Armstrong Family Cemetery
Written, Surveyed and Contributed to Illinois Trails by Erik Conard
The Armstrong Family Cemetery is located in the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section Nine in Township Eleven North of Range Nine East. Today one would say it is in Pleasant Grove twp. just about a mile west of the Lincoln Highway at the base of Indian Creek. Joseph Armstrong and his wife Elizabeth Jane Leach/Leitch, took this land 10 Apr 1848 by deed recorded in Book 33, p 45, original parchment in the possession now of Erik P Conard, a descendant and compiler of this record.
The family left Doe Hill, Pendleton Co, VA (today Highland Co, VA) in 1845 after the birth of their first child, Charles Erwin Monroe Armstrong, 15 Jan 1845. The cemetery was on the highest point of a hill in the northwest part of the property, and was inside a stone walled enclosure. This was visible and intact until the 1950s when the then-owner turned cattle loose and the wall was destroyed and the stones broken and trampled. All buried therein had markers but two infants, not named, born to Charles & Rachel Frances (Deverick) Armstrong. The infants were illegitimate as Charles and Frances never married due to the objections of his mother who insisted they were close relatives They did marry in 1905, long after the death of his mother, but they had no children. Both of them are buried at Mt. Tabor cem. nearby.
The burials are: (no others, no neighbors or outsiders were buried here)
LEACH, Margaret, born 30 Nov 1802 in Pendleton
Co, VA and died in Coles Co.,
IL shortly after arrival, 15 May 1846. First burial in cemetery. Unmarried. She
was a daughter of John Leach and Margaret Pierson/Pearson of Pendleton Co.
KUYKENDALL, Mary nee Leach, born 20 Sep 1786,
Bath Co, VA and died in
Coles Co., 30 Sep 1848. Dau of John Leach & Margaret Pierson/Pearson. She
was the second of fourteen children born to this couple. No issue by Kuykendall.
Married Richard Kuykendall as his second wife, 24 Jul 1827, Pendleton Co, VA
She had children previously, Elizabeth, 23 May 1815, and William, 11 Nov 1816
William took LEITCH spelling, too, and is buried in the Bethel Cemetery located
in Lafayette twp., has a large posterity.
KUYKENDALL, Richard, born in Grant Co, VA.,
17 Mar 1791 and died in Coles
Co., IL 8 Feb 1849. His first wife was Mary Teter who he married in Pendleton
Co, VA 28 May 1814.
ARMSTRONG, Agnes Armithea Louise, born 4 Sep
1854 and died in Coles Co.,
21 Oct 1856. Her name was horribly misspelled on the tombstone.
ARMSTRONG, two infants, no inscriptions on the markers.
The dates come from the Joseph Armstrong bible, now (2000) owned by a great-grandson Carlos Wayne Armstrong of Valley Center, Kansas and were compared with the original catalogings.
These represent the only burials in the Armstrong family cemetery. My grandfather, Arthur Joseph Armstrong (1885-1955) was raised on this property. The graves were regularly decorated until the destruction made it valueless. The family owned the property until 1924. The house and barn were built of oak and walnut woods.
The DAR recorded this cemetery in 1934, and I did it in 1945, and again in 1954. In the '45 and '54 ones I was accompanied by my grandfather, Art Armstrong, and in 1961 and in 1965 by uncle Edgar Erwin Armstrong and his daughter Melanie Ann Armstrong. I mention that by then there was nothing really to see, but one could yet tell there had once upon a time been a burial site here.
The Armstrongs had followed the Robert Leach>Leitch family who came in the spring of 1838, and the William Leitch family came also in 1845. Robert Leitch was a brother to Mary and Margaret Leach, and uncle to William Leitch & Elizabeth Jane Leach Armstrong. Their father, an Ulster immigrant, fought in the Revolutionary War.
The other children of Joseph & Elizabeth (Leach) Armstrong were (4 in all)
Abel Taylor Trower Armstrong, born 29 Nov 1848
Margaret Jane Leitch Armstrong, born 15 May
She was a teacher and early suffragette. Educated at Lee's Academy, she was
never married, died just shy of 35, buried in Mount Tabor, aka Shaffer Cemetery.
The rest of the family is in Mt. Tabor and the Robert Leitch family had their own farm cemetery, later used Mt. Tabor. The Leitch family was highly educated and full of successful lawyers, doctors, teachers and a Mayor of Charleston. The Leitch name is pronounced so as to rhyme with "pitch" and not "peach."
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©2000 Erik Conard