The Montgomery Family
An Interesting Sketch of One of the Pioneer Families of DeKalb County
April 20, 1886 in AJC

DeKalb county was organized in 1822. It was on the borders of the Cherokee country, then occupied by the Cherokee Indians, who were not entirely removed until 1838. Judge Rezard??? tells me that he and Daniel Johnson came to DeKalb in 1824. I expect he and Daniel Johnson are the only men now living who came after they were grown men to DeKalb 62 years ago. They are both octegenarians, and I love to hear them talk about those old times, and wish they would talk and write more. The Judge tells me that Major James M. C. Montgomery was living in this county when he came here, and he thinks lived here several years before he came, in fact, before the county was laid out. Hereafter, to save space, I shall designate Major Montgomery as the " major."

The major and his whole family were remarkable people. He was of Scotch-Irish descent -- that wonderful stock from which has descended so many of our great men. He told me he was of the same blood with General Richard Montgomery of revolutionary fame, who was killed in the attack on Quebec in 1775.

When the writer first came to DeKalb county, in 1811, the major was the first person he saw. How well I remember it! When the ferry boat landed on the DeKalb, or south side of the Chattahoochee, at the Montgomery Ferry (now called DeFoor) about eight miles from Atlanta, the first person I saw was the major, standing on the side of the bank. I went with him to his house, about a half a mile south of the ferry, and stayed with him about six weeks.

His wife was one of the noblest and best women I ever saw. She was the main stay of the little Methodist church, near their residence. Often have I heard her make some of the best prayers I ever heard at the prayer meetings of her church. They seemed to come straight from her good heart. I never met a more harmonious and loving couple. He was a Presbyterian and she was a Methodist, and yet there was never a jar. Even in the matter of family worship, he would give out the hymn, and then, in difference to her church, the whole family would rise and sing. At her death he received a shock he never recovered from, and died soon after. When I knew her she had but one arm, but she made good use of the one she had left. She wielded her little hoe with surprising vigor in the garden. She was a notable housekeeper, too. For many years travelers would stop over at their house. They never charged a preacher anything for their entertainment, and the poor and needy were never turned away from their door. There were few country houses better known in Georgia than theirs.

The major was very jolly and good natured, but well posted about the affairs of the country, and very intelligent and well read. He was a strong "Troup" man and whig, and represented the county several times in the legislature.

He was not wealthy, but what was called a "good liver." There never was a better master. He was what was called in those days a "negro spoiler." One of his slaves, named Ransom, was bought by the state for heroically saving the railroad bridge across the river from being burnt. He was set as near free as the law would allow, and the state took care of him to the time of his death, a short time ago. He was the only slave the state ever owned.

The major and his good wife reared a large family, six sons, and three daughters. Like the Scotch and Scotch-Irish, all the world over, they believed it more important to properly train up and educate their children that to accumulate property for them, and their chief aim was to rear their children properly.

Their sons were named Ulysses, Tolemachus F., Rhadamanthus J., James F., Joseph T., and Hugh B. T. (commonly called Troup.) Except Ulysses and James, their sons were all college bred.

Ulysses died young, leaving a childless widow, who afterwards married Neal Connally. They lived and died on the Marietta road, just outside the corporation limits. Dr. E. L. Connally, of this city, now had in his possession the will of Ulysses Montgomery. Neal Connally was the doctor's uncle.

Rhadamanthus J. was a Presbyterian clergyman. He had charge of a church in Cassville, Bartow County, as far back as 1835. He married Miss Harriet Bagle, of East Tennessee. He moved to Wotumka, Ala., and died there in 1841. He left a widow without children. She married our honored fellow citizen, Hon. J Norcross, in 1845. Rev. Virgil O. Norcross is her only son.

Tolemachus F. was also a Presbyterian clergyman. He was well known in Meriwether and other counties of this state. He died in Florida a few years ago. His family resides in that state.

James F. resided on a plantation near his father's. He married a Miss Young of Cobb county. He was in the Florida war of 1836. He died in 18?9, leaving a wife and four children. His widow is now living in Marietta Ga. His sons are Wm. R. Montgomery, the popular and very efficient clerk of Superior court of Cobb county, J. S. Montgomery of Hearns Texas, and Henry F. Montgomery, of Jacksonville Ala. His only daughter is Mrs. Emma Haynes, of Marietta Ga. She has two sons now residing in this city.

Joseph T. and Troup Montgomery have the honor of having founded LaGrange Female College in 1846. Joseph T. married a Miss Cameron, of Troup county. He died soon after the war. His widow and two sons now reside in jacksonville Ala.

Troup married a Miss Broughton, of Troup county. He died soon after the war. His widow resides in LaGrange Ga. One of sons (Hugh) resides in Opelika Ala. Wm. J., another son, resides here, and is secretary and treasure of the Atlanta Cotton Seed Oil Mills. One of the major's daughters married Dempsy Connally, of Campbell county. They had a large family. They all removed to Texas before the war.

Another daughter, married Joseph D. Shumate, of the old Shumate familly, in this county. They were among the earliest settlers of Cobb county, but moved to LaFayette Ga., where they died leaving many descendants.

Narcissa, the youngest daughter of the major, married Henry Dean, who has a large number of kindred in this city, among others, his nephew, James W. Loyd, our city marshall. Mr. Dean died before the war. She is now living with some of her children in Texarkana Ark., and is the only surviving child of the major. She is very much like her mother, which is the highest compliment I could pay her. Take them all-in-all, they were a noble family. Loving and devoted to each other, they were at the same time, generous, kind, religious, brainy and energetic. They were all church members, divided about half and half between the Presbyterian and Methodist churches. While I was at the major's house, in 1841, there resided on the opposite side of the river two families - that of James A. Collins and James Loyd.Mr. Collins was a brother of Mrs. Loyd and a half brother of Henry Dean, who married the majors daughter. Mrs. Collins was the sister of the late W. R. Venable, so long the clerk of our superior court and the major was their uncle. Collins and Loyd were merchants, and had a country store there. In 1845 they moved to Atlanta (then Marthasville) and after Captain Loyd built the Washington Hall Hotel (where the Markham House now stands) sold goods in that building.

So it will be seen that the Montgomery, Loyd, Collins and Venable families were all connected together. A strong affection has always existed between them. There are quite a number of them residing in this city. The major, his wife, and several of their deceased children are buried in the family burying ground near their old homestead.

I have given this imperfect sketch of this good old family. The moral that might be drawn from it is the immense power for good that may go out from a good home. They are scattered over the whole south, but they are mostly good people. It would be a labor of love to me to sketch the Collins, Connallys, Wilsons, Johnsons, Thompsons, Shumates and other good families of old DeKalb if I had the materials furnished me.
Montgomery Family Article