Saturday, September 16, 2017

Armstrong Family of Falmouth, Maine - Puzzle Starting To Fall Into Place

One of the most fascinating lines of my family research have been the Armstrong's of Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

The Armstrong's lived in County Londonderry, Ulster Ireland...likely close to or in Aghadowey. They were members of the Presbyterian congregation of Rev. James McGregor who lead the migration of approx. 300 Scotch-Irish families to America.

The Armstrongs arrived in Falmouth, Maine (now Portland) in August 1718.  The arrived on a ship named The Robert, which arrived from Ireland and included Scotch-Irish families fleeing persecution for their Presbyterian beliefs.  I have posted extensively about their descendant John Armstrong and his family.

The patriarch of the Maine Armstrong's is James Armstrong.  He arrived with his children:  John, Simon, Thomas and his daughter Jean/Jane (who married Robert Means).

When researching the Armstrongs of Falmouth, you will find numerous references which provide conflicting information regarding who was the Patriarch of the Maine Armstrong clan.  Was it James or John?   I have seen references to both John and James patriarch.  However, I believe the evidence supports that it was, in fact, James Armstrong as the elder and patriarch.  In the compilation of records of the First Parish Church of Falmouth published in 1898 (Baptisms and Admissions from the Records of First Church of Falmouth, pg 147), it indicates that James Armstrong arrived in 1718 with his sons John, Simon and Thomas and his daughter the wife of Robert Means.   In addition, I found the following land sale that is definitive proof that John Armstrong was the son of James Armstrong.
I, John Armstrong of Pepperelborough in the County of York and Province of the Massachusetts in New England, Cabinet Maker, in consideration of the sum of Eighteen Pounds lawful money paid by James Winslow Jr. of Falmouth...for thirty acres of land in Falmouth aforesaid to be laid out in any part of common land in said Falmouth being the thirty acres of land granted by the said town of Falmouth the 13th day of March 1721/2 to my late father, James Armstrong, as may appear by said town records which was laid on former grants or old titles; I now therefore sell the said grant to the said, James Winslow Jr., to be by him laid out anew, on said common land agreeable to the vote of said town of Falmouth or proprietors therefor
                                                                                      Signed August 16, 1760

We know that this John Armstrong is the John Armstrong sometime considered the John Armstrong Patriarch, since there are numerous references to him moving to Pepperlborough (now Saco, Maine). This land sale clearly indicates that John is the son of James Armstrong.  Some of this confusion probably has occurred that John was very active in the local church and is mentioned in numerous historical accounts, much more so than his father, James.

I recently uncovered a genealogy of the Armstrongs by Harry Alexander Davis which he compiled in the late 1800's.   I tend to believe that early research done closer to the events that take place tend to provide more accurate data.  Quite often they capture information from people that have first or second generation information that is more accurate.

Mr. Davis identifies James Armstrong as born circa 1667 in the province of Ulster, Ireland.  He married Jean Jameson (prior to 1689).  The genealogy indicates that James and Jean Armstrong had the following children:
  • Robert born circa 1689
  • Jean born circa 1691
  • Mary born circa 1693
  • James born circa 1695 (died in childhood)
  • John born circa 1701
  • Simon born circa 1703
James and Jean Jameson Armstrong are my 6th great-grand parents.

Mr. Davis states that Jean Armstrong died in 1714 in Ireland and that James remarried Mary (last name unknown).  Mary accompanied him with his sons to Maine.  Mr. Davis claims that James and Mary Armstrong had the following children:
  • Thomas born 12/25/1717 in Ireland
  • John born 5/2/1720 in Falmouth, Maine
  • James born 4/25/1721 in Falmouth, Maine
I think it is likely there were two James Armstrong's that arrived at Falmouth aboard The Robert. James Armstrong the Elder or father and James Armstrong his son.  Mr Davis wrote that James Armstrong Jr. died in childhood.  It is possible that this is true, but that they had another son that named James Armstrong that did survive (it was not unusual at that time to name children with the same name if a child died).  I think it seems likely that the James that married Mary was actually James Jr.

