History From America's Most Famous Valleys
GENERAL RICHARD MONTGOMERY
Excerpt from "The Hsitory of Montgomery Classis, R. C. A., 1916": by W. N. P. Dailey
This distinguished patriot-soldier, after whom the County is named, was born in Dublin, Ireland, December 2, 1736, entering the army of Great Britain at the age of twenty, serving seven years in the French and Indian war. When the Regiment to which Montgomery belonged was ordered to enforce the Stamp Act he and others resigned, an act due, doubtless, to the influence of Fox and Pitt, with whom for some years he had been intimate. He visited England later, and sought certain honors, failing of which he returned to America and went to live in New York City. He bought a large estate in Dutchess county, facing the river and Maj. Gen. Montgomery soon afterwards (July, 1773 married Janet Livingston, whom he had first met when lie was a captain in the British army. She was the sister of Chancellor Livingston, one of the three men to organize Montgomery Classis in 1880, and daughter of Robert R. Livingston, one of the judges of the King's bench. Here he settled down to the peace and prosperity of his quiet home. However, it was of short duration, for lie soon joined the ranks of the colonists, and enlisted in the army of General Schuyler which was preparing for an attack on Quebec He parted from his beloved Janet at Saratoga, never to see her again. In 1775 he was second in command with the rank of Brigadier. Illness of Gen. Schuyler threw the entire command upon Montgomery. He succeeded in taking St. John, Chambly, and Montreal. Congress made him Major General. Forward thro the December snows he pressed to join Arnold in the attack on Quebec. For three weeks the city was besieged, and on the morning of Dec. 31, 1775, amid the falling snow, an attempt was made to take it. Montgomery was killed at the very beginning of the attack while leading a division along the shores of the St. Lawrence beneath Cape Diamond. Arnold also was wounded and the expedition failed. Among the prisoners taken at St. John was Capt. Andrew who was later exchanged and joined the English army under Gen. Clinton and became Major Andre. Major Andrew had an intimate friendship with "Peggy" Shippen, the daughter of the radical Tory of that name of Philadelphia, whom Benedict Arnold married as his second wife. For two years prior to the West Point affair a correspondence was kept up between Major Andre and Arnold and Mrs. Arnold.
For forty-three years the remains of Montgomery rested within the walls of Quebec. When time for exhuming the body came, one James Thompson, a man of eighty-nine, was found, who had originally buried Montgomery, and also had the sword that Montgomery wore when he was killed. In 1818 at the request of Janet Montgomery, who had lived all these lonely years at the "Montgomery Place" (Rhinebeck), thro action of the New York Legislature the body was brot back to America and New York. It lay in state at the Capitol, Albany, on Independence Day, 1818. On the following day Mrs. Montgomery stood alone upon the broad piazza of her home and for hours watched the funeral cortege wending its way down the Hudson past the General's former dwelling. On July 8, 1818, it was buried in St. Paul's churchyard beneath a mural monument ordered by Benjamin Franklin and provided by Congress. He- was in his fortieth year when he died, tho the monument says but thirty-seventh.
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