Amanuensis Monday – Letter from John Ward Montgomery

Grandpa Montgomery was the youngest of seven children.  Four daughters were born first (Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, and Elta), then three sons (Walter, Ward, and Lawrence). Grandpa’s closest sibling in age, John Ward Montgomery, was born October 9, 1899 in Holdrege, Nebraska.  By 1910 Ward (then age 10) was living in Rotate, Kansas, a “servant” in the household of Ernest Grigson. Ward enlisted in the Marine Corps at Mare Island in April 1917, and in the 1920 census he is found living in Los Angeles. Ward married Katherine Wagner in about 1928 and by 1930 he is living in Lincoln Park, Michigan with his wife (age 23) and daughter Eleanor (age 13 months). Ward is working as a machine operator in a luggage factory.  Ward’s wife died in 1939 age age 31. The 1940 census finds Ward still living in Lincoln Park and now working as a receiving clerk in the luggage factory.  Older daughter Eleanor Jean has been joined by Ruth Corinne.  Ward will eventually die in Allen Park, Michigan, on February 2, 1981 and be buried in Ferndale Cemetery.

In 1936, Ward wrote the following letter to my grandfather Lawrence:

Postmarked October [20?] 1936, Detroit, Michigan; Addressed Mr. Lawrence T. Montgomery, Ardmore, South Dakota; Return address 1211 Park St., Lincoln Park, Mich.; Stamped in corner: Buy U.S. Savings Bonds Ask Your Postmaster

Lincoln Park Mich.
Oct. 19, 1936

Dear Brother Lawrence & Family:

I received your letter some time ago, and was sure glad to hear that you are getting along better. I hope it won’t be long until you are able to work again. I had a letter from Sister Mamie not long ago. Her address is 2827 “K” St. Bakersfield Calif. I also heard from Walter. His address is Lewisburg Penna. I am going to Drive over and see him the first time I can get a few days off from work. Lewisburg is a small town about 125 miles this side of Philadelphia or about 460 miles from here. – About a 10 hour drive. I haven’t seen Walter since we were both in the Marine Corps at Mare Island California in April 1917, that’s over 20 years ago—Ha—we must be getting old. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to get away tho. as we are very busy at the Factory now. I hardly ever get thru work till 6:30 or 7 o’clock in the evening. I work by the month tho, so don’t get any extra pay for the long hours, but I won’t have any trouble getting a day off when we are not so busy. I wish I could get out to see you too. Perhaps I can when I take my vacation next year.

What are you doing for a living now, farming? Sometimes I wish I could get away from the City and on a farm. Of course I make more in town, but living is so high that it takes all I make to pay the bills.

Walter tells me that he has been married 12 years now, but has no children. He is running a Restaurant and BeerGarden in Lewisburg, but lives about 8 miles out in the country from there. He said he was coming over to see me sometime. We are 8 miles from Downtown Detroit, but it’s business district all the way. Town’s are so close to-gether here it’s hard to tell which one you are in.

Well I hope you are all fixed up and feeling fine by now. How are the wife and children—

Write to me again soon—
As ever,
Your brother

1211 Park St.
Lincoln Park, Mich.

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