Notes on Susan Maltass - Sheila Thomas, 2013

Augustus Retnuh Reebkomp came to my attention when I was conducting research for my husband, James H. Thomas, for an article he was writing (subsequently published) on the Naval Academy in Portsmouth Dockyard in the time of Nelson. The list of alumni included Reebkomp and I was asked to investigate as the name did not sound English. I discovered that Reebkomp was simply an anagram of Pembroke, Retnuh was Hunter backwards, and the boy was the illegitimate son of Henry Herbert 10th Earl of Pembroke and 7th Earl of Montgomery (1734-1794) and Elizabeth Catherine (Kitty) Clarke, née Hunter (c.1740-1795) daughter of a Lord of the Admiralty. Following further research I published an article about Reebkomp and a little later another article about his clerical son.

My MRes dissertation looked at Henry Herbert 10th Earl of Pembroke as performer, patron and connoisseur and is being used by the guides at Wilton House. My PhD thesis carries on the theme of Lord Pembroke and his love of music, concentrating on eighteenth-century aristocratic men and domestic music-making. The book is a series of pen portraits of the Pembroke family (in its wider sense) between 1750 and 1850.

Information is sketchiest about Susan Maltass. I do not have her precise date of birth nor the actual day of her marriage. She is referred to throughout as Susan Montgomery – Reebkomp’s name was changed to Montgomery ten years before the marriage.

Here is a timeline:


Henry Herbert and Kitty Hunter eloped.


Augustus Retnuh Reebkomp born.

c. 1770

Susan (Suzanne) Maltass born.


Reebkomp’s name changed to Montgomery.


Augustus Montgomery and Susan Maltass married (Humphry’s website gives marriage as May 1791 and states that George was conceived during this period of leave, but George wasn’t born until November 1793).


George Augustus Montgomery born


10th Earl of Pembroke died.


Kitty Clarke, née Hunter (Reebkomp’s mother) died.


Elizabeth Montgomery born (born after Lord Pembroke’s death but his will made provision for all legitimate children of Augustus Montgomery).


Augustus Montgomery died. His bequest to his wife is provisional on her not re-marrying.


Susan Montgomery applied for financial support to charity. The application was supported by Benjamin Lawrence, Curate of Marylebone; Jonas Rose, Captain RN; and Alexander Keene Post Captain. They certified that her income was under £160. (This appears to contradict the payments still being made to her by the Pembroke family).


Certificate signed at Westminster stating that her marriage took place in Smyrna in Asia Minor in October 1791.


Elizabeth Montgomery married Arthur Gibbon. Her marriage settlement referred to Augustus Montgomery having one son and one daughter. Elizabeth received a dowry of £8,000.


George Montgomery died.


Susan Montgomery made will in Paris naming the sole beneficiary as ‘M Augustin Henry Saladin Montgomery my Son residing with me’. In the testamentary deposition Susan is named as the widow of Captain Augustin (not Augustus) Montgomery.


Susan Montgomery died.


Probate granted of Susan Montgomery’s will.

I have some details of Susan Maltass’s sister Jane Baldwin (née Maltass) (1763-1839), including, of course, the Reynolds’ portrait.

In the Pembroke archives are details of payments made by George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke (1759-1827) to Susan Montgomery. There are also indications that she visited Wilton after her husband’s death. It is evident that both children by Montgomery were well provided for by the Pembroke family and that Elizabeth married well. George also married well and was very comfortably off. I have no record of correspondence between Susan and her children. George, of course, predeceased her and had no children so it is not surprising that Susan’s will did not mention him. It is, perhaps, more surprising that she did not mention her daughter or grandchildren.

It would be very helpful to know when Susan moved to Paris, particularly if there were other members of her family or the Smyrna community there. The mystery surrounds Augustin Henry Saladin Montgomery. Had he been the legitimate son of Augustus Montgomery there was provision for him in Lord Pembroke’s will. The 11th Earl of Pembroke was extremely fond of Augustus, his half-brother, and it would have been expected that he would have taken a particular interest in the baby as he virtually brought up George and Elizabeth with his own children at Wilton. Perhaps he was adopted by Susan Montgomery in her later life?

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