Major General John Armstrong

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MAJ. GEN. JOHN ARMSTRONG, the hero of Kittanning, was one of Washington's bravest and most successful generals. He was born in 1725 in the North of Ireland, and some time between 1745 and 1748 became a settler in the Kittanning valley, west of the Susquehanna river, in a region which was then the frontier of Pennsylvania. He was well educated and found plenty to do at his profession of surveying in the new country. In 1750 he and a Mr. Lyon laid out Carlisle, and four years later he was sent by Governor Morris as a commissioner to Connecticut in regard to a land trouble between the Indians and the Connecticut settlers in the Wyoming valley, in Pennsylvania. In 1755 Mr. Armstrong surveyed and opened a road from Carlisle to the "Three Forks" of the Youghiogheny river, over which supplies were to be carried to Braddock's army. After Braddock's defeat he enlisted in a frontier company, and in January, 1756, was elected captain; on May 11th of the same year he was commissioned lieutenant colonel. In the summer of 1756 he commanded the expedition against the Indian village of Kittanning which has made his name famous in American history for all time to come. In 1757 he served on the frontier, was commissioned colonel May 27, 1758, and commanded the advanced division of the Pennsylvania troops in Forbes's expedition against Fort Duquesne. He was a tower of strength on the frontier during Pontiac's war, and on Sept. 30, 1763, led a very successful expedition against the Indian towns on the West branch of the Susquehanna. He was the first brigadier general commissioned (March 1, 1776) by the Continental Congress. He served at Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, and on April 5, 1777, was commissioned major general of the Supreme Council of the State. He commanded the Pennsylvania militia at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He was sent to Congress in 1778 and again in 1787. His public career closed with his last term in Congress, and he spent the remainder of his life at Carlisle.

General Armstrong was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and was largely instrumental in establishing the first church which was organized at Carlisle, in 1757. On March 9, 1795, he ended his active and useful career, and he was buried in the old cemetery at Carlisle. Maj. Gen. John Armstrong, Jr., was born Nov. 25, 1758, at Carlisle, Pa., and died April 1, 1843, at Red Hook, N.Y. He served in the Revolutionary war, was the author, among other important works, of the celebrated "Newburg Addresses," and was secretary of war in 1814, from which position he was obliged to resign because he did not prevent the capture of the city of Washington, in August, 1814. His brother, Col. Henry B. Armstrong, fought gallantly in the war of 1812.

Source: Pages 549-550, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Nancy Cain Knepper for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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