Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Richard Montgomery Finally Gets His Due

Check out the new historical marker honoring our County’s namesake, Richard Montgomery. The aluminum-cast marker, which will be dedicated this Friday, was installed in a landscaped area next to the Old Brick Courthouse at the 100 block of E. Jefferson Street in Rockville.

Most people have forgotten--or never knew--who Montgomery was: a recent immigrant from England who joined the American cause of freedom at the start of the Revolution. Having been a career officer in the British Army, he had fought in numerous battles during the French and Indian War. In fact, Montgomery was the most experienced general in the young American forces at the start of the Revolution. Commander-in-Chief George Washington put him in charge of the western army that marched into Canada, trying to help the colonists there to throw off the British crown and join our cause.

Montgomery succeeded in capturing several forts and Montreal, but was killed in the attack on Quebec on December 31, 1775, making him the first general to die in the American Revolution. His death was a national tragedy.

When the Maryland Constitutional Convention voted in 1776 to split the huge Frederick County into three parts, the large eastern third was named “Montgomery” while the smallest third in the mountains was named “Washington.” That shows the relative esteem that Richard Montgomery was held in at the time.

My hat is off to Stuart Grosvenor, who as a ninth grader got this project going with his application to the Maryland Historical Trust, the organization that provided the marker.

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