The Family of William J. Montgomery

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  • ID: I39
  • Name: Allen Lee MONTGOMERY
  • Surname: Montgomery
  • Given Name: Allen Lee
  • _AKA: Lee
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 12 Jun 1867 in Serena Township, LaSalle County, IL
  • Death: 25 Feb 1928 in San Antonio, Bexar County, TX
  • Burial: 27 Feb 1928 Roselawn Cemetery, San Antonio, TX
  • _UID: 41351EB7A00C9F4B9E0A6247AA74D690B61C
  • Note:
    Below is the text of three letters written by Alan Lee Montgomery to his half-brother, James Ivor Montgomery, around the time of their father's death in 1908. The letters were the only glimpse of "Lee" and his sisters, and of Lee's children, until receipt of the Obituary of Bessie, Lee's daughter, in 2005, by the G-Grandson of James Ivor, Willliam J. Montgomery 4 (James Robert 3, Ward Pease 2, James Ivor 1).

    In the three letters, Alan tells his brother, Ivor:
    He moved to Arkansas from Iowa in January, 1907, with his family and his father, John Nelson Montgomery;
    Both he and his father suffered from asthma;
    Their Father passed away (letter 2);
    He had two children, Bessie (married to Mr. Grupe) and Charlie, 7 years old;
    He lived in the town of Siloam Springs on a rented acre with house and orchard;
    Bessie lived with her husband (Otto) on a farm six miles out of Siloam Springs on the Illinois River (Hico?);
    Details of getting their father's body back to Iowa and who paid for same and why;
    And more.

    "Siloam Springs, Ark

    My Dear Brother,

    Excuse me if I do not write much of a letter this time for Father is dying & I am watching him & writing, too.

    My God, Ivor I am surprised at what you have written me. What are they made of? Are they so much wrapped up in the almighty dollar that they have forgotten that they are only flesh & blood? Ivor, you have my sincere sympathy. I only hope they will see their foolish mistake before it is irreparable.

    Well, we came here 1 year ago last Jan(uary). I had the asthma so bad in Iowa I had to get out so came down here. I do not have it as bad here although am not well by any means. Father has been very hearty since we came here but he has just naturally broke down. He is still conscious but can hardly speak a word audible but lets me know what he wants by gesture. He wants me right by him all the time. He has been sick since two weeks ago last Friday. He cannot last long. Poor old Father. How I will miss him. The girls want him sent back to the Falls. But I do not know what I can do yet for I just have not got the money & do not know whether I can get it here or not. I would willingly pay all if I could. It seems to me they ought to help a little. I wish you were able to come for I think you would be better here.

    More next time.

    Your Loving Bro.

    "Siloam Springs, Ark

    My Dear Brother,

    I read your most welcome letter day before yesterday. Was very glad to hear from you, but sorry you are so poorly. I hope you are much better now.

    Well Ivor, poor Father is gone. He died at 10 min to 8 o'clock, Sat. the 19th. He was sick just 3 weeks. He made up his mind he was going to die right from the start . . . and oh, how he did suffer and long for it to be over with. I never want to see anybody go through what he did again. The Dr. said he was just simply wore out. He would not take but very little medicine and ate practically nothing, living principally on milk. He was well and hearty up to the time he was taken sick. He was conscious up to a few hours before his death. Poor Father, how I miss him. He wanted me to take care of him all the time. Nobody could ehandle him, he thought, like Lee. I think I undressed & went to bed just twice in 3 weeks. But I was only doing my duty. I only wish I could have done more for him. So on last Monday I sent the remains back to Iowa Falls to be laid at rest beside of Mother/ God bless them.

    Ella came down and stayed a few days but returned home about a week before he died. Minnie lost their youngest girl about that time. Ella reached home just in time for the funeral. She was 19 years old and graduated last June. She had I think what the Doctor called peritonitis.
    Well, Ivor, I like it here very well. We have a fine climate, splendid water. While common labor is not quite as high here being from $1.00 to $1.50, skilled labor is fully as good or better. I have got at Carpenter work $2.50 to $2.75 all summer when there was work. It has been a little dull here this summer for the apple crop was almost a failure & that means a whole lot here.

