Armstrong Family Part 4 – Church Service
It was recently mentioned that Thomas Jr. was living in Colchester at the time of his father’s passing, but there is additional information available for him. According to his January 1956 obituary, Thomas was a highly respected citizen of Colchester Village. Also said is that he “was in his 87th year and had resided in Colchester South nearly all his life. He was the son of Thomas Armstrong and Mary Maloney (Mahoney) and when he reached manhood, he was ordained as a minister of the Gospel and spent 25 years in the ministry. ‘Tom’ as he was familiarly known was a very kindly dispositioned person and made many friends by his frank outspoken friendliness and his welcome smile of greetings. He always wore that smile that meant so much for behind it was that glowing vital spiritual influence called Christianity. Tom lived his religion and people had great respect and confidence in him for his strict adherence to his principles of righteousness. Yes Tom will be greatly missed by the host of friends he made.” An additional note about Reverend Thomas Armstrong’s involvement at St. Mark’s Church. The Amherstburg Echo announced numerous events happening at the church under the Reverend Armstrong’s leadership including rallies, waffle socials, home coming services, an “old time barbecue” and concerts to name a few.
Thomas Jr. married Emma Jane Artis-Clingman, the daughter of Cornelius Artis and Theresa Bruce. The couple had at least five children: Charlotte (1897), Coressa Myessa (1897), Charles Hubert (1899), Lottie (1900), Thomas Cornelius (1902). In the 1910 Census, four of Thomas and Emma’s children (Thomas, Odessa, Charles and Lottie) are listed as living with Emma’s parents, Cornellias (Cornelius) and Thursa (Theresa) Artis, along with a lodger named Elizabeth Crosby and an employee named Ellis Clingman.
Before discussing Emma and Thomas’ children, an interesting note about Mrs. Armstrong. The Amherstburg Echo reported in 1901 that “Mrs. Thos. Armstrong received a check for $100 from an American firm for being the first to solve one of the puzzles published in the papers. Cornelius Artis also received $10 from the same firm.” What a prize! We can’t say for sure that the Mrs. Armstrong in question was Emma but it is possible because it mentions her father as a winner as well.
Emma and Thomas’ daughter Charlotte Vera Armstrong married James Henry Taylor on April 3, 1918 in Harrow. At the time Charlotte was 18 years old, working as a house maid and not previously married, while James Henry Taylor was a 21-year-old farmer and the son of James Isaac Taylor and Mary Matthews. Sadly, Charlotte passed away just shy of her 20th birthday on November 20th, 1918 and had only been married for 7 months.
Charlotte’s sister, Coressa Myessa married Forest T. Matthews, son of Soloman Matthews and Elizabeth Jordina Turner. They married on April 29, 1914 and, at the time, Coressa was 17, while Forest was a 27-year-old farmer. Coressa and Forest had at least three children: Margaret Lucinda (1917), Charlotte Lorinda (1915) and Mackenzie F. Matthews (1918).
The next child of Thomas and Emma is Charles Hubert who, according to the 1901 Census, was born on April 15, 1899. On May 16, 1919, Charles (20 years old) married Jeanette Alexander in Windsor. Jeanette was 19 years old at the time and the daughter of Phoebie Campbell and Abram Alexander.
The next child of Thomas and Emma is Lottie and she was born in December 1900. Her birth record says December 11, while the 1901 census says December 15. According to the Amherstburg Echo Lottie liked to perform. At an April 1912 Easter service at St. Mark’s A.M.E. Zion Church, a performance from the Sunday School was “worthy of comment. Many members of the school had special training and performed their parts with great credit.” Among those who performed were Lottie Armstrong who sang “Victor crown” with Sadie Moore, Stella Harris, James Harris, Charlotte Carter, Theodore Moore, B. Johnson, Mannie Johnson.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 5 where we will talk about the last child of Thomas and Emma.