One of the first great battles of the Civil War was fought on July 21, 1861 at Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia.
Nineteen year old John Montgomery, a brave young man from Marshall County in Virginia, enlisted and joined the Union Forces three months later on October 6, 1861. He was immediately inducted as a Private into Company K of the Regiment known as the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Within ten months he and his regiment were in combat at the second battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862.
Although the Union Army lost both battles at Bull Run, earlier Union victories defeating the Confederates in Western Virginia led eventually to the creation of the separate state of West Virginia which was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863.
This Civil War soldier virtually served his country the entire length of the war from 1861 to 1865. Following completion of his first commitment of three years, at age twenty two, he re-enlisted for another three year term. His military service records give his physical description as being 5 foot, 10 inches tall, blue eyes and fair skin.
John Montgomery was born in 1842 on a farm near Meighen and Ella in Marshall County. He was the second son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Piles) Montgomery of a family with seven children. He had an older sister, Melvina, and an older brother, Andrew, two younger sisters, Margaret and Mary, and two younger brothers, Daniel and William. His father was from Pennsylvania and his mother had been born in Ohio, they were married on September 12, 1839 in Marshall County and lived, worked and reared the family on a farm there. One brother, Andrew, was also a soldier in the Civil War.
In 1862 while in military service John was hospitalized for two months in a Frederick, Maryland hospital with what was then called pneumonia. This may well have been the beginning of an illness which later took his life. Service records also show his regiment besides being in battle at Bull Run, also that he was in battle at Winchester, Virginia on July 24, 1864.
After his re-enlistment he was transferred to Company D of the 2nd Regiment of West Virginia Volunteers. He had only one furlough from October 1861 to May 1965. He was given a second furlough on May 1865 after the war ended.
The war came to an end with General Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865. At the time of John's second furlough in May 1865, John was erroneously listed as a "deserter" on roll calls for June 1865. This error was eventually corrected and the charge of desertion was removed from his military records.
During some of the time of his second enlistment John had duty at a Guardhouse in Cumberland, Maryland. He was mustered out of service with his regiment at Clarksburg, West Virginia on July 11, 1865.
After the war he returned home to Marshall County and one year later, on July 5, 1866, he married seventeen year old Mary Ann Hall. She and her family lived on a neighboring farm nearby where John had been born and grown up with his family.
John and Mary Ann became the parents of seven children but twin babies died at birth and another child died at one month of age. Their four surviving children were two daughters and two sons, Barbara Elizabeth whom they called "Liz", Melvina Jane whom they called "Vin", John Daniel whom they called "J. D." and Harrison Alexander.
At discharge from the army John was in poor health and became more and more ill after coming home. He spent the remaining nine years of his life with a terminal illness which completely debilitated him. He had contracted pulmonary tuberculosis while in military service and it ultimately took his life. He suffered with constant chest pain and back pain, was spitting up blood more or less all the time, and had severe weight loss. Dr. G. W. McKimie, of Ella in Marshall County, who had known John since birth, stated the he treated John after he came home from the war for "nervous exhaustion" and for an incipient stage of "consumption". (tuberculosis was known as consumption at that time). Dr. McKimie further stated that John was unable to perform any kind of manual labor three years prior to his death.
John Montgomery died on June 30, 1874, at (32) thirty two years of age. He had given one-eighth of his life in service to his country and after marriage to Mary Ann only had left only another one-eighth of his life left to give to his family before he left this world. His death left behind a wife who was just (25) twenty five years old with four very young children.
At the time of their father's death Liz was six years old, Vin was five, J.D. was three and Harrison was only nine months old. Mary Ann Montgomery lost her husband John to death and a child to death in June 1874.
Life for the remaining members of John Montgomery's family was very hard and very tragic for them after his death.
Mary Ann Montgomery, John's widow, re-married eighteen months after her husband's death to a Mr. Isaac Kirkpatrick, known in the community as "Ike Kirk" and she became known as Mrs. Kirk. The family then moved with him from the Fish Creek area in Marshall County to the "Bob Coffield Farm" in Wetzel County near the waters of Proctor.
Things did not go well for the family in their new home and the new husband and stepfather was unable to provide a living for the family. The children endured many hardships and were not even sent to school. From the Wetzel County farm the family moved to a farm in Ritchie County and spent a miserable winter enduring lack of proper food and clothing, which the children later described as being almost unbearable.
Mary Ann bore two children by Isaac Kirkpatrick, Nancy Kirkpatrick, born in 1878 and Roberta Kirkpatrick born in 1880. After seven years of marriage to Kirkpatrick, she apparently was compelled, due to her husband's physically abusive actions toward her and her concern for the well-being of the children, to leave her husband.
