At left are the marble tombstones of Selma, Alabama marble carver James Newton Montgomery (1827-1908) and his wife Minerva (ca 1831-1878) in Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama. Minerva died thirty years before James died, so it is likely that James carved his own tombstone to match his wife’s.
James Newton Montgomery became an apprentice stone-cutter in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1848. In 1852 he moved to Selma, Alabama where he worked as a journeyman marble cutter with Selma Marble Works, under J.M.N.B. Nix. He bought Selma Marble works from Nix in 1856 and continued the business until his death in 1908. J. W. Peters took over the business and renamed it to Selma Marble and Granite Works.
Peters wrote a short history of the company on their 85th anniversary, stating that Montgomery volunteered service in the Civil War and buried his marble stock in the sand to avoid destruction by the enemy. Montgomery returned to Selma after the war and resumed the business with his two sons.
Sadly, Montgomery lost his sons John Steele and Walter R. as well as his daughter Sally, his wife Minerva and several grandchildren before he died in 1908. His Will left his estate to his grandson John Steele Montgomery and his daughter in law.