JAMES IVOR MONTGOMERY
(J. Ivor) b: 13 Mar 1847, the eldest son and eldest child of John Nelson Montgomery, lived his life first as a teacher, moving on to being an Attorney and Land Surveyor.
Born in Dayton Township, 4.5 miles north of Ottawa, IL.,his Mother died when he was 3 years old in 1850. His Father remarried, in summer of the year 1851, Amanda Harriet (Springstead) Strider. And so, a step-mother and step-sister for James Ivor and little brother William Harper. (Amanda had had a child (Mary) with her first husband, John Strider, who had died on 11 April 1851. John Strider left in his estate property including over $3,000.00 of gold dust from a short trip to the Gold Rush of 1849-1850. The Federal Census of 1850 shows Amanda living with her parents with a 2 year old daughter, Mary.)
At the age of 3, James Ivor had a brother and step-sister to grow up with, followed by another 5 step-sisters and 3 step-brothers (3 of whom passed away some time before 1883) between the years 1851 and 1872. In 1867, his father and stepmother moved the step-family to Franklin County, Iowa.
James Ivor Montgomery at age 11, witnessed the Lincoln-Douglas Debate in Ottawa, IL, with his father, John Nelson Montgomery, sitting on the shoulders of his Grandfather, John Harper Montgomery on August 21, 1858.
He lived at home until 16 years old (1863), at which time he became a school teacher, teaching for about 9 years. During the 1869-1870 school year he taught at South-Somonauk School, Somonauk, IL. He taught school until he was 25 years old (1872). During that time he also filled the position of Deputy Superintendent of Schools of LaSalle County for 4 years, while also reading Law.
His law tutoring was done by E. S. Abbott, Attorney, of Leland, IL. He was admitted to the Bar on examination in Ottawa, IL, in October, 1869. He practiced Law at Leland, IL, LaSalle County, until 1875. His Law Office was in the basement of the Somonauk Hotel, then owned and operated by Mr. John M. Goodell. Moved his Law Practice to Sandwich, IL, in 1875.
He Officiated as City Attorney of Sandwich, IL and four years as a Justice of the Peace. He was a Surveyor of Lands in the upper LaSalle and lower DeKalb County, IL, areas, ca. 1883, and in the territory of the Dakotas for the CNW railroad. Later, he practiced Law for many years in Aurora and Chicago, IL. Practiced Law in local, State and Federal Courts. He remained a Lawyer until his death.
Owned 33.22 acres of land on the SE corner of Leland, as shown on a Plat of Leland from 1870
(Plat shown at above, right) >
James Ivor Montgomery married Mary A. Lett in 1871. Their children were:
- Jessie MONTGOMERY b: 30 Mar 1872 in Sandwich, Ill
- Florian Lett MONTGOMERY b: 3 Sep 1877 in Sandwich, Ill
- Ward Pease MONTGOMERY b: 24 Oct 1879 in Sandwich, Ill
- Edith MONTGOMERY b: 1 Sep 1886 in Sandwich, Ill
Mary personally ran the Lett / Montgomery Family Farm, on site with the aid of her Mother, Merilla Jerusha Pease Lett, until moving into Aurora in 1895, although J. Ivor's Journals record his working the farm chores.
Other key dates and activities of J. Ivor's Life:
- 21 May 1871 - He married Mary A. Lett.
- 1875 - Moved Law Practice to Sandwich, IL
- The US Census of 1880 finds James Ivor, Mary, Jessie, Florian, Ward, and a Gertrude Case, living in Sandwich, LaSalle County, IL.
- 1883 - Move the Family to the Lett Homestead when Tom Lett retired and moved into Sandwich.
- 1883 and later - Surveyor of lands in the upper LaSalle and lower DeKalb County, IL areas.
- 1885 - Member of the Masonic Fraternity and the Order of Odd Fellows.
- 1888 - 1889 - Surveyor for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in the Territory of Dakota, prior to the Dakota Statehoods.
- 1895 - Mary and Merilla purchased property / house in Aurora approximately 27 March 1895 (for $2300??). The Warranty Deed, of that 1895 date, for a house at 115 North View Street, pre-1929 address, now 319 North View Street, lists the grantor as "Mary A. Montgomery et al (Agreement to purchase included Merilla J. Lett, with John M. Raymond)". (N56 feet in width of Lot 16 in Block 11 in Hoyt's addition to Aurora, Kane County, IL.
- 1897 - Had Law Office at "Room 220, Coulter Block", in Aurora.
- 1897 - Had Law Office in Chicago at: "704 Atwood Building, Corner Clark & Madison Streets".
- 1897, Private Journal - 12 June: "Returning from business trip to Philadelphia and New York, visited relatives in Penn Line, PA, about 15 miles from Andover, OH. "Saw Maria, Eli, Bert, and Ivor Platt, siblings of his Grandmother Malinda Platt Montgomery." (From an 1885 "Township History Sketch" of Conneaut Township, Crawford County, PA, "Penn Line Post Office is a hamlet in the western part of Conneaut, consisting of about fifteen dwellings scattered along the road, from the State line eastward, for a distance of half a mile—a store, hotel, cheese factory, two blacksmith shops, shoe shop and schoolhouse.")
- 1897, Private Journal - June 14 to June 23: While on the trip he was sick with lung congestion and lung disease. While on the trip he was taking / selling many deposits for stock in some entity or proposition.
- 1900 Census - living with Mary at the Lett Farm, Northville Township, LaSalle County, IL - Mary was "head of household" on Census. (Had they sold the house on View Street in Aurora?)
- 1901 - Had "Corporation Law" Office in Chicago at: "804-805 New York Life Building".
- 1901 - Wrote (typed) the Obituary for his Mother-in-Law, Merilla Jerusha Pease Lett, on his Chicago Law Office letterhead.
- 1910 Census - Living with Mary, daughter Edith, his son Ward and his wife May and daughter Marilla, at the Lett Farm, Northville Township, LaSalle County, IL.
- 1913, Jan - Feb - Living in Aurora, as noted in the Diary of his Daughter-in-law, May Belle Montgomery.
- 1919, March - Living at 469 Spruce Street, Aurora, IL.
- 1920 Census - Living with wife Mary and daughter Edith at 374 Oak Avenue, Aurora, IL.
- 1923-1925 - Living at 236 Plum Street, Aurora, IL, with wife Mary, daughter Jessie, Jessie's son Stanley and daughter Mary, daughter Edith, and granddaughter Marilla (daughter of son Ward) who was finishing high school at West High School.
J. Ivor and Mary moved from the farm into Aurora at 115 N. View Street (now 319 North View Street), as noted in the 1913 Journal written by May Belle Montgomery. (Mary and J. Ivor's son, Ward, were farming the Lett farm in 1913 with two children and one on the way.)
The house on View Street in Aurora is currently in the Tanner Historic District of Aurora. J. Ivor and Mary retained ownership of the Lett Farm after moving into town.