Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nyram & Nelson Armstrong

To complete the history of the Armstrong Brothers, Nelson W Armstrong from an on-line biography was educated at Auburn. When the news of gold at Pike’s Peak surfaced, he headed west in search of his fortunes. By 1859 he had reached Salt Lake City. The following summer he did some mining in Nevada. In 1862 it was reported that he enlisted in the Civil War, serving 5th California Vol. Infantry in Co. H. In 1865 he returned home to Port Byron where he engaged in the business with his brothers. The business was very profitable as the bio says they also owned and operated their own boats for the coal and grain side of the business. It also says that they sold horses as well. Nelson would later move to South Dakota where he married Kitty Brink. There he would once again engage in the grain business as well as raise hogs. He served as Post Master in his community and his bio says there was later a cheese factory on his land for which he was a stockowner of that business.

Nyram J. Armstrong married Sarah Williams. He was listed as a boatman in the local census and is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Port Byron, his headstone engraved as N. J. Armstrong (1835-1918). His wife Sarah died at Cobleskill at the home of her son Professor Charles W Armstrong. Her son was employed at the Cobleskill High School. The obit goes on to say that Nyram and Sarah were intending to go to New York City to visit other children when she took ill. Their son William A Armstrong was President of the Knickerbocker Paper Company in New York.

There is another Nelson Armstrong buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn. In researching for our family, I stumbled across this Nelson and will include the info as he has an interesting background that effected local law:

This other Nelson Armstrong was a tallow chandler by trade, which is candle making from animal fats. He received several citations for raising pigs within the Auburn city limits. In 1897, he was involved in an incident with Michael Kennedy of Montezuma. Kennedy owned a steam yacht and his boiler being in need of repair had ventured to Auburn. On the journey his wagon found Nelson Armstrong on the same route with materials for his candle making. The newspaper reports that due to the smell, he didn’t want to stop or yield to Armstrong and the passing wagons collided, resulting in minor damages to Armstrong’s wagon. Kennedy left the scene and Armstrong followed in hot pursuit. Even a local express man joined in the chase.

Kennedy turned the chase back to Auburn where he overturned his wagon on the corners of York and State Street, the boiler destroying the bed of his wagon. Kennedy then fled on the horse with a companion back to Montezuma. Bicycle riders had congregated at the scene and due to the odor on Armstrong’s wagon, he was asked to move on. He vowed he would take the matter to police headquarters.

He must have because another landmark lawsuit was the result. This time it was over the jurisdiction of the justice in Auburn as to if he could legally serve Kennedy at Montezuma:

.Armstrong Vs. Kennedy

The Auburn Nelson Armstrong died in 1917 and is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery with his wife Delia. His relationship, if any, to the Port Byron Armstrongs is not known.