    Well, I must close. It is nearly 10 o'clock.

    Write soon,

    Your loving brother,


    (Denoted answered on October 6, 1908, by J. Ivor)

    "Siloam Springs, Ark.
    J. Ivor Montgomery

    My Dear Brother,

    I rec'd your welcome letter some little time ago, but have been very busy & neglected answering sooner. We are well as usual. I hope this may find you much improved. Father is buried beside Mother in the Iowa Falls cemetery. Yes, I rec'd a card from Ella's girl saying her Ma came home sick, but that is the last word I have had direct from them. Not one word since I sent Father up there.

    You ask me to tell you all about my family. Well, we have but 2 children. Bessie, the girl, is married & lives here. She is a bright little girl. She married a man by the name of Grupe. He has a farm here about 6 miles from town on the Illinois River. Then, we have 1 boy, 7 years old. We call him Charlie. He is a chip off the old block.

    We came here 1 year ago last Jan. mostly on account of my asthma. Yes, I like it here very well. While the soil is not as good as Iowa, the climate more than makes up the difference. My asthma is not as near as bad as it was in Iowa.

    This is quite a fruit country, but the late frost got us last Spring. The peaches were not over 1/2 crop & the apples at most a total failure. So, times have been dull this summer.

    I live in town on a rented place. I pay $8.00 per month rent for a house & 1 acre of ground with orchard on. Father's sickness and funeral cost me over $100.00 but if I have any health I will try & wiggle out after a while. No, the other children did not pay anything but the express from here to Iowa Falls, about $21.00, and they hated to do that. I am very sorry the asthma troubles you so. I wish you were here. I do not believe you would be so bad. I do not do much of anything for mine any more, although I am up from 1 to 2 hours most every night. I do not have it so hard as I did up north. Father was delighted with the climate here. He enjoyed it so much.

    Well, it is past my bedtime, so will have to close for this time.

    Write soon, from your loving brother,


    1900 US Census: Living in Oakland Township (Popejoy), Franklin County, Iowa, with wife, Cora Belle, and daughter, Bessie, age 11. Shown to be a wagonmaker.

    1907-1908 - Moved from Iowa to Siloam Springs, AR, with daughter, Bessie and her husband, Otto Grupe, and most likely his father, John Nelson Montgomery. Bessie moved with one child and another on the way (22 April) and had two more children between 1908 and 1917.

    September 1908 - his father, John Nelson Montgomery, age 81, dies in Allen Lee's home in Siloam Springs, AR.

    1910 US Census: Living on Texas Street, Ward 4, Siloam Springs, AR, with wife Cora Belle, and son, Charley S. Montgomery. Shown to be a carpenter. Texas Street is now South Elm Street. Many street names were changed after WWII, according to the Siloam Springs Museum, Siloam Springs, AR.

    1920 US Census: Does not show up in Siloam Springs, AR. Moved to Texas??
    Had lived in San Antonio for 10 years, 11 days at time of death = moved to San Antonio in March of 1917.

    Died 25 Feb 1928, in San Antonio, TX, at 116 King Street.

    His brother, James Ivor Montgomery, would died 16 days later in Illinois.
  • Change Date: 17 Jan 2010 at 13:50:54

    Father: John Nelson MONTGOMERY b: 30 May 1827 in Conneaut Township, Crawford County, PA
    Mother: Amanda Harriet SPRINGSTEAD b: 28 Jun 1829 in Clay, Onandaga County, NY

    Marriage 1 Cora Belle STEWART b: 5 Mar 1869 in Canada, English Speaking
    • Married: ABT 1888 in Popejoy, IA.
    1. Has Children Bessie J. MONTGOMERY b: 1 Sep 1888 in Popejoy, IA
    2. Has No Children Charley Stewart MONTGOMERY b: 1902 in IA

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