Francis or Frank as he was known by everybody, was born 2nd August, 1885 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. He was the first son of four children born to Obediah and Hannah Mariah (Dening) Armstrong. He had two sisters, Emily and Hazel, and one brother, Henry "Hank". His mother died when Henry was three days old. Later his father married Phebe Jane Wood and she raised these four children as her own.
After a few business failures, Obediah decided to move to Canada with his family. Frank and his brother, Hank, rode horseback and brought the cattle. Emily, the oldest, drove one of the covered wagons. The family lived in Canada for several years around the Taylorville and Brooks area.
Frank met Ethel Reed Tilton when she was visiting her Aunt Polly and uncle Phone Lathan of Taylorville. She was from Tombstone, Arizona and had two children, a girl two and one half years old and a son who was six months old. Frank and Ethel were married IIth January, 1912 and he became a family, man.
On October 20, 1912, a son was born to them at Cardston, Alberta. Frank was a good father to the three children.
They lived first near the Jim Smiths on what was called the Lease. It was lonely there and he sold and moved to Taylorville where the daughter started school. They then moved to Twin Lakes and then to Rinard. They lived in Rinard on a quarter section not far from the boundary line. Their house was on the upper part of the land near the line. The children walked to school and when it snowed their dad would put them on the horse and take them to school.
The next year he moved the house closer to the school, just over the hill from Hoyts. They would walk over there.
Frank was on the school board and they boarded the school teacher.
Frank was a good neighbor. When the flu came in 1918, it was very bad. He visited the sick neighbors and did their chores.
The Ralph Talbots were close friends of the family. None of them got the flu, but a lot of people died from it. Frank gave his children sulphur and molasses every morning. "Yuk!". He said that's why they didn't get sick. He never drank whiskey ever, but during the flu epidemic he would take a good swallow before visiting the sick. He always claimed that's why he didn't catch it.
In the summer the family would go to the Milk River with their water wagon and drive into the river, and Frank would fill the tank with a bucket on a rope. They used this water for house and stock.
At Christmas time a program was held at the schoolhouse, with lots of little candles lit on the tree.
Also everyone got gifts, dolls for the girls and something else for the boys.
Ethel used to make butter and take it along with eggs to the store, to trade or sell.
Frank had the first car, a Ford, in the area. He worked hard all his life. Ethel, being a city girl, had to adjust to farm life. She also was a hard worker.
Ethel's health was not good, and that is why the family left there and eventually moved to Washington, where they lived until Frank died at the age of seventy-two, 19th April, 1957 in Longview, Washington.
Ethel had a bad heart, but the altitude at Kelso was good for her. She lived to be ninety years old and was able to take care of herself until the last four years. She died 16th of October, 1979 and is buried in Kelso, Washington.
Return to Individual Histories