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Henry Armstrong and
Annie Elizabeth Mernaugh Armstrong

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and
Surrounding Districts, Pages 260 - 261
written by Eula Rasmussen

Hank, as he was better known by his family and friends, was born to Obediah and Hannah Mariah (Dening) Armstrong on March 5, 1890 at Rigby, Idaho.

His mother died when Hank was three days old and his father married Phebe Jane wood. She raised him and his brother Frank and sisters Emilie and Hazel as her own. Obediah and Phebe had eight children, among them Irene and Belle. Irene was my mother.

In the spring of 1902 at the age of twelve he moved from Rigby, Idaho to Alberta, Canada with his dad and stepmother, Phebe Jane. Hank and his brother, Frank, rode horseback bringing the cattle.

It was raining when they arrived at the U.S.Canada border at Taylorville, and they were stranded there for three days. My mother, Irene (Armstrong) Henrie, told me that everything inside and outside the tent was soaked. She said it was the most miserable time she had ever spent.

They stayed in Taylorville the first winter after arriving in Canada. They rented an old shack that their mother, Phebe, called poverty shack.

Irene tells of one of the old shacks in which they lived. It had two rooms with a kind of pantry hall between them. She said that when they woke up one morning after it had been blizzarding all night, the snow had drifted into this narrow hallway, and it was filled right to the top. The only thing they had to dig it out with was a coal shovel.

The family moved back to Idaho in the fall of 1908 and Hank stayed on in Alberta and went to work for the Eldridge Ranch. He was foreman there for about eighteen years. He was also foreman at the Joe Peters Ranch and lived in the old rock house just above the Milk River in Whiskey Gap. His sisters, Irene and Belle cooked for him at this ranch.

Hank also had a homestead in the Ross Lake area, near the Jim Smith farm, where Dean Berezay now lives. He had it for several years and then sold it.

He well knew about cattle and horses. It was said that Hank had the best saddle horses in the country, and his team and buggy was just as good.

Hank was a medium sized man with brown eyes and light brown hair. He was proud and gentle, and respected all. Gene Plunet tells of him going to his folks' house to court the school teachers who boarded there. He said that never once was he anything but a gentleman and a good friend. He used to look forward for him to come. Gene said Hank was a friendly person, and a friend to everyone. The kids of the community looked up to him and respected him highly.

Cyril Nelson says that Hank had a few bad traits, but his good ones offset the bad ones. He says that he was the biggest hearted guy that he ever knew, and that you never saw Hank when he didn't have his pockets full of candy. He told of how Robert, his brother, always got his cap for him to put the candy in, and it was always a couple of handsful. There wasn't a stingy thing about him and he was a money-maker and very ambitious.

My dad, Ellis Henrie, tells of a time when he first built the barn. It was a large building with a hayloft. After it was finished they decided to have a barn dance. This was on Dominion Day so he tells. There was a creek that ran behind this barn which was full of water.

Anyway, here came Hank and some of his buddies (feeling no pain). They decided to jump the creek on their horses. They jumped into this creek and went nearly out of sight. Old Hank never did lace up his shoes and he lost one in the creek and they couldn't find it. So he danced all night in a pair of Dad's gum boots. When morning came, Hank fried eggs for all the gang.

Hank returned to the United States and went to Long Beach, California. He married Annie Elizabeth Mernaugh. They adopted a little girl. Hank farmed and had some dairy cattle and raised chickens.

Annie died January 10, 1942 and is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery, West Los Angeles, California.

Hank died July 7, 1952, and is buried in Torrance, California.

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Mary Tollestrup