ARMSTRONG, John (II), of NJ, Ontario and Livingston Counties NY, Fulton Co IL and Canada

John Armstrong (II) was born between 6 Sep 1792 and 5 Sep 1793, probably in Hunterdon Co NJ.[1] The circumstances of his childhood are not known. Both his father’s will[2] and his maternal grandfather’s will[3] agree that he was the son of John Armstrong, son of Martin Armstrong, of Maidenhead, Hunterdon Co NJ, and Bathsheba (or Barshaba) Coleman, who married Nathaniel Moore and had two children by him before his death, say 1787-1788. Neither will indicates that John Armstrong and Bathsheba (Colemen) Moore were married. She died intestate in 1795.

A will is the only document I have so far found naming John Armstrong, the father of this man, other than several land deals which Martin Armstrong, his grandfather, made in western NY. Somerset Co tax lists from 1775 through 1796 show a John Armstrong, but there is no way at this time to tell if these refer to this man. We may assume John Jr lived with his father, at least after the death of Bathsheba Moore, his mother. Lack of New Jersey censuses in this era make it difficult to tell where little John’s older half-sister and half-brother were living.

In the Armstrong family, John had these aunts and uncles: Elizabeth and John McCoy, who moved to Kentucky where Elizabeth died before 1780; Catherine and Daniel Agnew were residents at Princeton University, where Agnew was a Mathematic professor; their son James Agnew was chose as John’s guardian, along with a request that his education be completed; the Christian name of Matthew Patterson’s wife is not known but can be easily guessed to be Mary; Matthew and his sons’ names appear in the lists in Somerset Co NJ from 1784 through1806. Uncle George Armstrong fought in the Revolutionary and later had trouble getting recognized as a pensioner. George Armstrong married Hannah Riggs and that they resided in Seneca NY.[4] James Armstrong married, lived all his life, and was buried in Geneva, Ontario Co NY.[5]

On Mar 4 1817, in Geneva, Ontario Co NY, John Armstrong “of Seneca” married Mary Barron.[6]

Mary Barron was born in 1801 in New York State.[7] She was the only daughter of William and Margery (Wilkinson) Barron.[8]

John Armstrong died in 1852 in Grand River, Ontario, and his widow, Mary (Barron) Armstrong died in 1879 in Clayton Co IA.[9]

In 1816 John purchased from his uncle-in-law Daniel Agnew for $1.00 the share of Martin Armstrong’s land in Ontario Co NY that his father, John Armstrong, and Daniel Agnew had purchased in 1804 from Martin Armstrong. On 8 Apr 1819, John sold this exact lot of land to Abigail Williamson. A year later he was in Genesee Co [later Livingston Co] NY at the 1820 census:[10] Genesee Co NY, Caledonia Twp, page 105: John Armstrong, 100010/101000/1 [b 1775-1795]. In 1830, Livingston Co NY, Caledonia Twp, p 175: John Armstrong, 001001…/212001… [b 1780-1790]; the children were only son John and daughters, Mary, Harriet, Matilda, Margery Ann, and Rebecca.

John Armstrong and his family moved to Illinois before 1840: Fulton Co IL, Burkheart Twp, p 259: John Armstrong , 01001001…/0113001… [b 1780-1790]; youngest child William B[11] had joined the family.

In 1850, Fulton Co IL, town of Canton, page 14, lines 1-10, John, 62, and Mary, 50, and young William were living next to or with married daughter Matilda and her husband, Herman [sic] Saunders. Daughter Mary and her husband Shaftoe Lowrey may have moved to Canada by that date. Son John and his first wife and two daughters were in the same township and county. Harriet may have moved to California. Rebecca had married the widowed husband of her sister Margery Ann and was living with him and his two-year-old son in Lafayette Co WI. Later that year, William B Armstrong reportedly went to California, dying within the calendar year 1850.[12]

The children of John and Mary (Barron) Armstrong, who are listed with minor errors in the Knox Co IL history, were:

1. Mary ARMSTRONG. Born on 24 Dec 1817 in Geneva, Ontario Co NY. Mary died in Knox Co IL, in 1893. On 4 Oct 1842 when Mary was 24, she married Shaftoe LOWREY in NY. Born on 4 Oct 1814 in Geneva, Ontario Co NY. Shaftoe died in Knox Co IL, on 12 Jul 1870. They had the following children:

                        i.            Alice M (1844-1873)

                        ii.            Mary M (1846-1852)

                        iii.            Jane E (1847-1874)


2. John ARMSTRONG Jr. Born on 31 Dec 1819 in Livingston Co NY. John died in Bethany, Harrison Co MO, on 22 Jan 1890. In 1842 when John was 22, he first married Susannah MORAN in IL. Born in 1823 in Allegheny Co MD. Susannah died on 1 Jun 1851. They had the following children:

