The first wedding to take place in the Woodland Hall was a big event in the Maxwelton social community. The bride and bridegroom were both well known. Florence Catherine Baker was the daughter of the pioneer Baker family at Bush Point. Her mother, who had been widowed when her husband was killed in a well cave-in, had driven youngsters in the area to school with a team and buggy, and also had operated a general store for a time. The bridegroom, Kenneth Arthur Montgomery, was the grandson of James and Sara Montgomery, who were leading citizens in the community and had donated land for the Maxwelton park.
The wedding had been carefully planned. The vows were solemn. The reception was delightful. Everybody was having a most enjoyable time. Everybody (except the bride and bridegroom) was aware that there was a lot of whispering behind their backs which indicated that something not on the wedding agenda was impending.
In those days one of the customs after weddings was to “charivari” the nuptual pair, and this could take the form of anything from hauling the groom out of bed at midnight and tying him up in the barn to merely making as much din around the house as the banging of pots and pans, blasting of horns, beating of drums, and general yelling could produce.
Kenneth and Florence weren’t sure what was in the offing for them but they were sure that whatever it was they wanted to escape it. Kenneth had a friend he knew he could trust, Leon Burley. With Leon’s help, Kenneth and Florence slipped
away unnoticed while the reception was going strong, and hid in the Roy Newell house next door to the Woodland Hall.
By nightfall, when nothing untoward had happened, the bridal couple breathed a sigh of relief and prepared to depart. Suddenly a great racket broke out in the Newell’s yard. Pots and pans banged together, drums beat, people yelled and Florence and Kenneth cringed back into hiding in the interior of the house. Mrs. Newell was not one to be intimidated and she stepped out onto the porch and addressed the noisy pranksters.
“What’s the matter with you folks? Our children were asleep and you are scaring them half to death. Shame on you! Go pound your pans in someone else’s yard but choose someone who doesn’t have children.”
And that’s how Kenneth and Florence Montgomery escaped a charivari on their wedding night—with the help of Leon Burley and the Roy Newells.
Kenneth and Florence Montgomery have made their home on South Whidbey all their lives on Montgomery Lane which was named for them. They have one son, David, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
The Montgomery family story really begins with Kenneth’s grandparents, Edgar Montgomery and Sarah Strong Montgomery, who came from Iola, Kansas, and settled in the Maxwelton area in 1905 at about the same time that the Mackies arrived. James Montgomery opened the first store and post office in Maxwelton at the end of the road which runs along the beach.
Their first home was on Bailey Road in the house which, in 1985, is the home of the Lincoln Wildes. A short time later they purchased the Maxwelton beach and back-land property and made their home in the house which, in 1985, belongs to Virginia Price. Eventually they donated the land along the beach for Maxwelton Park which is still in use and is the site for the annual Maxwelton Fourth of July celebrations which brings visitors from all over South Whidbey and also the main-land.
James and Sara had four children, a daughter Alice, who married Ernest Range, and three sons. Ralph, Guy, and James Jr. Shortly after the Montgomerys arrived in Maxwelton, their son James, who had been born in Kansas and was grown when they came to Whidbey, married Hazel Mackie, daughter of the David Mackies.