John B. Montgomery

John B. Montgomery bigraphy, stories - United States Navy admiral

John B. Montgomery : biography

1794 – 25 March 1872

John Berrien Montgomery (1794 – 25 March 1872) was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


Born in Allentown, New Jersey, Montgomery entered the Navy in 1812. His commands included the sloop-of-war in 1844, and the steam frigate 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 the Mexican province of 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 approached by representatives of the Revolt, by representatives of the Mexican provincial 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, whose name was changed to San Francisco, California in 1847. At his direction, Lt. Joseph W. Revere also lowered California’s famous 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.

In 1859, he commanded the Pacific Squadron until relieved on January 2, 1862.

He died at Carlisle, Pennsylvania in March 1872. His remains were interred at Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C.


Montgomery Street, a notable street in downtown San Francisco, is named for him., accessed August 29, 2006