California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
J. F. MONTGOMERY, who was born September 6, 1843, at Middleboro, Massachusetts, and died at his home in Redlands June 5, 1918, was a successful New England business man and manufacturer, and one of many of the conservative and substantial element of the Eastern monied men who early realized the possibilities of the magnificent development that has taken place in Southern California and did not hesitate to put their means and personal energy into the development work. Mr. Montgomery was a careful and shrewd investor in Redlands property, and his activities and influence serve to make his name well remembered on the list of pioneers.
He was liberally educated, took a civil engineering course in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was an engineer in early life and later was a stove and range manufacturer at Taunton, Massachusetts. This business gave him a secure financial position in the East.
He paid his first visit to Redlands with a party of Eastern people about 1890. The women members of the party remained in Redlands, while the men traveled by burros to Bear Valley to inspect the site of the dam. Mr. Montgomery was one of the early investors in the original Bear Valley project, which, while not a financial success, opened the way for the much greater work that has since taken place in the way of irrigation and power development. Mr. Montgomery again came to California in 1899 as a tourist, and then purchased his first orange grove, consisting of five acres, bounded by Pacific, Cedar, Monterey and Crescent streets in Redlands. The property is still owned by his children. Subsequently his son came out and selected a property in Redlands, and Mr. Montgomery during the winter of 1902-03 bought and occupied his home on West Highland Avenue and later erected the splendid residence now occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Folkins and family. These were only a few of the fortunate investments Mr. Montgomery made in California. He eventually disposed of his manufacturing interests in the East and concentrated all his holdings in California. He was an enthusiastic worker for a greater Redlands of the future, and his faith in the country, and his intimate and not exaggerated descriptions were the means of influencing many of his old time neighbors in the East to follow him. January 27, 1875, at Taunton, Massachusetts, Mr. Montgomery married Miss Isadore L. Phillips, and they remained residents of that city for a quarter of a century. Mrs. Montgomery was born August 20, 1852, at Taunton, and died at Redlands April 29, 1916. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery had three children, two of whom survive.
The son, Hugh Montgomery, who was born January 4, 1879, at Taunton, Massachusetts, was educated in the Chauncey Hall School for Boys at Boston, and came to California in 1901, selecting the site of the beautiful Montgomery homestead, and after informing his father the latter wired him to purchase the property. Hugh Montgomery married Miss Pearl Washburn May 6, 1906. She is a member of a prominent Redlands family. They have two children: John Francis, born April 23, 1915, and Barbara, born June 20, 1917. Mr. Hugh Montgomery lives on Palm Avenue and owns individually some splendid citrus groves in this district and is also active manager for the joint holdings of himself and sister, comprising thirty-five acres of orange groves and a 400-acre fruit and grain ranch at Banning.
The second child, Mary P. Montgomery, was born at Taunton, Massachusetts, October 10, 1880, was educated in the public schools and graduated A. B. in 1902 from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. During 1912 she attended Redlands University and received the Bachelor of Music degree and was a teacher in the music department of the local university from 1912 until February, 1915. April 8, 1915, she became the wife of Dr. Frank H. Folkins, of Redlands. Doctor Folkins was born at Center Point, Iowa, May 8, 1884, and studied medicine in the Iowa State University, receiving his degree in 1910. On account of a breakdown in health he came to California and located at Redlands in the spring of 1911, and in November of that year resumed active practice. In the fall of 1914 he was appointed city physician of Redlands, and gave most of his time to the duties of that office for four years. In the spring of 1920, after a special course in San Francisco, he began confining his work to X-Ray diagnosis and examination. Doctor and Mrs. Folkins have two children: Richard Wilson, born March 12, 1917, and Hugh Montgomery, born August 20, 1920.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011