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The Armstrongs of Mercer County KY and Their Descendants

Updated May 27, 2013

Pat Armstrong
Knoxville, Tennessee United States

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The Kentucky pioneer brothers John and William Armstrong were born in Scotland and came to the frontier by way of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Early records in Virginia establish their presence in Augusta, Botetourt, and Bedford Counties. In the early 1780s the Armstrongs moved their families west to help the McAfee brothers settle the Salt River area in what is now Mercer County, Kentucky. A third brother, Lanty Armstrong, moved his family to Greene County and Knox County in Tennessee.

At least four generations of Armstrongs lived in Mercer County. Their genealogy was ably documented in 1969 by the late Norma Todd Cansler in her book, "Armstrongs of the Catawba." Many family members moved on to other states after the Civil War, and there are no known descendants named Armstrong living in Mercer County at this time.

Mercer County descendants of John and William Armstrong include those surnamed Buchanan, Cleland, Irvine, Lapsley, McAfee, and Sharp. The Bryan McDonald family of Augusta County VA (the southwest region of what is now Botetourt County) is also of interest to descendants of John Armstrong.

The genealogy report posted here outlines the descendants of patriarch William Armstrong (ca. 1700 - 1750+) and his wife, Susanna Blythe. This report traces eight generations through brothers John, William, and Lanty Armstrong.

The photographs on this home page are from the family of my ancestor, Joseph Armstrong (1799 - 1871). Joseph’s paternal grandfather was the pioneer brother John Armstrong (ca. 1731 - 1801), and Joseph’s parents were Robert Armstrong (ca. 1758 - 1814) and Mary McAfee (1770 -1836). The marriage of Robert and Mary thus linked the Armstrong and McAfee families, two of the earliest lines of Mercer County.

Unfortunately no update can be made to the genealogy posted on this home page because has been acquired by I hope to find another online vehicle through which an updated genealogy can be posted.

In any case, please contact me at the above email address if you would like to share information about these families.

My Family History


Family Photos

  • Grave of Joseph Armstrong, Mercer County KY (60 KB)
    Joseph Armstrong's grave (headstone and footstone in foreground) is at New Providence Presbyterian Cemetery near McAfee Station in Mercer County. The headstone is very worn and weathered, but reads "Joseph Armstrong - Born Aug 8, 1799 - Died July 23, 1871." This photo shows the rural setting of this historic cemetery.
  • Tombstone of Charlotte Armstrong, Lee's Summit MO (58 KB)
    Charlotte May Armstrong is buried in the Lee's Summit Cemetery, Jackson County MO. The inscription on her tombstone reads "Charlotte B. - Wife of Joseph L. Armstrong - Born July 17, 1812 - Died June 29, 1893." Six of Joseph and Charlotte's eight children are buried in this cemetery. The graves of son Thomas A. Armstrong and daughter Mary P. Armstrong Driskell are to the immediate left of this unique stone with its tree stump design.
  • Joseph Armstrong and Charlotte Armstrong (93 KB)
    Based on the apparent age of the subjects, both photos appear to be circa 1850-1855.
  • Robert Henry Armstrong and Mary Jane Cunningham (100 KB)
    Robert (1838-1911) is the oldest child of Joseph and Charlotte. His wife Mary Jane (1841-1914) is the daughter of John Cunningham and Martha Lyen. Robert Armstrong served in the Confederate Army, possibly Dortch's Kentucky Cavalry (while his brother James served in the Union Army - brother against brother). These photos were taken in Carterville MO in 1890.
  • James Mitchell Armstrong and family (79 KB)
    James Mitchell Armstrong was born in Mercer County Kentucky on March 2, 1842, the son of Joseph Armstrong and Charlotte B. May. During the Civil War he was a corporal in Company M, 9th Kentucky Cavalry (Union). He died in Alexandria, Louisiana on July 24, 1912. Back row: Mary Vincent Turner (wife), sons Joseph Lapsley and Richard Littleton Turner. Middle row: daughter Carlotta Hermenia, James M. Armstrong, sons Rufus Vincent and James Mitchell, Jr. Front left: daughter Martha Ashley.
  • Nancy Camelia Armstrong Gibbons (66 KB)
    Nancy Gibbons(1846-1931) is the fourth child of Joseph and Charlotte Armstrong. She married John Enos Gibbons, and their only child died in infancy.
  • James Mitchell Armstrong - 1865 (111 KB)
    Written on the back of this photo is the name "Mitchell Armstrong" and the date "Aug 3 /65."
  • Kentucky Militia Commission of Joseph Armstrong (361 KB)
    This 1834 document commissions Joseph Armstrong as a lieutenant in the 5th Regiment, 8th Brigade of the Militia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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