From the Plaingrove News
October 9, 1888
A CELEBRATION IN HONOR OF AN AGED LADY WHO LIVED IN THE DAYS OF
WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON AND ADAMS.
Plaingrove People pay their respects and five
generations are represented
- Extreme Old Age and Helpless infancy sit side by side –
A remarkable woman who has seen many changes in government, people and
Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong, of Plaingrove Township, was one hundred years
old on Monday, Oct. 8, 1888, and the anniversary of her centennial was
celebrated by a grand reunion of her children, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and relatives from all
sections of the country.
The day was very inauspicious for a gathering of this
kind, but in spite of the inclement weather, about 200 people
congregated in the house and about the grounds, and the little farm
house was taxed to its utmost capacity to hold the guests. Early in the
forenoon the carriages commenced to arrive, and soon the grounds were a
scene of bustle and activity. "How do you do," cousin, uncle or aunt, as
the case happened to be, with a hearty hand shake from the men while the
women of the party practiced the osculatory process of salutation.
As soon as this was over and every one had been
cordially greeted, the visitors repaired to the house, where in a little
room off the parlor Mrs. Armstrong was seated surrounded by her
immediate family, and looking like a queen upon her throne, with her
courtiers at her feet. In this little room the representatives of five
generations were assembled, and the sight was truly a beautiful one.
There sat the old lady over whose life the sun of a hundred summers and
winters had passed, and by her side was a lady holding a babe barely two
months old, the youngest of the fifth generation of her progeny, and by
her side on the other hand, was the eldest of the fifth generation, aged
about seven years.
As each visitor came into the room Mrs. Armstrong
cordially extended her hand and greeted them with a pleasant smile and
often with a joking remark about some reminiscence of her younger days,
showing that though she had reached the centennial of her life, her mind
and recollection of past events was in no way impaired.
The guests did not come empty-handed and many
handsome and useful gifts were laid at her feet. The news reporter was
introduced to her and congratulated on her anniversary, passed several
minutes in pleasant conversation with her, and was more than surprised
at the wonderful manner in which she has retained all of her faculties
at so extreme an old age. Her hearing is almost perfect, no raise in the
voice to carry on conversation, while as stated before her memory is
excellent, and she proved that her eyesight was still in excellent
condition by reading a chapter from the Bible in a clear and distinct
voice so that all in the room could hear her without difficulty.
While all this was going on the women folks were
preparing an excellent dinner which was spread on a long table in the
barn, and about twelve o'clock all hands were discussing the merits of
the good things in a manner highly conplimentary to the culinary skill
of the hostess.
After dinner "Old Prob." who had had a frowning and
threatening aspect all the morning, gathered up his forces and soon a
heavy shower of rain was drenching those who were strolling about the
larn, and caused a general stampede for a place of shelter. In the house
a little speech-making was going on. Squire Lawrence was the first one
called on, and he made a few remarks appropriate for the occasion. E.S.
Durban rolled him. Then Squire McCune addressed the party, giving a full
history of Mrs. Armstrong's life from her early youth up to the present
day, and perhaps it would be well to give right here, for the benefit of
our many readers, a history of her life and of her family, as taken by a
News reporter from the family records.
Elizabeth Wallace was born near Carlisle, Pa., on the
8th day of October, 1788. When still a child her parents moved to
Plaingrove township, Lawrence county, where they settled on the old
Wallace estate, now owned and occupied by Milton Stevenson. When about
18 years of age, Elizabeth was wooed and won by Archibald Armstrong, a
son of a neighbor farmer. Archibald was born at Path Valley, Franklin
county, Pa., on March 6th, 1785, and was three years the senior of his
wife at the time of their marriage, which was celebrated at the
residence of the bride's parents on October 8th, 1807. The couple lived
happily together for sixty-two years, when Archibald Armstrong was
called to join the majority in the great and unknown world beyond the
skies on June 18, 1869. Their union was blessed with seven children,
four of whom are living, and all of these four were present at the
The eldest of those now living, Mrs. Thomas Hanna, resides at Mercer,
Pa. She has four children, Thomas and James Hanna and Mrs. Kate Shaff of
Pittsburg, and Mrs. Evelyn Haynes, of Springfield township, Mercer
James Hanna is also married and has three children,
B----, John and Helen.
Mrs. Evelyn Haynes has two daughters, grandchildren of Mrs. Armstrong.
Mrs. Celinda McCune, of Grove City, is the younger. She has four
children who were all present. Samuel is married and has one boy,
William Lincoln. Robert is also married and lives in Chicago, and has a
family of six children.
Hugh Wallace Armstrong, of Youngstown, comes next in line. His
descendants are as follows:
Mrs. J.D. Orr, of Youngstown, whose children are George W. and Minnie
B., both unmarried. Misses Sarah, Hattie and Annie. Mrs. Mary McClintock
of Brooklyn, Schuyler County, Ill, who has three children, William,
Elizabeth and Hattie. Mrs. George Howell of Portland, Oregon, who has a
son named George, and Mrs. J.W. Tinker of Winchester, Tenn., with a
family of two, Florence and an infant child born on Sept. 24, not yet
The youngest of the four is Samuel Armstrong, of Plaingrove, whose
progeny number six - W.S., J.L., R.A., R.W., Minnie L., and W.R.
W.S. Armstrong is married has five children, Ann Eliza, Frank
Stevenson, Archibald James L., and Sarah Eliza.
Mrs. Helen Armstrong, of Grove City, was also
present. She is the widow of Thomas Armstrong, who was wounded in the
hand in the war at Petersburg, Va., on June 14th, 1864, and died of
injuries at a hospital in Philadelphia a short time afterward. She had
four children, Mrs. Black, of Grove City, who has a family of four,
Eulah Lee, Myrtle, Frank and Louisa. Mrs. Allie Heisley of the same
place, who also has four children, Thos. C., Ethel, Walter and George
Shurman. Luther Armstrong, of Bowling Green, Ky., who has three boys;
and W.A. Armstrong, of Burlington, Iowa, who has four daughters. Mr.
Wallace Davidson was another of the relatives present. He married
Margaret Jane Armstrong, daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong, to whom
were born three children, Gertrude, Hattie and John. Isaac A. Davidson,
another of those at the reunion, married Ann Eliza Armstrong, now
deceased. His family consists of Sarah E., Margaret E., George A., Elmer
E., A.W. and D.T. Davidson.
This is about all of the immediate descendants of the
old lady, as near as could be gathered from the means at hand. Besides
there there [sic] were many relatives of those mentioned that were
connected by marriage to Mrs. Armstrong that were present. One of the
features of the occasion was the photographing by A.P. Webb, of
Youngstown, of Mrs. Armstrong as she sat in her easy chair, copies of
which were purchased by nearly everyone present. About four o'clock in
the afternoon the guests commenced to disperse, each one as they
departed bidding the old lady good bye and wishing her many happy
returns of the day, and judging from her hale and hearty appearance,
their wishes are likely to be fulfilled.
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