Does any information support this?  Three main reasons:  If James the elder married May, then he would be 50 years old when his son Thomas was born and 54 when James was born.   It is certainly possible that he could father a child at those ages, but if we assume that Mary was approximately his age, she should be too old to bear him children.   Now of course, it isn't impossible or even unlikely, that Mary could have been 10 years or more his junior, but even then it is late for her to be having three children.  Another reason that seems fishy to me is that James has a son named John born around 1701.  Why would he name another son John while his other son, John, was still living.  I don't know of a Scotch-Irish tradition where you would have two sons with the same name living at the same time. This "two John's" is probably the most compelling reason that we are talking about two different James:  Father and Son.  The third reason is that there appears to be at least one mention of a living James Armstrong in the town records after he would have died.  I will go into this a later in this post.

In addition, an Elder Thomas Armstrong arrived with the Armstrong's to Falmouth.  While he isn't mentioned in Mr. Davis' genealogy it is simple to assume that any reference to Thomas Armstrong must be referring to James' infant son.  However, a Thomas Armstrong is awarded land in 1721 in Falmouth. It in unlikely the Selectmen of Falmouth would give land to a 4 year old.

In all the information I have read about the Armstrong family of Falmouth, I seem to be the only one raising these questions.

A James Armstrong was prominent in early Falmouth.  Falmouth had been inhabited in the late 1600's, but had been abandoned after a number of Native American conflicts.  At the time of James and his families arrival it was only starting to be re-inhabited.

In 1720, James Armstrong was elected as a town selectman.  In addition, 3/10/1720 he was granted a house lot and three acre lot.  On 3/13/1720 James was granted a 30 acre lot.

The English and French continues conflicts spilled over into the New World.  The French incited the local Native American population of Maine to attack the small settlements of colonists.  Then acting Massachusetts Govenor William Dummer declared war on July 25, 1722 on "the Eastern Indians, with their confederates, robbers, traitors and enemies of King George."  The war lasted three years.  To help defend their new home, James Armstrong and Simon Armstrong joined the command of Colonel Thomas Westbrook.  James Armstrong achieved the rank of Lieutenant.

Here is the Muster Roll of Colonel Westbrook's company from Nov 22, 1724 to May 22, 1725.

Simon Armstrong was wounded during fighting with the Native Americans.  In a letter from Col. Westbrook, he states " Simon Armstrong was scarred on his head, flesh wound, the Enimy (enemy) fought smartly where they stood."

James Armstrong didn't fair as well.  He was killed while fighting with the Native Americans. According to Col. Westbrook's papers he died May 3, 1724. (Letters of Colonel Thomas Westbrook and others, relative to Indian Affairs in Maine 1722-1726 pg 6, 7, 59, 64,87, 136, 151,172)

A James Armstrong was dead, but which James Armstrong?  I tend to think of war as a young man's endeavor.  Colonel Westbrook was only 48 years old when he commanded his company.  If James Armstrong, the elder, was a Lt. under him, he would have been 57.  Not too old to fight, but he would have been considered advanced in age for the time.  Where James Armstrong Jr. would have been about 27.

Evidence that supports that it is likely James Armstrong Jr who was the one killed is that land was granted to Mary Armstrong (widow) received a land grant in 1727.

In addition, a Mary Armstrong (widow) married Hector Patten on 3/11/1735 and moved to Biddeford, Maine in 1738 and lived next door to Robert Means.  Which would have been James' brother-in-law.

I believe I am descended from James' son, Simon.  He will be the subject of some future posts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mayflower Application - Finally Submitted

So this process has taken a lot longer than I thought and most of far.... has been  my fault.

When I submitted my ancestry documentation to my local Mayflower Society chapter here in Florida they identified a few death certificates I was missing.  I had the obituaries, but I didn't have the death certificates.  I got the first one right away, but the last one proved more difficult to get and I finally got the last document last week and provided it the Mayflower Society librarian.

I will give my local chapter credit.  They don't want to waste my time or the Plymouth office's time to review an application which is missing things or would obviously be rejected.

After I provided all my documentation, my local chapter historian took a hard look at all the info I had provided to determine if there was anything that would cause an issue in the review and approval process.

She has one major concern connecting my 2nd Great-Grandfather, James Henry Fuller to his parents David Fuller and Mary Cary Fuller.   James H. Fuller was born in Windsor or Horton, Nova Scotia on September 12, 1827.  However, there is no birth record that I can find (not many records from Nova Scotia from that period) and his death certificate doesn't reference the name of his parents.  Also, in James multiple marriages....his parents names are never referenced on the marriage records.

