• David Joyce

Colonial Family of the Week: The Armstrong Family of Loudoun County, Virginia

In the history of Augusta county, Virginia, there are several documented Armstrong families. However, these lines are quite separate and distinct from each other. And, unfortunately, all of these Armstrong lines share the common forenames, William and John. The purpose of this post (and future related posts) is to tell the true account of each one. For this first article, I will begin with William and John Armstrong of Augusta County, Rockingham County, and Pendleton County, West Virginia.

Born around 1759 in Fairfax County, Virginia to William Armstrong, Sr. and Jane (maiden name unknown), John Armstrong is first documented in 1775 in Loudoun County, Virginia.1 Living near Wonkapin Branch and Tripplett’s mill, John became accustomed to life in the country. During this time, it would not have been common for him to watch his father help clear and build roads throughout the county. Beginning on August 14, 1783, William Armstrong, Sr., and William Stephenson, a likely in-law, are recorded as working “from the Wonkapin branch to Little river.”2 Later on December 12, 1785, “William Stephenson is appointed Surveyor of Colo Tripletts Mill road from the Wonkapin branch to a branch leading through his plantation, with the following hands to Work under him, Vizt. William Armstrong’s.” 3 Based on these references, one can begin to see how John Armstrong was truly living on the frontier.

Moving to Rockingham County, Virginia around 1782,4 John Armstrong operated a mill for three years in 1790 with William Armstrong, Sr.5 However, this endeavor did not last long because the mill’s stream dried up. Despite this though, on July 5, 1787, John had purchased 242 acres of land on Bullpasture in then Augusta County, Virginia.6 Later this land became part of Pendleton County, West, Virginia, and today the Armstrong name is firmly established in the county. Around August 7, 1821, John Armstrong passed away, leaving behind twelve children.7


1. Marty Hunt, Craig Robert Scott, Loudoun County, Virginia Tithables (1758-1786): Volume 2: 1770-1778 (Athens ,Georgia : Iberian Publishing Company, 1995), 777.

2. Patricia B. Duncan, Ann Brush Miller, Virginia Department of Transportation (http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/15-r18.pdf : accessed 2 June 2020), “Loudoun County Road Order 1783-1800, p. 5”

3. Patricia B. Duncan, Ann Brush Miller, Virginia Department of Transportation (http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/15-r18.pdf : accessed 2 June 2020), “Loudoun County Road Order 1783-1800, p. 24.

4. Janice L. Abercromibe, Richard Slatten, Virginia “Publick” Claims Rockingham County (Athens, Georgia : Iberian Publishing Company), 19.

5. Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 038, Archibald Griffin vs. John Armstrong and William Armstrong, 1817, “John & William Armstrong then of the County of Rockingham grist saw mills was the said county for terms of three years,” 1817; images, Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/ : accessed June 14 2020).

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