John Montgomery strategy
John Montgomery - the search

The identification of our John must depend on the few facts we know:
He died in 1795, in Mecklenburg Co., NC.
He had lived in Pennsylvania.
He moved to NC in or before 1773 (before the Revolution, when he purchased the land on McKee Creek).
From the imputed birth of son Samuel in about 1761, he married before then. His wife's name was Isabell.
We can estimate John's birth year as 1710-40.
We might connect through a son - John, James, or Robert (in addition to Samuel) - or daughter - Isabella, Ruth, Elizabeth Johnston, or Mary Irwin.

Montgomery genealogists may be confused by another John Montgomery who also died in 1795, the well-documented John who married Esther Houston. Esther's John, however, died in Augusta Co., VA. [DNA analysis based on 67 markers gives a genetic distance of 2 between me and descendants of this John.]

I have followed leads through three major paths:
(1) Pennsylvania
For a map of Pennsylvania counties, see
After an interesting digression, I will pick up three most likely counties, Cumberland, Bedford, and Chester counties
(2) A family connection, possibly as a brother, to Alexander Montgomery
(3) The PA to NC migration of other John Montgomerys.

One particular Montgomery family has interesting geographic connections to our line. Their residence in Pennsylvania preceded their move to Carroll Co., Indiana. As discussed in relation to Samuel Montgomery, five Montgomery siblings, including my ancestor James, moved from Knox Co., TN to Carroll Co., IN in the 1830s and 40s, the same period as this family's migration:
JAMES MONTGOMERY was born Abt. 1771 in County Antrim, Ireland, and died Abt. 1852 in Delphi, Carroll Co. Indiana. He married ELIZABETH COULTER 1799. She was born 1778 in County Tyrone, Ireland, and died 31 May 1853 in Carroll County, Indiana.

ISABELLA2 MONTGOMERY, b. 01 May 1800, Oxford, Chester Co. PA; d. 14 June 1887, Carroll County, Indiana; m. Samuel Sterrett abt. 1821
MARGARET MONTGOMERY, b. 1802, Lancaster, PA; m. JOHN ALEXANDER, 1823, Indiana.
JOSEPH MONTGOMERY, b. 1804, Lancaster Co. PA; d. Abt. 1832; m. ELIZA JANE THOMPSON, 1829, New Thompsontown, Juniata Co. PA.
THOMPSON MONTGOMERY, b. 1805, Lancaster Co. PA.
JAMES MONTGOMERY, b. 1807, Lancaster Co. PA; d. Newville, Cumberland Co. PA.
JOHN MONTGOMERY, b. 1810, Lancaster Co. PA; m. CATHERINE MCFEY, 1835, Carroll Co. Indiana.
ROBERT MONTGOMERY, b. 11 December 1811, Lancaster Co. PA; d. 22 July 1878, Rockfield, Carroll County, Indiana.
ANNA ALEXANDRIA MONTGOMERY, b. 23 February 1819, Pennsylvania; d. 29 July 1901, Logansport, Cass Co. Indiana; m. John Wilson Wharton abt. 1837, Pennsylvania.

This batch of references came from the search of Pennsylvania records on USGenweb.
PA Archives: Second Series, Vol. 18: Part I: MINUTES OF THE SUSQUEHANNA COMPANY, WINDHAM, JULY 18, 1753, a John Montgomery is a subscriber (along the Susquehana River).

Ellis, Franklin, ed., History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys Embraced in the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, Philadelphia, 1886, pages 532-551, shows for Derry Township, Mifflin County, PA, the first assessment, made in 1768, including John Montgomery, Esq. The assessment of Derry township for 1700, the first year after the erection of Mifflin County, Samuel Montgomery.


A letter, Justice John Miller to Richard Peters, dated West Caln, 8th May, 1758: Worthy Sir:--John Montgomery was with me last Saturday and told me that Sundry Young Fellows had been with him expressing their willingness to go out on the present Expedition, provided he would go with them as their Captain, . . .
(I have not identified which expedition. See

Cumberland County, PA -
I have a separate page on DNA analysis based on 67 markers. The analysis suggests a connection with either of two lines which could be documented on paper. First, it gives a genetic distance of 1 between me and a descendant of Rev. William Montgomery, believed to have been born in Shippensburg, Cumberland Co., PA, in 1768.

