Robert Montgomery

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Robert Montgomery
1765-1850

ROBERT MONTGOMERY was born 1765 in South Carolina1, and died 1850 in Lafayette Co., Mississippi.  He married Rebecca Coffee.  She was born 1774 in South Carolina2, and died 1859 in Pontotoc Co., Mississippi3.

Little of the origins of Robert Montgomery is known for certain.  He was born in South Carolina (this much can be confirmed by the 1850 census), and is said to have eight brothers. 

Lancaster County is the most likely place in South Carolina for Robert to have come from.  Indices for the earliest Federal Census (the 1790 census) list five Robert Montgomery's in South Carolina.  All of them come from Lancaster County.  The condition of the 1790 census is not great.  The ink has washed off many pages of the census rendering page after page illegible.  This is particularly so in Lancaster County, so it is possible that there are more than five individuals with the Robert Montgomery in Lancaster County and in South Carolina in general.

Genealogies exist for a couple of prominent Montgomery families of Lancaster County.  One such published genealogy is The Montgomerys of South Carolina, Mississippi and Other Southern States, compiled by Catherine Cameron Wilkerson Bryan of West Point, Mississippi, published in April, 1959.  Although she was primarily interested in "the descendents of Hugh Montgomery, who settled in the Lancaster District of South Carolina, as early as 1757,"  her work references several other Montgomery families in the Lancaster District including the families of William Montgomery and Ninion Montgomery, Sr.  None of the evidence included in this book provides any solid clues about our Robert; however, there seems to be a fair amount of undocumented speculation and potential confusion and cross over between the individuals of one family and another.  I think this may be particularly so with the many Roberts of Lancaster County.

There are, however, several solid pieces of evidence which indicate that our Robert moves out of South Carolina into Monroe County, Mississippi by the early 1820's. 

  1. He is listed on the 1821 Literary Tax Fund assessed a tax of 12 cents (the lowest rate).  Also listed on the role are members of the Gideon (including James), Cooper and Spencer (including William) families.  This tax list was transcribed and published in the Mississippi Genealogical Exchange, vol. 25 (1979), p. 61.

  2. Next is the marriage of his daughter,  Margaret Dixon Montgomery   She was wed  in Monroe County, MS on March 4 or 5, 1823. 

  3. A deed dated April 12, 1825 (L-138-9).  "Robert Montgomery of Munro Co. Mississippi (Late of Lan. Dist.) to Robert Kirk, sr. of Lan. Dist. for $310 - 414 acres on both sides of Camp Creek.  Said land originally granted to my deceased father, and by him in Last Will and Testament bequeathed to me April 12, 1820.  Robert Montgomery.  Witnesses:  John Terry, Isom Houze."   My source for this deed is a handwritten transcription found in Montgomery files at the Lancaster County Public Library.  I suspect the date of the father's last will and testament may have been mis-transcribed because of the similarity in dates to the deed date.  I hope to have this verified.  It would be very helpful to track the last will and testament down since Robert here does not mention his father by name.

  4. His youngest daughter, Rebecca Jane Montgomery was wed to James Gideon on December 24, 1825 in Monroe County.  The Gideon family is known to be amongst the earliest families settling in Monroe County (circa 1816) when they arrived in a company of five families with the Reverend Fredrick Weaver from Russell Valley, AL.  Here are some links on historical information about Monroe County.

  5. The 1830 Census for Monroe County seems to confirm Robert's presence there.  He is living next to son-in-law William Spencer, in close proximity to sons John and Hugh Montgomery, George Cooper, as well as to O. H. Spencer, brother of William Spencer.  All family data in these households match up with what is know about them.

His son John is reputed to have settled in Monroe County.  Another son, Hugh, may have died there.

Family migration continued between the years 1830 and 1840.  Indian Lands to the northwest opened up in the mid-1830's.  By 1837 Robert had settled in Pontotoc County, Mississippi (formed from the Chickasaw Cession on 8 February 1836):  He is listed on the 1837 State of Mississippi Census in Pontotoc County living near the following:  James N. McClish, William Spencer, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Spencer, James Gideon, Thomas C. Stuart (order of heads of household names on page one of the census) and George Cooper (listed on page two of the census).4 

He is again listed in Pontotoc on the 1840 federal census along with a large portion of his extended family,  including James and Rebecca Jane (Montgomery) Gideon, Annie Battle Montgomery, William and Margaret (Montgomery) Spencer, George and Mary/Polly (Montgomery) Cooper, and John McFarland (Possible relation to Hugh and Annie Montgomery's daughter Minerva's husband, Leander McFarland).

By 1850 Robert and Rebecca are found on 1850 Lafayette Co., Mississippi Census living with  James and (Rebecca) Jane (Montgomery) Gideon, daughter and son-in-law.  The Gideon farm was located in that part of Lafayette County ceded to form Calhoun County in 1852.  Land records show it located about one half mile west of the town of Sarepta.   Robert's occupation is listed as "Farmer."  He died during this year, but was apparently still alive as of the census date.  

Rebecca Coffee's origins are also unknown except that she was born in South Carolina. There are several prominent Coffee families in the Lancaster District.  There are no known connections between any of the families and Rebecca.  Her death at age 81 in September 1859 to causes unknown after a 3 month illness is recorded on the Pontotoc Country Mississippi Mortality Schedule for 1860.

Links to supplemental discussions about questions related to Robert Montgomery

Waxhaw Settlement of Lancaster County, South Carolina

Children of ROBERT MONTGOMERY and REBECCA COFFEE

  1. JOHN MONTGOMERY,  of Cotton Gin Port, Monroe County, Mississippi; married AGGIE (?).

  2. HUGH MONTGOMERY, b. 1790, South Carolina; d. 1833, Monroe Co.?, Mississippi.  

  3. MARGARET DIXON MONTGOMERY, b. June 01, 1804, South Carolina; d. August 13, 1866, Pontotoc Co., Mississippi.

  4. POLLY MONTGOMERY, b. 1808, South Carolina; d. 1870, Calhoun Co., Mississippi.  

  5. ALEXANDER MONTGOMERY, b. Abt. 1810, South Carolina. 

  6. ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY, b. South Carolina abt 1813; d. Tennessee btw. 1832 and 1840

  7. REBECCA JANE MONTGOMERY, b. 1815, South Carolina.  

Citation Notes

 1.  1850 Census Lafayette County, Mississippi, page 288, This census confirms that Robert was born in South Carolina.  Lists SC as his birth state.

2.  1850 Census Lafayette County, Mississippi, page 288, lists South Carolina as birth state.  Living in the home of James Gideon with:  James Gideon,  Jane, Nancy, William, John, Word, James Gideon and Robert Montgomery.

3.  1860 Mortality Schedule, Pontotoc Co., Mississippi.

4.  1837 State of Mississippi Census, Pontotoc County, transcribed in Mississippi Genealogical Exchange, vol. 25 (1979), p. 29.

         

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