Tribute to memory of Wm. Armstrong

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Held in High Esteem Not Only at Home But Among Strangers in Florida.

The funeral of the late William Armstrong of Queenston took place in Sunday last at the residence of his son, Arthur, River Road. Being a beautiful day there was a large attendance to pay their last respects to an esteemed friend. The floral gifts were numerous and beautiful; many kind friends brought magnificent sprays and wreaths. The Niagara Peninsula Fruitgrowers' Association of which the, late Mr. Armstrong was president, sent a most magnificent wreath of varied flowers. The pupils of the Queenston Public School presented a beautiful cross of roses. Mr. Armstrong took great interest In the school of which he was a trustee for over 25 years) and he oftentimes went to the school and spoke to the children. It was indeed an appreciation of the young children to remember him so. The Women's Institute of Queenston sent a nice large wreath betoken of their sympathy. The Tourists Club of St. Augustine sent a beautiful cross of roses while the Florida Industrial College sent a large wreath of pink roses and other friends.

The Rev. J. E. Todd conducted the funeral in his usual bright and pleasing manner thus eulogised the deceased in glowing terms. He was assisted by his brother, Rev. T. R. Todd. Dr. Laidman also spokea few kind words. Interment was made at St. David's cemetery.

One of the most appreciated documents which Mr. Morse brought back to the bereaved family was a letter written by a Mr. Britt of St. Louis, who was visiting at St. Augustine at that time. The family consider this letter the most beautiful ever read. It was so highly prized by all the family and relatives that each and all are having copies reproduced from the original.

For the benefit of the many friends of the late Mr. Armstrong who would be interested to learn of the exact incidents of his closing hours this letter is published below.

Your father, who was revered and respected by every member of the Club passed suddenly from our midst to that bourne from which no traveller returns and now sleeps the sleep that knows no breaking.

The writer possibly was more intimate with him than any other memmber of the Club. In the morning we would meet at the bowling green and clear the ground for the games. He loved the sport and was an expert at the gyne. He would often say to me, "Let's you and I get into this game and bowl together, I like to bowl with you."

Between the games he would tell me of the fruit farm which he formerly owned in Canada, of his experiences in connection with the Horticultural Society of which he was the president; of the fine Alberta peaches he raised, and the happy times he had in his Canadian home.

The lecture he was to have given on the "Origin of Soils," was one to which he had anticipated with the greatest pleasure. He had studied his subject and had prepared his specimens with care. With me he had discussed several of the points he wished to touch upon and the facts he had gleaned to sustain his theories and his arguments.

When he stood to commence his lecture I sat immediately in front of him as I did not wish to miss a word. He gave no indication that anything was amiss with him, though he changed his glasses once or twice and stated that he would have to abbreviate certain portions of his notes.

He began, "In the beginning God! You see I start with the first verse of the Bible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and He saw that It was good. In the beginning God!" His face blanched, he fell straight forward. Into my arms. He came forward as straight as falls a tree. No sinking of the joints or muscles. That sentient being that brilliant intellect with a message that he was to deliver to his brothers and sisters on his lips was silenced forever by the Grim Reaper.

Tenderly was ho lifted by his friends who sprang to his relief and medical aid summoned, but that loving heart had ceased to beat, and he had passed to the "Great Beyond!"

Twere sad that one so gifted, so loved by all, so esteemed for his genial good nature and gentlemanly demeanor should be selected at such a time by the swift messenger and taken from us in an instant of time.

To you, his sons, 'tis ours to offer such consolation as we may. In life we had him; in death we cared for Mm; and now deliver to you all that remains of the author of your being, who reared you in his home. 'Tis yours to take him to his final resting place on earth, and say in the language of the old hymn:

"Sleep on, beloved, sleep and take thy rest,

Lay down thy head upon thy Saviout's breast;

We loved thee well, but Jesus loved thee best;

Good night! Good night! Good night."

His friends and yours,

Thomas J. Britt,

105 South Ninth St.,

Saint Louis, Missouri.

At St. Augustine the Tourist Club met and marched in a body from the undertakers to the station accompanied by boys from the Institute. The bearers were: Professor Rolls, Fort Meyer, Florida.

Mr. Shaffer, Johnstone, Pa.

Mr. Clapsattle, Leeland, Ill.

Mr. Dean, Knightstown, Indiana.

Mr. Case, Denever, Colorado.

Mr. Rhodes, Windsor, Ont.

