Born: November 4, 1771, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland.
Died: April 30, 1854, Mount, Sheffield, England.
Buried: Sheffield, England. In his memory, a statue was erected in the Sheffield cemetery, a stained glass window was installed in the parish church, and a public hall was named after him.
When Montgomery was five years old, his family moved to the Moravian settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, County Antrim. Two years later, he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary in Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787 to work in a shop in Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that, he secured a similar position at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it as unsuitable as his previous job. A trip to London, hoping to find a publisher for his youthful poems, ended in failure. In 1792, he gladly left Wath for Sheffield to be assistant to Mr. Gales, auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register. In 1794, Gales left England to avoid political prosecution. Montgomery took the Sheffield Register in hand, changed its name to the Sheffield Iris, and continued to edit it for 32 years. During the next two years he was imprisoned twice, first for reprinting a song in commemoration of the fall of the Bastille, then for giving an account of a riot in Sheffield.
The editing of his paper, the composition and publication of his poems and hymns, the delivery of lectures on poetry in Sheffield and at the Royal Institution, London, and the advocacy of foreign missions and the Bible Society, gave great variety, but very little of stirring incident in his life, though he did find time to write 400 hymns. In 1833, Montgomery received a royal pension of £200 per year. His works include:
Prison Amusements, 1797
The Wanderer of Switzerland, 1806
The West Indies, 1807
The World Before the Flood, 1813
Greenland and Other Poems, 1819
Songs of Zion, 1822
The Christian Psalmist, 1825
The Christian Poet, 1825
The Pelican Island, 1828
The Poet’s Portfolio, 1835
Original Hymns for Public, Private and Social Devotion, 1853
Source: The Cyber Hymnal