Biography of the Hon. George W. Armstrong
La Salle County, Il Biographies

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Hon. George Washington Armstrong, a prominent farmer of Brookfield Township, was born Dec. 11, 1813, in McKane Township, Licking Co., Ohio, a son of Joseph and Elsie (Strawn) Armstrong. His grandfather, John Armstrong, came from County Fermanagh, Ireland, where he was a flax and linen dealer, with his family, in 1789, and settled in Somerset County, Pa., and engaged in general merchandising. Joseph Armstrong was a farmer, merchant and woolen manufacturer, and at an eatlyearly age George W. was employed in reels and winding bobbins in the factory. Our subject received only a limited education in his youth. He went through all the rooms in the factory but the spinning, thoroughly mastering the trade and l)ecoming an expert weaver. In April, 1831, he came to Putnam County, now Marshall County, Ill., and the following July settled in La Salle County with the family, with the exception of the father, who remained behind to adjust the business. The eldest son went back and George W. had charge of the family, the father dying soon afterward, before leaving Ohio. The family settled in South Ottawa, where the widowed mother lived until 1851 when she moved to Ottawa. She died in Morris, Ill., in June, 1871. In 1832 Mr. Armstrong participated in the Black Hawk war, and in the autumn of 1833 he bought a claim in Brookfield Township, and in November of that year commenced building a log house on his land. In December, 1834, he attended a meeting in the interest of the Illinois & Michigan Canal at Ottawa, and acted as its Secretary and later carried a record of the proceedings to Vandalia and then to the seat of Government, spending the winter there aiding the passage of the Canal bill. About this time he formed the acquaintance of Stephen A. Douglas, who rendered him invaluable assistance. Before returning to La Salle County Mr. Armstrong spent a month at school in Jacksonville, paying special attention to the study of mathematics. He was married at that place, March 15. 1835, to Anna Green and began housekeeping in Brookfield, La Salle County, in 1836. He built a saw mill in the east part of this county and in 1837 took a contract on the construction of the canal at Utica, to which place he removed, remaining there until 1841. He then returned to Brookfield Township and resumed farming, where lie has since made his home. Mr. Armstrong has always been a politician, and while Stephen A. Douglas lived was his staunch supporter. He was elected to the Legislature in 1844, and to the Constitutional Convention in 1847. In 1858 he was the Douglas candidate for Congress against Hon. Owen Lovejoy, the Republican nominee, but was defeated although receiving 15,000 votes. In 1870 he was a nominee with Judge Caton to revise the constitution but was defeated. He was a member of the Legislat- ure from his district for eight consecutive years and was an eminently useful member. Re was a member of the Board of Supervisors for La Salle County for twenty two years, fourteen years of the time acting as its chairman. lIe was one of the five directors who built the Kankakee & Seneca Railroad, having a capital stock of only $10,000 and expending over $500,000 without a mortgage or lien of any kind. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong have reared a family of nine children, giving them a fair education, all married and settled in life except one. The children are as follows: John G., a journalist of Ottawa; William, served as a Captain in the late war, and was Provost Marshal under General Sherman in the march to the sea now in Colorado; Julius C., also a soldier in the late war, graduated at the Western Theological School at Chicago. and is now a Congregational minister of Chicago; Wliza P., wife of Willian Crotty, resides in Burlington, Kan.; Marshall N., an attorney at law, of Atlanta; Joseph L., at home; Snsan Ida, wife of L. B. Laughlin, of Bridgewater, Dak.; James E., a graduate of Industrial University at Champaign, now resides in Englewood, and is a teacher in the high school; Charles G., graduated at the same university, now lives in Piatt County, Ill.


FROM:
History of La Salle County, Illinois
Inter-State Publishing Co.
Chicago 1886