John M Armstrong


JOHN M. ARMSTRONG, member of the Armstrong Furniture Company, of Leechburg, Armstrong County, is one of the most enterprising business men of that borough. He was born Aug. 26, 1868, at Natrona, Allegheny Co., Pa., son of Samuel S. Armstrong, and is a great-grandson of Robert Armstrong, the latter a native of the North of Ireland who came to this country and settled in Westmoreland county, Pa., about the eighteen twenties. He purchased land in Allegheny township, followed farming, and was also engaged upon the construction of the Pennsylvania canal in his section. He died upon his farm and is buried in Brookland cemetery in Allegheny township. His wife, Eleanora (McKee), who was also from the North of Ireland, is buried in the same cemetery. They had the following children: John; Alexander; Thomas; David; Jane, who married George Patterson; Margaret, who married John Bole; and Elizabeth, who married William Copeland.


John Armstrong, son of Robert, was born in Ireland in 1799. There he married Sarah Ann Armstrong (not a member of the same family), who was of Scottish descent, and they emigrated to the New World before his father came, crossing the ocean in 1826 and two years later, in 1828, settling in Westmoreland county. There he purchased a farm in Allegheny township which he paid for with his earnings as a contractor for excavation on the old Pennsylvania canal. He was a man of fair education for his day and appreciated the advantages of schools, and he gave all his children good opportunities. He was a strict member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and was bitterly opposed to human servitude, so much so that he would not identify himself with either of the great political parties of his day because slavery was tolerated in this country and sanctioned in some measure by both. He was very well known in his section. A few years before his death he removed to Leechburg, Armstrong County, where he died in 1872. His wife died in 1877 in her seventy-fifth year. Both are buried in the Brookland cemetery in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county. They had the following children: Eleanora married Hugh McElroy; Adam C. served as a member of the House of Representatives from Kentucky, was principal of an academy of that State and also served as superintendent of schools in Bracken county, Ky. (he was accidentally killed in that State); Robert was a farmer in Westmoreland county, Pa., where he died; David, an artist by profession, died in Westmoreland county in 1909; Elizabeth (deceased) married Hiram Steele; John A. is a resident of Leechburg, Pa., Sarah A. (deceased) was the wife of James G. Bole; Samuel S. is mentioned below; Mary J. married Milton Free, who is deceased; Margaret married William J. Sproull, of Parnassus, Pa., who is deceased.


Samuel S. Armstrong, son of John, was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., and there passed the greater part of his life. In his early manhood he was engaged in the drug business, but later took up farming, upon the old Armstrong homestead, where he remained for many years. He is now living in retirement at New Kensington, Pa. He married Martha J. Blackwood, who was born in Harrison county, Ohio, and she lived to the age of sixty-six years, dying October 23, 1906; she is buried in the Brookland cemetery in Westmoreland county, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong had a family of seven children: Robert A. (deceased), John M., U.S.A. (living at New Kensington), Anna V. (married to J.J. Glenn, and residing at Prospect, Butler Co., Pa.), Elizabeth E. (deceased), Ira B. (deceased) and Hugh M. (living at Grand Junction, Colo.).


John M. Armstrong attended what was known as the old Irishtown school in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county, and was at home with his father until he reached the age of twenty-two years. He then traveled for two years as a salesman, after which he returned to the home farm and engaged in the dairy business. His next venture was at Leechburg, Pa., where he opened a milk depot and confectionery store, later adding groceries to the stock. He continued to carry on this business until 1900, when he entered into a partnership with his cousin, R. M. Armstrong, and embarked in the furniture business at Leechburg, their establishment being on Market street. Mr. Armstrong then took a course in embalming at a Pittsburgh college, graduating in April, 1900, thus preparing himself for the undertaking branch of the business of the firm. It was first known as J. M. & R. M. Armstrong, and three years after it was founded A. M. Armstrong, brother of R. M., was admitted, since when the style has been the Armstrong Furniture Company. The store is stocked with high-grade goods, and they enjoy a large trade in both branches, having established themselves thoroughly in the confidence of all classes of the community. They have all the latest appliances for up-to-date undertaking, and Mr. John M. Armstrong, who looks after that part of the work, is thoroughly reliable and trustworthy. He is a member of both the State and National Funeral Director�s Associations, has been very active in those bodies, and in 1910, at Altoona, Pa., was elected second vice president of the State organization; at Harrisburg, Pa., in June, 1913, he was elected State president. His business ability is unimpeachable. The firm has another store at Vandergrift, in Westmoreland county.

Mr. Armstrong married Minnie Blair, of McKeesport, Pa., daughter of Joseph Blair, at one time a contractor and builder of McKeesport, where he is now living retired; his wife�s name was Taylor. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong have had children as follows: Martha B. (deceased), Laroka Eleanor, Elizabeth Viola and John Bruce. Mr. Armstrong is an active member of the United Presbyterian Church, and has a young men�s class in the Sunday school. He is a Republican in politics, but not active in party affairs.

Source: Pages 600-601, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co, 1914
Transcribed July 1998 by Lynnette Burge for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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