Portrait and Biographical Album
Ingham & Livingston Counties

BIOGRAPHIES - Pages 687-697

     (687) LORENZO LEROY ARMSTRONG. The gentleman who resides on the farm on section 34, Hartland Township, Livingston County, is one of the pioneer settlers of the State of Michigan, and although having reached more than the three-score and ten years usually allotted to man, his mind is still vigorous and keen; he is all epitome in himself, of the changes that have taken place in the history, not only of the State, but the (688) country at large. He was born in Onondaga County, N.Y., in the town of Fabius, February 15, 1815. His father was Erastus Armstrong, a native of Connecticut, and was born in 1781. He was, however, doubtless of English ancestry, as the name is one that one meets most frequently in England, and ranks high in the social order.

Image of Lorenzo Leroy Armstrong's Residence

     Erastus Armstrong was reared in his native State and had reached his majority when he left home to go to New York State. There he purchased a farm of fifty acres in Onondaga County, and this he bent his efforts to improve. His decease took place in Monroe County, N.Y. in 1821, being at that time in the prime of life, only about forty years of age. Our subject's paternal grandfather was Lee Armstrong, a native of Connecticut, and a farmer. Although he himself did not participate actively in the Revolutionary War, his brothers were prominently engaged therein. Our subject's mother was before her marriage a Miss Roxana Stowell, a native of New Hampshire, but reared in Vermont and married in New York State, in Onondaga County. She died in Michigan at the age of eighty-eight years, having come hither with her sons. She was the mother of eight children, six sons and two daughters.

     Lorenzo L. Armstrong, our subject, was the fifth son in the family. His father, having died when our subject was only six years of age, he was reared by his uncles and aunts. At the age of about twenty he came to Michigan in 1895, making the journey hither with an ox-team; on the way here, however, he traded off his oxen for a span of horses which he drove the rest of the way. He first went to Oakland County, where he remained working by the month and day, and also taught school. Not a great while after coming to this State he was married to Miss Julia Ann Armstrong a native of Connecticut, born in the town of Franklin, New London County, August 29, 1824. She was the second daughter and fourth child of Lee and Mary (Spofford) Armstrong. She remained in her native place until about eight years of age when she went to New York with her parents, thence to Ohio and at the age of about fifteen years, came to Michigan and settled in Oakland County. After marriage our subject located in Milford, Oakland County, and there remained for eight years, at the end of which time they removed to Hartland Township, this county and settled on section 23, residing in that place for a number of years, until, in 1855, they removed to the place where they now reside.

     When our subject and his family settled here, there was only a log house on the farm. During the years that have passed since making this their home, he has made marked improvements, building his present residence in 1873, at a cost of $3,000. This comfortable and attractive residence a view of which appears on another page, is one well suited to the serene enjoyment of advanced years. He has fine barns and outbuildings upon the place, his barn being well arranged and 46x86 feet in dimensions. The place has so greatly changed in aspect as to be hardly recognizable as the one to which they originally came; at that time there were wild animals of all kinds in great numbers.

     The location of the home shows an appreciation of the beautiful in nature, as well as discrimination in the most advantageous point for improvement. Our Subject has planted a fine orchard, which, during fruit season is laden with a juicy and odorous burden. He devotes himself to general farming, and is the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of land. He had at one time, four hundred and eighty acres in a body in Hartland Township, and has been a very large farmer, employing a great deal of labor, and handling large numbers of stock. Now he rents his farm only keeping a general supervision over the place, improving it as his fancy dictates. As call be imagined by one even ignorant of the hardship of pioneer life, the aspect of this tract has not been changed and made what it is at the present time without a great deal of hard work.

     Our subject has reared two adopted daughters. The eldest, Mary Hines, died at the age of twenty-three years. The second daughter, Cora May Mart, became the wife of Thomas H. Clark, and resides in South Lyons, Oakland County, this State. Our subject's first Vote was cast for President Van Buren; in 1840 he voted for W. H. Harrison and for the grandson, Benjamin Harrison (
689) in 1888. Mr. Armstrong has held a number of local offices in the township, having been Supervisor in 1861 and again in 1874, 1875, 1876 and 1877. Although he is a member of the Congregational Church of Hartland and a Deacon in the same, he is not in favor of sectarianism. He was the manager of the first threshing machine in Livingston County, this State. He has done much surveying in the way of making roads, dividing land, etc. to the entire satisfaction of all interested.

