Montgomery Maze

Montgomery Maze Born: February 3, 1836, in New York City, New York.

Father: Abraham Maze

Mother: Agnes McCall Maze

Died: June 19, 1875, in San Jose, California

Montgomery Maze was an early station keeper and rider for the Pony Express. The Carson City Territorial Enterprise, in an article dated June 3, 1860, named Montgomery as the station keeper at Sand Springs Station. By August he was a rider and rode between Friday’s Station at Lake Tahoe and the Reese River Station.

While station keeper at Sand Springs, Montgomery escaped death at the hands of the Pah-Utes, and with a small band of other employees, including C. H. Ruffin and William Hamilton (the first rider out of Sacramento and now a station agent) he marched to Cold Springs Station, where the keeper had been massacred only a few days before. There they rounded up the stray sheep belonging to the company and herded them back to Carson City. Every foot of the way through hostile Indian territory and at each bend in the trail, a potential ambush.

In May 1860, Montgomery had the occasion to assist Pony Bob Haslam on one of his more harrowing runs. Heading westbound, Pony Bob found that catastrophe had stuck at the Cold Springs Station. Indians had raided the place and killed the station keeper and had stolen all of the stock. Pony Bob pressed on to Sand Springs where he persuaded Montgomery, who was the station keeper, to leave the station and accompany him with the mail as far as the Sink of the Carson. There they found some fifteen well-armed men , resting at the substantial adobe cabin en route home from the chase of Winnemucca.

Two months later, his moment of heroism passed and forgotten, Montgomery, now listed as a rider, disruptively became a candidate for “discharge without any pay.” The events surrounding this occurrence were reported in the August 22, 1860, issue of the Carson City Territorial Enterprise:

One day last week, H. Trumbo, station keeper at Smith’s Creek, got into a difficulty with Montgomery Maze, one of the Pony Express riders, during which Trumbo snapped a pistol at Maze several rimes. The next day the fracas renewed, when Maze shot Trumbo with a rifle, the ball entering a little above the hip and inflicting a dangerous wound. Maze has since arrived at this place, bringing with him a certificate signed by various parties, exonerating him from blame in the affair and setting forth that Trumbo has provoked the attack.

After leaving the service of the Pony Express, Montgomery went to California settling in San Jose. With the coming of the Civil War, Montgomery enlisted in the Army on January 31, 1865 as a Second Lieutenant in Company A. This unit served “to keep the Indians under control” in California and Arizona.

While in the Army, Montgomery served at the San Francisco Presidio and later at Gila, near Ft. Apache and Apache Pass in Arizona. His duties included scout, guide, interpreter and bearer of dispatches. He was engaged in considerable Apache fighting until June 1866 when their unit was replaced.

After returning to San Jose, he married Kate Geneva Scott, and together they had three children: William born in 1869, Emile born in 1872, and Geneva born in 1874.

Montgomery Maze died of a heart attack on June 19, 1875 at the young age of 39 while serving as City Clerk for San Jose.

Information provided by Dale C. Mattier, November 1996.

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