John B. Montgomery
|John Berrien Montgomery|
Allentown, New Jersey
|Died||March 25, 1872
|Place of burial||Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C.|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1812–1869|
|Commands held||USS Portsmouth
American Civil War
Born in Allentown, New Jersey, Montgomery entered the Navy in 1812. His commands included the sloop-of-war Portsmouth in 1844, and the steam frigate Roanoke in 1857. He served as Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard from June 1862 to December 1863, and then of the Washington Navy Yard in 1865.
In early June 1846, Montgomery and the ship he commanded, the USS Portsmouth, arrived in San Francisco Bay, then part of Mexican Alta California. As a result Montgomery was involved, albeit as a witness only, in the events of the Bear Flag Revolt in which foreign residents, mostly American revolted against the Mexican authorities. As a naval representative of the U.S. Government, he was deferred to by representatives of the Revolt, by representatives of the Alta California government and by other representatives of the U.S. On June 16, 1846, Montgomery sent a mission to Sonoma to investigate the conditions there, following the Revolt.
On July 9, 1846, Montgomery and his detachment from the Portsmouth raised the American flag over the plaza in the town of Yerba Buena (today's San Francisco). The name of the plaza was later changed to Portsmouth Square, commemorating Montgomery's ship. At his direction, Lt. Joseph W. Revere also lowered the Bear Flag flying at Sonoma, California, north of San Francisco Bay and raised the U.S. Flag. The lowered Bear Flag ended up in Montgomery's possession and, in 1848, he delivered it to Naval authorities in Boston. Ultimately, in 1855, the flag was returned to California where it was destroyed in the fires caused by the 1906 earthquake.
In 1859, Montgomery commanded the Pacific Squadron until relieved on January 2, 1862.
- San Francisco Streets Named for Pioneers: G-M, accessed August 29, 2006
- Rogers, Fred Blackburn Montgomery and the Portsmouth (The Portsmouth Marine Society, 1990).