By William “Skip” Deegans
Shown in this week’s photo from the late 1800s is James Nelson Montgomery (sitting on the porch) and his family at their home on Lewisburg’s Randolph Street.
Montgomery was born in Goshen, Virginia, where his father and grandfather were involved in the development of Augusta Academy and Liberty Hall that evolved into what is now Washington and Lee University in Lexington.
After moving to Lewisburg in 1845, Montgomery married Ann S. Jacob of Wheeling in 1847. James Montgomery was a merchant, farmer, and real estate investor. He was appointed teller of the Farmer’s Bank of Virginia in 1854, but the bank collapsed as a result of the Civil War. He served as a trustee of Lewisburg Academy and as a Ruling Elder and Clerk of the Session of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. The Montgomerys had six children, and some of their descendants still live in Greenbrier County. James Montgomery died in 1886 and Ann Montgomery died in 1897. Both are buried behind the Old Stone Presbyterian Church.
Still standing, their brick home was built circa 1845. John Dunn, a master mason, was most likely the builder. Interior woodwork is characteristic of Conrad Burgess, one of the Greenbrier Valley’s most skilled craftsman. Except for the addition of a larger porch, the original part of this well preserved house looks much like it did when it was constructed. Two major additions were made to the rear of the house – one in 1856 and another one in the 1960s. The current owner, with the benefit of historic preservation tax credits, has continued stewardship of this lovely home.