JOHN W. BOARDMAN, a prominent citizen of Leroy Township, Ingham County, whose beautiful home is situated in Webberville, was born in Connecticut, March 5, 1836. He came with his parents, Watson L. and Elizabeth Boardman from Now England to Ingham County, Mich., in 1838 and made a settlement in Locke Township, being the first family within its bounds. A log cabin in the woods was the first Michigan home of this family and they at once began the work of felling the trees and preparing the land for cultivation. The father died upon the farm leaving a family of five children, four of whom are now living, namely: Mary, now the widow of Mr. Lepley in Livingston County; Helen, wife of James Payne in Gratiot County; Daniel L. in Kansas and John W. The father served as Road Commissioner and was a prominent man in the township. He was twice married but had no children by the second union.

     Our subject grew to manhood in Locke Township, and saw his full share of pioneer life. His mother was called away from life when he was was about twelve years old and after receiving his education in the district schools of the township he entered upon his life work as farming. He was married July 4, 1858 to Henrietta Fisher, who was born October 19, 1839 in Wayne County, N.Y. and is a daughter of Robert and Maria (Van Wert) Fisher. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher had settled in Locke Township, this county, at an early day when Mrs. Boardman was only ten years old. Of their ten children eight are now living, namely: Rebecca, (Mrs. Pinckney), George L., William, James, David, Andrew and Josephine (wife of George Hamilton) besides Mrs. Boardman. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and citizens highly respected in the township.

     Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Boardman, and two are now living, namely: Francis E. and John W. Our subject resided on his farm in Locke Township until 1884 when he removed to Webberville, and has since made it his home. He owns a farm of one hundred and twenty-one acres which he has accumulated by his own efforts, ably seconded by the help of his faithful and judicious companion. He enlisted in the Union Army August 12, 1862, joining as a private Company H, Twenty-sixth Michigan Infantry, which became a part of the Army of the Potomac. He participated in a number of skirmishes and did duty mostly in Virginia and for a short time was in North Carolina, receiving his honorable discharge August 29, 1863.

     This gentleman is an efficient and active member of the Grand Army Post at Webberville, and has been senior Vice Commander and Sergeant of the Post. He is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Fowlerville and an active worker in every cause which he deems of value to the community. In politics he is in sympathy with the Republican party and in this connection is esteemed as an influential leader of thought. All who know him rejoice in his prosperity, and feel that it is the just reward of his efforts and integrity.

FRED M. COFFEY. One the stirring young farmers of this section, he of whom we write is already the possessor of one hundred and twenty acres of land located on section 17, Handy Township, Livingston County, and this he devotes to general farming. Since locating upon the place he has added many improvements and has already greatly enhanced its value. (690) He was born on the old homestead, on section 16, Handy Township, this county, April 5, 1861. He is the son of Levi and Juliette (White) Coffey, who came to this State in 1825 and soon united in marriage. They lived here until death claimed them for its own, the father passing away February 24, 1891, his wife having preceded him by ten years, her decease occurring June 8, 1881.

     Our subject inherits from his father the acquisitive faculty to a large degree Mr. Coffey, Sr., was very successful in his agricultural business and had acquired five hundred and eighty-seven acres of land which bore fine improvements--a good comfortable house being the center of the domestic circle and around it fine barns, granaries and sheds for cattle. Before coming to Handy Township our subject's father first settled for a short time in Marion Township. Later he removed to Washtenaw County and then came to Handy Township. He was highly respected by all classes of people as being a man of unerring judgment and high business capacity. He accumulated a very handsome property before his decease, which was divided among his sons, who are four in number, namely: Frank, Henry A., Fred M. and Marshal. All the sons have taken up the agricultural calling and all live not a great distance from the homestead in pleasant and comfortable homes of their own, having pleasing wives. They are prominent citizens and respected by all who have dealings with them.

