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W P Armstrong Sr

Sons of WP Armstrong:

WP Armstrong Jr
HC Armstrong

William Park Armstrong

DOB 7 May 1843 - DOD 5 Jan 1901 ​

Buried: Live Oak Cemetery Division E lot 82

William Park Armstrong was one of Selma’s leading citizens after the civil war until his death in 1901.  Born in Knoxville, TN in 1843, he entered Princeton College in NJ at sixteen, but dropped out before graduation to join the southern forces in the civil war.  He fought in numerous battles and once was so severely wounded he was left on the battlefield for dead.  Following the war he married Alice Isbell, daughter of  Talladega, AL banker James Isbell.  Through merger, the City National Bank of Selma came into existence in 1870 with Isbell as president and Armstrong as cashier.  Isbell died the following year and Armstrong succeeded to the presidency of the Selma bank and the Isbell National Bank in Talladega. He was president of both until he died 30 years later. 


In addition to various business interests, he was a model civic leader, serving on the school board, in fraternal organizations, on charitable boards and was a lay leader in the First Presbyterian Church.  In 1874 three of his children died of diphtheria, and subsequently he gave the large stained glass window in the church depicting children gathered at Jesus’ knee, titled, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”  The faces of the children are the actual likenesses of the Armstrong children who had died – James, Naomi and Rutelia. 


Surviving sons were William Park Jr., a Princeton theology professor and Houston Churchwell, who became president of the City National Bank in 1917.  Princeton gave the senior Armstrong an honorary degree in 1886.


Surviving daughters were Anne Eliza, married to Thomas Sloo Johnson, and Margaret, married to Dr. Ainslie P. Ardagh.  The latter couple lived in and are buried in Orillia, Ontario, Canada. 


Granddaughter  Alice Armstrong, a daughter of Houston, married Charles Hohenberg and built a home at 402 W. Dallas Ave. on property that had been part of a several hundred acre Armstrong farm.  The Hohenbergs developed the Houston Park subdivision on the opposite side of Dallas Ave.  and honored Alice’s father with the name. 


William Park Armstrong III grew up in Princeton NJ but married a Selma girl, Katharyn Rogers. 


More biographical detail about W. P. Armstrong is posted on his FindAGrave site. 


Submitted by Carter Fowlkes

Nephew of W. P. Armstrong III


Sources:  Alice Hohenberg Federico, Dictionary of Alabama Biography,

Stained Glass Window in remembrance of three Armstrong children who died in 1874 of diphtheria

Stained glass window depicting 

James, Naomi and Rutelia Armstrong

Damaged Armstrong grave marker
Repaired Armstrong Childrens Obelisk OLO

Obelisk in memory of the three Armstrong children before and after repairs and cleaning in 2020.

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