For a period of over 35 years the subject of this sketch was one of the leading farmers of Rock Island county. His farm was one of the largest and best under the highest state of cultivation, while the improvements upon it were among the finest and latest in design. Not only was the owner a leader in agricultural, but he was likewise foremost among his fellow men, in church, in politics and in society. His sons and daughters, following the example he set for them, grew into useful men and women and went out to fill responsible positions in the world.
Robert Simington Montgomery was born March 30,. 1836, at Danville, Pennsylvania, and died January 6, 1900, at his homestead on section 26, Edgington Township. He was a son of Daniel and Margaret (Simington) Montgomery, natives of the Keystone state, but residents of Rock Island County from the year in which the son was born. The father became one of the chief landholders of the community, entering 1,000 acres from the government where the homestead stood. He also acquired a section of land lying to the south and several other farms in the county, besides a considerable tract in the vicinity of Joliet. The father died in 1849 at the age of 45 and his two sons, Robert and Daniel, succeeded to his landed interests. Both improved the opportunity thus opened to them and both were successful in the highest degree.
Our subject attended the public schools and supplemented them with a collegiate course at Macomb, Illinois, after which he returned to the farm upon which he had been reared, and spent practically all his life there. At the opening of the civil war he organized Company B of the 65th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was elected captain. In this capacity he served throughout the conflict, being thrice wounded and seeing the hardest sort of duty. He took part in the Atlanta campaign and in that in Tennessee. He was in the siege of Knoxville and was taken prisoner, together with his company, at Harper’s Ferry, but was paroled on the field and returned to Camp Douglas, Chicago. On being exchanged he rejoined the army in Kentucky and remained there till the end of the war. Wounds were received at Lexington, in front of Atlanta, and at Columbus, Tennessee. The first year after the war Mr. Montgomery spent in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Then he returned to Illinois and resumed farming, which occupation he continued to follow actively till his death.
Mr. Montgomery was one of the leading members and supporters of the Edgington Presbyterian church, long rated as one of the finest country churches in the state. He supported the principles of the Republican party from the time when he attained the voting age. He was never an office seeker, but was twice honored with election as member of the board of supervisors and for a number of years was school director. Fraternally he affiliated with the Masons.
The marriage of the subject of this sketch to Miss Jane Titterington took place June 23, 1869. His wife, a daughter of James and Eleanor (Beall) Titterington, was like him-self, one of the early settlers of the community. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery: Alexander Boyd, now a practicing physician at Checota, Indian Territory; Elizabeth Simington, now Mrs. William McLean Stewart, of Tishomingo, Indian Territory; Anne Beall, now Mrs. Frank W. Bahnsen, of Rock Island, Illinois; Margaret J., now Mrs. Louis Cole Maynard, of Dallas, Texas; Eleanor Ruth, now Mrs. Edward K. Cherrill, of New York City; Louisa Reed; Daniel T.; James Howard, now in the lumber business at Belle Fourche, South Dakota; and Thomas Candor. Daniel, who was a mining engineer and a young man of great promise, died October 30, 1907, in Ventanas, State of Durango, Mexico.