Hannah Henrietta Thacher is of New England Ancestry and on her fathers side at least, of Old England, with nine generations of ministers in line,- the first pastor of Old South Church in Boston being her great-great grandfather,- four lines ancestry from the Revolutionary war and one from the Mayflower.
Her Mother was Diadama Diana (Willis) Thacher whose parents were Hannah Gallup Willis from Galupville, NY and Weram Willis from Tolland, CT, his father being Col. Solomon Willis a revolutionary soldier.
Her Father was Stephen Richardson Thacher born at North Wrentham, MA, whose parents were Henrietta Wilmarth from Attlesboro, MA and Rev. Moses Thacher born in Princeton, MA.
Hannah Henrietta Thacher was born the seventeenth day of October, 1846 on a farm in the Town of Masonville, Delaware Co., NYC attending school in Masonville village and the institutes held in their locality by the county superintendent of schools, she was denied a teachers certificate at twelve on account of her age but at thirteen years of age was the proud possessor of a certificate and was teaching the home school.
After various experiences teaching for twelve shillings per week and boarding around the district, the lure of forty dollars a month called this teacher west, she want first to Peru, Clinton County, NY, near Lake Champlain and stayed with her Thacher grandparents sixteen months, then stopped with her fathers sister Martha Smith in Ionia MI for a year and then she came on to Cambridge IL to her Uncle Moses Thacher where she stayed one winter and then on to Adair County IA in the spring of 1869.
She came over the Rock Island rail road to Stuart IA which was then represented by a pile of boxes, - a cabin a ways out on the prairie where meals could be had was the only house, after the train had left Miss Thacher noticed a team and wagon coming over the prairie, it was Mr. C. P. Gilbert a merchant of Greenfield who was there for some freight and she secured passage to Greenfield with him, the next day coming to what is now Orient Township.
She taught five terms school with pupils ranging from ABCs to algebra, establishing her own grades, lengthening the school days to suit conditions, she did not stop her work at four o=clock if the seasons length of day would permit of more and she had the satisfaction securing the forty five dollars per month that enticed her west.
At this time there were thirteen houses in what is now Orient Township and at the one little schoolhouse the first Fourth of July Celebration was held, Miss Thacher the teacher, reading the Declaration of Independence, this one schoolhouse was the community center, church, sunday-school room, town hall and all public uses, there were no fences or laid out roads, there were no
trees because of the prairie fires that swept over the prairies, every home had its firebreak of a double line of plowed furrows burned out between, travel was by farm wagons, home made sleighs, horseback or one could walk, the first settler in the township walked fifteen miles every two weeks to Afton to get mail.
Miss Thacher was married to W. F. Armstrong, a young farmer of Orient Township at the home of her cousin Mr. E. B. Wilmarth near Carbon in Adams County IA on 8 November 1870, by Reverend Burris and they went to housekeeping in four rooms that served both as a granary and living rooms, lath and plaster was put on these rooms at a later date.
Mrs. H. H. T. Armstrong husband and family had been residents of Orient for a number of years when the writers family (Mrs Freichler I think [FCA]) moved to Orient in 1886 and we have been personal friends on down through the years of our work of mutual pioneering, thus I gained the knowledge which enables me to submit these facts and testify as to her noble character and her true worth.
Mrs Armstrong was a leader for good on every hand, of neighborhood advancement, in church and sunday school work she was deeply interested, even going to church on a hay rack to support it by her presence, she bore a heavy share of the responsibility in church and social affairs and was chosen to fill many important places of trust, the duties of church clerk devolved on her for thirteen years and she also held the offices of church treasurer, trustee and deaconess.
When the wave of temperance work came to our western homes she early entered the Womans Christian Temperance Union as a charter member, serving for years as the efficient president of our local Union and when county organization came she was chosen as the first President of the Adair County WCTU, and was duly elected for another term when home duties became so imperative as to cause her resignation, she has ever lent encouragement and untiring aid to the local Union since she entered it as a charter member at its organization in 1895 being chosen as a State delegate to the National Convention W. C. T. U. at Atlanta GA in 1916. Her name was placed on a Tablet in Willard Hall in Chicago when it was headquarters for Temple work.
Mrs. Armstrong is a member of Hearthstone Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, at Fontanelle IA, and was a charter member of the first Country Club that was organized in this township for the improvement of country homes, Mrs. Armstrong has four direct line ancestry, three being officers of the Revolutionary army.
Mrs Armstrong never once lost sight of her duty to her home and children, she being the mother of two daughters and three sons, Nattie Esther the eldest daughter is the wife of Dr. W. L. Pugh;
who has been a professor in Wofford College at Spartanburg SC for twelve years; Neva Diadama the younger daughter married Mr. G. F. Corwin a ranch owner of Hardin MT; Warren Nelson the oldest son is cashier of the City National Bank of Colorado Springs CO; Willis Robert the second son is President of the Colorado Springs National Bank of Colorado Springs, CO; Fred Charles the youngest son is a merchant in his home town Orient.
Mrs Armstrong is widely known for her hospitality, her messages of love with flowers and dainties to the sick and to those in trouble, she believes in lasting friendships and of all her
girlhood friends with whom she has kept in touch, all have passed to the beyond excepting one, the friendships formed in later years are among her most prized possessions.
Mr and Mrs Armstrong live on their farm one mile south of Orient, Adair County, IA, and the latch string of their large and commodious home is ever out and a welcome that maketh the heart glad awaits all the old friends and neighbors.
Submitted February twelfth, Nineteen Hundred Twenty Three.
NOTE: I tried to xerox the carbon copy in my possession, but it was too far gone for acceptable copy. By and large, I've retained the original spelling and punctuation. I did abbreviate state names in accord with current practice; many of the dates I put into genealogical format of day-month-year. I also included a pencilled marginal note (parenthetically) of Fred C. Armstrong's that was on my copy.
Gerald A Corwin
10 October 1988
NB: Scanned with Adobe Acrobat on August 6, 2017 and converted to text with Adobe OCR. The text has been proofed against the scanned PDF file and edited to correct for OCR errors, but the original punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and paragraphing of the Gerald A. Corwin typed copy have been retained.
Carl W. Anderson
August 6, 2017