     The original of this sketch received his education in the district schools of the vicinity and was reared a farmer lad. He lived at home until he was twenty-one years of age and then married Miss Julia Ling of Handy Township, Livingston County. She was a daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Palmer) Ling, natives of England the father having came to this country in 1855 his wife following hither one year later. They first settled in New York and came to Michigan in 1865, staying for some time in Oakland County, where he was engaged in farming and later, in 1869, coming to Livingston County and settling in Handy Township on a farm of eighty acres. They were the parents of twelve children, of whom the following are now living: Edna, now Mrs. Parker, John, Jake, Hiram, Mary, who is Mrs. Coffey, Amelia also a Mrs. Coffey and Julia, also Mrs. Coffey, George and Luella. Our subject belongs to the industrial party, that appealing to his ideas of the way in which a competency is to be acquired rather than by any favors than can be exacted from reluctant legislators. He is also a Patron of Industry and a member of the Farmers' Alliance. One child, a daughter, whose name is Edith B., and whose age is eight years, brightens the household and is the object of a loving affection of both parents. Mr. Coffey is one of the active young farmers of his township and the signs of the times are sadly awry if his future success does not justify his friends in their anticipation.

WILLIAM O. HENDRYX. This native son of Michigan, who now makes his home in Cohoctah Township, Livingston County, was born in the township of Bedford, Wayne County, August 15, 1842, being the son of Waterbury M. and Betsey Ann (Killmoar) Hendryx. The grandfather was a miller, and met his death by an accident in his mill, and the father, who was born in Steuben County, N.Y., September 4, 1809, was a cabinet-maker and carpenter, who came to Michigan in the spring of 1833.

     Here Waterbury Hendryx entered eighty acres of land in Greenfield Township, Wayne County, and after a short time moved to Redford Township, where he again took eighty acres, which he put in condition for farming. There he resided, with the exception of three years, until 1856, when he came to Cohoctah and bought one hundred and sixty acres of timber land on section 17. Having put this in splendid condition, he sold it to our subject in 1865. He was an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
preached for many years. After coming to Livingston County he joined the United Brethren Church. About the year 1858 he went to Lansing and lived for four years, and later bought a fruit farm in Saugatuck, Allegan County, In 1887 he (691) moved to Spink County, S. Dak., where he now resides upon a farm. For some twelve years he served his community as Justice of the Peace.

     The father of our subject was twice married, and by his first union he had eight children, seven of whom grew to maturity--Thomas, of Omaha; John, who was killed in California in 1865; Henry, who was killed by the fall of a tree at the age of sixteen years; Clark, who was a soldier in the Ninth Michigan Infantry, and was killed in a saw mill; Waterbury, at, South Dakota; William O.; James, of Nebraska, who also served in the Ninth Michigan Cavalry; and Whitcomb, who died at the age of eighteen months. The mother of these sons died February 14, 1862, and the father was again married, this time choosing as his life company Emeline VanBlarcomb, who had two children, Fred and Nellie.

     At the age of sixteen, having received farm training and a common school education, William Hendryx began life for himself, and was married at the age of eighteen, at which time he undertook independent farming. The family patriotism, which was strong in him, led him to enlist, March 26, 1862, in Company H, Ninth Michigan Infantry. He was sent to St. Louis, and was transferred to the Thirteenth Regiment, in which he served through the campaign at Corinth, after which he rejoined his own regiment at Murfreesboro, and was there captured with six companions. Being paroled, they went to Columbus and were there exchanged, and in September were called out to defend Cincinnati. They were also detailed to guard the military prison at Nashville, and at one time acted as body guard for Gen. Thomas. He was mustered out of service at Nashville in September, 1865, and discharged at Jackson, Mich., November 15, with the rank of a Corporal.

