Hon. Montgomery Merritt

by Edmund Starling, 1886


HON. MONTGOMERY MERRITT, lawyer and soldier, was born in Todd County, Kentucky, in October, 1845, and received his early education from public and private schools of that county, graduating at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, as valedictorian of his class. The father of our subject, Daniel Ross Merritt, a physician and farmer, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, in the year 1800, and died in 1887. He was married three times. The mother of our subject was born in Russellville, Logan County, Ky., in the year 1811, and died in Todd County in 1885. She was the third wife and married in 1836. In May, 1861, under the huzzas of the South for separation, his hot young blood was kindled into a flame, and, without regard for his tender age, enlisted in the First Kentucky Infantry, Confederate service, for one year. At that time he was only sixteen years of age. He was engaged in many minor contests, and, in the fall of 1861, was discharged from the service on account of physical disability. He returned to his home and remained until the fall of Fort Donnelson, when he rejoined the army, this time with General John H. Morgan. He accompanied Morgan in all of his raids, and, in a sanguinary engagement at Russellville, was shot by a Minie ball in the shoulder. He was with Morgan on his Indiana and Ohio raid and was captured at Buffington's Island, July 21st, 1863. He was sent a prisoner to Camp Douglas, Chicago, and from there, in February, 1865, on to Richmond, Virginia, for exchange. He surrendered at the disbandment in 1865.

On leaving college, Mr. Merritt immediately entered into the practice of law, and, in 1869, removed to Henderson and formed a co-partnership with Judge Samuel B. Vance, which continued up to the time of Mr. Vance's removal to Evansville, Indiana, some years afterward. Mr. Merritt has never sought office, but, in 1877, was nominated and elected to represent Henderson county in the Legislature of 1877 and 1878 without any particular effort on his part.

Mr. Merritt has been twice married--first, in 1871, to Miss Mary Field Green, of Lebanon, Tennessee, and, secondly, to Miss Eliza Alves, of Henderson, on the twenty-sixth day of December, 1877. In religion he is a Presbyterian, having been a member of that church for twenty years. He is a member of the order of the Knights of Pythias. He was mainly instrumental in the organization of the Planters' National Bank and has been its President from its beginning. Always a close observer of men and things, he has ever been a shrewd calculator of values in business matters, which fact his present happy worldly condition amply attests. A man of excellent social powers, entertaining and instructive, sensible and dignified, he has, by his easy and affable manners, drawn about himself a circle of warm, personal friends, without, in the slightest degree, engendering that undue familiarity which is the ever sure attendant of diminished popular appreciation. Courteous, kind and considerate in his bearing towards others, and charitable where charity is deserved, he is, and always has been, in every sense of the word, a worthy, exemplary citizen. As a practitioner, he stands at the head of the bar, and no better evidence of his legal work can be asked than is attested in his being the advisor and retained attorney for several large and important corporations.

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