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Oil painting of the Grace Harwar

The following post concerns the Montgomery family of Scotland who are linked to the Rowsells through the marriage in March 1948 in Bideford, Devonshire of Major Colin Merville Norman Rowsell (1919-2000) and Margaret Ann Mary Richards (1923-1992) dau. of Captain Robert Alven Richards (1878-1963) of the Royal Navy. Margaret’s Mother was Eva Montgomery (b.1887) after whom a ship built in 1901 was named.

Flag of W. Montgomery & Co., Ltd., London. The flag is blue with a M (white) in the middle. Based on The Mystic Seaport Foundation

Eva’s father was William Montgomery (b.1851 died before 1911) who owned W. Montgomery & Co. of London, which was an import company, shipping goods such as coal from South America; mainly Chile and Argentina. He owned three ships, one named after his wife Grace Harwar (1858-1946) and the other two named after his daughters, those being the Ladye Doris named after Doris Montgomery (b.1891) and the Eva Montgomery.

This video may show footage of the Grace Harwar taken by Alan Villiers. The full film can be seen here.

William was the son of John Montgomery (1815-1898) son of William Montgomery (abt 1786-abt 1861) who was a Justice of the Peace for Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1851. John was born in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire and moved to Innerleithen where he became a Minister for the Church of Scotland. He died in Edinburgh and had 11 children with his two wives. One of whom, Archie Montgomery, was employed by his half brother at William Montgomery & Co of London.

Oil painting of Grace Harwar in heavy weather

William Montgomery was married to Grace Margaret Amelia Harwar on 17 Sep 1878 at St James the Great, Friern Barnet, London. Grace was the daughter of Joseph Richard Harwar (1823-1908) and Jane Forrester Cumming (1815-1894), the daughter of Captain John Johnstone Cumming (1786-1843) who was born in St Lucia in the West Indies. Grace’s brother Samuel Eugene Harwar (1856-1929) is pictured below with two of his daughters. William and Grace had 3 children; the two girls mentioned previously and a son named Joseph Montgomery (1880-1968) who was nicknamed “Jum”.

Samuel Eugene Harwar with his daughters Jessie and Sarah

Samuel Eugene Harwar with his daughters Jessie and Sarah

William Montgomery is first listed as a South American Goods merchant in the 1881 census when he was 30 years old. The boat named Grace Harwar was built in Glasgow in 1889, and the twin three masted sailing ships Eva Montgomery and Laye Doris were each built in 1901 by William Hamilton & Co, Glasgow. William Montgomery allowed the captains of his ships to bring their wives and children to live on board. There is a fantastic book by Mary Hay called “I saw a ship a’ sailing” in which she recalls her childhood on board the Ladye Doris. It contains the photograph below in which Mr. Montgomery, the thin man in a bowler hat, stands with the Captain, marine superintendent and apprentices. The Ladye Doris also had an enthusiastic photographer as mate for a while, and quite a number of his photographs of daily life onboard were published in a book by A. A. Hurst. “The medley of Mast and Sail 2

The Grace Harwar was allegedly a cursed ship, as this account says:

The Grace Harwar developed a reputation as a man-killer. In 1907, under the command of Captain C.S. Hudson, the ship was sailing from Australia to Tocopilla, Chile. Captain Hudson’s young wife was on board. Already suffering from tuberculosis, she died off of the coast of Chile. The ship returned empty to Australia with Mrs. Hudson’s body in the ballast. Supposedly, Mrs. Hudson put a curse on the ship before dying– that it would kill one man on every voyage.

w montgomery

Mr Montgomery standing third from the right

The following link is a document containing Instructions to Masters on board ships owned by W.Montgomery of London. This page also mentions the Ladye Doris and Eva Montgomery.

Ladye Doris in 1901

Captain and wife in the cabin of the Eva Montgomery

The Eva Montgomery

The Grace Harwar

The Grace Harwar

Crew of the Grace Harwar

“Jum” Montgomery served in the 7th (Princess Royal’s) Dragoon Guards and became Captain Joseph Montgomery, from 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars and fought at Roberts Heights, Transvaal, South Africa about 1911 and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal. He married one of the most famous opera singers in the world, Emma Luart (1892-1968) [real name Emma V Luwaert] in 1919. Luart was a glamorous Belgian starlet but her career was disrupted by the outbreak of WWII.


Emma Luart

You can hear her beautiful singing voice in these YouTube videos at the bottom of this page.

montgomery and luart

(from left to right) Eva Montgomery, Joseph Montgomery and his wife Emma Luart

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