For nearly half a century Christopher Columbus Armstrong was identified with the mercantile business at Girard and became one of the best known men in this part of the state. Having accumulated a competency, he retired from active labor eight years ago and at the age of seventy-four is now enjoying the results of his well-directed efforts. He is a native of Illinois, born in Jersey county, January 2, 1837, a son of Maurice and Elizabeth (Sims) Armstrong, both of whom were born in Kentucky. The grandfather of our subject on the paternal side was Joshua Armstrong of Pennsylvania.
Christopher C. Armstrong attended the district schools of Jersey county and remained with his parents, assisting on the home farm until after he arrived at the age of seventeen. He then undertook farming on his own account in Montgomery county, but after an experience of one year gave up the pursuit of agriculture and secured a position as clerk in the grocery establishment of H. F. Bridges at Girard, occupying a similar position under N. F. Horn the following year. In 1857 he entered the grocery business on his own account under the title of M. Armstrong & Son, the name of the firm becoming Armstrong & Bowsher in 1860, Russell Bowsher being the junior member. In 1861 Mr. Armstrong acquired the interest of his partner and for a year conducted the business under the title of C. C. Armstrong. He then admitted his brother, Andrew S., as a partner, and for three years the firm was known as Armstrong Brothers. In 1865 Mr. Armstrong of this review disposed of his interest to E. M. Cooper and associated with O. H. Gobble in the organization of the firm of Armstrong, Gobble & Clark, clothiers and dry-goods merchants. Mr. Armstrong sold his interest in this business to Leonard J. Thompson and in 1867 he purchased the grocery of Armstrong & Cooper, the title of the firm again becoming C. C. Armstrong. In 1871 he admitted John W. Ballinger as a partner, consolidating the drug and grocery business in one establishment, but in 1873 purchased Mr. Ballinger's interest, and for thirty years the business was conducted by Mr. Armstrong in his own name, proving one of the highly flourishing enterprises of the kind. Since 1903 Mr. Armstrong has lived retired.
On November 13, 1862, Mr. Armstrong was married in Sangamon county to Miss Fannie D. Weed, a native of Madison county, Illinois. She is a daughter of Fred and Martha (Boone) Weed. The father was born in Connecticut and the mother in Kentucky, the latter being a direct descendant of Daniel Boone, the noted hunter and Indian fighter. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong. Herbert, the eldest, married Nellie Moore, and they now live in St. Louis. Paul married Jessie Shuff. He resides at Girard and has two children, Frank and Gladys. Byron, a resident of Jacksonville, married Nora Parent, and they have two children, Marceline and Beata. Irene married Dee Morrow and they are living at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. In their family are three children, James Lamont, Lum Armstrong and Dorothy Dee.
Politically Mr. Armstrong adheres to the democratic party. He has taken an active interest in public affairs and served as a member of the board of supervisors, trustee and treasurer of Girard, and also as school trustee under the old system. Fraternally he is connected with Lodge No. 171, A.F. & A.M., which he has served as treasurer for thirty years; Lodge No. 132, R.A.M., all the offices of which he has filled; and Hiawatha Lodge, K.P., of Girard, of which he was a charter member. He is of a genial, social temperament, and it is greatly to his credit that the friends whom he made many years ago still speak in unqualified terms of his sterling characteristics. He early learned that "all things come to him who waits" - and works intelligently. He used discrimination in his business and at the very beginning of his active career learned to depend upon his own judgment, the dominant note of his life being self-reliance. It is men of this character who gain the prizes and are the rightful leaders in every community.