Community History – Covington – Montague Family and Cemetery

The Reverend William Montague and his wife Polly purchased 700 acres in what is today Devou Park in 1833. On this property the family built a large home (on the present site of the Devou Park Gold Course Clubhouse). For many years, Reverend Montague was the pastor of Covington’s Fifth Street Christian Church and taught at an academy for boys in the same city. Montague’s first cousin, Richard Mentor Johnson, was vice president of the United States under President Martin Van Buren.

At the death of Reverend William Montague (1842) the home and a portion of the property was inherited by his son William Montague Jr. (1816-1863). William Jr. married Zerelda Vickers (1835-1899) and was the father of four children. William Jr. died on July 11, 1863. Zerelda Vickers Montague lived in the home and continued to operate the farm. By 1872, the Montague family had experienced financial difficulties. That year, the farm and house were sold to William P. Devou for $11,700.

The Montague house remained the property of the Devou Family until 1910 when the entire Devou estate was donated to the City of Covington for use as a park. By the 1920s, the Montague house was being used as a clubhouse for the Devou Park Golf and Tennis Club. The home was completely destroyed by a fire in 1927. A replacement clubhouse was built on the same site in 1929.

The Montague Family Cemetery was located on a small hill near the family home. By the time the Montagues sold the property in 1872, the small cemetery contained perhaps two-dozen graves. Those buried in the cemetery included Montague Family members and a number of African American enslaved people and servants. During the expansion of the golf course in 1994, the cemetery was rediscovered by a Montague descendant with the aid of an archaeologist from the University of Louisville.

Northern Kentucky Heritage, Vol. VI, NO. 2, Spring/Summer 1999, pp. 57-66; Kentucky Post, March 19, 1994, p. 6k, March 22, 1994, p. 7A, March 24, 1994, p. 12A, April 20, 1994, 5K

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