     Returning home, Mr. Hendryx bought his father's farm in December, and upon it he has since resided, and has devoted himself largely to the raising of thoroughbred cattle and Pascas horses, and also in shipping ship timber. He has acted as Justice of the Peace for eight years, and is active as a worker in the Republican ranks. He has been married three times, his first union taking place January 1, 1860, with Martha, daughter of William and Abigail Benjamin. She died December 26, 1861, and in September, 1862, Mr. Hendryx was married to Lucy Ann Swank, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Daniel and Grace (Mills) Swank. Nine children were the result of this marriage: William O., Grace, Frank W., John D., Myrtie, Jesse, Frances, Thomas and Aggie. Their mother died March 26, 1885. The present Mrs. Hendryx is Alzeretta, daughter of Henry and Minerva (Morton) Hoisington, of Tyrone Township, and widow of Flavil Griggs, and to this marriage no children have been granted. This highly respected and esteemed family are known not only throughout the limits of the township, but also in broader circles, and in all walks of life they are useful and worthy of the regard in which they are held.

HENRY N. BEACH, who is serving his fourth term as Supervisor of Brighton Township, is one of the enterprising and progressive farmers of Livingston County. He was born in Green Oak Township, just across the road from where he now lives, January 8, 1847. His father was LeGrand Beach, a native of New York, there born November 4, 1810. He was a farmer and came to Michigan at an early day, locating a piece of Government land on section 1, Green Oak Township, Livingston County. Here he passed through the various stages and phases of pioneer life and cleared and improved one hundred and twenty acres of land. He died March 13, 1874.

     Mr. Beach, Sr., came to the Wolverine State without means and what he acquired before his decease was made by hard labor and most diligent effort. He was an honest as well as an industrious man, and enjoyed the confidence and respect of all who knew him. For many years prior to his death he had been a member of the Presbyterian Church and stood high among his associates in that religious body. Our subject's mother was in her maiden days Miss Zuba Bryant, born December 25, 1817. She was a native of New York and was the (
692) constant and faithful companion of her husband's pioneer days. She was a life-long Baptist and by her interest and energy did much to establish that religious body in this section. She died July 27, 1885. She was the mother of four children, only one of whom, our subject, is at present living.

     Henry Beach was reared and educated in his parents' home. He received a district-school education and for a short time enjoyed the advantage offered at the graded schools at New Hudson. He began farming for himself in 1872. He and his brother Alanson together purchased a part of the farm which our subject now owns and which is located on section 36, Brighton Township. Together they farmed this for some time. After their father's death they purchased their sister's interest in the old homestead and soon thereafter divided their landed interest, the brother taking the old homestead and our subject retaining his present farm.

     The original of this sketch was married December 12, 1871, to Miss Ella Burnett, who, like himself, is a native of this county and State, having been born in Green Oak Township October 17, 1850. They are the parents of six children, five of whom are now living at home. They are Louie L., Belle L., Grace H., who is deceased; Nell, Henricha and Newton B. Mrs. Beach was a daughter of Jonathan and Sarah (Clough) Burnett, the former a native of Canada and the latter of New York. They came to Michigan at an early day and were among the first settlers of Green Oak Township. The father died January 22, 1881, having been born in 1799, The mother died February 3, 1884. They had lived together almost fifty years in the closest and most sympathetic companionship. Six of their seven children are still living.

     Our subject is a Republican in his political preference, giving the weight of his influence and vote to that party. The people of the township have shown the confidence which they repose in his integrity and ability by electing him to a number of offices in the gift of the township. He was elected Supervisor in 1887 and still serves in that capacity, it being at present his fourth term. Mr. Beach is the owner of two hundred and seventeen acres of good land that is highly improved. He has thereon a comfortable, commodious and attractive farmhouse, with fine barns and outhouses. Although a general farmer he makes a specialty of breeding sheep for the city markets. Much credit belongs to him of whom we write for the indomitable energy with which he has pursued his career. He began life without any means, but has succeeded in acquiring a handsome competency by his careful management and his industrious, prudent ways. He is a clever, energetic and industrious man, prominent and influential in the community. His wife is known throughout the county for her amiable, generous disposition and broad, progressive ideas in social as well as other matters.

