Join Our Team



Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 225~


Hon. J.K. Montgomery


Hon. J. K. Montgomery, a farmer residing on section 5, Union Township, has spent almost his entire life in Iowa, having been brought by his parents to this State in 1842, while Iowa was yet under Territorial Government. He was born in Mercer County, Pa., December 20, 1840, and belongs to a family of Scotch-Irish descent. His paternal grandfather, William Montgomery, was born in Pennsylvania in 1783 and in early life learned the trade of milling, which he followed in connection with farming. In Pennsylvania he was married and reared a family of children. In 1837 he emigrated to Dubuque County, Iowa, where he spent the remainder of his days, dying in 1856, a number of years subsequent to the death of his wife. He was the first Justice of the Peace in Colony Township, Delaware County, Iowa, was an influential citizen and a member of the United Presbyterian Church.

His son, Archibald Montgomery, father of our subject, was born October 2, 1805, in Pennsylvania, where he received a common-school education and at the age of seventeen years was apprenticed to learn the tanner's trade. He married Miss Eleanor Kilgore, also a native of Pennsylvania, where he carried on farming for some years before coming West. He visited the Territory of Iowa in 1841 and the following year accompanied by his family located in Colesburg, Delaware County, where he procured forty acres of land, purchasing part and obtaining the remainder from the Government. The county was wild and sparsely settled and he knew every one within a radius of twenty miles. In Delaware County he made his home until his death with the exception of three years spent in California. Attracted by the discovery of gold he made an overland trip to the Pacific Coast in 1849. He took a very active part in the settlement and improvement of Delaware County, and probably helped raise more log houses for the pioneers than any other man in the county. He was very successful in his business transactions and had increased his landed possessions to sixteen hundred acres before his death, which occurred July 30, 1875. His wife died in 1848 just before his trip to California.


Mr. Montgomery was a faithful member of the United Presbyterian Church and an active supporter of the Democratic party, though he never sought public office. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery were the parents of seven children: William who served in the Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry and was killed while returning home on a furlough; Sarah, wife of William Horn, of Smithfield Township; Martha, wife of James Arbuckle, of Delaware County, Iowa; John K., of this sketch; Elizabeth, wife of William Alcorn a prominent farmer of Union Township; Mary J., wife of James C. Montgomery, of Union Township; Belle, wife of T. D. Reeder, also of Union Township.


Our subject grew to manhood upon his father's farm in Delaware County and was early inured to hard labor while breaking prairie with six yoke of oxen. He received his literary training in the public schools and also attended a private school two years after he was twenty years of age. He then taught one winter term before his marriage, which occurred November 23, 1894, the lady of his choice being Mary Mellon, daughter of Alexander Mellon who was born in Crawford County, Pa., April 3, 1840, and was of Irish birth. With his parents he left the Emerald Isle and came to America during childhood. The family settled in Crawford County, Pa., where Alex grew up on a farm and received a limited education. During his entire life he followed the occupation of milling. He married Miss Isabel Porter, a native of Pennsylvania of Irish descent, and spent his entire life on the old homestead in that State where they began housekeeping, where their children were born and which is still in the possession of the family.


Mr. Mellon was a Whig in politics, a good business man, and died November 25, 1861. His wife survived until May 1, 1889. Their children are: William J. who resides on the old homestead and operates the mill which his father owned; John, a farmer of Crawford County, Pa.; Francis, a resident of Adair County, Mo.; Rachel who resides with her brother William; Mary, wife of our subject; Alexander, of Pennsylvania, and Sarah, deceased.


Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery began their domestic life on a farm in Delaware County where they remained until 1876, when selling out he purchased one hundred and sixty acres on section 5, Union Township, Fayette County, his present home. He now operates three hundred and forty acres of good land, has all the necessary buildings, a comfortable residence, and is accounted one of the progressive citizens of the community. In the family are two children: Belle M., born in Delaware County, October 6, 1865, is now the wife of Charles H. Howard, a resident farmer of Center Township; she was a member of the first class that was graduated at the West Union High School, Class of '86. William A. was born in Delaware County, July 16, 1872, and is a student in Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He was graduated from the West Union High School and is now taking an engineering course. The parents are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Montgomery has held a number of minor political offices and in 1885 was honored with an election to the Twenty-first General Assembly. The county being usually Republican and he a Democrat nominee it indicates something of the regard entertained for him by his fellow citizens. The best known measure of the session of 1886 was the famous Clark law which Mr. Montgomery opposed from a temperance standpoint. He was on the Committees of Agriculture and Senatorial Districts. He received the unanimous nomination of his party in the following campaign and was defeated but his opponent received a majority only half as large as the Republican candidate for Governor. He is intelligent and well posted on political questions, an upright business man, an influential member of his party, serving as chairman of the County Central Committee in the last Presidential campaign and a worthy pioneer of Iowa."






back to Fayette 1891 Biography Index

back to Fayette Biography Directory

back to Fayette County home