after one of the most
arduous and difficult marches on record, retook Fort Vincennes, February,
25, 1779, and sent Gov. Hamilton a prisoner to Virginia.
Their spring campaign in the northwest having thus failed, the Chickamauga
Indians determined to invade the frontiers of Holston.
Warning of their intentions having reached the settlements, a force some
three hundred and fifty men were
8Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3, pp. 441-2.
9Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3, p. 442.
||embodied under Col. Evan Shelby, which
united with the troops of Col. Montgomery, then on their way to
the Illinois, and proceeded down the Holston
and Tennessee Rivers to the Chickamauga
towns, which they surprised and destroyed. Col. Montgomery
then continued on his way to the Illinois, and arrived at Kaskaskia May
29, 1779.10 He was then ordered to Fort Vincennes on the
Clark had now been promoted to the office of Brig. General,
and finding the public interest required that he should reside at the Falls
of the Ohio, until provision should be made for a campaign against Detroit,
by general order dated August 5, 1779, Lt. Col. Montgomery was ordered
to take command of the troops in Illinois, and the Indian agents there
were directed to report to, and take orders from, him, at Kaskaskia, to
which point he proceeded, August 14.11
In the spring of 1780 the American positions were threatened by
an invasion of the Indians, and were saved from serious danger only by
the timely arrival of Gen. Clark with reinforcements from the Falls
of the Ohio. In June, Gen. Clark having again returned to
Col. Montgomery marched three hundred and fifty men up
the Illinois River to Lake Michigan, and thence across to Rock River, destroying
the Indian towns and crops, the enemy, who had lately disbanded, not being
able to raise a sufficient force to meet him.12
After this expedition he started home, by way of New Orleans, but
finding no immediate passage to Virginia, returned, leaving New Orleans
March 15, and reaching his command May 1, 1781. Finding the garrison
at Fort Jefferson in a starving condition, with no goods or property with
which to purchase supplies, the credit of the State being long since exhausted,
and no supplies coming from the Falls of the Ohio, he was obliged to evacuate
Fort Jefferson June 8, 1781.13 It is worthy of notice,
in passing, that the erection of Fort Jefferson caused the Chickasaw invasion
of Cumberland in 1780, that resulted in the abandonment of the first settlement
made within the limits of Montgomery County, and the massacre of a large
part of its inhabitants. Its evacuation at this time restored peace
with the Chickasaw, which was never afterwards disturbed.
July 2, 1781, Col. Montgomery returned to the Falls of
10Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3,
11Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 1, p. 324.
12Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3, p. 443.
13Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 2, p. 313;
Vol. 3, pp. 443-4.
||the Ohio, where he found conditions almost as
bad as at Fort Jefferson. There was not a mouthful for the troops
to eat, nor any money to purchase supplies. He was compelled to billet
his troops through the country in small parties, except the little guard
he kept in the garrison. August 10, he represented these matters
to the Governor by letter and also by a special courier.14
At the conclusion of his military services in Kentucky and the Illinois,
Montgomery came to the Cumberland settlements to make his permanent
home in the land of his early explorations. Just when he reached
the Cumberland is not definitely known. He signed the Cumberland
Agreement; but the time is indefinite, as signatures to the Agreement were
made from time to time as long as the Association continued; that is, from
May 13, 1780, to the organization of Davidson County, October 6, 1783.
He was present, however, at the organization of the Committee for the Government
of the Cumberland Association, January 7, 1783, and was by the Committee
elected sheriff of the District.15 But his affairs connected
with the Western army requiring his attention, he appointed Thomas Fletcher
deputy sheriff, and returned to Kentucky. February 22, 1783, he was
with Gen. Clark at New Holland,16 and having learned
that reports prejudicial to his character had been circulated by his enemies,
he defended himself in a vigorous and manly letter to the Virginia Board
of Commissioners for the Settlement of Western Accounts, which seems to
have silenced his critics in that direction.