FERDINAND W. MUNSON. The gentleman whose name is at the head of this sketch is the proprietor of two hundred and eighty acres of as fine land as there is in Livingston County. This is cultivated to perfection, the latest and most improved methods in scientific agriculture being employed. There is also thereon a home of which any man might well be proud not a palace whose care and expense may embarrass and harrass, it is yet a home in every sense of the word--a place of beauty and comfort in which one may live and learn to appreciate how good it is to be born in the latter part of the nineteenth century and to be a citizen of the United States.

     The Empire State is the scene of the nativity of him of whom we write, having first opened his eyes in his father's home in Broome County. N.Y., on the banks of the Susquehanna River, March 31, 1831. His parents were Samuel S. and Phebe A. (Walker) Munson, natives of Connecticut and Saratoga, N.Y., respectively. His paternal progenitor was a tailor by trade, having served an apprenticeship of seven years and worked at that business until he was thirty-one years of age, when he gave it up to engage in farming at Great Bend, Pa., later removing to Camillus, N.Y. In 1858 (
693) he came West, settling in Fowlerville, Livingston County, where he was engaged in farming until the latter part of his life when, retiring from active labor, he removed to Fowlerville, where he died February 1, 1887. His wife survived him but it short time, her decease occurring May 2, 1887. They were aged respectively eighty-seven and eighty-four years at the time of their death.

     Mr. Munson's paternal grandsire was Almond Munson, a native of Connecticut. He was a farmer by calling but was engaged in the lumber business during a large portion of his life. He spent his latter days at Great Bend, Pa., where he was greatly respected as a prominent man of known integrity and high reputation. His acquaintance was very wide and he was popular wherever he went. He had served in the Revolutionary War five years, his father and three brothers having also been engaged in that struggle for independence. Altogether they aggregated a service to their country of thirty-one years. Our subject's great-grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War.

     The father of him of whom we write was in early days a Whig and later a Republican, In his church relations he and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal body, in which he always has held some office. His wife and our subject's mother was, previous to her marriage, a Miss Phebe Walker. Her father was Stephen Walker, a native of Rhode Island, and her mother was Lydia (Gardner) Walker, born in Hudson, N.Y. The former was a house-builder, and followed his trade through life. Both he and his wife died at Camillus, Onondaga County, NY. He belonged to that quaint religious body that, so persecuted in England, sought a refuge in the United States under their distinguished leader, William Penn. Our subject is one of twelve children, only three of whom are now living. They are Mrs. E. M. Spencer of Marquette, this State; Mrs. S. A. Lowe, also of Marquette, and the gentleman who is the subject of this sketch.

     The gentleman of whom we write early received the training of a farmer's boy. He received his education at the Fairmont Union School, near Syracuse, N.Y., and is a graduate of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. Prior to his entrance in the last-named institution he, engaged in teaching, and continued the work after he had finished his collegiate course, having taught the first union school at Howell and being Principal of the same. Four teachers were under his supervision. He also taught in Dowagiac, Cass County, being Principal of that school and also having supervision of several under teachers. His next location was at Hastings, Barry County, this State, where he held the position of Principal. At the three latter places his wife was engaged in school work with him, he having been united in marriage September 6, 1858, to Miss Frances R. Lake, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a daughter of Rial and Mary F. (Burt) Lake, natives of Vermont who came West while Michigan was yet a territory and settled in Howell Township.

     Mr. Lake was a graduate of the Middlebury College of Vermont and taught until he came West, having left Philadelphia with his wife and two children and on his advent into the State located seven hundred and fifty acres of Government land. Thereon he built a log house and for many years lived a life of seclusion and comparative isolation, for the most frequent visitors were the Indians. For many years they had no neighbors nearer than a mile and a half. It was in the midst of timber openings and their nearest market was at Dexter, a distance of twenty-two miles. He lived here until 1851, at which time his decease occurred. His wife still survives. She has been blind for the last ten years, but is a lady of culture and a charming conversationalist. She is a true Christian, having with her husband, abided by the principles which the Man of Sorrows laid down for his followers. Of the family of eight children that came to enliven the hearts and home of this worthy couple, only two are now living, Mrs. Munson, the wife of our subject, and Henry F., now of Gunnison, Col., a Receiver in the Land Office. George B. was Chief Engineer of the Atchison & Topeka Railroad, having been connected with that road for fourteen years. He was a graduate of Ann Arbor, and died in 1884, at Topeka, Kan. His wife and two children live in the village of Howell, Mrs. Lake being a daughter of Dr. Z. H. Marsh. Their daughter, Helen E. died in 1870. She was a graduate of the (
694) Female Seminary at Lansing. She taught in the college at Lansing and also at Lebanon, Ind., being Preceptress of the seminary and also Principal of various private schools.

