WARD PEASE MONTGOMERY
b: 24 Oct 1879, on the Lett / Montgomery Family Farm south of Sandwich, IL. Moved to Aurora, Il in 1895.
Lived at 115 N. View Street, Aurora, while in West Aurora High School. Parents bought the house in about 1895.
Ward produced artwork throughout high school for various booklets and pamphlets, and more. He longed to be a commercial artist. Produced many fine pen and ink drawings as early as 1896.
He was a Tackle for and Captain of the West Aurora Football Team for at least two years: 1896 & 1897, Manager of the Track Team in 1896.
21 Feb 1898 - Sang Baritone in the "City Club Minstrels", under the auspices of the Aurora City Club, in a concert at the Aurora Opera House. His brother Florian sang bass.
Graduated from West Aurora High School at the age of 20, in 1899, in the same Class as his future wife, May Belle Fitzgerald.
1899-1900 - He attended the University of Michigan. At the University of Michigan he was initiated into Phi Delta Theta fraternity on Sunday, November 17, 1899. He was enrolled in a course of study for Commercial Artist, or The Law School, according to Phi Delta Theta fraternity archives / records.
He engaged in farming on the Lett Farm after returning from College.
21 Feb 1906 - Married May Belle Fitzgerald. Lived with his new bride and farmed the Lett Farm.
After 1915 - Moved to a farm on Base Line Road west of Montgomery, IL, and again to another farm on Randall Road just north of Galena Street, in Aurora. He developed Tuberculosis for a while, while living on the farm, and lived in a screened-in house and was quarantined there for a while.
13 March 1919 - Abstract of Title and Articles of Agreement - Mary and J. Ivor Montgomery agreed to sell the Land surrounding the Lett farm site, excepting the Lett cemetery and the village hall site (NW corner) to a Frank Ropp, Jr., for $19,000.00, with terms to be satisfied later. Frank Ropp would take out a $9,000 mortgage as part of the transaction monies. Ropp had apparently leased the farm earlier, as mentioned in the Articles of Agreement, how long previously is not indicated.
21 March 1919 - Eight (8) days later - Indenture (Agreement): Frank Ropp, Jr., and wife, Convey and Warrant (sell) to W.P. Montgomery (Ward Pease Montgomery) the same Lett Farm property, for $9,000.00 (so as to satisfy the $9,000 mortgage the Ropps took out as part of the earlier sale), with F. L. Montgomery (Florian) "appointed and made successor in trust, with like power and authority as is hereby vested in said grantee". NOTE: The $9,000 was payable in the form of six (6) various promissory notes, all due five years after 21 March 1919. (In 1919, there existed a rural school, "School No. 6", about 1/2 of a mile north of the Lett Cemetery, across the road to the west, as did exist a "Town Hall" on the east side of the road, as the Lett Cemetery is, 200 yards to the north.) But Ward farmed elsewhere, on Base Line Road and Randall Road, and, after leaving farming and moving into Aurora in 1922, had time to sell Real Estate and did some Surveying, as family history is related. That scenario does not sound like one which allowed him time to farm the farm he was born on.
1922 - Moved his family into Aurora, on Blackhawk Street.
1922-1923 - Ward took a correspondence art course, during which his talent truly began to emerge. Many of the pieces remain examples of the true artist more than one hundred years after they were carefully penned, painted and drawn. Ward continued to do a little surveying and sold real estate after the move to Aurora.
25 June to 2 July 1923 - Admitted to hospital in Aurora. He succumbed to a ruptured duodenal ulcer from which his Doctor could not provide relief nor a cure. He died of inoperable conditions.
21 March 1924 - Five (5) years to the day after the Indenture (Agreement) with Frank Ropp, Jr., and wife - LaSalle County Recorder's Office, Release Record No. 609, pg. 173: "That Whereas W.P. Montgomery is dead", F. L. Montgomery (Florian) filed a Release of the Lett Farm property, essentially returning it to Frank Ropp, Jr., and his wife, "for and in consideration of one dollar, and for other good and valuable consideration". What these documents dated 1919 and 1924 indicate is the Lett farm was not "sold for taxes", as was family "legend". But it does create a new void as to why Ward Pease would sign an agreement to buy the farm from Ropp and be farming elsewhere, as early as 1918 and up until 1922. NOTE: His brother, Florian, stated his residence to be the Lett Farm (RD2, Sandwich, IL) when he registered for the WWI Draft on September 12, 1918.
He was a kind, sweet and gentle man, as recorded in his wife May Belle's personal Journal of January 1 to February 4, 1913. He never reached his goal of becoming a Commercial Artist, talent for which he developed throughout his life and professionally prepared for just before his death.
Ward Pease Montgomery married May Belle Fitzgerald (photo at right>), who had attended East Aurora High School at the same time as he. They were married 21 Feb 1906 in Sugar Grove, IL.
- Marilla May MONTGOMERY b: 17 Feb 1907 in Sandwich, Ill
- James Robert MONTGOMERY b: 13 Dec 1911 in Sandwich, Ill
- Mary Louise MONTGOMERY b: 18 Jul 1913 in Sandwich, Ill