Hon. W.A. Montgomery seeks and obtains a release of this life by hanging himself.

This page updated February 8, 2013

Submitted by Mike Dean

On Tuesday morning about 9 o'clock our usually quiet town was thrown into a furor of excitement by the report that William A. Montgomery of the firm of Montgomery & Henry bankers had hung himself. The report spread rapidly and soon hundreds were on their way to the residence where the sight of the cold and lifeless form of our late respected fellow citizen lying on the sofa, confirmed the awful intelligence.

For a number of days previous Mr. Montgomery had been acting in a manner entirely different from his usual quest and apparently self-satisfied disposition--so much so that it was noticed and remarked upon by friends and acquaintances.

On last Saturday, he went to the drug store of Woolen & Henry and desired to purchase some morphine, saying that he wanted it to produce sleep and also inquired the quantity necessary to kill a man. Dr. Wooden became satisfied then and there that all was not right with Mr. M. and only gave him one or two small doses, telling him that if it did not produce the desired result to come back again. Finding he could not get the amount asked for (5 grains) he left saying that if he could not get enough to make him sleep he would not take any.

Dr Woolen subsequently warned Wm A. jun. that he should be watched as he might attempt self-destruction. From that time up to the hour of his death strict surveillance was kept over him day and night. On Saturday he obtained possession of a revolver belonging to his son, but being too closely watched to make use of it, he returned it to the place where procured.

On Tuesday morning he had taken the broom as was his habit after the many snows this winter, and gone out and swept paths to the outhouses. Not returning immediately; search was made and he when found life was entirely extinct having died from strangulation.

Our physicians attribute the rash act to aberation of mind brought on by a state of mental melancholia during the past few weeks. In the loss of Wm. A. Montgomery his bereaved family loses a kind husband and father, our community a good and public spirited citizen, the bar a popular and highly respected member, the country a strong and influential politician.The position the life of Wm. A. Montgomery filled in the hearts of his country-men is shown by the following-


At a meeting of the business men and citizens generally of our town held at Hay's hall Wednesday morning, February 25th to take action respecting the death of her highly respected citizen, Hon. W.A. Montgomery, Dr. J.W. Smith was chosen president and E.W. Arganbright, secretary.

The president in stating the object of the meeting, briefly alluded to some of the virtues of the deceased and invited those present to an expression of such sentiments as they deemed proper.

Mr. J.N. Steele, H. Hays, Esq., Dr. Jno. Kennedy and J.R. Fritts, Esq., of Gosport, Judge Robinson of Spencer and Hon. W.R. Harrison, Judge Jordan and Hon. Frank Phelps of Martinsville, then spoke feelingly of the many good qualities of head and heart of the departed, all deploring the loss of one so active in business, so ardent in friendship, so genial in nature, and so genteel and courteous in bearing as the departed father, husband, citizen and friend.

Dr. Samuel Smith then presented the following resolutions where were unanimously adopted:

WHEREAS, it has pleased the Allwise Providence to remove from our midst by sudden and unexpected death our honored and worthy fellow-citizen, the Hon. W.A. Montgomery, whose loss we deeply feel and deplore.

RESOLVED: That in the death of Wm A. Montgomery our community has lost a revered and useful citizen and able lawyer, whose liberal impulses and genial disposition has won for him the esteem of his many acquaintances and endeared him to the hearts of his numerous friends.

RESOLVED: That we extend the family of the deceased our heart felt sympathy and condolence in this the saddest hour of earthly affliction.