|Name:||Samuel C. Armstrong|
|Birth Day:||January 30, 1839|
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He left Hawaii for Massachusetts following his father's death in 1860.
Like many children of missionaries and tribal leaders, Samuel attended Punahou School and associated Oahu College in Honolulu for his elementary education. There is a bronze plaque at Punahou commemorating him as a "Son of Punahou". After finishing Punahou he became his father's secretary. After his father suffered a horseback accident and died in 1860, Samuel Armstrong, aged 21, followed his father's wishes and sailed from Hawaiʻi for the mainland United States to begin his own studies at Williams College in Massachusetts. He graduated in 1862.
During Samuel Armstrong's studies at Williams College, the American Civil War divided the United States. Like his father, Armstrong supported the abolition of slavery but considered himself a Hawaiian. Nonetheless, on August 15, shortly after graduating with future General and President James A. Garfield, Armstrong volunteered to serve in the Union Army. By August 26, he had recruited a company near Troy, New York and received the rank of captain in the 125th New York Infantry, a three-years regiment in George L. Willard's brigade. Within weeks Armstrong and his troops were among the 12,000 man garrison at Harpers Ferry, who though without combat training initially held their position during the Confederate Maryland Campaign on September 13, 1862, but were surrendered two days later by career U.S. Army officer Dixon S. Miles (who was rumored to have been killed by his own men that day, but officially died as a result of enemy fire) to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson shortly before the Battle of Antietam.
After being paroled in a prisoner exchange, Capt. Armstrong returned to the front lines in Virginia in December. The following summer, as part of the 3rd Division of the II Corps under Alexander Hays Armstrong fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, defending Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge. Armstrong subsequently received a promotion to Major on August 26, 1863 (but effective July 3, 1863, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg).
Armstrong volunteered to lead African-American troops, resigned from his New York unit, and received the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and assignment to the 9th United States Colored Infantry (USCT) in November 1863. When Armstrong was assigned to command the USCT, training was conducted at Camp Stanton near Benedict, Maryland. While at Camp Stanton, Armstrong established a school to educate the black soldiers, most of whom had no education as slaves.
In November 1864, Armstrong received a promotion to Colonel "for gallant and meritorious services at Deep Bottom and Fussell's Mill" during the Siege of Petersburg. The 8th USCT pursued the Army of Northern Virginia during the subsequent Appomattox Campaign.
After Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Armstrong and his men returned to Petersburg briefly, before being sent by sea to Ringgold Barracks near Rio Grande City on the Mexican border in Texas. On October 10, 1865, the 8th USCT began marching from Texas to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Armstrong and his men were discharged out of the military on November 10, 1865, shortly after their belated arrival.
On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Armstrong for the award of the brevet grade of brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the new commission on March 12, 1866.
At the war's end, Armstrong joined the Freedmen's Bureau. With the help of the American Missionary Association, he established the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute—now known as Hampton University—in Hampton, Virginia in 1868. The Institute was meant to be a place where black students could receive post-secondary education to become teachers, as well as training in useful job skills while paying for their education through manual labor, as his father had advocated back in Hawai'i.
Armstrong married Emma Dean Walker of Stockbridge, Massachusetts on October 13, 1869, but she died on November 10, 1878 after giving birth to daughters Louise H. Armstrong Scoville and Edith E. Armstrong, both of whom would later teach briefly at the Hampton Institute (and Louise's husband William Scoville would serve for decades as a trustee). He remained a widower for more than a decade. Armstrong remarried in Montpelier, Vermont on September 10, 1890, to Mary Alice Ford, a teacher at the Hampton Institute. Their son, Daniel Armstrong, would become a career U.S. Naval officer and commanded the Negro Recruit Training Program at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Waukegan, Illinois during World War II (1939–1945). Their daughter, Margaret Armstrong, would marry Hampton's Institute's president during the Great Depression (1931-1940), Arthur Howe, and their sons would, in turn, serve as trustees from the 1950s into the 1970s.
Perhaps the best student of Armstrong's Hampton-style education was Booker T. Washington. After coming to the school in 1872, Washington immediately began to adopt Armstrong's teaching and philosophy. Washington described Armstrong as "the most perfect specimen of man, physically, mentally and spiritually the most Christ-like…." Washington also quickly learned the aim of the Hampton Institute. After leaving Hampton, he recalled being admitted to the school, despite his ragged appearance, due to the ability he demonstrated while sweeping and dusting a room. From his first day at Hampton, Washington embraced Armstrong's idea of black education.
Washington went on to attend Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C., and he returned to Hampton to teach on Armstrong's faculty. Upon Sam Armstrong's recommendation to George W. Campbell, Lewis Adams, and Mirabeau B. Swanson, a three-man board of commissioners appointed by the Alabama Legislature, Booker Washington became in 1881 the first principal of the new normal school in Alabama, which evolved to become Tuskegee University in the 20th century. Many religious organizations, former Union Army officers and soldiers, and wealthy philanthropists were inspired by the work of pioneering educators such as Samuel Armstrong and Dr. Washington, to create and fund educational efforts specifically for the betterment of African Americans in the South.
Partially disabled by a stroke while on a speaking tour in 1892, Armstrong returned to Hampton in a private railroad car provided by his multimillionaire friend, Collis P. Huntington, builder of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, with whom he had collaborated on black-education projects. Armstrong died at the Hampton Institute on May 11, 1893, after suffering a second stroke. As he had requested, he was buried in the student cemetery on Hampton's campus. His widow returned to New England. As discussed in the family section above, all his daughters would be associated with Hampton University, and his son Daniel Armstrong would become a career Naval officer and train African American troops during World War II. His grandson, Harold Howe II, became Commissioner of Education under the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson. His papers (and those of some family members) are held by the Special Collections division of the Williams College library.
Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington, DC was named for him in 1902. It was renamed Veterans High School in 1958, and then the Armstrong Adult Education Center in 1964. It currently hosts Friendship Armstrong Academy.
Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia, was named after Armstrong in 1909.
Armstrong Hall (Science Building) at Tuskegee University was named after Armstrong in 1929.
Currently, Samuel C. Armstrong is 182 years, 6 months and 6 days old. Samuel C. Armstrong will celebrate 183rd birthday on a Sunday 30th of January 2022.
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