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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
Hugh J. Montgomery


Hugh J. Montgomery, an enterprising merchant of Wetaskiwin, where he is also filling the office of mayor, thus taking active part in promoting the material development and the civic interests of the city, was born in Prince Edward Island in 1876, a son of James and Catherine (McFarlane) Montgomery. The father was a son of Hugh Montgomery, a native of Scotland, who in early life came to the new world, settling in Prince Edward Island, where he hewed out a farm in the midst of the forest and spent his remaining days thereon. The grandfather in the maternal line was Malcolm McFarlane, who was also born in Scotland and became one of the early farmers of Prince Edward Island. There both the father and mother of Hugh J. Montgomery were born and reared and the mother spent her life there, while the father ultimately became a resident of Alberta, where he passed away in 1921. He had always devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits and thus provided for the support of his family of three children, of whom Hugh J. is the eldest, the others being: W. F. H., who is in business with his brother; and Mrs. Walter Bowden, now living in Vancouver. The parents were both active and helpful members of the Presbyterian church and Mr. Montgomery was a Liberal in his political views.

Hugh J. Montgomery obtained his early education in the public schools of Prince Edward Island and pursued a business course in Charlottetown. He spent his life to the age of twenty years on the home farm and then entered commercial circles by becoming a clerk for W. S. Newsome, in Centreville, of his native isle. In 1898 he came to Wetaskiwin, where he was employed as accountant by John West for three years. He then embarked in merchandising on his own account in partnership with C. E. Compton, with whom he was associated from 1901 until 1907. In the latter year their store was destroyed by fire and Mr. Montgomery afterward, in conjunction with Sackville and Gerard West, Sons of the late John West, purchased the business of the Star Trading Company, and the firm name was changed to Montgomery & West. He remained in that connection until 1912, when his brother purchased the interest of the West brothers and the firm today is operating under the style of Montgomery Brothers, Limited, with Hugh J. Montgomery as the president and his brother as secretary of the company. They have an extensive store and do a large business annually, while their trade is steadily increasing with the growth and settlement of the town and surrounding country. Their stock is carefully selected to meet the demands of their customers and at all times their thoroughly reliable business methods commend them to the support of the general public.

In 1903 Mr. Montgomery was married to Miss Adelaide Vaughn, who was born in Illinois and whose parents came to Alberta during her early girlhood, so that she acquired her education in the schools of Wetaskiwin. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery have become parents of two children: Kenneth, fourteen years of age; and Lawrence, who passed away in 1922, at the age of twelve years. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery have membership in the Presbyterian church and he has been a member of its managing board for a number of years. Politically he is a Liberal and has been quite active in politics, staunchly advocating the party principles and doing all in his power to secure their adoption. In 1914 he was elected to the legislature and was re-elected in 1917, rendering valuable service for two terms, but went down to defeat in the general election of 1921, when the U. F. A. political party swept the province. He served on the city council from 1905 until 1910 and in the latter year was elected mayor, filling the position for a term. That he has the confidence of his fellow townsmen in an unusual degree is indicated in the fact that in 1922 he was re-elected mayor and is now discharging the duties of the office. He closely studies the needs of the city and is working along most progressive lines to promote the welfare and advance the interests of the municipality. He is a most progressive merchant, owns and operates a half section of farm land adjoining the city, and he and his brothel' are owners of a large and modern silver black fox ranch, located one-half mile north of Wetaskiwin, on the Calgary and Edmonton trail.


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