In making this voyage, the Armitage family boarded the sailing vessel "Sidney" at Liverpool, which landed them six weeks later in the city of New Orleans. At that point they boarded a Mississippi steamboat, the "Meteor," upon which they remained five days and five hours, and were then transferred to the packet "Eagle", which conveyed them to Greene County, this State. The balance of their journey was completed on a prairie schooner drawn by oxen, and the father took up a tract of land, where he improved a farm, and upon which our subject grew to man's estate. In 1853 Mr. Armitage, leaving the farm, came to Exeter and secured the land which he now owns and occupies. This he operated in partnership with his father and brothers, and also purchased land adjoining the town limits, together with mill property, and in due time was the owner of 280 acres. He cultivated the soil and carried on the mill successfully, shipping flour to New Orleans, Chicago, New York and Boston, some of it going to Europe and assisting to provision the army during the Crimean War.
In 1870 our subject and his partners dissolved, and there fell to Mr. Armitage 120 acres, to which he afterward added twenty acres adjoining, and this comprises his present homestead. Here he has made all the improvements, and it is regarded as one of the most desirable estates in the township. There is a sufficient quality of native timber and an excellent vein of coal, in places about three feet thick, under eighty acres. The land is watered by Mauvaisterre Creek, and admirably adapted to raising all kinds of grain. Mr. Armitage raises considerable live-stock, cattle, horses and swine. He keeps about twelve head of horses, using two teams in the farm work. His operations have been conducted with that system and good order which are the surest guarantee of success.
Our subject was first married in Macoupin County, this State, Oct. 20, 1855, to Miss Elizabeth Cundall. This lady was born in Chesterfield, Ill., and died in 1872. The eldest of their five children, Charles E. is married, and is employed as a machinist in Waterbury, Conn.; Mary Ann died when about two and a half years old; Israel W. and Elihu W., twins, are at home with their father. Carrie is the wife of Douglas Borum, a farmer and veterinary surgeon of Exeter, who was graduated in one of the schools of Toronto, and has a good understanding of his profession.
In 1873 Mr. Armitage contracted a second matrimonial alliance with Miss Almara J. Sweeney, who was born in Sangamon County, this State, and is now the mother of six children, namely: Belle, William C. deceased, Judith A., Annie, Stewart and Fred. Mr. Armitage is a sound Republican, and has frequently been sent as a delegate to the county conventions. He was for a number of years School Director in his district, and has served as Road Supervisor.
The father of our subject was Elihu Armitage, a native of Yorkshire, England, and the son of Joshua Armitage, who was also born there, and engaged as a farmer and miller. The latter became well-to-do, and was numbered among the English gentry. The great-grandfather of our subject engaged in a limited degree in farming, but was mostly connected with educational matters, gained the title of Professor, and conducted a school.
In 1840, as before stated, the father of our subject came to America, and locating near Carrollton, purchased 280 acres of improved land. He sold this in 1852, and purchased land in Scott County, where he prosecuted agriculture a number of years and then retired from active labor. He spent his last days with his son, our subject, and died in 1880, at the advanced age of eighty-four. He was a member of the Episcopal Church, and a Republican in politics. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Judith Johnson, and she was born in Yorkshire, England. Her father was also a native of Yorkshire, but of Welsh descent. Grandfather Johnson carried on farming and milling in Yorkshire, and was the owner of a good property. Mrs. Armitage died in Greene County, this State, in 1851. The parental family included thirteen children, all of whom, with one exception, lived to mature years. Elihu lives in Exeter, Scott County; Ann lives in Alton; Annis and Isaac are deceased; Christiana resides in Texas; Elizabeth is deceased; Israel, our subject, and Mary were twins, and the latter is a resident of Chicago; Hannah lives in Sadorus, Ill.; Job died of cholera about 1873; Felix died in Camp Butler; Sarah is deceased, and Adah lives in Chicago.