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Did Baron Stowe Montford have a schoolteacher sister?

Ben Steelman

According to “Between the Creeks Revised” by Crockette W. Hewlett and Mona Smalley, Baron Stowe Montford had two sisters: Judith “Julie” Thomas Montford (1848-1924), who married James E. “Toby” Harrell in 1869, and Antoinette “Nettie” Montford (1846 1916), who married John James Beasley in 1865.

Since the two sisters would have been 12 and 14 years old, respectively, in 1860, it’s unlikely that either one was teaching school around 1860, as the questioner’s family history suggested.

However, Nettie Montford Beasley did teach in the Masonboro public school for a three-month term in 1873, according to “Between the Creeks.” This was probably a temporary job, as married women did not normally teach school in the 1800s. Her husband, John James Beasley, a sometime justice of the peace, served on the Masonboro district school committee about the same time.

In 1877, Beasley was ordained as a Baptist minister and served congregations in Matthews, Fayetteville and Monroe before returning as pastor to his home church, Masonboro Baptist, in 1885. He died the following year.

Baron Stowe Montford was a two-term New Hanover County Commissioner, a justice of the peace, school committee member and deacon at Masonboro Baptist Church.


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