52 Ancestors: #15 Henry Montgomery – marriage and emigration to Ohio

In my last post, I shared a little bit about  Mary (Grimes) Montgomery, and this post will detail the story of her marriage to Henry Montgomery, and their emigration from Virginia to Ohio – most of Henry’s family came along too. This information comes from the book History of the descendants and connections of William Montgomery and James Somerville, who emigrated to America from Ireland, in the opening years of the 19th century” by Frank Montgomery, available for free on Google Books. All quotes below come from this book.

ImageHenry Montgomery was born in 1790 in County Tyrone, Ireland, the son of William Montgomery and Margaret Somerville. In 1803, he and his family immigrated to America and settled in Staunton, Virginia. “In 1810, emigration to Ohio being very popular in Virginia, and a number of friends and relatives having gone, the Montgomery family concluded to ‘go West.’ ” On the way to Ohio, Henry married Mary Grimes, whose family lived in or near Greenbrier County (then in Virginia, now in West Virginia). Henry’s brother Samuel was a circuit preacher in the Methodist church and had come to know the Grimes family on his circuit, and through Samuel, Henry had become acquainted with the family as well. In fact, Samuel, Henry, and their brother William all three married sisters from the Grimes family.


Henry started out on horseback from Staunton a few weeks ahead of the rest of the family and their wagons, and made his way to the Grimes family home, where he and Mary were married on September 27, 1810. “The next day they started on their wedding tour, taking all her effects with them on horseback, to meet the wagons on the emigrant road. Their bedding, cooking utensils, etc., was carried on pack saddles. Two of her brothers went along to help drive the four cows and take part of the horses back.” The family made their way across the Alleghenies and then crossed the Ohio River at Marietta. 


After crossing the Ohio River, they followed the Muskingum River to Zanesville and from there, followed the Licking River up to Newark. They had planned to settle north of Newark, near where Utica is, since many people from near Staunton had settled there, including family friends like the Conards, Lees, and Edmonds. However, the North Fork of the Licking River was too high to cross at that time, on account of recent heavy rains, and they were told that corn was scarce in that area, and that folks from there had to come south to the Bowling Green area to buy corn. So they settled near Bowling Green instead.

52 Ancestors: #14 Mary (Grimes) Montgomery’s testimony

I just discovered a great source (with lots of pictures!) for the Montgomery line of my family tree, which I haven’t spent much time exploring yet. This new source is an old book, available for free on Google books, called “History of the descendants and connections of William Montgomery and James Somerville, who emigrated to America from Ireland, in the opening years of the 19th century” by Frank Montgomery, 1897. There’s so much in this book that I want to go through carefully, but one of my favorite things I’ve found so far is my 5x great grandmother’s (Mary (Grimes) Montgomery) testimony of her Christian faith, along with her photograph. Since my own faith is an important part of my life, I enjoy finding things like this that show that an ancestor too found faith in God to be an important and meaningful part of their life.

Mary (Grimes) Montgomery

Mary (Grimes) Montgomery

Mary Grimes was born in 1784 in Bath County, Virginia. She married Henry Montgomery in 1810, and then they moved to Licking County, Ohio, where she spent the rest of her life until her death on 14 Oct 1865.

Here is Mary’s testimony (from p. 33ff of the book listed above), which is said to be “her own language”:

 “When I was quite young my parents moved to Greenbrier, now Pocahontas County, West Virginia, which was then infested by bands of Indians who burned buildings, drove away stock and even killed many of the settlers. My oldest brother, Arthur, was a soldier in the Indian wars, and took part in the great battle at Poing Pleasant, at the mouth of the Kanawha river.

“Among the first ministers of the gospel in that country was that man of God, Rev. James Ward. He often rested a few days at my father’s house. Here he formed his first class, which was composed of myself and two other women. I always called him my father in the gospel. In the year 1803 [when she was about 19], at a camp-meeting, I gave my heart God and my hand to the church. Soon after my conversion, while reading Mr. Wesley’s sermon on ‘Sin in a Believer,’ I greatly desired a deeper work of grace. I sought it night and day, and while at another camp-meeting experienced the blessing of perfect love.”

This testimony seems to be an excerpt of an obituary, which goes on to say that Mary’s funeral procession to Hanover cemetery “was the largest ever witnessed in that part of the country.”