Henry C. Montague
Harris or Harry

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born 1842 in Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania or New York died Las Animas County, Colorado 1880-1885
The ghostown of Elizabethtown, New Mexico is about 40 miles southwest of Trinidad, CO (as the crow flies) Here we find Harry Montague, age 28, born (says the census) in Virginia. A search of all the Montagues in Virginia in 1850 doesn't show any "Harry" or "Henry" as a 7-9 yr. old.

Harry is a hard man to trace. On every census either he or one of his sons says he was born in a different place: in Virginia Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, or Kentucky.

In 1880, Harris Montague. 38, is living with his wife Juana, age 26, sons Feliz, 4 and Samuel, 2, and his mother in law, Maria J. Romero, 55. This census says Harris was born in Missouri. (In 1900, Samuel said his father was born in Pennsylvania; Felix says his father was born in New Mexico). As it turns out, Juana is not the mother of Samuel who says on his wedding license that his his mother was Mary Francier. That Juana is not Samuel's mother explains why she appears on later census reports with her mother and her son Felix, married to someone else, with no Samuel listed...and why the boys were separated when Harry/Harris/Henry died.

Elizabethtown was the first incorporated city in New Mexico. By 1868 Elizabethtown had seven saloons, five stores, a newspaper, three dance halls and two hotels. One hotel became famous when its guests disappeared. The owner and proprietor had been stealing from them and then killing them, burying their bodies in the back yard.

This was a gold and coal mining town in the 1870's with harsh winters and attacks by Apaches and Commanches who stole cattle and sheep to feed themselves as the buffalo herds dwindled.

I believe that Harry Montague, found on the 1870 census and Harris Montague on the 1880 census are the same person. The age is correct, and the two towns are only 40 miles apart. Perhaps Harry Montague came west to find gold in New Mexico...and then moved north to Trinidad, Colorado.

Family legend says Harry/Harris was a sherriff in Trinidad who was shot by outlaws and buried on "Boot Hill." The Sheriff's Department in Trinidad has no record of this. After Harry was shot, the family was separated and Feliz (Felix) and Samuel went to live with different relatives. The brothers never saw each other again. The Las Animas County Recorder's Office has no record of births, death, nor marriages for any of them. The Holy Trinity Catholic Church has only baptismal records for the children of Felix.

In the 1885 Census of Las Animas County, there appears a Marcelino Mestas living with his wife "Juanito," son Felix, 11, and a mother-in-law Jenuitt (or Jesuitt) Romero, age 65. The names are close enough to be Juana, her son Feliz, and her mother. "Juanito" can be a nickname of "Juana." Felix is the right age and is listed underneath the name of Juanito. He would, indeed, be her son. Since many hispanic families named all their daughters Maria, they sometimes went by their middle names, so Maria J. Romero could be Jenuitt Romero, mother-in-law on both census reports.

An exhaustive search of all the individuals in Las Animas in 1885 gives no clue to the whereabouts of Samuel who would have been about 9. How, why and when he went from Colorado to Montana is a mystery. It is said he "ran away from" home in Colorado in order to escape being a "workhorse."

Since the Federal Census of 1890 was burned there is no way to follow the families until 1900 when Samuel was in Montana driving teams of horses at Yellowstone Park and Felix was in Colorado, a teamster for the mines at Hastings.

Felix had married Maria delos Reyes Johnson. In 1900 they lived next door to her brother Jacobo Johnson, and they had one baby. a few months old.

Click here for more about Feliz (Felix) and his descendants

Click here for more about Samuel and his descendants

Click on the following links for more information about Elizabethtown, New Mexico:


In 2004 I sent for the marriage certificate of Samuel Clay and Annie St. Martin Montague. They were married in Missoula, Montana in 1906. On this Samuel states that his father's name was Henry C. Montague and his mother was Mary Francier.

This is a just an educated guess but here is what I believe regarding Henry C. Montague. In the book of Montagues descending from immigrant Peter Montague of Virginia, there is listed one Henry Clay Montague, born in Alabama in 1845. He is the son of Robert Vaughn Montague and Emily Vaughn Montague. In the Census of 1850 Henry is listed at age 5 with his parents, brothers and sisters in Marengo County, Alabama. It states that his parents were both born in Virginia.

In the book it states that Robert Vaughn was a planter in Alabama. His fields flooded and he lost everything so went to Louisiana to begin again. He appears to have remained in Louisiana, but several of his children moved to Missouri, and his widow died in Marshall, Saline County, Missouri.

In the book it states that Henry Clay Montague died in St. Louis, MO in 1862 (at age 17).

Now comes the speculation: what if he didn't die and instead went to New Mexico to find his fortune in the mines in Elizabethtown (1870). Perhaps he went missing in the Civil War. It was, afterall, 1862 when he supposedly died, right in the midst of the War.

Indeed, there WAS a Henry Montague who was a Confederate soldier, enlisted in Louisiana where Henry was living in 1860 at age 15. This regiment formed in 1861 when Henry would have been 16, a year before his death in Missouri. It was the 1st Louisiana Infantry, Strawbridge's Regiment, Company C. Of 2024 men in the original regiment, only 39 were present at Atlanta. Eight were reported killed, 71 injured, and many just went missing.

Henry's father Robert died April 23, 1866 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Now, back to our "Harry Montague" in Elizabethtown, NM in 1870: He said he was born in Virginia, but if he was trying not to be found he might give his father's birthplace instead of his own. Or, what if the census taker asked where his family came from originally? Or what if the census taker put Henry's father's birthplace in the spot on the form reserved for Henry's? His father's birthplace is blank on the census.

And in 1880 where his name is given as "Harris" Montague. He says he was born in Missouri. Well, indeed his mother and his siblings were living in Marshall, Missouri at this time.