Death Calls Pioneer Irvington Physician

Dr. J.R. Armstrong Succombed [sic] Monday, After Long Illness


Came to Irvington in 1857 and Lived an Active Life Until Age Forced Retirement

Dr. J.R. Armstrong of Irvington died Monday afternoon at half past two o’clock, following two years of illness with dropsy. Funeral services in charge of the Masons were held yesterday at Irvington church. Rev. Frank Day, pastor of the Baptist church, Algona, officiated and was assisted by Rev. F.A. Smiley, pastor of the Algona Presbyterian church. The pall bearers were Col. R.H. Spencer, D.A. Haggard, A.I. Bowen, W.P. Quarton, A.L. Webster and A.L. Bowen. The body was laid to rest in Irvington cemetery.

Dr. Armstrong was born in Sussex county, New Jersey, April 14, 1829. The following year his parents moved to Steuben county, N.Y., where his father bought a farm. There he attended the district school, and later, Franklin Academy at Prattsburg [sic], N.Y. Afterwards he graduated from Alfred University, Allegheny [sic] county, N.Y.

In 1856, when he was 27 years old, he came to Waterloo, Iowa, where he worked one year in a drugstore. In 1857 he settled at Irvington. Five years later he enlisted as a soldier in Captain Ingham’s company of the Northern Border Brigade. The next year he bought the general store which L.L. Treat had been keeping at Irvington.

In January, 1859, Dr. Armstrong married Jane Fife, a native of Vermont. The ceremony was performed by Rev. O.A. Holmes of Webster City. The doctor and his wife had seven children. Two died in infancy. One of the others, Lavina A., died at the age of twenty. Four survived and they are living in or near Irvington. James A. resides on a farm, three mile east of Irvington; Charles S., on a farm which adjoins Irvington on the northwest. Two daughters, Lucy A. and Mary J. are yet at the parental home. Mrs. Armstrong, who died Nov. 27, 1904, preceded her husband in death just seven years to a day.

Dr. Armstrong was a member of the first board of supervisors of Kossuth county. His colleague were Ambrose Call and M.C. Lathrop. He served three years, beginning in 1861.

He was one of the first and long the best known physician in the county, though, strangely enough, his named is not mentioned in the list of Kossuth county physicians, given in the History of Kossuth and Humboldt Counties, published in 1884. He was an early teacher also, as well as farmer and storekeeper. His activities, in fact, as was to be expected in a pioneer community, were many and varied for long years. He took a high place in the respect of the community from the start and maintained it until the close of his long, honored life. In his family, where his kindness and firmness were blended, he was seen at his best. His life’s work is done, yet there are many to mourn his passing, for he was of the type of sturdy pioneers who wrought successfully to make this state what it is today.

Source: Kossuth County Advance, November 30, 1911.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s