Family Stories

Great-Grandmother Montgomery’s Handwriting

Nothing can mean as much to me as the legacy handed down from my great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery.  The photo above is one of her genealogy charts – but best of all, in her handwriting!  Surprisingly she was called the unladylike ‘Frank’!  She was the daughter of Edward Edwards Linton and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor, born just after the Civil War on August 13, 1867, in Washington County, Kentucky.  Both lines of her family – the Lintons and the Taylors – were early pioneers to the county, arriving about 1816.

Frances was a school teacher before her marriage to Robert E. Lee Montgomery, February 7, 1893.  After that she was devoted to her family, giving birth to seven children:  Mary Alice (my grandmother), Anna Margaret, Laura Frances, Lillian Catherine, Robert Lee, Edward Linton and Benjamin.

Life was not always easy.  The youngest child, Benjamin, born October 21, 1908,  lived less than a month.  Daughter Laura contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 15 on December 11, 1912.  A grandson, Robert Carrico, was killed in Italy during World War II.

My mother remembers her as the perfect grandmother!  A week was spent each summer at the farm, helping grandfather with the cows, visiting the goldfish pond, helping to churn butter, rolling down the hill in front of the house.  Mom says they were allowed to play with grandmother’s canned goods in the parlor – can you imagine!  Grandmother Frances would don her hat and gloves, purse on her arm, to do her grocery shopping.  She would visit each ‘store’ and pay nickels for each purchase!  The grand finale of the week was a party – the long white ‘company’ tablecloth adorned the table, along with plates of special cookies and cakes and freshly made pitchers of lemonade.  How my mother still loves to recall those memories!  And I love to hear them!

And in her spare time Grandmother Frances was a genealogist!  Evidently she loved genealogy research as much as I do!  She wrote regularly to several of her Linton cousins, trying to get the facts straight about the older generations!  How I would love to have known her!  But, in some ways, I do.  I have her legacy of the love of family research – no one else in the family got it!  Plus I have many of her writings – living through the depression she wrote on any scrap of paper she had!  I also have many of the letters her Linton cousins wrote to her.  I have some of the old records she diligently kept through all the years – and old pictures.  So even though I never met this woman face to face, she truly lives in my heart – and I know her very well.

Grandmother Frances died August 2, 1945 – it was fair week in Washington County.  Every year she went to the fair with her children and grandchildren – taking a huge picnic basket which they all enjoyed sitting under the shade of a tree.  Each child was given nickels to spend on any number of goodies – an amusement ride, popcorn, a coke.  This year was no different.  Even though Grandmother Frances was not there, the grandchildren were taken to the fair – as she would have wanted.  What a special woman!

4 replies »

  1. I truly loved your story about your Grandmother. It reminded me of my own Mother that did several things like she did. My mother Mary Elizabeth (Young) Porter b 4-30-1903 wife of Guy Henry Porter b. 6-18-1903 wrote to her cousins and family all the time trying to keep up with her family as she lived in Dayton, OH after leaving Lebanon, KY. She also wrote on scraps of paper, like the inside of bill envelopes, and I always wondered about that. Perhaps many did that, learning to save money for paper. We are blessed with great families and good memories. Dottie Porter Himes, wife of John Himes, from Corpus Christi, TX

  2. I love how you describe your great grandmother. My great grandmother died when I was young and her daughter my grandma Montgomery while she did not write down our family history, she would work on other tidbits of things,such as crafting and needlepoint.I have many of her embroidered spreads she made as well as a few crocheted spreads in the high ruffles. When I get them out from time to time to place them on her tables which I am now in possession of, I think if her. You are so fortunate to have such wonderful written memories.

    • Peggy, those are beautiful memories! I love that your great-grandmother was a crafter! I love counted cross-stitch – haven’t had much time for it lately! And how lovely that you have some of her embroidered spreads to put on her table – I know you cherish those!

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