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Poetry: In Kentucky, by Ray Montgomery (1889-1955)

In Kentucky
by Ray Montgomery, circa 1901
Kentucky raises hogs and Kentucky raises corn
Kentucky raises rogues and Kentucky raises thorns
The sun is shining brightly in
My Old Kentucky Home - Columbia
has an auto & the town is on a
boom. Some of the folks are lazy
& some of them are not. Some of
them get busy & raise a lot of stock
They tell me that Kentucky has a
awful "rep" for fighting
& drink the liquor from a bucket
& will fight & keep on fighting
Frankfort is the capital
That's where they hold court
where the people never sulk
and Beckham holds the fort
Ray Montgomery wrote the verse above as an 11 year old school boy. The poem is from the collection of Donna Harper and her late husband, James F. Harper, a nephew of the boy poet and grandson of Bruce Montgomery, Ray's brother. Bruce Montgomery was known to the community as "Mr. Bruce," or "Judge Montgomery," the grandchildren called him "Daddy Bruce." The other Montgomery children were George, Garnett, and Gordon. "Beckham" in the poem was Kentucky Governor J.C.W. Beckham, who is most remember in Adair County for a pardon which converted a few grateful Burtons to the Democratic cause.

This story was posted on 2012-05-30 04:37:09
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Montgomery Bros.: Bruce, George, and the poet, Ray

2012-05-30 - Photo from collection of Donna Marcum Harper. Three of the Montgomery brothers, above, from left: Bruce, George, and Ray. Bruce was later Adair County Judge, and Ray was the author, as an 11 year old boy, of the poem in the ReadMore link to this photo, of the poem, "In Kentucky," written circa 1901. Ray Montgomery was born March 24, 1889 and died September 3, 1955. George was the only one of the brothers to leave Adair County - He made his mark in Quanta, Texas. Mr. Bruce epitomized a love of Downtown Columbia. "He would rather be on the Square than anywhere else on earth. In later years. He took a room at the hotel and would stay there for weeks at a time, and his wife, Carrie, would join him and look after him," she said, acknowledging the pampered status of the Montgomery, Harper (and allied Walker) men - akin to the what has been called the most exalted class of people in the world - Keltner husbands (as noted by Joan Keltner, wife of Jess Keltner and sister in law of Columbia's George Keltner). Above all, the Montgomery men possessed a keen intellect, a trenchant wit, and sartorial style so sorely needed in the Adair County of today.
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