Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Thin Black Line

John Montgomery (1764-1828)
MSA SC 3520-1497


Born 1764 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Son of John Montgomery.  Admitted to the bar in Harford County, 1791.  Married (1) Mary Hanes; (2) Maria Nicholson; five children.  Died July 17, 1828, in Baltimore, Maryland.  Buried at Mt. Carmel Methodist Cemetery, Emmorton, Harford County.

 House of Delegates, Harford County, 1793-98 and 1800-05.  House of Delegates, Baltimore City, 1819.  State's Attorney, Harford County, 1793-96.  Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1807-11.  Attorney General, 1811-18. Mayor of Baltimore, 1820-23.

John Montgomery, Mayor of Baltimore 1820-1822; 1824-1826.  At elections held October 2nd, 1820 and October 4th, 1824, Mayor Montgomery's electors were chosen.

The Baltimore or Battle Monument, commemorating the successful defense of the City in 1814, was completed.  An epidemic of yellow fever raged in 1821.  The limits of direct taxation were extended and a plan to straighten and improve Jones Falls was proposed.

The Legislation to establish public Schools and authority to construct a steam dredging machine, also a wooden bridge over Harford Run (Central Avenue) at Holland street was adopted.  Laws creating the office of Superintendent of Streets and pumps (now Commissioner of Street Cleaning); and providing for improving "The Cove" were passed.  "The Cove" comprised the waterfront from Jones Falls to Fells Point.  The improvement resulted in the formation of the City Dock, which was intended as a "catch basin" to intercept sediment brought down by Jones Falls and Harford Run.  

A large part of the City Dock was obliterated by the construction of Municipal Docks and Piers erected after the fire of 1904.

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John Montgomery was born in Carlisle in 1764.  His father, likewise named John, a man of attainments, was born in Ireland in 1722, emigrating to Pennsylvania in 1745 and settling in Carlisle.  The future Mayor was well educated, studied law and was admitted to the Bar, beginning practice in Harford County, Maryland, where his name appears on a list of Attorneys of the Bar in 1791.  He took a prominent part in politics and became a leader in the Democratic Party, being sent to the House of Delegates from Harford County seven times and was States Attorney three times.  He was elected a member of the Tenth and Eleventh Congresses 1807-1809, 1809-1811.  About this period he moved his residence to Baltimore City.  He was appointed Attorney-General of the State of Maryland the 29th of April, 1811, but went out of office in the change of the State Constitution, being succeeded by Luther Martin, February 11th, 1818.  He was chosen a member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore City, 1819, and was elected Mayor of Baltimore City for two terms, as stated heretofore. With his kinsman, Joseph Hopper Nicholson, he called the meeting at the Fountain Inn May 21st, 1812, to arouse the country for the war.  This led to a violent editorial in the "Federalist," resulting in the destruction of that paper by the mob, and the greater disaster, in the loss of life, that followed an attempt by the "Federalist" to defy the spirit of the city.

On March 25th, 1814, John Montgomery was appointed Captain of the Baltimore Union Artillery, which served with great gallantry at the Battle of North Point, General Stricker reporting "Captain John Montgomery, commander of my artillery, gained for himself and his company lasting honor."  

His first wife was Mary Harris, his second was Maria Nicholson, fourth daughter of Commodore James Nicholson, U. S. N.  Mayor Montgomery's demise occurred July 17th, 1828.  The Montgomery monument at Bel Air, Maryland, has the following inscription:

In memory of
who died in Baltimore,
A.D. 1828,
also Mary, his wife,
and his 2 sons
John H. and James N. Montgomery.
Be ye ready also for the Son of Man cometh at an
hour when ye think not.


Source:  Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of Baltimore (Reprinted from The Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919), 27-29.

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