Friday, July 3, 2015

Uncle Lyndon King Armstrong At Rest

Here at Along the Gradyent our blogging pace slowed considerably during June and into July. The primary cause? Our five-years young laptop started slowing down and sporadically freezing up, then self-checked into hospice and died, so the local PC repair geeks confirmed, leading to need for replacement. "No problem," we said. We went to the places that sold PCs in Bozeman, systemically checked out the machines and the interfaces to see what features could be had and how those features comported with our needs. We settled on the brand and style whose keyboard I am presently pounding.

But we learned then that Bozeman is not a place where vendors actually stock computers. It could take from five to ten days to get a machine in hand after shipping from some distant West Coast distribution center, by which time we were preparing to leave town on our segment of a low-cost multi-family midsummer's journey of musical chairs' housesitting.

"No problem," I said, "I don't need a computer immediately, I have a smart phone, that I can use that at least to search the net, navigate and receive and send emails," a bold claim which led sequentially, of course, to that four-year old hand-held devise's rapid demise. When we finally pulled up to a Best Buy in Seattle, the credit card lords hiccupped at the prospect of authorizing an expensive electronic purchase 687 miles from home.

Anyhow, I shall spare readers the remaining details except to say that our blogging output will ramp up slowly as we learn a new system (since when did icons become charms?) and we enjoy the beauty and bounty of gorgeous summer weather.

Now let's get to our presently intended blog post.

About two-thirds of the way from Bozeman to Seattle lies the city of Spokane. Laying just west of the Idaho/Washington state line, Spokane's population rose from 350 in 1880 to about 20,000 in 1890. Spurred by a rapidly growing mining sector and following a boom pattern typical of the American West, the city's population skyrocketed to 100,000  by 1910. Spokane took these last 100 years to garner its second hundred thousand citizens.

One of the 1890 migrants whose move into the city surged Spokane's population and drove its economy was my great uncle, Lyndon King Armstrong. Lyndon King Armstrong was a pharmacist, miner, engineer, publisher and trade association leader.  Lyndon set out from Bathgate, North Dakota, to the Pacific Northwest early in 1890.

Pembina Pioneer Express, May 8, 1885
Back in Bathgate Lyndon had been pharmacist and proprietor of a drug store, having followed his father (Mr. Armstrong in this 1885 news blurb and my great grandfather) into the merchant field.
Bowen & Armstrong, one of the earliest established houses in Bathgate, keep a full line of general goods. Mr. Armstrong is postmaster, also. He was formerly prominently connected with public affairs in the county he came from in Minnesota. L. K. Armstrong & Co., keep a drug store with every thing usually embraced in that line.

When Bathgate's economic boom had peaked and the long fade away started, uncle Lyn sought better opportunities beyond the Rockies.

Pembina Pioneer Express, January 3, 1890
Mr. L. K. Armstrong, having sold his business and property in Bathgate, leaves this week for the Pacific coast to seek a new location. Mr. Armstong has been one of Bathgate's most popular business men since there was a Bathgate and his removal will be regretted by the citizens of that town and vicinity. The republican party of this county will miss one of its hardest and most unselfish workers. As secretary of the Republican League, he did much to secure the victory last fall and was doing much to keep up the organization at the present time. He is a young man of excellent moral and business habits, and we are sure to hear of his success in the future, no matter where he casts his lot, and a full measure of success we heartily wish him.
Lyndon left the wife and son back home, intending to call for them when he got established, but tragedy struck.

