ARMSTRONG, Archibald R.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 296-9
Archibald R. ARMSTRONG, one of the extensive landowners of Winnebago County [IL], his farm comprising 480 acres, was born in Allegheny County, PA, 16 Feb 1852, and when about two years of age was brought to IL by his parents, Archibald and Eliza (NEWBURN) ARMSTRONG. The father was a native of Ireland, born in County Sligo in 1815. Crossing the Atlantic to America in 1848, he made his home in PA, and soon afterward sent for his wife, whom he had married in Ireland. She was born in 1813, and with her children she started for the new world, joining her husband and father here. They settled near Pittsburg, where they remained until 1854, when they came to Winnebago County, IL, Rockford being their destination. Soon afterward Mr. ARMSTRONG rented land in Owen Township, and the family home was established thereon. He also worked as a farm hand in the neighborhood until 1860, when he purchased 80 acres of land and thus became one of the property holders of his locality. He worked persistently and energetically in order to make a good home for his family and acquire a comfortable competence, and as the years passed he was enabled to extend the boundaries of his farm by additional purchase until it comprised 240 acres. His remaining days were devoted to general farming and stock raising, and he deserved the respect and esteem which was uniformly afforded him because of what he accomplished and by reason of the honorable methods which he always followed in his business career. He died in 1893, and his wife departed this life in 1877. They were the parents of three sons and five daughters, and two sons and four daughters are yet living, namely: Catherine; J. W., who married Martha WISHOP; Elizabeth, the wife of James BLACK; Marie, the wife of Walter WICKES; Sarah, the widow of William A. HALLEY; and Archibald R. Rebecca and James E. are deceased.
Being but two years of age at the time of the removal of the family to Winnebago County, Archibald R. ARMSTRONG was reared in IL, and through the period of his boyhood and youth remained with his parents. After attending the public schools he spent two years as a student in Professor Lownsbury's Business College, at Rockford, and was thus well equipped for life's practical and responsible duties. Following his marriage he located on a tract of land of 80 acres, constituting the nucleus of his extensive possessions. He persistently and energetically sought to make his farm productive, and his annual sales of crops added to his income and made it possible for him to extend the boundaries of his farm until he is now the owner of 480 acres of very valuable land. All of the improvements upon the property are his work, and include substantial buildings and every modern accessory.
On 28 Dec 1881, Mr. ARMSTRONG was married to Miss Agnes COMPTON, a daughter of Wortman and Mary (VANDERHOFF) COMPTON, the former born 27 Jul 1830, and the latter 14 Apr 1833. They were both natives of NJ, and came to Winnebago County [p 299] in 1855, settling first in Owen Township, after which they removed to Harrison Township, where Mr. COMPTON carried on business as a contractor and builder. He erected many substantial structures in this county, and was well known throughout this part of the state as a reliable business man and representative citizen. At the time of the Civil War he espoused the Union cause, and enlisted as a member of Company D, 74th IL Infantry, and served until the close of the war. Following his return from the battlefield of the south, he again worked at his trade, and later purchased a farm, which he made his home until 1886, when he removed to Rockford, there living a retired life until called to his final rest 12 Oct 1903. They had two children: Agnes, who was born 23 Aug 1854; and Whitfield, born 14 Jan 1859. Mr. and Mrs. ARMSTRONG also have two children, Charles E. and Mary L., who are at home.
Mr. ARMSTRONG has served as a member of the school board, as town clerk, assessor and justice of the peace, filling the latter position at the present time, and in all of these offices he has discharged his duties with capability and fidelity. His political allegiance is given to no one party, for he holds himself free to vote for the men and measures that he deems best worthy of his support. He favors the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife is a member, and he belongs to Owen camp, No. 616, Modern Woodmen of America. There have been no exciting chapters in his life record, but the inherent forces of his character and his unremitting diligence have enabled him to gain a position of affluence and win at the same time the good will and trust of his fellowmen by reason of the honorable methods he has ever followed.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.