But while he was defending himself before the Virginia Commissioners,
his enemies attacked him in a new quarter. James Colbert,
a Scotchman who had married a Chickasaw woman and adopted the Indian life,
had for some years been conducting extensive piratical practices against
the Spanish on the Mississippi River, which gave them great annoyance,
and caused much uneasiness on the Cumberland lest they should make it a
pretext for inciting Indian hostilities against them. Col. Montgomery
was now charged with being connected with Colbert's operations. March
15, 1783, the Committee of Cumberland annulled his appointment of Fletcher
to be deputy sheriff, and themselves elected him sheriff;17
and on June 3, sent two men to the Illinois, with letters to be
14Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 2,
pp. 313, 315.
15American Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, p. 116.
16Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3, p. 441.
17American Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, p. 123.
||transmitted to the Spanish Governor, denying
any connection or sympathy with Colbert's proceedings.18
Moreover, this charge was carried to the Governor of North Carolina, who
issued a proclamation for Montgomery's arrest. Accordingly,
the County Court of Davidson County, at its first term in 1784, placed
Montgomery under bond to appear at the next term of the Court, and
answer the charge of aiding and abetting Colbert.19
But before the next term of the Court, the Governor, being better informed,
withdrew his proclamation, and the proceedings in the County Court were
dismissed as a matter of course.20
In the meantime the discerning eye of Col. Montgomery had
discovered in the rugged hills that crown the forks
of Cumberland and Red Rivers a superior site for the location
of a town; and at the very time the County Court was ruling him to bond,
to-wit, January, 1784, he and Martin Armstrong were entering the
land on which the city of Clarksville is now located. In the fall
of the same year they had it surveyed, and Armstrong, who was a
practical surveyor, laid off the plan of a town on it. The town was
named Clarksville, in honor of Gen. George Rogers Clark, the commander
and friend of Col. Montgomery in the Northwestern campaign, and
was established by legislative authority in 1785. Col. Montgomery,
who made his home there, was the first named among its Commissioners.
It was the second town established in Middle Tennessee, Nashville, chartered
in 1784, being the first. Martin Armstrong never lived in
Col. Montgomery was one of the justices of Tennessee County
from its establishment in 1788 until his death. In 1794 he commanded
the territorial troops in the Nickajack campaign, the last, and one of
the most important and successful enterprises undertaken against the Indians,
in which the towns of Nickajack and Running Water were destroyed, and the
power of the Chickamaugas completely broken. This was Col. Montgomery's
last public service.
A party of Creek Indians from Tuskegee were doing much mischief
on the Cumberland in 1794. It was the same party who had killed Maj.
Evan Shelby in 1793. They began their operations this year on
Red River, where they killed
Miss Betsy Roberts on the
twelfth, and Thomas Reasons and wife on the fourteenth of November.
18American Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, p.134.
19Putnam's Hist. Mid. Tenn., p.211.
20American Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, p.218.
||they moved down to the mouth
of Red River. Col. Valentine Sevier, after the
fall of the Franklin Government in 1788, had emigrated to Tennessee County
and erected a station on the north side of Red
River, near its mouth, and about a mile from Clarksville.
The Indians surprised his station on the eleventh of November, and massacred
many of its inhabitants. They then returned to the country around
After his return from Nickajack, Col. Montgomery led a hunting
excursion to the neighborhood of Eddyville, where the party of Creeks were
lurking. November 27, 1794, they surprised him in his camp.
His party, taken at a disadvantage, retreated, when Col. Hugh Tinnon,
one of the party, who was impeded by a wound, asked Col. Montgomery
not to leave him. With the courage and devotion so often found among
the pioneers, he threw himself between Col. Tinnon and the Indians,
until a bullet from one of their guns took effect in his knee, when, finding
him disabled, the Indians rushed upon him and killed him with their knives.
Rains, on his way from Fort Massac, reached Eddyville on the day of
the tragedy, and met Julius Sanders, one of the hunting party, who
had escaped, though shot in four places. Sanders told him
the last he saw of Col. Montgomery an Indian was stabbing him repeatedly
with a large knife. The next day Rains went with a party,
including a son of Col. Montgomery, and found his body, which they
buried where a tree had been uprooted by the storms.21
Two years later, when Tennessee County gave up its beautiful name
to the State, it took the name of Montgomery, in honor of the brave Col.
John Montgomery, who had been her leading citizen, and was second in
command of the national heroes, who, under Gen. George Rogers Clark,
had conquered and saved to the United States the great West, from the Alleghany
Mountains to the Mississippi River.