When James H. Fuller originally moved to Portland, Maine from Nova Scotia he lived with his parents, David and Mary.  In the 1850 US Census is shows them living together along with their other children:  Theodore, Andrew and Collingwood.  However, in those old census records it doesn't state a family relationship.  While it was likely that James was David and Mary's couldn't be sure.  He could be a nephew or cousin.

I was able to find death records for Collingwood which stated his parents were David Fuller and Mary Cary Fuller.   Which is great.  This still doesn't prove that James wasn't a cousin.

Lastly, I found James living with Collingwood and his family in the 1880 US Census which indicated that James was Collingwood's brother.

With any luck this last piece should end any concerns that Mayflower Society should have about the application.

So I submitted the final version in writing (into the mail) with all the documents, provided my payments for the final submission and review on August 12.

Now we will see what the results are, if they have any further questions and how long it will take.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Applying to the Mayflower Society - Missing Documentation

The Florida local chapter of the Mayflower Society responded back to me today to let me know that I am missing two documents.  This doesn't mean they accept all the other documents, but just that I am missing two.

The Mayflower Society requests that you provide birth, marriage and death certificates for each generation.  Once you go back about a hundred years or more these become impossible to find (in many cases they don't even exist) and the society understand this.  However, where they do exist, such as all viral records in the last 100 years, they do require them.

I provided newspaper obituaries for my great grandmother, Elizabeth Fuller, and great grandfather, Robert Armstrong,  but I need to provide the death certificates which should be obtainable from the city where they lived/died.

I am going to drop requests for both those death certificates in the mail tomorrow.

They lived and died in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and I am requesting these death certificates directly from them.  Only $10 fee (in total).

Here is their website.

What I really appreciated was that the Historian of the Ft Lauderdale chapter had this to say about my application:

"I want to commend you on a job well done.  I have never seen anything more detailed than yours."

Well that feels good...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Applying to the Mayflower Society - Providing Documentation

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been researching my family for quite sometime.  I know some people spend a life time on this, but I have been working on it for about 6 years.  However, I will admit that I haven't been as diligent in conducting a lot of new research for the last few years.

I just felt it was time to put my "money where my mouth was" and prove that I am descended from Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower.

I compiled all my research and just forwarded it the Ft Lauderdale Chapter of the Mayflower Society for review.   Here is the write up of information I sent to them (I have excluded the last 3 generations for privacy reason).  I have not included all the documents I sent to them, but if you would like to see any of them please contact me.

I will let you know what the next steps are when I hear back from them.


1.  Stephen Hopkins
2.  Giles Hopkins and Catherine Wheldon(Mayflower Families Vol 6 page 10 record 3)
3.  Deborah Hopkins and Josiah Cooke(Mayflower Families Vol 6 page 30 record 18)
4.  Deborah Cooke and Moses Godfrey(Mayflower Families Vol 6 page 113 record 88)
5.  David Godfrey and Priscilla Baker(Mayflower Families Vol 6 page 452 record 424)
6.  <dau.>  Godfrey and Peter Bishop(Mayflower Families Vol 6 page 453 record 424)

6.  Daughter Godfrey and Peter Bishop

Daughter Godfrey (her name is unknown) and Peter Bishop lived in New London, CT.  These records were lost in the fire of 1781 when Benedict Arnold burned the city during the Revolutionary War.

Daughter Godfrey and Peter Bishop had 4 children:
  • Simeon Bishop (b. 1755)
  • Elizabeth Bishop (est.1757 )
  • Lemuel Bishop (b. 1758 )
  • William Bishop (b. 5/5/1759)

Record of daughter Godfrey and Peter Bishop is captured in the “The Genealogy of the Bishop Family of Horton, NS” published in 1918(a).

7.  Elizabeth Bishop and Noah Fuller

Elizabeth Bishop was born in New London, CT probably about 1757.  These records were lost in the fire of 1781 when Benedict Arnold burned the city during the Revolutionary War.   Elizabeth Bishop married Noah Fuller on Nov 6 1777 (i).  The date of her death is unknown.  Proof of her relationship to David Godfrey is proven as she is mentioned as his granddaughter in his will (ii).

