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Underground Railroad Research Forum

Re: Ancestors of Harriet Tubman

Kate,

After reading the following one can see why James Montgomery and Harriet Tubman became close associates. Both detested slavery with a passion.

I visited Bates County, Missouri, Linn County, Kansas as well as Fort Scott, Kansas a couple of years ago, and had numerous conversations with local historians and others who were well versed on the history of the area.

James Montgomery was also known in that area for his slash and burn tactics, and was somewhat detested by others including John Brown at certain times. He was a Jayhawker, anti-slaver, free-stater, abolitionist, underground railroad conductor and militiaman -said by some to have been more radical and ardent against slavery than John Brown.

During the 1850s a militia unit was organized to free a Jayhawker and free-stater who had been arrested at Fort Scott, and when Montgomery was put in charge John Brown refused to participate. He allegedly burned some ballot boxes in Mound City after becoming suspicious that bushwhackers had come from Missouri and voted illegally.

After Jim Lane organized the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Regiment, Montgomery wanted to be appointed its commander. Jim Lane refused because it was stated he could not control Montgomery, and Montgomery departed Kansas in late 1862 or early 1863 for Washington, and subsequently South Carolina.

After the war ended Montgomery returned to Linn County, Kansas, and brought some of the soldiers that served in the 34th USCI. It was stated he gave them land in the area.

Montgomery is buried in the Linn County Cemetery at Mound City. A replica of his home, called Fort Montgomery, has been built in a historic park at Mound City. The house has a cellar where runaway slaves were hidden, and an attic with gun ports where militiamen protected the house from Missouri slave catchers and bushwhackers.

There is much more on the James Montgomery, John Brown, Charles Jennifer and Jim Lane connections that I hope to explore next spring when I revisit the area.

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Ancestors of Harriet Tubman
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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