ARMSTONG — Mrs. Charlotte J., beloved wife of L. K. Armstrong, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grandy, in Bathgate, N. D., on Saturday, August 9th, 1890, aged 30 years.
Pembina Pioneer Express, Aug. 15, 1890.
 Our community was filled with grief on Saturday, by the death of this estimable lady, who. from the first building of our town was a social favorite. On Friday she gave birth to a still horn son. It was feared from the first, owing to concealed hemorrhage, that the mother could not live. The lamp of life flickered, and although she was at times conscious, gradually wavered until just at the breaking of the new day when her soul took its flight. Her absent husband seemed to be her one thought during the moments of consciousness. Mrs. Armstrong, nee Grandy, was born near Peterboro, Ont. September 20th, 1859, where her childhood was passed. She removed to this place with her parents in 1882, and was married to L. K. Armstrong, one of the leading merchants, in May, 1886. One of the sad features of the deathbed, was the absence of the husband who had gone to Spokane Falls, Wash., to enter into business and establish a new home where his wife was shortly to follow. Mrs. Armstrong was a good, Christian woman, a member and earnest worker of the Episcopal church, of this place. As a member of society, none stood higher or more respected, nor are there any who would be more missed. Always cheerful and lively, imbued others with her light heartedness and spread pleasure wherever she went. She leaves, to mourn her loss be sides her husband and parents, a son, three years old. The funeral services were held Wednesday, August 13th, by Rev. Beer, rector of the Episcopal church of this place. — Bathgate Democrat.
Uncle Lyn would remarry five years later and father three additional children.

He led an incredible life at the Falls, big enough to rate a biographical sketch and an archive at Washington State University in Pullman. 
Lyndon King Armstrong was born at Mukwonago, Wisconsin in 1859. From 1877 to 1890 he was a druggist, chemist and miner in the Dakota and Montana Territories. Settling in Spokane, Washington in 1890, he became the publisher of mining trade newspapers. He also established a mining engineering practice and was involved in certain business ventures in mining. Armstrong was a member and officer of many of the trade and professional organizations associated with mining in the Northwest, most notably the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. Additionally he was active in the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and in various scientific and scholarly organizations, including the Northwest Scientific Association and the Eastern Washington Historical Society. He died in early 1942. 
In life, Lyn was an unabashed advocate for the mining industry. He would have made Ron Paul proud. Lyndon proposed a very specific means of ending the Fed. 
Bismarck Tribune,
March 1, 1912
Governors of more than 15 states, the federal government and 5,000 delegates and visitors were scheduled to be in attendance at the 1912 American Mining Congress association meetings in Spokane, organized and promoted by Lyn.
Frank H. Culbertson, chairman of the mining committee of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce which assisted by the Spokane Mining Men's club, was instrumental in inducing the congress to meeting in Spokane next fall, looks upon the public land question as the most important matter that could come before the people at the time.
"There are other question of importance to be discussed,: said L. K. Armstrong president of the Spokane Mining Men's club, "and as now planned every one will have a hearing. We expect to make a congress that will be representative of all interests in the broadest sense of the term and we look for much good to follow. 
"One of the movement alrady under way is to demand payment in gold of silver coin when check are cashed at the banks. We will not accept paper money. The Mining Men's club also will request business houses and manufacturing concerns in this city and district to pay their employees in gold or silver. The West is purely a hard money country, though the government  is  attempting to practically demonetize metal by making the banks pay the high express rate on the silver and gold store in our mints."
In Lyndon Armstrong's world there would be no financial bubbles and bursts, no Greek defaults, no real estate meltdown, nor would there be a Federal Reserve with its continuous bailouts and QE's I, II, III and IV because in a hard currency world the financial instruments of destruction would not exist.

 On the way through Spokane we visited uncle Lyn and his wife Lulu -- at Greenwood Memorial Terrace to be exact.

When we checked in the cemetery office Monday morning and offered name and dates, the helpful receptionist said, "Oh, that's probably in an old section." She clicked through her computer files, identified the name, pointed out uncle Lyn was buried with a woman named Lulu, and gave us the following annotated map. Lyndon King Armstrong and his second wife Lulu are interred in Lawn 12, Section 22 and Space E 1/2. 

Greenwood Memorial Terrace, Spokane, grave locater map.

The receptionist said the way to get up there is take the big S curve across from the office, making sure to bear right on the dirt road at the Y intersection when entering the cemetery's old section. She also said, "Back in those times plots were scattered here and there so here is a copy of the detailed schematic that will help to locate the grave."

Detailed map to Lyndon King and Lulu Armstrong's grave.

We located Lawn 12, jumped out of the minivan, dodged a couple of  sprinklers, and there it was, the gravestone.

Pleased to make your acquaintances Lyndon and Lulu. We hope you are resting peacefully. You can rest assured you are not forgotten.

Ogden (Utah) Standard Examiner,
August 22, 1942

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