. John Trotwood Moore. 1923. Tennessee, the Volunteer
State, 1769-1923. 4 vols. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago
(online at Ancestry.com, though in a form that is very difficult to use).
Considerable mention of our subject in Vol. 1, some of which is quoted
at length by our next source — without attibution. When I have time
I'll extract the relevant text. It's all with regard to his explorations
and military service, nothing to do with his genealogy.
. David B. Trimble. 1992. MONTGOMERY and JAMES
of Southwest Virginia. Self-published (typescript), Austin, TX
(online at the LDS web site; boldface added):
||370. John Montgomery (see above) was born
about 1750 in Augusta (now Botetourt) County, Virginia, and moved to Reed
Creek in present Wythe County, Virginia, in childhood. About 1775
he married Phoebe Ramsey, daughter of Josiah Ramsay; he lived
near Ft. Chiswell in 1782, when he paid taxes on two horses and 12 cattle.
He explored in the Cumberland area of Kentucky and Tennessee, to the neglect
of this family, as early as 1771 and was a member of Col. John Donelson's
expedition to the Cumberland in 1780. He signed the compact of government
created for the area and was elected sheriff of the district in 1783.382
Montgomery received a warrant for 437 acres on the South Fork of
the Elkhorn River in Fayette County, Kentucky, from Joseph Montgomery
on March 31, 1783. He received a military warrant from North Caro-
||lina for 1,120 acres and made an entry on the
North Fork of the West Fork of Red River in present Montgomery County,
Tennessee, on March 31, 1785. The land was surveyed on April 12,
1785, and he sold it to James Davis on June 8, 1787, which was confirmed
by his widow Phoebe on November 30, 1795. On December 8, 1787,
he and Martin Armstrong received a grant of 640 acres at the mouth
of Red River, the present site of Clarksville, Tennessee, on which he settled.
He also received a military warrant for 572 acres from Kentucky; the land
was surveyed on April 10, 1785, on Whipperwill Creek, a branch of Red River
in present Logan County, Kentucky, and sold it to Richard and Ambrose
Maulding on November 27, 1794. He also received a military warrant
from Kentucky for 200 acres, which was surveyed on the West Fork of Red
River in present Logan County on May 2, 1788;
his widow sold it to John Irwin, following a law suit on, July 3,
Montgomery, who was a militia colonel, fought in many early
Indiana battles and was killed by Indians on November 27, 1794, near Eddyville,
Kentucky. Montgomery County, Tennessee, was named for him in 1796.
In 1799, Martin Armstrong and Phoebe Montgomery settled land
problems arising from John Montgomery's estate. Phoebe and her children
moved to Livingston County, Kentucky, where she died about 1810.
The children of John and Phoebe Montgomery were as follows:384
a. William Montgomery, born c1778; married November
23, 1802, Frances Miller; lived in Livingston County, Kentucky.
b. Margaret Montgomery married Robert Sprigg.
c. Elizabeth Montgomery married Amos Bird;
lived in Missouri.
d. Joseph Montgomery; lived in Illinois.
||382History of Montgomery County,
Tennessee (Chicago: Goodspeed, Publisher, 1886; reprint Columbia, Tennessee:
Woodward & Stinson Printing Co., 1972), p. 759; hereinafter cited as
Goodspeed's History of Montgomery…; Whythe County, Virginia, Will
Bk. 1, p. 12; Botetourt County, Virginia, tax list. 1772: Montgomery
County, Virginia, tax list, 1782; Draper Collection, 3XX18.
383Fayette County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. 2, p. 261; Kentucky
Land Warrant #2685, Survey #1534; North Carolina Land Warrant #147; Logan
County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. A1, p. 54; Goodspeed's History of Montgomery…,
384Montgomery County, Tennessee, Deed Bk. B, p. 246;
Logan County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. A1, p. 365; Livingston County, Kentucky,
Deed Bk. F, p. 306; Draper Collection, 8CC30.
. Public Member Trees (online at Ancestry.com).
. WorldConnect / Ancestry World Trees (online at RootsWeb.com/Ancestry.com).
said to have received large land grants for military service, 1120
acres of which he sold to his brother-in-law, James DAVIS, husband of Phoebe's
sister, Hannah RAMSEY.