Noah Fuller was born in about 1750 likely in Salem, MA.  No records have been found of his birth.  His marriage to Elizabeth Bishop is shown in the Horton, Nova Scotia Township Book (i) which contains the towns early vital records.  Proof of his relationship to his father Noah Fuller is in Noah Fuller Sr. Will (iii).  There is no record of his death, but based on land transaction records it occurred after 1838 in Nova Scotia.

The Horton Township Record indicates that Noah and Elizabeth had at least 9 children: 
  • Lemuel  (b. 2/4/1779)
  • David (b. 4/13/1781)
  • Rebeccah (b. 12/17/1783)
  • Charlotte (b. 1/22/1786)
  • Olive (b. 2/21/1790)
  • Eliza (b. 7/4/1793)
  • Mary (b. 12/6/1797)
  • Noah (b. 4/2/1800)
  • Benjamin (b. unlisted)
8.  David Fuller and Mary Cary

David Fuller was born Apr 13, 1781 in Horton, Nova Scotia (i).  David Fuller married Mary Cary on Sep 10, 1812 (iv) .  The date of his death is unknown.   

Mary Cary was born about 1791(v).  She died in Portland, Maine on Sept 14, 1873 (v).  She is proved to be David Fuller’s widow based on being referred to as David’s widow in death notice (vi).

The Horton Township Book record records five of David and Mary’s Children (iv): 
  • Lavinia (b. 9/23/1813)
  • Rebecca (b. 8/23/1815)
  • Sephrona (b. 10/31/1817)
  • Matilda (b. 11/4/1819)
  • Martha (b. 10/18/1821) 
David and Mary had at least six additional children not recorded in the Horton Township Book records (it is also possible they moved to neighboring Windsor, but I cannot confirm):
  • David Bishop Fuller (b. 10/17/1823)
  • Benjamin (b. 12/1825)
  • James (b. 9/25/1827)
  • Theodore (b. 1829)
  • Andrew (b. 10/7/1831)
  • Collingwood (b. 1/6/1836)
 There was no legal requirement for births to be recorded in Canada at this time and Canadian records from this period are sometimes incomplete.

David and Marry lived in Horton (or the surrounding area) Nova Scotia.  They last appear in Nova Scotia in the Horton, Nova Scotia Census of 1838 (vii).  This shows David’s family as 13 total people.  This lines up well for what I believe I know about his family.  It indicates 5 women in the household above 14 years old.  This would include Mary (the mother) and 4 of the daughters.  The oldest daughter, Lavinia would have been 25 at this time and would likely be married and no longer be living at home.  I have not been able to find a record of Lavinia’s marriage to George Voye of Horton, Nova Scotia.  However, their first recorded child born is listed as Milward Voye born 4/14/1841.  In addition, the 1838 Horton Census indicates 1 male over age 14 presumably David (the father).  It indicates five males 14 years old or under (David Bishop, Benjamin, James, Theodore, Andrew, missing son) and two sons under age six (Collingwood and missing son).  It seems likely that there were two sons that must have died young.  Most of the David and Mary’s children are two years apart, but there is a five year gap between the birth of Andrew and Collingwood.      

David and Mary don’t appear in the next King’s County Census of Nova Scotia in 1851.   They left Nova Scotia and arrived prior to 1850.  The US Census from 1850 show them living with their sons:  James, Theodore, Andrew and Collingwood (Collingwood is listed by his middle name Elijah) (viii).  David and Mary must have arrived in Portland, Maine between 1840-1850, because they do not appear in the 1840 US Census.

Just in case there is any concern that the David and Mary Cary Fuller of Nova Scotia are not the same David and Mary Cary Fuller of Portland, Maine.  I have included several of their sons’ death records and daughter’s death record which indicate their birth in Horton, Nova Scotia and their parent’s names as David Fuller and Mary Cary.  In addition the fact that David Bishop Fuller’s middle name is “Bishop” is obviously referring to his grandmother’s family the Bishops.

