John Henry Montgomery

Spartan Mills, Spartanburg, SC
John Henry Montgomery (1833 – 1902)

John H. Montgomery
Source: Lamb’s Textile
Industries of the United States 1916

Capt. John Henry Montgomery was born into a family distinguished in British history. His great­great grandfather moved from Northern Ireland, as did many Scotch­Irish and settled in Pennsylvania. Like many others, he followed the road south and settled in Spartanburg County, SC in 1775. His early training was in the mercantile area. At age 19, he became a clerk in a country store in the county. Later, he formed a partnership with a brother­in­law. With the death of his partner, he continued the business and added a tannery.

When the War Between the States broke out in 1861, Montgomery joined the army and was soon made commissary of the brigade. He assisted with such activities throughout the War and rose to the rank of Captain, CSA. After the War, he returned to the mercantile and tanning business. He added commercial fertilizers, Walker, Flemming & Company, and warehousing to his business interests.

The first opportunity in textiles came with the acquisition of waterpower rights by Walker, et al., at Trough Shoals on the Pacolet River. A cotton mill was erected in 1881 and became the first unit of the Pacolet Manufacturing Company. Seth Milliken invested $10,000. Montgomery was chosen president and treasurer. The initial 10,000 spindles were increased to 20,000 in 1887 and 40,000 in 1893. Pacolet Number 2 followed in 1888.

In 1889, Montgomery organized the Spartan Mills, an integrated spinning and weaving mill in Spartanburg, where he became president and treasurer. Under the leadership of his sons and grandsons, the company grew and prospered. Pacolet Number 3 was built in 1891 , Spartan Number 2 in 1896. The products included print cloth, broadcloth and sheeting. Montgomery also became interested in the Gainesville Cotton Mills, Gainesville, GA; the Whitney Mills, Whitney, SC; the Lockhart Mills, Lockhart, SC; The Clifton Mills, Clifton, SC; and the Morgan Iron Works, Spartanburg.

He died after falling from a scaffold while inspecting a new Pacolet mill in Gainesville, GA.



  1. Jacobs, William Plumer.1935. The Pioneer. Clinton, S.C.: Jacobs & Co. Press.
  2. Montgomery, David B. 1903. A Genealogical History of the Montgomerys and Their Descendents. Indianapolis, IN: J. P. Cox Publisher Google digital Accessed April 19, 2008.
  3. Nutt, Karen L., “John H. Montgomery,” in Textile Town, Betsy Wakefield Teter, editor, Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg, SC. 2002, p 67.