Originally posted by @sonhouse
He invented a lot of things but the one he tried to get a patent on would have revolutionized the paddlewheel river boats of the era.
"...eventually applied for a patent for his design of a steam-operated propeller to
provide propulsion to boats in shallow water. The propeller could cut into the water at
different angles, thus allowing the boat to navigate more easily through shallow water.
This was not a new invention, but an improvement on similar designs invented by
John Stevens in 1804 and John Ericsson in 1838.(U.S. Patent 588) ..."
"Joseph Davis allowed captive Africans on his plantation to retain money earned commercially,
so long as they paid him for the labor they would have done as farmworkers.
Thus, Montgomery was able to accumulate wealth, run a business, and create a personal library."