Biography of Gilbert Jeptha Armstrong

Among the most intelligent, enterprising, prosperous and successful of the younger farmers of Cass County, Ill., is Gilbert Jeptha Armstrong, of Chandlerville. He is, moreover, by reason of his amiable and neighborly qualities, one of the most popular and highly esteemed members of the community in which he lives.

Mr. Armstrong was born December 13, 1880, in Cass County, his parents being Robert H. and Jennie B. (Plaster) Armstrong, born also in this county. The children of Robert H. and Jennie B. Armstrong were: Cora Pearl, now Mrs. John E. Rethorn, of Chandlerville; Gilbert Jeptha; Nathaniel Howard, of Chandlerville; Judson Lee, of Fort Stielacoom, Wash.; Chalmers Nisbet, of Chandlerville, and Claude Johnson, who resides on the Armstrong homestead, just west of Chandlerville, in section 1, township 18, north, range 10, Cass County, Ill.

When Jeptha was three years of age his parents moved to the large Plasters farm west of Chandlerville, of which they afterwards became the owners, and which is still owned by the Armstrongs. In early youth Jeptha attended the Live Springs district school, afterward becoming a pupil of the Chandlerville High school, where he was graduated in May, 1899, with highest honors of his class. In September of the same year he entered Eureka College, at Eureka, Ill., where his sterling qualities soon made him a leader among his fellow students and associates. He was in his senior year at Eureka College, when his father died, April 3, 1903. Being the oldest of the five sons, he was forces to give up his school work and return home and assist his mother in the settlement of his father’s vast estate. His carefulness, painstaking and sensible economy, displayed in the settlement of this estate, were exceptionally business-like, and were characteristic of the eminent business qualities which have guided him in the attention given to his private affairs. After the settlement was concluded, Jeptha, personally, took up farming and stockraising, on the above named Armstrong homestead.

Gilbert Jeptha Armstrong was united in marriage, March 5, 1904, with Mary Sarah Kilham, of Virginia, Ill., who was born in Macon County, Ill., January 13, 1878, a daughter of Thomas and Judia Ann (Black) Kilham, the father of English nativity, and the mother born in Morgan County, Illinois. Mrs. Armstrong was educated in the district schools and in the Virginia High School, where she was graduated in May, 1898. She continued her studies, specializing in mathematics, and began teaching in the district schools of Cass County in 1899, which she continued until her marriage, teaching a special course of mathematics, during the summer season. After marriage the couple resided on the Armstrong homestead west of Chandlerville, where Mr. Armstrong carried on his farming and stockraising operations successfully for six years, when he purchased and moved to the farm where the family now reside, and where he still farms extensively. This farm is located in sections 26 and 27, township 19, north, range 9, Cass County, Ill., and contains 200 acres of the most fertile Sangamon River bottom land. The lives of Jeptha Armstrong and wife move along in perfect harmony, each being interested in the other’s work, without a shadow or cloud to mar their happiness. Two children have been born to bless this union, namely: Jeptha Thomas, born January 10, 1908, and Winona Darlene, born December 14, 1911.

Mr. Armstrong is intelligently interested in intensive farming and in the development of modern agriculture. He believes in building up the soil to make it produce the maximum results and does not hesitate to put his ideas into practice, on his own farm, regardless of what his neighbors do. He was one of the active workers for and is, in a large measure, responsible for the University Agricultural and Domestic Science School that has been held, annually, at Chandlerville for several years. He is secretary of the Cass County Life Club, an organization the object of which is the advancement and promulgation of agricultural development. He is also treasurer of the Sangamon Bottom Anti-Horse Thief Association. Fraternally he is affiliated with the M. W. A. and Royal Neighbors, of Chandlerville, as is his wife. Politically Mr. Armstrong is one of those staunch, progressive Democrats who place principle above party. He is interested in his friends and, not seeking office for himself, has never hesitated to go into the field and work for others. He is at present the democratic committeeman from Chandlerville Precinct and has won the approval and good will of the public for his careful, conservative and honest political dealings. Religiously, he is affiliated with the First Christian Church of Chandlerville, and serves as a member of the official church board. A man of upright life and high ideals, he enjoys the highest esteem of his fellow citizens, and never does he lose an opportunity to demonstrate his sincerest appreciation of their friendship. He is a man of large physique as well as of strong character, a careful and methodical businessman; a warm hearted and generous companion, and those who have the pleasure of his acquaintance always know where to find him on all questions, for there is no uncertainty in his character. He is a kind, generous, thoughtful and affectionate husband and father; is devoted in his attachments and ever has the interest of his family at heart. His life has been eminently successful, and he is an excellent representative of the superior class of young farmers in the community and county in which he lives.


Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, and Charles Martin; Historical encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Cass County, vol 2; Chicago : Munsell Pub. Co., 1915.

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