·        David Bishop Fuller – Death 6/11/1901 (ix)  (Lists father are David Fuller and Mother as Mary Cary and birthplace as Horton, Nova Scotia.  Maine Death Record – June 11, 1901 – Proof of David Bishop Fuller’s middle name being “Bishop” comes from his son, William S. Fuller’s death record from 9/30/1916 (x) which states his father’s full name of David Bishop Fuller.
·        Andrew Hanley Fuller – Death 9/19/1914 (xi) Obituary lists Andrew’s birthplace as Horton, Nova Scotia and living in Portland, Maine
·        Benjamin Fuller – Death 12/2/1911 (xii) (Lists father as David Fuller and Mother as Mary Cary and place of birth as Nova Scotia)
·        Matilda Fuller Marine – Death 10/3/1901 (xiii) Matilda Fuller married Thomas Marine while living in Nova Scotia and moved to Standish, Maine prior to 1900.  (Lists father as David Fuller and Mother as Mary Cary and place of birth as Nova Scotia)

9.  James Henry Fuller and Margaret Armstrong O’Hagen

James Henry Fuller was born Sept 12, 1827 in Horton or Windsor, Nova Scotia (xiv).  He married Margaret Armstrong O’Hagen (Margaret was married prior to this marriage to Patrick O’Hagen) on Dec 31, 1882 (xv),  James Fuller died on Dec 21, 1917 at Sailor’s Snug Harbor on Staten Island, NY (xvi).  I have provided his death certificate from Sailor’s Snug Harbor and his application to live there.  Sailor’s Snug Harbor was an old age home for sailors.  He was probably too old to live on his own and his daughter was quite young.  The home was for American sailor’s which may be why he stated he was born in Eastport, Maine (which is close to the Canadian border).  We know this is the same James Fuller because it is the same exact birth date, his daughter is named Elizabeth in the document and on his daughter, Elizabeth’s marriage record it indicates that her father lives in New York (xviii).  

James and Margaret had one child together: 
·        Elizabeth Margaret Fuller  (b. 2/11/1886)

James wife, Margaret Armstrong O’Hagen Fuller was born about 1842 in Maine.  She died on Dec 23, 1891 (xvii)

10.  Elizabeth Margaret Fuller and Robert Edward Armstrong
Elizabeth Margaret Fuller was born on Feb 11, 1886 in Portland, Maine (xix).  She married Robert Edward Armstrong on Oct 22, 1910 (xviii).  Elizabeth died on Sep 23, 1971(xx).

Robert Armstrong was born on Apr 24, 1880 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine(xxi).  Robert Edward died Mar 31, 1963 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (xxii).

Robert and Elizabeth had 4 children: 
·        Shirley (b. 7/22/1912)
·        Ruth  (b. 2/20/1914)
·        Marion  (b. 5/23/1917)
·        Robert  (b. 4/16/1920)

(a)         The Genealogy of the Bishop Family of Horton, NS pg. 9-10 published 1918
(i)               Horton Township Book, Horton, Nova Scotia  - Noah Fuller and Elizabeth Bishop Record
(ii)              David Godfrey’s Will
(iii)            Noah Fuller Sr. Will
(iv)            Horton Township Book, Horton, Nova Scotia – David Fuller and Mary Cary Record
(v)             Mary Cary Fuller Maine Death Record – Sept 14, 1873
(vi)            Mary Cary Fuller Death Notice, appeared Daily Eastern Argus Newspaper (Portland, Maine), Sept 16, 1873
(vii)           1838 Kings County Census – Horton Township
(viii)         US Census 1850 Portland, Maine
(ix)            David Bishop Fuller Maine Death Record – June 11, 1901
(x)             William S. Fuller Maine Death Record – Sept 30, 1916
(xi)            Andrew Hanley Fuller Obit – Sept 19, 1914
(xii)           Benjamin Fuller Maine Death Record – Dec 12,1911
(xiii)         Matilda Fuller Marine Maine Death Record – Oct 3, 1901
(xiv)         US Naturalization Record (F460) of James Fuller, Sept 4, 1872
(xv)          Maine, Marriage Records – James Fuller and Margaret Armstrong O’Hagen - Dec 31, 1882
(xvi)         James Fuller Death Certificate (Sailor’s Snug Harbor) and Application to Sailor’s Snug Harbor – Dec 21, 1917
(xvii)        Maine, Death Record – Margaret Armstrong O’Hagen Fuller - Dec 23, 1891
(xviii)      Maine, Birth Record  - Elizabeth Fuller – Feb 11, 1886
(xix)         Maine, Marriage Record - Elizabeth Fuller ad Robert Armstrong – Oct 22, 1910
(xx)          Elizabeth Armstrong Obituary, Portland Press Herald Newspaper (Portland, Maine), Sept 24, 1971
(xxi)         Maine, Birth Record – Robert Armstrong - Apr 24, 1880
(xxii)        Robert Armstrong Obituary – Portland Press Herald Newspaper (Portland, Maine) , Apr 2, 1963