She left her husband and took all the children with her back to Henry Hall's place at Fish Creek in Marshall County. However, a short time after leaving him, she returned with her oldest child Liz and the two Kirkpatrick children to resume living with her husband. The other children, Vin, J. D. and Harrison remained and stayed on to live with the Hall Family at Fish Creek.
Mary Ann (Hall) Montgomery Kirkpatrick died on December 28, 1885 at the age of (36) thirty-six years. It is reported that her dress caught fire and that she burned to death at the place she had returned to live with the three children and her husband.
John Montgomery's children became even more destitute after the death of their mother. The fate of the Kirkpatrick children is unknown.
An uncle of the Montgomery children, Eph Martin, took J. D. and Harrison to the home of Wendall Haid at St. Joseph's Settlement. Mr. Haid posted a ($2,000.00) two thousand dollar bond and was then granted legal guardianship for the four Montgomery children by the Court.
A year after their mother's death Mr. Haid filed for a veteran's pension for the children. It took five years for the War Department to complete its investigation but the pension was granted and the children were each paid retroactively for the period of time of the death of their father and until they reached 16 years of age. It was determined that the cause of their father's death was due to the tuberculosis which he contracted while in military service during the Civil War.
Mr. Wendall Haid was the only real friend the four Montgomery children had. He spoke of their father, John Montgomery, as a hard working and good man. He had known John before he went to war and Mr. Haid's brother had been in the same Company K as John had been in.
Mr. and Mrs Wendall Haid took J. D. and Harrison Montgomery into their home and they lived with them on their farm at St. Joseph's Settlement.
When Eph Martin took the boys to Mr. Haid he told Mr. Haid that the boys had been kicked about from "pillar to post".
Mr. Haid has been described aas a German, honest and kindly and treated the boys as well as if they had been his own children. He had even offered to increase the bond amount to $10,000.00 (ten thousand dollars) if requested by the Court and to do whatever needed to be done to make certain the pension claims of the Montgomery children were properly processed. He was the first and only choice of all four Montgomery children to act as their guardian.
Their original claim application was filed in 1886, Wendall Haid was appointed guardian in 1888, and the investigation and processing of the claim was completed in 1891. The "Bureau of Pensions" said it was time consuming and difficult for them to establish the ages of the four children at the time of their father's death. The children had been too young at the time to recall his death or to know the exact date he died and they did not know their own ages or their ages at the time of their father's death and their mother's death. The only things they were absolutely sure of was which children were Montgomery children and which children were Kirkpatrick children. All remember their mother having been burned to death and all said they saw her after she was burned but that she was unable to speak to them.
There were no family records and the flood of 1884 had destroyed some of the county records for births, deaths and marriages between 1865 and 1874.
Mr. Samuel Woods, who did the investigation for the "Bureau of Pensions" for the government said that with the help of the Hall Family he was able to establish the exact ages of the four Montgomery children. He took all of the depositions and obtained all the necessary evidence and in his report he recommended without reservation whatsoever that the Montgomery children be granted the government pension. He said in his report that the children would not have a chance for development and that even though the boys were "keen enough in woodcraft" they had been stunted in the growth of their bodies and minds by starvation and ill treatment before being taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Haid.
In their depositions given to Mr. Woods, J. D. and Harrison both related their happiness of living with the Haid's, of being well fed, having decent clothing and pleased to have the opportunity of attending school. They said they had never been so well treated and cared for in their entire lives.
Mr. Woods described Mr. Haid, the guardian, as "A BETTER ONE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN FOUND".
Liz Montgomery and Vin Montgomery both married shortly after their mother's death. Liz married a Mr. Hall and Vin married a Mr. Martin.
Vin and Mr. Martin had their first child in October 1891.
J. D. married Cecilia Elizabeth Estep in 1896.
John Montgomery (1842-1874) is buried just over the county line in Marshall County near Henry Yoho's Place on Yoho land.
Mary Ann (Hall) Montgomery Kirkpatrick is buried in Henry Garner's graveyard.
The Latin inscription on the Montgomery "Coat of Arms" translates in English to: "Always faithful to my unhappy homeland".
John Montgomery was faithful to his homeland and it took his life. Certainly he would not have been so faithful had he known it meant sacrificing his life and the infliction of suffering on his wife and his children. He was a good man who gave his all to his country.
This biography was written with the help of my cousin Amelia (Shores) Villers. It was made possible with information she so kindly provided to me. I am deeply thankful and grateful to her for her assistance.
John and Mary Ann Montgomery were our Great-Grandparents.
Amelia (Shores) Villers passed away in July 1998.