ELI ARMSTRONG. Long before Montague county became a thickly settled district Eli Armstrong took up his abode within its borders and as a representative of its farming interests has done his full share toward making it a well developed and improved part of the state. He is a native of Alabama, born on the 8th of January, 1844, his parents being Wesley and Harriet (Gothard) Armstrong, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Alabama. The paternal grandfather, John Armstrong, was born in Tennessee and was a prominent agriculturist of that locality, giving his entire time to his farming interests, so that he led a quiet and uneventful but useful life. He was a member of the Primitive Baptist church and his principles were in keeping with the highest standards of manhood. He removed from Tennessee to Alabama, where he spent his remaining days. His children were: Wesley, William, John, Elias, Nathaniel, Asa and Caroline.
Wesley Armstrong at the time of his marriage took up his abode in Alabama, where he developed a good homestead property and there spent his remaining days. His political support was given the Democracy and he too held membership in the Missionary Baptist church. His integrity was above reproach and many of his strong traits of character were qualities worthy of emulation. His wife died in 1863. She was a daughter of David Gothard of North Carolina, who was also connected with agricultural pursuits. In his family were nine children: Mrs. Harriet Armstrong; Mallery, a farmer; John; George; James; Smith; Mrs. Charity Green, whose second husband was a Mr. Gothard; Mrs. Caroline Seals, and Narcissa. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong were born ten children; Levi, of Alabama, who was a cripple but aided his country by hospital service in the Civil war; Mrs. Amanda Williams; Eli, of this review; Mrs. Louisa Jimerson; Parlee, now Mrs. Pilgreen; Barney, a farmer; Mrs. Virginia Jimerson; and Lafayette. Wesley and Jeff, all of whom follow agricultural pursuits. By a second marriage the father had one daughter, Mrs. Alice Nelson.
Eli Armstrong remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority and in 1862 he enlisted in Company B of Colonel John P. West Cavalry Regiment, in which he continued until the close of the war, his service being mostly in Mississippi and Georgia, where he participated in many skirmishes and in a number of hotly contested battles, but was never wounded nor captured. He was a Newman, Georgia, when Lee surrendered, and mounting his horse he rode homeward. He saw much hard service and underwent many of the deprivations, trials and exposures incident to life on the tented field.
Soon after arriving at home Mr. Armstrong resumed farming, in which he continued until 1867, when he came to Texas, first locating in Smith county. There he rented a farm, which he conducted for ten years. During that time he was married and with renewed impetus took up the work of improving and cultivating his place, his home being maintained thereon until 1877, when he removed to Montague county, purchasing land and improving a farm. Here he remained four years, after which he sold out and bought one hundred and sixty acres where he now resides. The latter tract was raw land but he at once began its cultivation and has made substantial improvements thereon, including the erection of commodious dwelling and good outbuildings. He has also planted an orchard, has secured the latest improved machinery to facilitate the work of the fields and now has a desirable farm and home, seventy-five acres of his land being under cultivation. There is also good pasture land and he raises various crops such as are adapted to the soil and climate.
In the year 1869 Mr. Armstrong was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Copeland, who was born in Sevier county, Arkansas, June 28, 1851, her parents being Gilmore and Sarah (Jackson) Copeland, both of whom were natives of Tennessee, in which state they were married. Later he removed to Arkansas, where he bought and settled upon a farm, there remaining for a number of years, when his wife died, and later he sold the property and came to Texas, settling in Smith county. He bought land there and improved a good farm and after a number of years he again disposed of his land but remained in Smith county up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1867. He was a wagon maker by trade and to some extent followed that pursuit but gave the greater part if [of] his attention to farming. He entered the Confederate service in Smith county and was in a cavalry regiment which was assigned to the Trans-Mississippi department. He saw some hard service and was never wounded nor captured. After the close of the war he returned to Smith county, where his death occurred about two years later. He voted with the Democracy and was a member of the Missionary Baptist church. In his family were three children: Mary E., now Mrs. Armstrong; Serepta, the wife of S. J. Morris; and Archibald, a railroad man.
Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong have become the parents of one son, Walter, who was born September 11, 1870, and is now operating the homestead farm. He married Miss Lydia Carlile, a native of Wood county, Texas, and a daughter of James and Nancy (Stagner) Carlile. This marriage was celebrated in 1895 and has been blessed with two interesting children: Henry H., born in June, 1897; and Anna M., born January 19, 1900. Eli Armstrong and his wife were members of the Missionary Baptist church and they have done many good deeds, not the least of which is the care that they have given to a little orphan girl, Katie Allred, whose parents died when she was three years of age, at which time Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong took her into their home and have reared and educated her, giving her the loving attention which they would have bestowed upon a daughter of their own. In business relations Mr. Armstrong is thoroughly reliable and honorable and has never been known to take advantage of the necessities of his fellow-men in any trade transaction. His success has come as the direct result of his honorable dealing and unfaltering integrity and he is today a representative farmer of Montague county.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 364-365.