JAMES D ARMSTRONG
James Davis Armstrong, who is widely known throughout northeastern Kansas as one of its pioneers, is a sterling representative of an honored, southern family, prominently identified with the founding and maintenance of this government. His great-grandfather. James Armstrong, was one of three brothers who came to America from the northern part of Ireland, and, during the war of the Revolution valiantly fought for the rights of his adopted country. James Armstrong, Jr., took part in two of the early Indian wars, served under General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, and was a personal friend of General Sam Houston. The wife of James Armstrong, Jr., was a Miss Lanier, of Virginia.
Their son, Joshua Davis, was the father of James Davis Armstrong. He was a native of Kentucky, and at an early day came to Missouri. In 1849, while on his way to California, he succumbed to an attack of cholera, dying when but thirty-five years of age. He left a widow. formerly Elizabeth Cogdill, and four children. Her grandfather, William Cogdill, Sr., was kidnaped by a body of British soldiers in 1755, and was forced to fight under the leadership of General Braddock. He was wounded in the heel, but managed to escape. James Davis Armstrong was the eldest of the five children born to Joshua and Elizabeth Armstrong. A brother, George Washington, the youngest, died at the age of fifteen months, and Robert was four years old at the time of his death. Mrs. Elizabeth Nichols resides at Fort Worth, Texas, and Mrs. Mary McKinney lives at Capay, California. The mother departed this life in 1855. She is a lovable, Christian woman, a devoted member of the Disciples' church, having been baptized by the Rev. Duke Young, of Andrew county, Missouri. The father was connected with the Presbyterian church, and in his political faith was a Jackson Democrat.
The birth of James Davis Armstrong occurred in Andrew county, Missouri, September 2, 1840. He was left an orphan at an early age, but managed to obtain a good education, and under the wise guidance of his devout mother laid the foundation of a life of future usefulness. Having learned the blacksmith's trade, he worked at that calling for some time in Atchison, being in the employ of Thomas Rhea, in 1859. In company with the Rev. Pardee Butler, a noted pioneer minister of the Christian church, he made one journey to Denver, and, at other times, was associated with celebrated frontier personages. In the centennial year he went to Fort Worth, Texas, where he was engaged in business for about three years, and accumulated some of the capital which he subsequently invested in land. It was in 1881 that he purchased his present homestead in Grasshopper township -- a portion of the farm formerly having been the property of Jacob Reece. The place comprises four hundred acres of valuable land, much of it being under cultivation, while fifty-five acres are included in the exceptionally fine orchard, in which the owner takes just pride. The pleasant farm house stands upon a good site and everything about the place shows the watchful care of the business-like proprietor.
The marriage of Mr. Armstrong and Laura McCubbin took place in the Baptist church at Atchison in 1872, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Mr. Gunn. Mrs. Armstrong was born at Buchanan, Missouri, and is the daughter of R. S. McCubbin, one of the pioneer merchants of Atchison. He was a native of Kentucky, and to himself and wife, nee Anna Reece, five children were born, namely: Laura; Robert D., whose home is near Muscotah, Kansas; Nora Florence, of California; Belle Tryon, of Sacramento, California; and Eva Cline, deceased, and formerly of this county. The father is at present living at Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The eldest child of our subject and wife, Robert Francis, born in 1876, married Ethel Benjamin (daughter of Mrs. M. Benjamin, of Effingham), and has one son, Earl James. James Albert, second son of our subject, was born in 1880. Leota Pearl, born in 1883, and now a student at the Atchison county high school, is especially proficient in music. Bessie Laurene, living at home, is now in her fifteenth year. Anna, the first-born, died at the age of two years.
Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Thirty-five years ago he became connected with the Masonic fraternity, joining the Atchison Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M. In politics he is an uncompromising Democrat. In public and in domestic circles, his life has been characterized by unselfish devotion to the interests of others and everybody honors and respects him.