According to the records I saw during my trip to the Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) of Carlisle, PA November 14 and 15, 2006, my John did not live in Cumberland Co.
For the record, these references from a search of Pennsylvania records on USGenweb had suggested his residence there:
        Tax List: 1751, Parts of Cumberland County, which are now Franklin Co, PA (Early Tax Lists as given in "The History and Topography of Dauphin,Cumberland, Franklin, Bedford, Adams and Perry Counties" by I. Daniel Rupp,Gilbert Hills and Pub, Lancaster, 1846, page 458-460) for Lurgan Township, 1751, includes among others: Humphrey Montgomery and John Montgomery
        Union County PA: History: Annals of the Buffalo Valley by John Blair Lynn, includes, in 1769, FIRST SURVEYS IN THE VALLEY, on the waters of the West Brand (sic) of the Susquehanna, with John Montgomery as one of the representatives of Cumberland. He is mentioned again in 1771.
        Selected Applications for Land Warrants 1746-1767: Various Cos, PA, refers to land of John Montgomery in Cumberland Co.

And these leads came from my trip:
In the Flower folder is a reference to a deed (abstract) dated 24 Oct 1772, with John Montgomery to a George Armstrong (Vol 1 Bk C p. 339): Bedford twp, owed money, Sheriff's sale, owed 207 lbs, land sold for 80 lbs. Bedford twp was in Cumberland Co. in 1768 and became part of Bedford Co.(when it was formed) in 1771. (For townships in Cumberland, see I passed over this on my original look, and the township would have been too far from Shippensburg for direct contact with Rev. William Montgomery, but it showed the need to check out Bedford County.

Bedford County, PA -
Tax Assessment Returns 1768 (Brothers, Colerain, Cumberland and Dublin Townships)
Cumberland Valley: (southwest corner of Bedford County)
Tax Assessment Listing for 1768, Barree and Bedford Townships
Bedford Township, which encompassed the western half of Bedford Co. and the southern half of Blair County:
Tax Assessment Listing for 1773 Bedford Township also shows John MONTGOMERY
Further, Cumberland Valley Tax List 1772
Posted by: astronamy7 June 23, 2006
Source: History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, PA Pg. 69 Cumberland Valley Taxables, etc. 1772 lists
John Montgomery, acres 300, imp. 20
And the 1785 Tax lists for Bedford Township and for Cumberland Valley do not show any Montgomery, which is significant.

Chester Co., PA -
This is the other Pennsylvania county with possible connections, such as the Seceder church. The Chester County website,, shows an index for tax lists, for deed books, and for many other records. From tax lists, there are two John Montgomerys living there only before 1773: one with 90 acres in Concord Township (1770), the other in East Fallowfield Township (1765). There are additional Johns listed before 1773 who can be ignored by using other listings. The Deed Books, however, show no land sales from either of the above two townships during the appropriate time period. My conclusion: my John was not in Chester County long enough to leave a trail.

Alexander Montgomery
John Seymour Montgomery (JSM) and I differ according to analysis of 67 markers by a genetic difference of only 1. The firm, Family Tree DNA, that did the testing, calculates a probability of 73.5% that our lines meet no further back than generation 8. That is, (with my John being generation 6) John’s grandfather was in the line of JSM with that probability. So I turn to the paper trail of JSM, based on the research of Dr. William R. Marsh.
See Ivy_Crites. [The bibliography includes Greenwich Land Records, Vol. 7-13; Church Records of Stamford First Congregational Church 1747-1907; Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich, Spencer Mead, Harbor Hill Bookds (typo?), Harrison, NY, 1979; Rivington's New York Newspaper, Excerpts from a Loyalist Press, 1773-1783, compiled by Kenneth Scott, New York Historical Society, 1973.] JSM tracks back to Alexander Montgomery, Sr., with vital dates about 1730-1810, emigrating to America from Ulster about 1750. (Marsh is also a descendant of Alexander Montgomery Sr.) Marsh concluded that the father of Alexander was Robert of Brandrum. A brother of Alexander Sr. would be the right age for my John. Marsh writes that Alexander married Sarah Lockwood, the daughter of Gershom Lockwood and Mary Ferris of Greenwich, Connecticut. He reports three children of that union baptized in the Stamford First Congregational Church 1762-1765. Alexander bought land around Greenwich before moving to New York City in 1767. (Another daughter was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church in New York in 1770. )

I went back into August 2014. I saw nothing new in the Data, including what Ancestry advertised as a new Global Collection. In the “Public Member Trees,” I found many references to Alexander Montgomery with father Robert and marriage to Sarah Lockwood in Fairfield CT. The public-www genealogical literature accepts Alexander with those family connections.
Vague references more than a year ago to this Alexander suggested he had a brother John, who migrated from Ireland with him (fitting my search), and I naively thought that a key was to assure that such an Alexander and “John” were brothers. Ancestry Family Trees do in fact show a brother of Alexander named John. But the details are discouraging: The point is that just finding a “John Montgomery” in close association with Alexander is insufficient: I could be certain that Alexander had some brother John who migrated to America with him but still have no evidence that said John was mine.