The family have received many resolutions offering tribute to the worth of the late Mr. Armstrong, among being: Tourist Club, St. Augustine, Florida; Florida Industrial Institute; St. Davids Branch i Niagara District Grape Growers' Association and Reeve of Niagara Township.

When on my day of life the night is falling,

And in the winds from unsunned spaces blown,

I hear far voices out of darkness calling

My feet to paths unknown.

Thou who had made my home of life so pleasant

Leave not its tenant when its wall decay.

Love Divine, O Helper ever present

Be Thou my strength and stay!

Be near me when all else is from me


Earth, sky, home's pictures, days of shade and shine.

And kindly faces to my own uplifting,

The love which answers mine.

I have but Thee my Father! Let Thy spirit

Be with cane then to comfort and up-hold;

No gate of pearl, no branch

I merit

Nor street of shinning gold

Suffice it if—my good and ill unreckoned,

And both forgiven through Thy abounding grace—

I find myself by hands familiar beckoned

Unto my fitting place.

Some humble door among Thy many mansions,

Some sheltering shade where sin and striving cease,

And flows forever through Heaven’s green expansions

The River of Thy peace.

There from the music round about me stealing

I fain would learn the new and holy song,

And find at last, beneath Thy trees of healing,

The life for which I long.

After reading the personal letter from Mr. Britt who was with Mr. Armstrong at the last, and also a letter from the St. Augustine Board of Trade, both of which expressed their deep sympathy to the family in their bereavement and also their own keen sense of loss as well as paying a fine tribute to the life and character of Mr. Armstrong, the Rev. I J. E. Todd made a few personal remarks.

He was a man of sterling character who scorned the false, the mean and the petty; he would not tolerate deceit and hypocrasy—for he was essentially a seeker after truth.

A man with a strong mentality, he thoroughly enjoyed conversing along intellectual lines, as well as entering into an agreement with keen ze .Some become estranged with those; with whom they disagree, not so our friend— he seemed to find in the disagreement a possible opportunity to discover some fresh revelation of truth.

After all else is said, the only, thing of real value in the world is character and whatever Mr. Armstrong had been able to gather together of the things of this world, he certainly had succeeded laying by much of the wealth which neither moth nor rust might corrupt, nor the thief break through and steal.

And thus whatever had been passed on in material things to the family, one knew that they had received heritage that all the gold of this world could not purchase. The memory of a life well lived. The memory of a good man, Their Father.

Bro. Armstrong was one of the most religious, most spiritually minded of men. He found God everywhere. Others might worship the Maker on the Sabbath day— he had communion with his Maker every day, he found revelations of His presence on all sides. He transmitted his message wherever he went, for Bro. Armstrong was one of those men "Who lived in a house by the side of the road and was a friend to man."

In as much as Ye have done it unto the least of them, Ye have done it unto Me.


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the institution will undoubtedly feel his loss keenly. The beautiful flowers include a wreath of roses from the Tourist Club, and also a very handsome wreath from the Industrial School. Leaving Ponce's undertaking establishment on Cordova street the procession halted on Carrera street in front of the Grace Methodist Episcopal church, where pictures were taken. G. A. Morse, an undertaker from Niagara Falls, Can., sent southward by relatives of the late Prof. Armstrong, accompanied the remains to Canada, where the interment will take place.

Left On Tour.

Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Auman, of Akron, O., after spending so much of the season here, have gone for a tour to Eustis, Daytona and other Florida points, but will return before long.

Media Type:
Item Types:
In Memoriam
Newspaper article about funeral processions of William Armstrong of Queenston, who died on January 27, 1921 in St. Augustine, Florida. Includes speeches and letters from his friends as well fragment of the hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier "When on my day of life the night is falling".
Loose newspaper clippings mounted on thin onion skin paper; mixed up and probably not in right order. Unknown publication. Date of publication: February 11, 1921.
From Armstrong family collection.
Date of Original:
February 11, 1921
Local identifier:
QC00594 & QC00601
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.16682 Longitude: -79.04957
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library
Agency street/mail address
10 Anderson Lane P.O. Box 430
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
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Tribute to memory of Wm. Armstrong

Newspaper article about funeral processions of William Armstrong of Queenston, who died on January 27, 1921 in St. Augustine, Florida. Includes speeches and letters from his friends as well fragment of the hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier "When on my day of life the night is falling".
Loose newspaper clippings mounted on thin onion skin paper; mixed up and probably not in right order. Unknown publication. Date of publication: February 11, 1921.