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The most well-known member of the Montgomery family was Isaiah T. Montgomery who, along with his cousin, Benjamin T. Green, founded the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, in 1887. Mound Bayou is a model example of an early all-black self-governing community. Montgomery and Green were former slaves of Joseph Emory Davis, brother of Jefferson Davis. Montgomery's family had previously been associated with several plantations/slave communities in the Davis Bend community of Warren County, Mississippi, namely Hurricane, Brierfield, and Ursino. Isaiah Montgomery's mother, the former Mary Lewis, was the daughter of Virginia slaves, William and Rachel Lewis, who were among the earliest slaves at Davis Bend. His father, Benjamin T. Montgomery, was born in Loudon County, Virginia, and was also born into slavery. After a time, Benjamin was sold to plantation owner Joseph E. Davis and was subsequently sent to Mississippi. Davis recognized Montgomery's many talents and abilities, and through the years placed him in positions of great responsibility. In fact, Montgomery had gained such a degree of respect that he was able to buy Davis Bend and other properties from the Joseph Davis after the Civil War had ended. With the newly-acquired properties, Montgomery embarked on a visionary project to establish a community of freed slaves. Unfortunately, his dream was cut short by economic difficulties, and in 1884, the Davis Bend properties reverted back to the Davis family. Benjamin died the following year, but his son, Isaiah, carried on his legacy by establishing the community of Mound Bayou two years later. References Janet Sharp Hermann, The Pursuit of a Dream, NY, OUP, 1981
Restricted: Material extremely fragile; Access digital copy.
One album consisting of ninety images. Images are of the Montgomery family of Mound Bayou and two images are of Frederick Douglass. The album includes a name index for the first twenty-one pages of the photo album. The author of the index is unknown and the photo identifications were most likely added at a later date. Photo identifications may or may not be accurate.
Access copies of the electronic records are available as Zoomify JPEG files, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 2009.
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