|Birth: ||Jul. 28, 1822|
County Tipperary, Ireland
|Death: ||Jun. 9, 1914|
Son of Gen. Alexander Armstrong (Royal Irish Artillery) and Jane Clark. Married Lucie Kirby Daniell 2 Oct 1842 at County Wicklow, Ireland.
Evening Telegram. Wednesday, June 10, 1914:
"One of Toronto's best known and most interesting veterans, William Armstrong, C.E., builder of bridges, engineer of important undertakings, and painter of beautiful pictures, has passed peacefully away. The master of "The Priory" is no more.
Monday night saw him able at the ripe age of ninety-three, to sit up, hale, hearty, and dressed in his everyday clothes, playing a rubber of whist with his sons and friends of his youth.
Still unfinished is the lovely water-color picture he was painting an hour or so before the call came for him. He laid down his Brush a little wearied, carefully covered his palettes and paper in his historic studio overlooking busy Queen Street, and then lay down to rest. He slept, and sleeping placidly, died.
Today the whole marvelous interior of "The Priory", his romantic and historic home at No. 15 Augusta Avenue, seems to speak of him and mourn a master gone.
No passing stranger peeping at the quaint tree-girt old time home ensconced amidst Toronto's throbbing life and industry could even guess at the rich treasures that throng the rooms within those walls. Their money-worth is great; their historic value incalculable. The man, William Armstrong, whose character made this home with its history, and upbuilt his own long enthralling life-story was one of Toronto's outstanding veterans.
Born in Dublin, 93 years ago, William Armstrong came with his bride, Lucy K. Daniel, to Toronto in 1851. He came here to settle down and pursue his calling of civil engineer. He designed and built important parts of the old narrow gauge Grand Trunk Railway. A curious survival of the construction methods of those days remains in the drawing room of "The Priory." The tints laid on 53 years ago are fresh and dainty to this day.
Of particular interest amongst the nautical treasures of the Priory is the telescope used by Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. It belonged to Mr. Spencer, a lieutenant on the Victory, and was handed on to William Armstrong with the Authentic account of its use by the famous admiral, by the family of Lieut. Spencer himself. The relic is associated with the late Mr. Armstrong's work as chief engineer of Birkenhead's dockyard and harbor works.
Merely to mention a few of the treasures collected by the late engineer would fill columns. He traveled widely in the west, and also in India and Japan. On the walls of the smoking room in the Priory Cree moccasins touch the leather folds of Custer's coat bordered with "Old Glory" in beadwork, the coat Custer was wearing when he was shot. Bullet holes and buckshot marks perforate it.
North American arrows and stone weapons hang beside khybee knives, and between them in their niches rest carved pipes - "of peace," perhaps. A "Lord Kirkcudbright" teapot with metal spout is in the drawing room, and here, too, is a priceless piece of china, one of the only two similar pieces in the world. The other is in the Vatican.
The pictures, too, are almost priceless. Twenty unfinished Turner sketches are scattered here and there on the walls. In the studio are a Van Der Velde seascape of 1610, and a J. Ruysdael of the same century.
The late Mr. Armstrong's own work was mostly in watercolor, and dealt mostly with marine and Indian or Canadian subjects. Fine pictures of his adorn the walls of the R.C.Y.C. One is a picture of the old hull of the steamer Provincial, in which the R.C.Y.C. first had its waterborne home.
Many of Mr. Armstrong's pictures, including those of the Wolsey Red River Expedition and early days in Toronto, are in the J. Ross Robertson collection of Canadian historical pictures, in the Public Library, College Street. One particularly good picture is a fine poster of the interior of the Toronto Rolling Mills on the Don in 1863.
Besides deceased's widow, who at 83 years of age remains to mourn the loss of her life's companion, surviving relatives are many. Of the closest are two sons, Harry (with his son Paul, of the Canadian Bank of Commerce), and Claude, of the Dominion Bank, Broadview and Queen. Three daughters survive, Lady de Hospiede and Mrs. Elis, of London, England, and Mrs. R.A. Ruttan, wife of R.A. Ruttan, former mayor of port Arthur, Ont.
With his mother, Mrs. Victor Armstrong (widow of the late Victor Armstrong, of Hanlan's Point), Mr. Guy Armstrong (grandson). completes the list of nearer relatives. The last named lad has already upheld the distinguished traditions of his family. He was awarded the Royal ----Society's medal for a novel effort to save his cousin Claude from drowning in the Bay in 1907. The effort failed, but nearly cost Guy Armstrong his life as well. "
Lucie Kirby Daniell Armstrong (1826 - 1915)*
Berdee Jane Armstrong Arkle (1846 - 1932)*
Alexander Michael Armstrong (1849 - 1885)*
Walter Stevenson Armstrong (1853 - ____)*
Charles William Armstrong (1855 - 1902)*
Victor Ormsby Mason Armstrong (1859 - 1910)*
Nenon Margaretta Louisa Armstrong Ruttan (1862 - 1944)*
Arthur Harrie King Armstrong (1866 - 1916)*
Saint Johns Norway Cemetery and Crematorium
Created by: L Lane
Record added: Nov 02, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31074829