                        i.            Mary M (1846-1922)

                        ii.            Margery Ann (1848-1908)

                        iii.            Susannah (1851-1923)


On 15 Dec 1852 John second married Nancy Ann MORRIS, daughter of George MORRIS & Elizabeth HURD, in Mason Co IL. Born on 21 Sep 1829 in Adams Co OH. Nancy Ann died in Bethany, Harrison Co MO, on 27 Aug 1891. They had the following children:

                        i.            Sarah A (1853-1950)

                        ii.            William F (1854-1941)

                        iii.            John Franklin (1856-1942)

                        iv.            Kittie B (1857-1942)

                        v.            Alice M (1860-1952)

                        vi.            Jennie E (1862-1885)

                        vii.            Charles L (1863-1931)

                        viii.            Ulysses Grant (1865-1963)

                        ix.            George Henry (1866-1950)

                        x.            Frederick D (1869-1940)

                        xi.            Aaron Christopher (1870-1942)

                        xii.            Lillie Mae (1872-1937)


3. Harriet ARMSTRONG. Born about 1821 in Livingston Co NY. Harriet died in San Francisco, San Francisco Co CA, after 1880. She may have been a teacher. Before 1857, she married William W TRACY. Born ca 1818 in VT. They had one child:

                        i.            Charles L (ca1857-)


4. Matilda ARMSTRONG. Born in 1822 in Livingston Co NY. Matilda died in Fulton Co IL, on 7 Mar 1853. On 17 Mar 1842 when Matilda was 20, she married Heman J SAUNDERS, son of Hirah SAUNDERS & Almira B NICHOLLS, in Fulton Co IL. Born possibly Middlesex, Yates Co NY. They had the following children:

                        i.            John Frank (ca1843-)

                        ii.            Mary V (ca1845-)

                        iii.            Henry M (ca1848-)

                        iv.            Matilda (ca1852-)


5. Margery Ann ARMSTRONG. Born about 1829 in Livingston Co NY. Margery Ann died in Grant Co WI, ca 1848. On 7 Feb 1847 when Margery Ann was 18, she married Gideon H FLANDERS in Grant Co WI. Gideon H died after 1880. They had one child:

                        i.            Henry (ca1848-)


6. Rebecca ARMSTRONG. Born about 1832 in Livingston Co NY. Rebecca was living in Minneapolis, Hennepin Co MN, in 1880. About 1849, she married her brother-in-law Gideon H FLANDERS in Grant or Lafayette Co WI. Gideon H died after 1880. They had one child:

                        i.            Mary (ca1850-)


7. William B ARMSTRONG. Born about 1832 in Livingston Co NY. William died in CA in 1850; he was 18.



© 2009, Kathy Alvis Patterson



[1] His 1850 and several children’s 1880 censuses all say he was born in NJ, as does daughter Mary’s biography in Knox Co IL. His birthdate may be calculated from the birth of his mother’s second child with Nathaniel Moore, Jan 1788, and the fact that he had a guardian in 1806 or 1808. His 1830 and 1840 censuses give him a birthdate of 1780-1790, and in 1850 his age was given as 62.

[2] The will of John Armstrong (1808, Feb. 5) of Maidenhead Twp, Hunterdon Co NJ mentions the estate of his father, Martin Armstrong. Also, John Armstrong mentions his son, John Armstrong (son of Barsheba Moore), real and residue of personal estate. Said son to be educated by Dr. James Agnew, his Guardian. Inventory was made by James Coleman and William Baker.

[3] WILL ABSTRACT: NJ ARCHIVES, VOL XI, FIRST SERIES, ABSTRACTS OF WILLS; p. 70; DalPubLib 974.9. “1802, 19 Oct. Coleman, John, Sr., of Nottingham Twp, Burlington Co will of. Son, William, a bond against him for $437.81. Grandson, John Coleman (son of son, William), L20 with interest, when 21; should he die before of age, same to be paid to grandson, William Coleman (son of son, William). Grandchildren, David More and Sarah More, each L20, when of age; should both die before of age, their legacy to their half brother called, John Armstrong. To daughter Barshaba’s son, called John Armstrong, L20, when of age. Granddaughter, Hettee Coleman (dau of Jesse Coleman), chest of drawers, when 18. Son, James, 5 shillings. Son, Jesse, all my lands and tenements; he paying to my sons, John and David, each L100. To Margry Stackhouse, L60, or to her daughter, Sarah Stackhouse. Grandson, Gumley Coleman (son of Jesse), pair of silver buckles. Granddaughter, Eleday Coleman (daughter of Mahlon Coleman), a small trunk. daughter, Rhoda Printy, 5 shillings. Son, Mahlon, 5 shillings. Personal estate to be sold. Executors–friends, William West and William Foord. Witnesses–David Lee, William Lee. Proved Feb 14, 1806.

