Montgomery House

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A Federal style stone house built by William Montgomery of Chester County, Pa. in the late 18th century stands on the corner of Bloom and North Mill Sts. in Danville.  It is surrounded by a wall of the same stone and topped with a white wooden fence. Montgomery first purchased 180 acres of land from J. Simpson on Mahoning Creek on the north side of the East branch of the Susquehanna River in 1774.  He built a log home on the land of the present stone home in the area known as ‘Karkasse’ named after the Delaware Indian Village that stood at the mouth of Mahoning Creek.  According to the “Historical Collections of Pennsylvania 2,” published in 1843:  “General William Montgomery of Philadelphia settled in this wild and dangerous frontier, still occasionally disturbed by the Indians.” He and his family had been there a short time when there was an uprising in the Wyoming Valley.

Mrs. Montgomery who had been reared amid the security and luxury of Philadelphia became so terrified that her husband decided to move his family to Fort Augusta (Sunbury-then Shamokin). They returned to their home in the summer of 1779 after the panic subsided. It was then being called ‘Mahoning Settlement’ or ‘Montgomery’s Landing.’  In time, the present stone building was added to the original log home. He later built a saw mill, grist mill and woolen mill. A Revolutionary patriot, Montgomery held many political offices in Chester County including participation on various committees attempting to settle differences with the Mother Country.  He was an officer in the “American War of Independence.” He continued to serve in many public positions in his new homeland.  William’s son Daniel, supported by his father, opened a trading post on the corner of Mill and E. Market Sts.  Here he provided necessities to early settlers from the surrounding area. They referred to the area as ‘Dan’s town’ which eventually became Danville. Daniel, as his father, served the area in many capacities; both father and son generously donated land for public buildings in the town. William in a July 4th address in 1800 said that the hills surrounding the area were full of iron and predicted that those attending the event would live to see “great iron factories employing large numbers of workman and yielding much wealth to the community.” Montgomery passed away in the homestead in 1816.  His son, Alexander, who was born in the house, died there in 1848.  Alexander had sold his land to owners of the emerging iron works.

Montgomery descendants lived in the home until Miss Helen Russell passed away in 1939 when the home was put on the market. Since the home stood on an extremely valuable piece of real estate, local residents were concerned that it would be demolished for commercial use.  The B.P.O.E. purchased the property and deeded it over to the Montour County Commissioners who turned the home over to the newly formed Montour County Historical Society for a “Historical Shrine.” Local residents, proud of their heritage, began donating their prized memorabilia and historical artifacts for display in the Montgomery House Museum.  Their generosity has continued to this day.  There are items donated from descendants of the Montgomery family.  The Museum houses one of the finest collections of Civil War artifacts in the area, including the drum of Charles Harder of Danville, the youngest drummer boy in that conflict.  There are military items from all wars. Another collection relates to the very important iron industry that was prominent in the Danville area for one hundred years.  The MCHS has assembled clothing and accessories that highlight the fashions from the 19th and 20th centuries. Another interesting display is that of the arrowheads that were found in the surrounding fields, streams and river. There are exhibits for all interests whether it is musical instruments, toys, clocks or early photos. There is also a library with historical documents, including correspondence from Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. Recently a room was dedicated to Mrs. Abigail Geisinger containing some of her personal belongings.  The Montgomery House Museum, home of the Montour county Historical Society, houses a wealth of relics that relate to the history of the area.

To schedule a tour please call Dianne (570-275-8528) or Lynn (570-275-7875)