Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies



John A. Armstrong

Submitted by Amy Armstrong

John A. Armstrong
The president and general manager of the J.G. Armstrong Co., Incorporated, is one of the influential and prosperous citizens of Salinas, where he owns and occupies a comfortable residence at No. 327 Church street. Although not a native of Monterey county, practically all of his life, of which he entertains any recollections has been spent within the boundaries of this county and he has won a recognized position through energy and the exercise of his fine mental endowments. The cattle business has been his specialty. There are perhaps few men in the entire state who are more proficient judges of cattle than is he and his judgment as to weights and values is seldom at fault.

John A. Armstrong was born in Delaware county, N.Y., February 27, 1863, and is a son of John G. and Christina (Smith) Armstrong, also natives of that county and descendants of old eastern families. During the year 1868 the family migrated to California and settled in the vicinity of Blanco, where the father bought a quarter-section of land. From time to time he increased his possessions until he became one of the large land owners of the locality. In early years he gave his attention to grain farming almost wholly, but little by little he began to be interested in cattle raising. At times he had as many as twenty-five hundred head of cattle on the ranch. The business grew to such dimensions that an incorporated company was organized.

The J.G. Armstrong Co., with J.A. Armstrong as president, makes a specialty of raising, buying and selling cattle. Operations are conducted upon a large scale. Sales are made to every part of the state. In many new ideas for the promotion of the business and the development of lands the company has been a leader. To them is due the credit for originating the method of feeding the cattle on the pulp left from the beets after the sugar is extracted. When they began to experiment with this feed they were able to buy the pulp at ten cents a ton, but as the use of the refuse was proved to possess merit the price advanced and is now fifty-five cents per ton. Another plan originated by the company was that relating to the irrigation system of the county. In 1898 they sunk wells and pumped the water to various parts of their ranch. Others soon saw the good results of the plan and now this idea has been carried into execution on many ranches throughout the cunty, their own ranch now having three pumps that furnish an ample supply of water for irrigation.

The president of the company gives his attention closely to the business, in the interests of which he has formed acquaintances among cattlemen all over the country. It has not been possible for him to identify himself closely with civic affairs, for the details of his business are too exacting to permit of additional responsibilities. His home is presided over by Mrs. Armstrong, formerly Miss Susan Irvine, who was born and reared in Monterey county and was married here August 3, 1893. They have three sons, James Irvine, Max and Samuel Maitland.

Source: HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF MONTEREY & SAN BENITO COUNTIES AND HISTORY OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA by J.M. Guinn, A.M. Volume II, (Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, Cal.) 1910, pp. 567-568.