The above photo is of my great-grandfather, Robert E. Lee Montgomery, sitting in his favorite rocking chair at the age of 86. Beside him is Mary Alice Carrico, shown in her cap and gown, ready for graduation (or perhaps just afterwards!). Mary Alice is my mother’s youngest sister, my aunt. Robert’s oldest child, Mary Alice Montgomery, married Joseph Reuben Carrico. My mother and Mary Alice are the two youngest children of the family.
Robert was born just after the Civil War, September 15, 1865, to William Peter Montgomery and Martha Ann Carrico. He came from a long line of Peter Montgomery’s – from the first who traveled from France to Maryland about 1720 – to his father who was born a few months after his father died during the cholera outbreak of 1833. The first in the family to come to Washington County, Kentucky was Charles Montgomery – Robert’s great-grandfather, son of Peter Montgomery, who was naturalized a citizen in 1740 in Maryland.
Mom told stories of her grandfather, saying he was a rather stern man, and expected everyone to do as he said, but he also had a soft spot. He didn’t like to be kissed, but they would pat him on the cheek, and she said he always smiled at that. When they were visiting, after dinner, he would say, ‘Girls, let’s go out on the porch and watch the cars go by.’ Since they lived out in the county on a rural lane I’m not sure how many cars they would see in one sitting!
Robert ran a dairy farm and milked cows morning and evening. The home was a large farmhouse with large rooms and a wide staircase leading to upstairs – with a second, smaller staircase going upstairs from the kitchen. The boys slept in the back bedrooms and the girls in the front. Mom said the upstairs was usually divided like that during those days.
In the photo my great-grandfather is wearing a long-sleeved white shirt – with cufflinks – you can see them in the photo – a tie and a handkerchief in his pocket. There is not a picture in which he is not dressed in a suit and tie. In one he wears a white coat and pants – and always reminded me of Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame). In my mind he is the ultimate country gentleman! How I would love to have met him, but he died four years before I was born.
Robert E. Lee Montgomery married Frances Barber Linton February 7, 1893. They had seven children – Mary Alice Montgomery, my grandmother, born December 8, 1893, and with her husband Joseph Reuben Carrico had seven children; Anna Margaret Montgomery, born September 18, 1895, who never married; Laura Frances Montgomery, born December 4, 1897, and died at the age of 15 of tuberculosis; Lillian Catherine Montgomery, born March 11, 1900, who married Guy Goodrich, but had no children; Robert Lee Montgomery, born August 17, 1903, who remained a bachelor; Edward Linton Montgomery, born May 17, 1905, who married Louise Parrott and had two children; and Benjamin Montgomery, born October 21, 1908, and died November 7 of the same year.
Robert E. Lee Montgomery, with his daughter, my grandmother, at his right, Mary Alice Montgomery Carrico. I believe two sisters are on his left, and am not sure about the younger women, but sure they must be relatives!
Frances died August 2, 1945. Robert carried on until July 14, 1953. There was a huge birthday celebration the year before – for his 87th birthday! Mom made the cake – two layers with lots of candles and yellow roses with little ribbons!