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Dr. Jack Hamilton Armstrong

This is the first in a series of excerpts from the book: Dad’s Memories: Growing Up Poor, But Rich, by Dr. Jack Hamilton Armstrong (written for his Grandchildren)

I was born 1 mile north of Springville, Indiana at home, in the North bedroom, on a small general grain and livestock farm on April 14th 1931. It was in the throws of the Great Depression so no one had much ready cash and activities—both work and play—involved very little money, either earned or spent. For example, a fellow named Cookie Kirkman worked for Dad on the farm for many years for $1 a day. I remember riding to Springville on my bicycle, on a gravel road, and watching Cookie and other guys play pea pool on Saturday afternoons for 10 cents a pea and sometimes Cookie would win a whole day’s wages: $1! I also remember Dad and Mom telling of the time a show came to Springville and they and Jess and Ruth Noel, who were living with them at the time, wanted to go but did not have any money. So they caught some chickens and sold them to get enough money to go. As a result it must be said we were as well off as everyone else at the time. However, in terms of having a loving family, plenty of good food, and certainly enough interesting things to do, I was truly blessed.

Armstrong House

The house I grew up in was built in 1860. It originally had 3 fireplaces, but two of them had been closed and were no longer being used by the time I entered the scene. The house was heated by a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen, a drum stove in the south bedroom, and a fireplace in the living room (until it got really cold and it was closed and a coal stove was put up to provide more heat). One winter a teacher by the name of Defoe lived with us and gave me a new dictionary for Christmas; I drew a picture of the stove on the flyleaf. I still have it.

Armstrong House Fire

The house was finally burned Sunday October 1st, 2006 by the Perry Township Fire Department. I watched and took pictures. Interestingly enough, they started the fire in the north bedroom where I was born.

To be continued….

Taken from the book: Dad’s Memories: Growing Up Poor, But Rich, by Dr. Jack Hamilton Armstrong (written for his Grandchildren)


  1. Carol A.

    My Dad has always been such an inspiration–his love of the land, work ethic, commitment to public service, loyalty to one and all, and joy in everyday living has influenced me, my siblings (and many of my friends!) in countless ways. We are grateful that he continues to explore new ways of finding meaning and happiness in life–I hope you will enjoy his story as much as we have…Go Pappa Go! Much love, Carol

  2. Carey

    This book is a treasure to read, not just for our family, but for all of the information and memories about Springville back in the day.

  3. Kim

    What a wonderful legacy to pass on to your children and grandchildren…a story of family, friends, community and love. These are memories that will be shared and treasured from one Armstrong generation to the next. You are a gift to us all. I love you Dad.

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