Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Coat & Small Clothes: The 1825 Inventory of Gen. John Montgomery

There is no denying it: General John Montgomery (1764-1825) was a wealthy man. He first arrived in Haverhill, NH. from Londonderry, NH. as a trader; by the time of his death in 1825, he was one of the wealthiest and most highly regarded citizens of this significant North Country town, with the esteemed "esq." appended to his name. Distinguished for his business acumen as well as his leadership during the War of 1812, the survival of his highly detailed probate inventory is a true find.

Extracts from the probate inventory will posted on these pages periodically. The focus here will be on his clothing, meticulously listed in the 12 page document of a total estate valued at $2,901.93.

1 Military coat, 2 vests & pantaloons          10.50 
1 Overcoat                                                      4.00

1 Coat                                                             2.50
1 silk vest .50 & small clothes .25                   .75
1 Great coat and cape                                      .50
2 Linnen shirts                                               4.00
1 Silk umbrella                                              2.00

                              1 Military bridle & saddle                             7.50
Side saddle                                                     6.00
1 Military sash                                              10.00    

Miscellaneous found throughout
the house and outbuildings:
1 silver watch & gold chain                        18.50
1 Gun                                                             3.00
1 bathing tub                                                    .50
2 old pocket books                                           .34

There were numerous looking glasses, dressing and toilet tables, hairbrushes and "snuff flasks."

Most of the General's personal clothing items were listed in the "North Front Chamber" leading one to speculate that that was his chamber; while the bridles and saddles were listed in the Dining Room. Not surprisingly, the North and South Front rooms contained the most costly furnishings while the Back South "parlour" held the library, two family armorials, serving dishes, trays and so on. 

The contents of his store, library and chambers will be featured in future posts.

1. A page from the 1793 Montgomery Store Daybook, September 2. View of the Montgomery House and store, c. early 1790s
3. View of the Montgomery Store with mid-19th century alterations

Thank you to the Haverhill Historical Society and to the current homeowners for making materials accessible to the author.

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