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Applying to the Mayflower Society - Preliminary Results

The good news is I submitted my Preliminary Review on November 6th and the website stated to expect 3-6 weeks for a reply.   They responded in only 3 days!!  Which was great.  I appreciated the quick response.

However, they were only able to tell me that no one had "proven" my family line back to the Mayflower, yet.   They were able to confirm the first six generations.  Stephen Hopkins to "daughter Godfrey".   Unfortunately, I already knew that.

Here is the part of the family lineage they confirmed.

1. Mayflower Pilgrim;  Stephen Hopkins
2. Son/Daughter:  Giles Hopkins              Spouse:  Catherine Wheldon
3. Son/Daughter:  Deborah Hopkins         Spouse:  Josiah Cooke
4. Son/Daughter:  Deborah Cooke            Spouse:  Moses Godfrey
5. Son/Daughter:  David Godfrey             Spouse:  Priscilla Baker
6. Son/Daughter:  "Daughter" Godfrey     Spouse:  Peter Bishop

Yay!  Only 7 generations to prove.

As part of the Preliminary Review results, the Mayflower Society send them to you and the local chapter to alert them of your interest in becoming a member.  While I was reviewing the results, I received a call from a very nice lady, Linda, the Historian for the Ft Lauderdale, FL chapter.

We had a great talk and she is very happy to help me complete my full application for membership and help me prove my lineage.

Luckily, I have been conducting this genealogy research from quite some time and have been documenting my research.  I should be able to submit my initial application for their review in a few days and start the process of seeing what questions they have on my research and seeing what documents or proof I may be missing.

I will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Applying to the Mayflower Society - Step 1

I have been researching my family tree for over 5 years.  It has been a labor of love and I have found it rewarding and interesting.

Based on my research, I believe that I am descended from Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower.  

I have amassed all my research.   While I am very confident in my research, I decided I would like to "prove" my research to be accurate by applying for membership to the Mayflower Society.   I know that many people apply for the Mayflower Society each year, so I decided to document my application process, how long it takes and what I learn during the process.

Hopefully you will find this of interesting.

The first step is going to their website.

The application process is handled at the state membership societies.  I live in Florida, so that would be the logical society for me to join.  It is interesting to note that different societies have different membership fees and I don't believe there is a requirement for you to join the society specifically for the state you live in.

The Mayflower Society has a Preliminary Review form you can submit to the society for a cost of $25.  Why use this form?  The idea is that if other descendants have already proved genealogy relationship for some of your ancestors to the Mayflower then you don't have to provide as much documentation.  For example, lets say an uncle has already provided all the family documentation to join the society, you have a lot less work to do.

I have used his Preliminary Review form several years ago and there wasn't much from any family members who had documented a relationship from my family to Stephen Hopkins.  This was disappointing, but also was several years ago.  I am going to submit again in the hopes that someone has done some of the work for me. 

Here is the genealogy I am submitting today.  I have left off the last 3 generations as I want to protect the privacy of the most recent family members.

Once submitted, it is supposed to take three to six weeks to hear back to inform me of where there are information gaps in linking my genealogy to Stephen Hopkins and communicate next steps.   

1. Mayflower Pilgrim;  Stephen Hopkins
2. Son/Daughter:  Giles Hopkins          Spouse:  Catherine Wheldon
3. Son/Daughter:  Deborah Hopkins     Spouse:  Josiah Cooke
4. Son/Daughter:  Deborah Cooke        Spouse:  Moses Godfrey
5. Son/Daughter:  David Godfrey         Spouse:  Priscilla Baker
6. Son/Daughter:  Elizabeth Godfrey    Spouse:  Peter Bishop
7. Son/Daughter:  Elizabeth Bishop      Spouse:  Noah Fuller
8. Son/Daughter:  David Fuller             Spouse:  Mary Cary
9. Son/Daughter:  James Fuller             Spouse:  Mary Armstrong O'Hagen
10.Son/Daughter:  Elizabeth Fuller       Spouse:  Robert Armstrong 

I will blog about each step in the process.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Lulie Armstrong's Marriage Improves the Fortunes of the California Armstrongs

In my last post, Arthur B. Armstrong:  The California Armstrongs, I wrote about Arthur Armstrong leaving all his Maine Armstrong roots and uprooting his family to remove to California.

