The Montague House

The Montague House

The Montague House at 249 West Main Street was built in 1891 by local lawyer and state politician Andrew Jackson Montague. Montague, as mentioned in the companion post, came to Danville in 1885 from Middlesex County. He and his wife Elizabeth lived in the house for about seven years and it was here two of their three children were born. The house at the time of construction, and during the Montague’s residence, was smaller than it is presently and was built in an “L” shape. When Mr. Montague accepted his appointment to the office of attorney general, at which time, the family moved to Richmond.

It was several years later, in 1904, that the Montague’s sold the house to J. Arthur and Lula Gill Reagan.

Lula Gill came to Danville from Mecklenberg County as a young girl. Her brother, William, inherited the family livery business and he was known as having established the first “jitney”, or a sort of horse-drawn bus that competed with the streetcar. Lula married James Arthur in 1890. She was just fifteen, he twenty-six. Their two sons, Harry and James Arthur, Jr. were thirteen and seven when they moved into the house.

Arthur was a partner in Cobb, Reagan and Company, who ran a tobacco planter’s warehouse and was also president of the Danville Commercial Association at one time. Just two years after taking occupancy of the house, Mr. Reagan suffered an unfortunate accident while hunting robins in a vacant lot adjacent to his house. He was found beneath a tree and lying atop his gun, which he had presumably fallen upon causing it to discharge.

From the Alexandria Gazette, 19 April 1906

Lula remarried in August of 1907. William O. Skinner, a tobacco buyer and rehandler. They were married for 14 year when Lula sued him for divorce in 1921 for reasons of “desertion and abandonment”. Mr. Skinner died of in 1932 at the age of 70 while living alone on Floyd Street.

Lula, who was described in her lifetime as being “a striking looking woman”, married again in 1934. George S. Moore ran a successful grocery business which he had maintained for forty-five years. The couple were married only two years when he was found one morning lying in a garage adjacent to his Gray Street grocery store. He had suffered a bullet wound through is temple and was struggling to breath. A pistol was in his hand. He was taken to the hospital where he struggled through the night with a fever that rose to 107 degrees before he passed away. He was 70 years old.

One would like to think at this point that the tragedies of Lula Reagan Moore’s life were at an end, but in September of 1943, her daughter-in-law drowned herself and her small child in a bathtub while her husband J. Arthur Reagan, Jr., was serving overseas in the Navy. Arthur Jr. returned home and Lula moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to be with him. It was here she spent the last  year and a half of her life, frail and declining in health. She passed away on March 1, 1946 at the age of 70.