Wife: Abigail Downing (3)
Family origin is a charming hamlet on the Thames near London, Bovenay, Burnham, Buckinghamshire. The allied families of the Montague family also came from there. Allens, Cottons, and Malthouses... Though their coats of arms are identical, there is no proven connection to the noble lineage of Montagues.
Richard, spelling his name Mountague, came about 1638 or earlier and married 1642c Abigail Downing in the little Salem church. Their many moves are traced thru his devout wife's transfers from church to church. They were in Boston 1646, where their second child was born, then helped to colonize Wells, Maine. Soon they came back to Boston and moved on to Marblehead, where Richard took the oath of freeman 1650. They left soon for Wethersfield, CT where in 1651 the town granted him land, and finally settled in 1659-60 in Hadley, MA where they are regarded as founders. Richard Montague performed his civic duties faithfully, was twice selectman of Hadley, 1681 clerk of writs, hayward (receiving so manyshillings fr rounding up lost or strayed animals for the pound). He had a sideline as a grave digger, getting 4 shillings for an adult and 2 for a child under ten. But for burying Gov. John Webster he received a whopping 15 shillings. When not burying the dead, he was a baker, and in 1680 had a flour bolting mill which Abigail continued after his death. Richard was called a famous Indian fighter up and down the valley, but by the time of King Philip's War in 1675-6 was too old to take active part, although his horse was commandeered, but baked bread for soldiers who fought nearby.
Richard built a sturdy little house in Hadley which stood for 150 years. Described as having had very small panes of glass, 6 x 8 inches, it had a very large chimney fortified on the outside by large bricks,undoubtedly as a shield against Indians who were such a threat that Richard carried a rifle always to work in the fields or to worship in the church. All Montague men were tall and were said to build their doorposts higher than common so that a "Montague might walk in with his hat on". A reproduction of a miniature painted in England when Richard was 18 or so may be found in the Smith book (in refs) and another in the Montague book (as well as a sketch of his house). Richard was very handsome with black hair, dark eyes, and an alert, bright expression.
Abigail lived with her son John after Richard's death, outlasting her husband by 13 years. A great-great-grandson gave the land for the meetinghouse and common at Granby, CT. Richard's inventory was valued at 277 pounds.
Revised: November 26, 2016