I am sure he made the move because he thought it would lead to a better future for himself and his family. He was right.  I think we can be fairly certain that his families life took a better financial path due to the move to California, but maybe not for the reasons he could have anticipated.

Arthur B. Armstrong's profession while living in Maine was to work as a Sparmaker which is a type of ship's carpenter.  When he moved to Oakland, CA he worked at first as a carpenter and then returned to his profession as a sparmaker.  

One can't expect a big improvement in your fortune by doing the same exact thing on a different coast.

However, the family fortune took a decided turn for the better and it came through the marriage of their daughter, Lulie W. Armstrong.

Lulie was just a teenager when they completed their move to Oakland, California.  She graduated from Oakland High School in 1878.

On January 11, 1881, she married Abel Willard (A.W.) Porter.  A.W. Porter was born November 14, 1858 in Shirley, Massachusetts.   You have to wonder how they met and if their shared experience and possibly New England accents might have made them feel at home with each other.

At 22, he was a partner/owner of Porter Brothers, a prominent fresh produce dealer.   

Porter Brothers was formed about 1879 and only been open a few years, but was already a growing and successful business.

Over the 52 years that A.W. Porter and Lulie were married, they lived well.  They had at least one live in servant and took frequent trips abroad including multiple trips to Europe and Hawaii.  I can see from old passports that they traveled for months in Europe including:  England, France, Germany, Austria and Russia.  

A.W. Porter and Lulie lived most of their married life at 1816 San Jose Avenue, Alameda, California. Which is located about a 1/2 mile from San Francisco Bay.   Their house is still there.  It was originally built in 1906.  Today it is a a multi-family home (three units), but the outside is probably very similar to how it might have looked when the Porter family lived there.

Lulie Armstrong's cousins in New England were leading much harder lives.  Most worked as laborers and in and around the port of Portland, Maine.  

It was obvious that Lulie benefited in a much improved lifestyle by her marriage to A.W. Porter.

And it benefited the entire family.

Toward the end of Arthur B Armstrong's career he worked for Porter Brothers.  Which I am sure gave him a better more secure living than working as a ships sparmaker.  When Arthur passed away, Ellen Armstrong lived with he daughter and son-in-law at 1816 San Jose Avenue.

Lulie's brothers, Arthur Armstrong Jr and Ulmer Armstrong joined the Porter Brothers firm, too.  By 
1893, Arthur Jr. was working as an agent for the Porter Brothers in Los Angeles.  After Ulmer had worked at Porter Brothers and learned the business he worked in sales at California Fruit Co.  In 1900, Arthur Jr started his own fruit company called Armstrong Fruit.  He and Ulmer worked in the fruit and agriculture business for substantial parts of their careers.  You could make a case that Lulie's marriage to A.W. Porter opened many doors for her brothers and exposed them businesses that would help lead them to a lot more success than they could have reasonably expected back in Maine.

A.W. Porter and Lulie Armstrong had 5 children:

  • Eleanor Porter b. 1892  d. in infancy
  • Herbert Porter b. 1894 d. in infancy
  • Ernest D. Porter b. Oct 29, 1881 d. Sept 22, 1943
  • Abel W. Porter b. Jul 14, 1883  d. Aug 3, 1950 
  • Edith W. Porter b. 1890  d. Apr 24, 1917

Here is Ellen L. Simonton Armstrong's Obituary as it appeared on January 9, 1913 in the San Francisco Chronicle.  I think it is funny that that the head line is "Well Known Woman is Called by Death".  How well known was she when they got her name wrong in the obituary?  They call her Helen, when her name was Ellen.

Here is Lulie Armstrong Porter's services notice from Mar 29, 1933 as it appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle.

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