How, conceivably, could I know that someone named John Montgomery was mine? I cannot imagine any remaining text from John giving sufficient information. In my assuming his departure from Pennsylvania, I looked for dates that might imply his arrival in North Carolina; proximity does not work if I look earlier. The firmest connection in my mind would be if the early John had a wife named Isabel.

For some years, I have been confused by other John Montgomery families in North Carolina. Don Maring and others, working with the correspondence of now-deceased family members, believe they have separated two John Montgomery families who lived in Pennsylvania during the same era; one migrated to North Carolina. The first is:
1.0 John MONTGOMERY m: Martha FINLEY and resided at Paxtang Township, then Lancaster (now Dauphin) Co, Pennsylvania. This is the (paternal) line of CB. [Recall the DNA connections.]
1.1 Agnes ("Nancy") [ca 1726-1789] m: Alexander McCORCKLE. Both buried at Thyatira Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Rowan County, N.C.
1.2 John - No information
1.3 (Rev) Joseph [1733-1794]. Presbyterian minister and delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania. m1: Elizabeth REED or REID [d: 1769]; m2: 1770 Rachel.
1.4 Robert [ca 1740-1806] m: ca 1771 Agnes ("Nancy") Montgomery [b ca 1750, living when Robert made LW&T in 1806], daughter of John and Martha (Montgomery) Montgomery [below] who moved to Mecklenburg Co, NC.
1.5 William [ca 1755-1803] m: Ann Elizabeth REID of NJ
1.6 Elizabeth [ca 1754-1832] who married Robert STRAIN

The second family:
1.0 John Montgomery (LW&T March 1788) m: Martha Montgomery (living as of Oct 1799). The lore is that they were cousins who married on the ship bringing them to America, about 1735, from Northern Ireland. They resided in Paxtang Township, then Lancaster (now Dauphin) Co, Pennsylvania. In 1770 or 1771, he moved with 8 of his 9 children to Mecklenburg Co., buying land in 1771 on Sugaw Creek.
1.1 James MONTGOMERY, ca 1735-1793, m. 11 Sept 1770 Lancaster (now Dauphin) Co, PA, Anna WOODS.
1.2 Joseph, born ca 1736, is said to have moved to Kentucky.
1.3 John, born ca 1737, m. Elizabeth; moved to Blount Co TN by 1809.
1.4 Robert MONTGOMERY (ca 1740, PA-26 Feb 1834, NC) married 1st ca 1763 Mary Martha ROBINSON (ca 1745-11 April 1823), married 2nd Sept 1770 Martha REED.
1.5 Martha, born ca 1740 m. Robert ROBI(N)SON
1.6 Rebecca 1742 m1. William ORR1.7 Elizabeth 1744 m. William HOUSTON, moved 1796 to Kentucky.
1.8 Agnes ("Nancy") born ca 1750 m. Robert MONTGOMERY; stayed in PA.
1.9 David, 1754-1834 m: Margaret ALLEN.

I have termed the second John Montgomery "John-78" because he died in 1778, and my earlier reports may have confused him with the first John. The family of John-78 bought land during the same years as our John's James, Robert, and John were doing business in Mecklenburg. Public Member Trees of mix up the families of John-78 and our John. I believe that the DNA analysis rules out a direct relationship with John-78.

The "unknown" John, son of the first John, is possibly our John. In addition to the DNA connection, note: (1) The duplication of children's names could be based on the use of names previously used in the respective families. (2) From the little we know of ages, John, the son of the first John, would have been the right age to be our John.

Violating the classic method of genealogic search, I tried skipping back over immediate geography. The DNA work says John's line went through Ulster. So I tried to investigate records in Ulster on the web. The IGI shows a marriage in 1733 of Isabella Hughes to John Montgomery, in Drumachose, Londonderry (Ireland). The names are right, and the date is possible. Through reading, my impression, however, is not to expect any Irish records to be available in the needed time period.

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