     The original of this sketch has a family of two children--Melvin H. is a graduate of the Howell School and at present Division Engineer and Chief of Construction in Mexico, of the Mexican Southern Railroad; Welton M. is a Professor of Horticulture in the Maine State College. He graduated at the Michigan Agricultural College in 1888, at twenty-five years of age. One son, Rial Lake, died in early manhood, when about twenty-two years of age, in Topeka, Kan. He was then acting as Division Engineer on the Santa Fe Railroad. We quote from an article written by his chief, the resident engineer of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and published in the Topeka Commonwealth at the time of his death. "He rose rapidly and shone brighter than those of twice his age and experience, and at the early age of twenty years he was made Division Engineer on one of the most important and difficult divisions of the road." Mr. Munson is in his political liking a Republican. He has filled several municipal offices, having been School Director for a number of years. He is regarded as one of the prominent and substantial men of the county and one upon whose word one may thoroughly rely. Mr. Munson has filled the offices of President and Secretary of the Livingston County Agricultural Society and through his influence and labor with others greatly promoted the interests of the same.

WILLIAM M. CARR, who is one of the early settlers of Williamstown Township, Ingham County, is a son of Caleb Carr who was born in New York, October 26, 1795, but who lived in Canada from his fifth to his thirty-fifth year. He was there married, September 12, 1820, to Catherine Wholsapple, who was born in New York, October 14, 1796. Their children were Harriet, Julius A., William M., Julia M. and Charles W., all of whom were born in Canada.

     In 1834 the father of this household came to Michigan and for a year and a half lived in Farmington Township, Oakland County. He then resides for three years in the village of Kensington after which he removed to Locke Township and three years later in 1842 came to Williamstown where he remained for the remainder of his days. He was the first blacksmith in the township and built the first frame house therein and had the first grist ground. His father also bore the name of Caleb Carr and was a Methodist minister who came to Michigan in 1836.

     Caleb Carr, Jr. was a pioneer of Ingham County, and made his home on forty acres which he owned till death, although he lived for several years in the village of Williamston. He had been a soldier and a prisoner in the War of 1812, and was ever a hard working man. He died in 1868 and had mourned his wife for eight years. His son, William, was born March 3, 1826, and was therefore eight years old when the parents came to Oakland County, Mich.

     At the age of twenty-three this young man was married, April 8, 1849, to Matilda M. Moore who died July 26, 1850, leaving a son, George M. Carr. Our subject was again married to Sarah B. Simons, August 17, 1851, and she had one child who died in infancy. Mrs. Sarah Carr was born, March 25, 1833, in Royal Oak Township, Oakland County, Mich., where her parents, John and Martha Simons, were pioneers. He afterward removed to Howell, Livingston County, where the mother died in 1845 and somewhat later the father made his home in Williamstown, and there died, May 22, 1854. They had four sons and three daughters, William, Cynthia, Sarah, Henry, Joel and Martha.

     Since the age of thirteen our subject has resided in Ingham County and since 1839 when he attended the first township meeting, he has not missed one of these meetings. His first purchase comprised forty acres, to which he somewhat later added eighty acres and afterward gave forty to his son. He has been a hard worker and has cleared and broken all his land and made all the improvements. He helped to build the first house in the township, the first mill and the first barn.

     During the war Mr. Carr was strenuous in his (
697) efforts to help fill up the quota of the township so that there might be no draft, but was himself finally drafted and served three months in the army. He has been for three terms the Commissioner of Highways to which office he was raised on the Republican ticket, having been attached to that party since its organization. He is President of the Pioneer Society of four townships, namely: Locke, Leroy, Wheatfield and Williamstown, and in the Grand Army he is a prominent and efficient member.


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