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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Armstrong

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1681-1682 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The clan Armstrong was famed in Scotland for courage and patriotism. Scott, in the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," makes the chief say, when about to assemble the clans for some daring enterprise:

"Ye need not go to Liddisdale,
For when they see the blazing bale
Elliots and Armstrongs never fail."

The family tradition is that the name was originally bestowed upon a Highland chief for his great courage and physical powers. Another and better authenticated tradition is that the name Armstrong is derived from the following circumstance: "An ancient king of Scotland, having his horse killed under him in battle, was immediately remounted by Fairbaim, his armor bearer, who took the king by the thigh and placed him in the saddle, although heavily weighted by armor. For this timely assistance and feat of strength, the king amply rewarded him with lands on the border; gave him the name of Armstrong, and assigned him for crest an armed hand and arm; in the left hand a leg and foot in armor couped at the thigh all proper."

(I) The emigrant ancestor of the Armstrongs of Hudson, herein recorded, is William, a descendant of the Scotch family that settled in the north of Ireland. He may have been connected with the Armstrongs of Massachusetts and Connecticut, but seems to be an independent branch in this country. William came from Ireland and settled early in the town of Warwick, Orange county, New York. He had several children who were grown up at the time of the revolution. The family tradition is that his wife was a descendant of Bishop Lattimore.

(II) Benjamin, son of William Armstrong, was born about 1760. He settled in Albany county, New York, later becoming a farmer of the town of Duanesburg, Schenectady county, where he reared a family and died. He married and had William.

(III) William (2), son of Benjamin Armstrong, of Albany and Schenectady counties, New York, was born about 1770, died in New York City, early in the nineteenth century. He was by occupation a weaver and settled in New York City after learning his trade. He married Elizabeth Reed, died in New York City prior to 1834.

(IV) William (3), son of William (2) and Elizabeth (Reed) Armstrong, was born in Schenectady, New York, October 22, 1800, died in Hudson, New York, April 18, 1891. When nine years of age his parents removed to New York City, where he was educated and learned the tailor's trade. About 1830 he removed to Hudson, where he started a merchant tailoring establishment, continuing successfully until his retirement in 1860. He was a member of the Presbyterian church of Hudson, and a Democrat, although never actively engaged in politics. He married, in Hudson, November 20, 1834, Mary Clark, born in that city July 5, 1807, died there, May 3, 1889, daughter of Cornelius Clark, born in 1773, died in Catskill, New York, January, 1814; married, 1805, in Albany, New York, Elizabeth Case, born in Rhode Island in 1790, reared by her Grandmother Johnson in Lebanon, New York, died in Hudson, August 3, 1834, a devoted member of the Protestant Episcopal church. Children:

  1. Ellen E., married William Hedges, a wood engraver of New York City, their present home.
  2. Mary J., married Edwin Hedges, whom she survives, a resident of Washington, D. C.; child, George P.
  3. Lou M., resident of New York City.
  4. James Clark, of further mention.
  5. Charles O., for many years a locomotive engineer, now of New York City.

(V) James Clark, son of William (3) and Mary (Clark) Armstrong, was born in Hudson, New York, January 30, 1843. He was educated in the public schools. On April 20, 1863, he began his career as a railroad man, taking a position as fireman on the Western railroad (now Boston & Albany). April 15, 1864, he was promoted engineer, and is still running on the same road. In 1886 he was elected alderman from the second ward of Hudson. He has been connected with the fire department of Hudson since 1863, and in 1873-74 was chief engineer of the department. In 1905 he was appointed fire commissioner, serving until elected mayor of Hudson in 1909. He has admirably filled the office of chief magistrate of his city and still continues in that office (1911). He is an active Democrat and influential in his party. He is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to Lodge, Chapter, Council, and Commandery of Knights Templar, all of Hudson. He is a member of Greenbush Division No. 59, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. He married, February 22, 1869, Mary, daughter of Eli Abbey, a blacksmith of Albany, where he is buried in Rural cemetery, and Mary (Collings) Abbey. Children:

  1. Mary Abbey, married Fred N. Spencer, an optician of Hudson, son of Edmund Spencer; children, Ralph and Margery A.
  2. James Clark (2), born August 13, 1880, educated in the city schools, now in the plumbing business in Hudson.

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