Friday, May 6, 2016

John the Blacksmith

In looking back over my Armstrong family research, I'm a little surprised I had not previously written much about my 4th-great-grandparents John Armstrong and Sarah Sally Martin. I covered my 3rd-great-grandfather David Armstrong in February 2012, and then left the trail of this family behind as I moved on to other family lines.

1840 US Census, Greenfield Twp, Fairfield County, Ohio
John Armstrong was born on 4 March 1813 in Fairfield County, Ohio. He met Sarah Sally Martin in Ohio, and the family appears in the 1840 US Census in Fairfield County. According to an article in the Crawfordsville Weekly Journal dated 12 March 1881, John and family moved from Ohio to Montgomery County, Indiana in the Fall of 1849.

"Birthday Anniversary - a Complete Surprise" Article in the Crawfordsville Daily Journal, p4 column 2

"One of the most complete surprises that ever happened in Franklin Township occurred last Friday, March 4, it being the birthday of John Armstrong who passed the 68th milestone on life's journey on that day. Mr. Armstrong was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, March 4, 1813, he moved to his present home in Franklin Township, Montgomery County, Indiana in the Fall of 1849. Sarah Armstrong, wife of Mr. Armstrong whose 82nd birthday occurred a few days previous, was also included in the surprise. Mr and Mrs Armstrong were at home, not expecting anyone on such a blustering day, but were thinking what an awful day it was for Garfield to take his seat, when all at once a wagon drove up, then another and another, until they began to think everybody was coming to see them on that day, and why there where coming when no one could tell. Finally the truth began to leak out, as basketful after basketful were brought in from the wagons and piled on the table until it fairly groaned with the weight. 

A grand time was now had, enjoying the hospitalities and company of these old people. May they live to see and enjoy many other returning anniversaries as old time rolls on. There were fifty-four guests present and many more would have been present had the day been favorable. Among those present and who gave presents were the following: Mrs Margaret Booher, pin cushion; Mrs Hala Armstrong, glass butter dish; M.L. Booher, comb case and shaving mug; S.C. Booher, molasses stand; P.E. Booher, spectacle case; Emma Sherrel, handkerchief and dress; Easter Armstrong, silk handkerchief and dress; Allen Armstrong, handkerchief and knot maul; Mrs Phebe Grimes, drawers and pickle dish; Mrs Mary J Heiston, tine shirt and wreath of flowers; David Armstrong, $2 in silver; Lizzie Grimes, one rug; Alkana Booher, feedbasket; Mrs J.A. Booher, silk handkerchief and cotton handkerchief, pen knife and silver quarter; Newt and Reub Booher, each salt stand."

The article above highlights the close connection between the Armstrong and Booher families in Montgomery County, Indiana.

John and Sarah Armstrong appear in the 1850 US Census in Franklin Township, Montgomery County, living next door to my 4th-great-grandparents James and Selina Vail, and Jonathan Booher and family. John's occupation is listed as blacksmith. John's sister Elizabeth Armstrong and husband George Flanningam were neighbors of James and Selina Vail. Other Booher siblings were also neighbors. The Armstrong land can be seen in the map section I posted back in March 2015, titled The Place That Brought Them Together.
1850 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana.
In the 1860 US Census, John Armstrong was still working as a blacksmith, and living next to my 3rd-great-grandparents David and Easter Armstrong with his family.
1860 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana.
By 1870, John is listed as a farmer, but he was again listed as a blacksmith in the 1880 US Census.
1870 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana.
1880 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana.
John Armstrong died on 6 December 1882 in Montgomery County, Indiana. He is buried in Saint James Lutheran Cemetery in Darlington, Montgomery County. According to his Findagrave entry, John's headstone looks like the image below:
Photo by M. McHargue.
John Armstrong and Sarah Sally Martin were married on 21 March 1833 in Hocking County, Ohio (according to the Martin Family Bible), and they had at least the following children:
- Margaret Armstrong (born 1834 in Ohio, died 17 January 1912)
- David Armstrong (born 16 Dec 1835 in Ohio, died 1887 in Montgomery County, Indiana)
- John Allen Armstrong (born 19 February 1838 in Ohio, died 17 October 1911 in Indiana)
- Mary Jane Armstrong (born 5 July 1840 in Ohio, died 1924 in Indiana)
- Elizabeth Armstrong (born 27 August 1842 in Ohio, died 23 June 1851 in Indiana)
- Phoebe Armstrong (born 1 April 1845 in Ohio, died in 1924 in Indiana)
- William J. Armstrong (born 1848 in Ohio)

There is quite a bit more information as I trace the Armstrong family back to Ohio. I will have more on this over the weekend.

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