Biography of Henry Armstrong

For many years Henry Armstrong was one of the representative agriculturists in Nowata County, residing on his highly cultivated farm near Coodys Bluff. He is now, however, living in retirement in Coffeyville, Kansas, but is contemplating returning to the old home in the near future. A native of Oklahoma, he was born at Spavinaw, Mayes County, on the 16th of June, 1846, a son of Mr. and Mrs. James Armstrong, the former of Muncie, Indiana, and French Canadian extraction and the latter of Seneca and Delaware Indian extraction. James Armstrong was born in Quebec, Canada, and in early life went to Ohio, thence to Indiana and subsequently to James Fork, Arkansas. After his marriage James Armstrong and wife came to Indian Territory, locating at Spavinaw, Mayes County, in 1832. Some time after Henry Armstrong’s birth they removed to Bird Creek near Skiatook in Tulsa, County and they resided there four years, at the termination of that time locating on the Kaw River in the Delaware Reserve. In 1854 Mr. Armstrong’s demise occurred and his wife died in the same year.

The year following the death of his parents Henry Armstrong attended the Delaware Mission School in Kansas and was under the protection of his cousin, J. W. Armstrong. In 1858 he put his textbooks aside and worked on the school farm until 1861, when he enlisted in the Federal army, becoming a member of Company M, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, serving two years and four months. He was disabled for active service before the close of the war, due to exposure and the many other hardships of war, and was, therefore, given an honorable discharge and sent to his home. In 1863 he was married the first time and both he and his wife had eighty acres of fine land in Kansas, where they lived and farmed until July, 1867, when they removed to the Cherokee Nation along with other members of the Delaware tribe. His wife’s father was chief of the Delawares. The tribe bought one hundred and sixty-seven thousand acres from the Cherokees and forsook their nationality, becoming Cherokees. Mr. Armstrong located on his allotment and that of his wife at Coodys Bluff and engaged in the conduct of a general merchandise store and post office for some thirty years. He likewise brought his land to a highly cultivated state, building a beautiful home among the trees, and he won success both as a general farmer and stock raiser. There are two hundred and eighty acres in this beautiful estate and his daughter, Mrs. Charlie Reinheardt, is now living there. In addition to this land Mr. Armstrong owns other extensive tracts in the County. Besides operating the store at Coodys Bluff he was active in the mercantile business in Vinita and Nowata. Mr. Armstrong has retired from active life and is now living in Coffeyville, Kansas, although he contemplates returning to the old home near Coodys Bluff in a short time.

Mr. Armstrong has been married three times. His first marriage was celebrated in August, 1863, when Lucy Jane Journeycake, a daughter of Rev. Charles Journeycake, became his wife. Her father was for years a dominant figure in the affairs of the Delaware tribe and his memory is revered by all who knew him. Mrs. Armstrong died in February, 1882, and left five children to mourn her demise: Albert F. and Charlie F., extended mention of whom is made elsewhere in this work; Leona J., the widow of Bennett J. Scoville, who lives in her beautiful home at 215 Cherokee Street, Nowata. Her husband was engaged in the life and fire insurance business here and was one of this community’s most alert and enterprising young business men. He was a thirty-second degree Mason and his friends throughout the County were legion. His demise occurred about seven years ago; Anna, the wife of George F. S. Bosworth of Nowata; and Rosalie, now Mrs. Lewis William of New York. Some time after the death of his first wife Mr. Armstrong was again married, taking Annie Journeycake, a sister of his first wife, for his bride. To this union four children were born, two of whom died in infancy: Johnnie died when seventeen years of age; and Mrs. Charlie Reinheardt is the only surviving child of that union. The second Mrs. Armstrong died on the 1st of August, 1913. In June, 1914, Mr. Armstrong was united in marriage to Mary Kohler.

Mr. Armstrong is now seventy-six years of age and is enjoying the best of health. He takes an active interest in all that is going on around him and there is no movement for the betterment of the general welfare that seeks his aid in vain. Although handicapped in youth by the death of his parents and a very limited education, he has overcome all the obstacles in his path and won success in life.

MLA Source Citation:

Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922. Web. 30 January 2015. - Last updated on Nov 30th, 2011

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