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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Peter Armstrong

"A Biographical History of Darke County Ohio, published in Chicago by the Lewis Publishing Company, 1900. p. 464-467" Typed by Jane Barr Torres.

It is with pleasure that the publishers of this volume are able to present the life history of the gentleman whose name appears above and to note the success which he has achieved and the honorable methods he has follow in winning prosperity. His life has been in exemplification of what may be accomplished by determined purpose and unfaltering energy, and in many respects his history is well worthy of emulation. Undeterred by the difficulties and obstacles in his path he has advanced steadily
step by step until he is now found upon the plain of affluence, enjoying the comforts and advantages which have come to him as the reward of his well directed labors.

The Armstrong family, of which he is a representative, is of sturdy Scotch origin. James Armstrong, the grandfather, was a native of Scotland and emigrated to his country soon after the struggle in which our forefathers secured national independence. He settled in Washington county, Pennsylvania, which at that time was an almost unbroken wilderness, and in years of toil cleared a farm, upon which he reared his family and spent his remaining days, and honored and respected citizen of this community. It was upon that farm that John Armstrong first opened his eyes to the light of day, in the year 1793. There he remained until 1818, assisting his father in the work of cultivating and improving the land, and attended the district schools of the neighborhood.

In the year mentioned he determined to try his fortune in the more recently developed section of the county, and after a long and tiresome journey through a wild region he arrived in Darke county, Ohio, finding a mere hamlet where now stands the beautiful and thriving city of Greenville. There he sought and found employment at his trade of carpentering, when he had learned in the east. Later he also engaged in the manufacture of brick, carrying on that pursuit in connection with contracting and building for a period of three years. He then disposed of his village interests and engaged in farming in Greenville township, but in a short time he again returned to Greenville, where he lived for about two years. In 1833 he purchased eighty acres of land in Jackson township. At that early day the country was covered with heavy forests and it was necessary for this hardy pioneer to cut his own road through the woods, a distance of three miles, in order to reach his land. Such obstacles as these, however, did not discourage him and serve now to illustrate the sterling character and resolute purpose of the pioneers. What would now seem to be insurmountable obstacles seemed but to serve as the impetus for renewed effort on the part of those early settlers, who in the midst of the forest hewed out their homesteads. Upon his eight acres of land Mr. Armstrong made a small clearing and erected a log cabin in which he lived until 1856, when a frame house was built. It is still standing, and in this more modern abode the father passed away July 15, 1864. He was one of the most prominent men in Darke county, who not only ably performed the work of his farm, but also found time to devote to public duties. 

He was a man of strong mentality and excellent education. Soon after his arrival in Darke county he took up the study of law, which well qualified him to discharge the duties of justice of the peace, to which office he was elected. He was afterward chosen associate judge and for a period of six years served in the capacity, filling the position with marked ability and fidelity. On the expiration of his term he was again elected justice and held that office up to the time of his death. He also took a prominent part in township affairs and served his fellow townsmen in all its offices. In politics he was first a Whig and later a Republican. He was long a faithful and consistent member of the Christian church, contributing liberally to its support and doing all in his power to promote its work, and during its early existence its meetings were held at his home or in a beautiful grove on his land. Mr. Armstrong was twice married. He first wedded a Miss Vail, and by their union two children were born, one of whom, Mrs. Fanny Douglass, a resident of Jackson township, is still living. For his second wife the father chose Miss Elston, a daughter of Levi and Elizabeth Elston. She was born in New Jersey and came to Washington township with her people about 1820. Nine children were born of their union, eight of whom reached years of maturity: Thomas, now deceased; Peter, whose name introduces this record; Sarah, deceased; Hugh, who resides in German township; Elizabeth, who married Silas Hart and is living in Darke county; John, who met death upon the battlefield March 26, 1865; Mary Jane, widow of Daniel Dowler and a resident of Washington township; and Catherine, wife of Augustus Stoner, who resides on the old Armstrong homestead in Jackson township. The mother of these children survived her husband several years, passing away in April 1884, and thus the lives of two of Darke county's honored pioneer people were ended, but they left behind them the priceless heritage of a good name and the memory of noble deeds.

Peter Armstrong was born in Greenville township, November 21, 1831, and his early life was spent in the usual manner of farmer lads of that period. He pursued his education in the distract school when it was in session and worked upon the home farm during the summer months. He remained with his parents until he had reached the age of sixteen years, when he began to earn his own livelihood by work in a saw-mill in Jackson township. He was there employed for nearly six years, and on the expiration of that period was married. In August, 1854, he leased some land in Washington township, living there for a year and a half, and in 1856 he purchased eighty acres - a portion of his present farm - which comprises one hundred and thirty-one acres. The place was but partially cleared and somewhat improved, a log house having been guilt. This was his home for some years, but as time passed he was enabled to add all the comforts of civilization, and today he is recognized as one of the leading, influential and prosperous agriculturists of Darke county. Where once stood the forest trees in their primeval strength are not seen beautiful fields under a high state of cultivation, and the primitive log cabin, with its mud-and-stick chimney, has long since been replace by a modern and commodious residence. Good barns and other outbuildings provide shelter for some years has been extensively engaged in stock dealing. His life has been one of marked industry and great labor has been required to accomplish the changes which have been made, but his marked enterprise was one of his leading characteristics and has brought to him well merited success.

The lady who has been to Mr. Armstrong a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey for nearly a half century was in her maidenhood Miss Catherine Henning, daughter of Jacob and Barbara Henning. Her people came to Darke county from Montgomery county, locating in the southeast corner of Washington township. They had five children, of whom Mrs. Armstrong is the second. The father died in 1841 and the mother in 1881. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong occurred July 25, 1854, and has been blessed with four children: David, a locomotive engineer on the Big Four Railroad, now residing in East St. Louis; Sarah J., the deceased wife of Andrew Bickel; Hugh S.; and Mary, the wife of William Oukst [Onkst], who is living on the homestead farm. Mr. Armstrong gave his political support in early life to the Whig party and on its dissolution joined the Republican ranks. His first ballot was cast for General Winfield Scott for the presidency. He has always taken an active interest in township affairs, having served as assessor for five years, as treasurer, as trustee for two years and as constable. He has also been a member of the board of education for fifteen years and has ever discharged his duties with marked promptness and fidelity. Both he and his wife are consistent members of the German Baptist church. They have now reached the evening of life, and their many friends join in the wish that they may live to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They have ever been people of reliability, honesty and worth and enjoy the respect of all with whom they have been associated.

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