1804, April 13. Inventory, $1,390.67; made by David Cubberley and Joseph Harris. File 12256 C”

[4] History and directory of Yates County : containing a sketch of its original settlement by the Public Universal Friends … , Stafford Canning Cleveland, 1873, p 220

[5] From “Earliest Armstrong Ancestors” by Kathy Alvis Patterson: Seneca Township, Ontario Co NY Armstrongs—The head of this family was James Armstrong, now thought to be very likely an uncle of our ancestor. The Ontario Co NY genweb site has the following; brackets are annotations from my 1966 notes: Washington Street Cemetery, City of Geneva – Ontario Co NY.

ARMSTRONG. Charlotte E.; 1873-1926; [this headstone was not seen by me]; James, born near Princeton NJ May 4 1763; died Mar 25 1852; Elizabeth, consort of James; born near Princeton NJ 1772; died May 8 1834; Cornelia, dau of James and Elizabeth; born Aug 23 1807; died Sep 6 1838; E. Berrien; 1844-1919; Elizabeth Allen Smith, wife of William; died June 23 1871; ae 62 yrs; George; born Sep 25 1799; died Jan 10 1856; James A.; died Mar 17 1871; ae 75 yrs; [not seen by me]; Nancy McPherson, wife of James A.; died Apr 19 1899; ae 95-8-17; Mary Jane; died June 13 1888; ae 62 yr 6 mos [15 days]; Sarah; died Sep 2 1894; ae 86 yrs; Sarah A [or E].; died Aug 28 1918 ae 87 yrs; William; died Oct 27 1856; ae 59 yrs.

“Early Settlers of Ontario County NY,” excerpted from the History of Ontario County (NY), compiled by Lewis Cass Aldrich, 1893, states that: “The Town of Geneva was set off from the original town of Seneca Oct. 11, 1872. Among the pioneers of the town is Jerome Loomis, whose settlement in the northwest portion was made in 1788. He was a survivor of the Revolution and a man of influence in the new country. About the same time came … [among others…] James Armstrong…”

From Ontario Messenger 31 March 1852: “Death of a Revolutionary Soldier – James Armstrong, the father of William and Geo. Armstrong, died at his residence in this town on the 25th, at the advanced age of 90 years. Mr. A. served some time in the war of the Revolution. He was among the first settlers of this town, having emigrated to this locality prior to the year 1800. Geneva Gazette.”

[6] Seneca Gazette, Seneca NY, 3:4. See also Livingston Co NY Book 2, p. 295. And, Fred Q. Bowman. 10,000 Vital records of Western New York, 1809-1850. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1985, p. 8: “214. Armstrong, John m 3/9/17 Mary Barrow [sic], both of Seneca (3-3/12).”

[7] Although her parents moved to America about the time of her birth, in all censuses Mary said her birthplace was NY. Her next older brother David gave his birthplace as Northumberland, 15 Aug 1800.

[8] “Mother Coulson Celebrates Eightieth Birthday, Friday,” La Harper, LaHarpe IL, 22 Nov 1940, original clipping. The clipping from the LaHarper, edited at the time by Alice (Armstrong) Coulson’s son, gives details on all the children of John Armstrong Jr, as well as his two wives, his mother and her family. This article was written during the lifetime of John Franklin Armstrong and saved in the family.

[9] 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County (IL), page 625.

[10] See the following deeds: 10 Sep 1795, from Solomon Warner to Martin Armstrong, for $1883, 192, Lot #19, township 10; 5 Dec 1804, from Martin Armstrong to Daniel Agnew, for $600, 192, 1/2 lot 19 twp 10, conveyed by Solomon Warner, and 5 Dec 1804, from Martin Armstrong to John Armstrong, for $600, 192, 1/2 lot 19 twp 10; conveyed by Solomon Warner; 5 Feb 1816, John Armstrong to Daniel Agnew, for $1, 96, 1/2 Lot 19 twp 10; 5 Feb 1816, from Daniel Agnew to John Armstrong, for $1, 96, 1/2 Lot 19 twp 10 [I assume they trade halves. KP]; 9 Apr 1816, from John Armstrong Jr  to Abigail Williamson, for $1824, 96, 1/2 Lot 19 twp 10.

[11] Possibly William Barron Armstrong.

[12] Knox Co (IL), op cit.


Published on January 6, 2009 at 2:04 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Great weblog! I am researching the Civil War soldiers of Pittsford, NY and I have information about the Joseph Armstrong family. Joseph was the father of Civil War soldier Edwin J. Armstrong. Joseph, his two wives, and many of his children are buried at the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford. Two of Joseph’s sons, Edwin and James, are buried several miles away at Pittsford Cemetery.

    Would be happy to share information with you! Please feel free to contact me directly at

    Vicki Profitt

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