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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN V. ARMSTRONG is a native of West Virginia, and was born February 16, 1835. He is the eldest of seven children born to James and Nellie (Goodall) Armstrong, both natives also of West Virginia, where they always lived, and where they died — the father in 1863, and the mother in 1882. The subject of this notice wasreared in his native state, being brought up on the farm and receiving such educational advantages as were afforded by the district schools when he was a lad. He selected farming as the business of his life, and, in 1859, married and settled down to agricultural pursuits, following these in his native state till 1868, when he decided to try his fortunes in the West, and came that year to Nebraska. He made his first stop in this state near Plattsmouth, in Cass county, and engaged in farming there for four years, and moved at the end of that time, in 1872, to Furnas county, taking a homestead and timber claim in the Republican valley, four miles and a half east of the present town of Arrapaho City. There he lived for fourteen years, engaged in farming and stock-raising. In 1886 he moved to Phelps county, locating in the town of Bertrand, where he engaged in the livery business, and where he has since resided, following this business. He still owns his farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Furnas county which he now has in a good state of cultivation, and having, also, in recent years built up a good livery trade where he now lives.

The above facts show Mr. Armstrong to be an old Nebraskan, and it is hardly necessary to add that he has been through the “flint mills” since coming to this state. When he reached Plattsmouth in 1868, he had his family, a small amount of household goods and $600 in money. After a residence there of four years he he left the greater part of what he had and took up the line of travel further West in the hope of regaining what he had lost and bettering his condition further. He found in the Republican valley a beautiful country, and the prospects at the outset were very encouraging; but like most of the old settlers, he was destined to pass through a series of hardships and disappointments that sorely tried his patience and courage. He had his first few years’ crops destroyed by the grasshoppers; then came the dry years, followed by the hail and other troubles, so that it was not until 1880 that his continued residence became an assurance. After that date, however, times got better, and his affairs, in common with those of others, improved from year to year. During the hard years Mr. Armstrong had frequently to leave his family on his claim and go back East and work by the day to get something to live on, sometimes remaining away from home as long as six months at a time. There were no towns near his place, and his trading point was Kearney, in Buffalo county, sixty miles away. There were no roads, no mills — nothing but the open prairie over which roamed buffalo, antelope and coyotes, and occasionally bands of Cheyenne, Sioux and Pawnee Indians. The settlements were confined to the Republican valley, and they were by no means numerous. That he remained amid all these trials and disappointments is to be wondered at, and the fact that he did is probably the highest tribute that can be paid to his fortitude, endurance and persevering industry.

Mr. Armstrong married, as above noted, in 1859, the lady whom he took to wed being Miss Malinda Phillips, daughter of Lilburn and Senna Phillips, of West Virginia, descendants of old Virginia stock, of honored and respected families. Mr. Armstrong had the great misfortune to lose his excellent wife in March, 1889, she leaving surviving her, two grown sons — H. C. and Samuel P., beside her husband, to mourn her loss.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

View additional Phelps County, Nebraska family biographies here: Phelps County, Nebraska Biographies

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