Wednesday, September 4, 2013

James David Armstrong - Part I: Getting Older

     The Obituary of James David Armstrong1 starts:
     "The Passing of a Nestor
James Armstrong, Oldest Mason
Soome [sic] Interesting Facts About 
the Career of One of the County’s Oldest Residents

     Mr. Armstrong was born on December 26, 1820, at Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland, of Scotch-Irish Presbyterian parentage. His mother was Miss Hannah Scott, through whom he is akin to the widely extended family of that name in this county. His father, Robert Armstrong, died while James was in his early youth, leaving the son and wife with little of this world’s goods." 

     Nestor, an uncommon word in today's vernacular, means a patriarch; a wise old man; a sage.  
     It has been difficult pinning down the birthday of James David Armstrong. Using the recorded age together with the date of the recorded age, I calculated a year of birth.
Record                Recorded Age          Computed birth year
1847 Marriage            24                        1822
1849 Immigration       22                        1826
1850 Census              24                        1825
1860 Census              38                        1821
1870 Census              49                        1820
1880 Census              59                        1820
1900 Census              79                        1820
     His year of birth was consistently given as or around 1820 later in life.  It is possible that when he married or immigrated that it was advantageous to be slightly younger.  
     His mother's maiden name was Briggs.  After Robert Armstrong died, Hannah Briggs Armstrong married someone with the last name of Scott.
     The obituary hints at connections to extended family in McLean County but at this time I haven't determined any connections.

1.   “Passing of a Nestor” Pantograph, Bloomington, Illinois March 30, 1906

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