Today I am reviewing the documents I found at the Amherst County Historical Museum in Amherst, Virginia, in March 2017. On a road trip between Texas and Williamsburg, I realized we would be passing through Amherst and remembered that was the name of a birthplace I had seen on my family tree at some point in the past. So we stopped and found a treasure trove of information about my Montgomery ancestors (that’s my maiden name). I didn’t have much time to spend at the museum, so I hurriedly took pictures of everything I could find. Finally, I have a little time to take a good look at what I found.
My direct Amherst ancestors named Montgomery were 7th great-grandfather Alexander, who purchased land in 1744 in what is now Amherst County (it was part of Albemarle County until 1761); his sons John and William, John’s sons Joseph and William, and the elder William’s daughter Elizabeth. The younger William married Elizabeth and moved with the elder William to Lincoln County, Kentucky, in the late 1770’s. I was searching for clues to their lives in Amherst, Virginia, and possibly any clues to their origins before they apparently arrived there in 1744.
I’m starting with a book found in the museum’s library, titled “The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1865.” The book was written by The Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis and published by Southern Historical Press, Inc., copyrighted 1985, and reprinted in 1998. ISBN # 0-89308-302-X. This book is, essentially, an index to county records located elsewhere, but this at least gives me a start. All of the quotes in this post are from this book. Next time I am in Amherst, I will try to locate the original records, if possible. Or maybe I’ll be able to find them online.
This book on wills contains entries by individual and in alphabetical order by last name. There were five entries listed under the last name of Montgomery. While they were listed alphabetically, I will address them here chronologically, starting with the earliest.
MICHL. MONTGOMERY — Book 1, Page 115 — February 3, 1764, written; March 7, 1768, probated. Witnesses: ALEX. REID, SAML SHANNON, JAS. REID. Ux, MARGARET — where I live; sons, MICHL.; THOS. AND JAS. Daughter, ABIGAIL MONTGOMERY; son, JNO.; daughter, ELIZ. MONTGOMERY; daughter, SARAH MONTGOMERY. Executors: ux and son, THOS. They made bond on probate date. Bondsmen: RO. BARNETT, JAS. McALEXANDER. Book 1, Page 122 — Inventory — no total; March 27, 1768; no committee. Recorded: July 4, 1768.
The above refers to a will written in 1764 and probated in 1768 for a Michael Montgomery. At this point, I don’t know anything further about Michael, but the dates would indicate that he was probably either a brother or a son of my ancestor Alexander Montgomery, who purchased land in the county in 1744.
JAS. MONTGOMERY — Book 1, Page 412 — Administrator’s Bond — RO. WRIGHT, JAS. WRIGHT, GEO. BLAIN, April 7, 1778, for RO WRIGHT. Book 1, Page 454 — Inventory — L 1.040-19-0, DAVID SHELTON, JNO. LOVING, JR.; JNO. GRIFFIN, December 7, 1778. Book 1, Page 464 — Administrator’s Account by WRIGHT; trustees of Rockfish congregation; account of DAVID MONTGOMERY; JNO. MONTGOMERY (SMITH); cash of JAS. MONTGOMERY, son of THOS.; DAVID MONTGOMERY, JR. Book 4, Page 362 — Surveyor and road bond: January 17, 1803. Bondsman: WM. LOVING, JNO. THOMPSON. Book 10, Page 180 — Administrator’s Bond — CHAMP CARTER AND SAML. M. GARLAND, December 16, 1839, for CHAMP CARTER.
The above entry apparently relates to the Rockfish congregation of the Presbyterian church established by the Montgomerys and other Scots-Irish who arrived in this little neck of the woods in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the mid-1700’s. We know from other sources that Alexander Montgomery and his fellow Scots-Irish established that church near where they all lived near Rockfish Creek. I will write more about that in a separate installment.
JNO. MONTGOMERY — Book 2, Page 176 — March 11, 1784, written; June 7, 1784, probated. Witnesses: JNO. DIGGS, WM. LYON, JOSIAH JOPING. Son, ALEX., where he lives in Washington County; son, JOS. – 215 acres on Buck Creek; son, WM.; JNO.; JAS.; NATHAN; daughter, ANNE; daughter, MARY — 600 acres in Kentucky; rest of Kentucky land to son, JNO., JAS. & NATHAN.
Book 2, Page 178 — Administrator’s Bond — JOS. AND JNO. MONTGOMERY, June 7, 1784. Bondsman: JNO. DIGGS, WM. BARNETT. Book 2, Page 209 — Inventory — no total. WM. HARRIS, JR.; JAS. WOODS; LEE HARRIS; JOSIAH JOPLING, December 6, 1784.
John Montgomery died in 1784. I am descended from two of Alexander Montgomery’s sons, this John (6th great-grandfather) and his brother William (6th great-grandfather). Note that one of the most confusing things about sorting out the Montgomery’s during this time period is that all of their children were named the same! And their were first cousins and second cousins, all named Montgomery, marrying each other! Two of John’s sons mentioned in this will are Joseph and William, and I am descended from both of them.
The final two entries are for Mary W. Ellis Montgomery and Thomas Montgomery:
MARY W. ELLIS MONTGOMERY — Book 8, Page 186 — Guardian Bond — RICH. L. ELLIS, THOS. N. EUBANK, WM. ARMISTEAD, RICH. N. EUBANK. March 21, 1832, for RICH. EUBANK as guardian of MARY W. ELLIS MONTGOMERY, orphan of THOS. MONTGOMERY.
THOS. MONTGOMERY — Book 10, Page 181 — Administrators Bond — CHAMP CARTER AND SAML. M. GARLAND, December 16, 1839.
I am unfamiliar with both of these Montgomery’s, but I am holding onto their records for later, when I may run across them again.