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Holland Montague Diary

1857-1877
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 257 bd

The son of Giles and Rachel (Preston) Montague, Holland Montague was born on Sept. 1, 1808, and passed most of his life farming in his native Granby, Mass., across the road from his older brother Giles Franklin Montague. Located on the north side of West Street near the border with South Hadley, Holland operated a typical New England farm, raising potatoes, corn, rye, and oats; maintaining an apple orchard; keeping pigs and other livestock; and growing vegetables for his family.

Montague's diaries are the functional product of a successful farmer of the mid-nineteenth century, but kept with remarkable fidelity over many years. The entries rarely exceed a single line, noting in telegraphic fashion the weather and chores for the day (plowing, planting, harvesting, mending fences, cutting wood), and who preached on Sundays.

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Background on Holland Montague

The son of Giles and Rachel (Preston) Montague, Holland Montague was born on Sept. 1, 1808, and passed most of his life farming in his native Granby, Mass., across the road from his older brother Giles Franklin Montague. Located on the north side of West Street near the border with South Hadley, Holland operated a typical New England farm, raising potatoes, corn, rye, and oats; maintaining an apple orchard; keeping pigs and other livestock; and growing vegetables for his family. He occasionally supplemented his income by fishing the Connecticut River for shad.

Montague was married three times, first to Mary Billings on Oct. 6, 1831, second to Ruth Porter (Jan. 25, 1849), and finally to Clarissa Chilton (Jan. 7, 1863). He was father to three children: Jennette S. (b. ca.1833), Dwight B. (b. ca. 1835), and Arthur H. (b. ca.1852). As Montague grew older, he was cared for by his third wife and their son Arthur, bequeathed the majority of his estate to Arthur in exchange, leaving only $5 for his eldest son and $100 for his daughter. Montague died at the age of 79 on Nov. 25, 1884, and is interred in the West Street Cemetery.

Scope of collection

Holland Montague's diaries are the functional product of a successful farmer of the mid-nineteenth century, but kept with remarkable fidelity over many years. The entries rarely exceed a single line, noting in telegraphic fashion the weather and chores for the day (plowing, planting, harvesting, mending fences, cutting wood), and who preached on Sundays. There are occasional asides such as "Frogs peep" (Mar. 28, 1859), "President Lincoln died" (Apr. 16, 1865), or "My wife died 1/2 past 9 o'clock in morning very happy & rejoicing. 44 years old last April. Storm, Hail." Despite the brevity, the diary offers a fascinating picture of the rhythm of New England farm life, from plowing and planting in spring through slaughtering pigs in December, and cutting wood and performing maintenance work in the winter.

Four items are laid into the volume:

  • Notice from a Committee of the town of Granby to South Hadley Selectmen, May 4, 1826, listing depositions to be taken from individuals with regard to a dispute over the boundary line between the two towns
  • Survey of Holland Montague's property (incomplete and undated
  • Committee of the First Parish, Granby, Mass., to residents of Granby announcing meeting to discuss payment of parish debts, 1844 Apr. 13
  • Laid into the volumes is a newspaper clipping from the Springfield Republican (ca.1902) describing Montagues diaries, indicating that the present volume was once accompanied by an earlier one covering the period beginning 1840.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Transferred from Dartmouth College Special Collections, July 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Aug. 2017.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Holland Montague Diary (MS 257 bd). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Granby (Mass.)--History

Genres and formats

  • Diaries

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