J. P. Armstrong

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

J. P. ARMSTRONG, son of Dr. Asher and Molly Armstrong, was born in the town of Hoosick, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., Aug. 29, 1817. He was reared on the farm, and early laid the foundation for a successful and busy life. It was the intention of his father that he should begin an academic course at Bennington, in the spring of 1833, but as his father died the fall previous, and as the family was not left in affluent circumstances, it became necessary for him to continue to work on the farm. He worked that summer for his uncle, Aaron Sherwood, who lived in Bennington, Vt., at three dollars per month. The following winter he attended school in his native village of Hoosick, working in the store of Leroy Salisbury nights and mornings for his board. The following spring he spent a few weeks in the store of Abel Bunnell, at Troy, N. Y., and then removed to Fredonia, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., where he remained five years, the first attending school and living with his brother Aaron, and the next three in the employ, as clerk, of David Barrett & Co. He received one hundred dollars for the first year, two hundred dollars for the second year, three hundred dollars for the third, and the fifth year was spent with J. D. Edson & Son.

During this time he visited his home but once. Upon the earnest solicitation of his brother, Dr. Prosper M., and several others, he was induced to open a store in his native village. He had but two hundred and seventeen dollars of his own, and with some three hundred dollars more which was loaned to him by his guardian, Joseph Case, he started for New York City, to purchase his first bill of good. He had taken the necessary precaution to get a letter of recommendation from his former employers in Fredonia, N. Y., which proved of great service to him in making his first acquaintance in New York. This was his beginning as a merchant in Hoosick, and his little store grew in proportion to the number of years in business, until he became on of the largest and most influential merchants in the county, outside of Troy. He has been in business for nearly forty years in the same building. By close attention to business, combined with economy, he has made an ample fortune, and great credit is due his faithful wife in the saving of the same.

Not only will Mr. Armstrong be remembered as the successful merchant, but as the kind husband, a true citizen, and honest man. He has ever labored to promote the best interest of his village in schools and churches. In politics Mr. Armstrong was formerly a Whig, but upon the organization of the Republican party, in 1856, he joined it, and since then has been one of its chief standard-bearers in the town of Hoosick. In 1860 he was elected supervisor, and continued to hold the office for eight consecutive years. In 1878 he was again elected, and served one term. He has been postmaster of Hoosick since 1860.

He is often called upon to settle estates, and in every case has given satisfaction. In 1867 he was chosen a delegate to the constitutional convention held at Albany. He married Harriet, daughter of Sylvester and Ruth Richmond, of Hoosick, Aug. 29, 1842. She was born in Deerfield, Mass., Oct. 29, 1817, and removed to Hoosick, in 1830, with her parents. Of this happy union five children have been born, of whom three only are living. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong are members of the Episcopal Church at Hoosick.

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