52 Ancestors: #16 Henry Montgomery’s immigration

In my last post, I wrote about Henry & Mary Montgomery’s wedding and emigration from Virginia to Ohio. This time, I’m going to post a copy of Henry’s recollections of his family’s immigration from Ireland to America in the year 1803. This information comes an autobiographical letter her wrote to his son which was published in 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.

“Many of our relatives had emigrated to America. Ireland had been for many years in a state of war and internal commotion, but the great Irish rebellion of 1797-98 was now over. My father sold his little estate. On the 3rd of May, 1803, our whole family took shipping at Londonderry, a walled city in the north of Ireland.

After remaining a week in the harbor our ship sailed for America. Our voyage on the whole was very pleasant. Our noble vessel rose above the mountain waves. One calm morning we saw many sea monsters. The breath of the huge whales looked like so many smoke stacks. On the 4th of July, being Sabbath, it was announced by the sailors that land was ahead O! what rejoicing. In a short time we could see land with the naked eye. We slowly made our way up the Delaware river, and that evening cast anchor safely at New Castle, where they brought on board fresh water and bread. The next day we weighed anchor and sailed up to Wilmington. There we were very fortunate in getting a wagon which took us into Pennsylvania, and in a few days we all got safely to your Uncle James Somerville’s, who had crossed the ocean the year before. Two months after we landed mother [Margaret (Somerville) (Linn) Montgomery] died of consumption. She had suffered from this disease for some years. Your Aunt Mary Somerville [Margaret’s daughter from her first marriage] was with her till she died. She early taught her children to say, “Our Father who art in heaven.” She was buried in a cemetery a few miles east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Not long after mother’s death cousin Samuel Linn came up to Lancaster in his two-horse wagon and moved us down to Augusta County, Virginia. We rented a small farm near Staunton, the county seat, and got along finely. We bought a team of horses and raised good crops. Grain always sold high.”