To The
Carroll County Biographies

And His Family

A Genealogical Study By Alice Horner

For a man who was so interested in the historical beginnings of Carroll County, Illinois, Volney Armour certainly did not leave much of a genealogical footprint visible 100 years later. There is very little online currently (May 2007) about him that isn’t on Genealogy Trails, Carroll County. And apparently he was so busy writing or contributing to the History of Carroll County, Illinois published by Kett in 1878 that he neglected to send in his personal biographical information, for only his name (as Armour, V. lawyer) appears in the Mount Carroll (city) biographical directory.

But here’s what I’ve amassed so far, from primary sources including an online scan of the History of Union, Conn. on "", The Updike Genealogy family tree on "," the "History of Carroll County, Illinois" published by Kett in 1878 and the book of the same title edited by Charles L. Hostetter and published by Munsell in 1913. I referred to various censuses and some other sources as well.

Volney Armour was born August 4, 1829 at Stockbridge, Madison County, New York, the son of Preston and Betsey (Brown) Armour. Preston Armour was born August 15, 1793 and his parents were John Armour and Sarah (Preston) Armour. (As far as I can determine, Sarah’s ancestors were not related to Samuel Preston of Carroll County.) John and Sarah Armour had seven children: Laura, Martha, Preston, Danforth, Almira, Lyman, and Volney. Danforth Armour, Preston Armour’s brother, was the father of Philip Danforth Armour (born May 16, 1832) who owned and operated the huge Armour & company meat packing company in Chicago.

Preston Armour and Betsey Armour had other children in addition to Volney:

  * Virgil Maro Armour was born November 13, 1818. The Updike Genealogy shows him as Merrel Virgil Armour, and states that he married Mary Bayless on January 7, 1846 and they had 6 children. On March 27, 1879 he married Wealthy Jane Reese.

  * Esther Armour in December 13, 1820. She married Col. F. Bonney and lived in Austin, Illinois.

  * Lucien Bonaparte Armour was born December 1, 1822 and married Lydia P. Townsend on October 20, 1859.

  * William Wallace was born June 9, 1826 and died February 14, 1844.

Volney appears to be the only member of his immediate family to have moved to Carroll County, or perhaps even to have left New York.

Preston Armour, Volney’s father, was a well known and popular educator and Volney inherited his intellectual qualities. Volney finished his studies in the common schools at a very early age and completed his course at Cazenovia Seminary between 1846-1849. He then studied law at Morrisville, New York and was admitted to the bar when only 21 years old. Volney first practiced law at Morrisville, New York, and then emigrated to Carroll County in 1853, and continued to practice law and hold public offices, including States Attorney in 1872. A short biography of him, with a photo, appeared in the March 1898 Souvenir Edition of the Mount Carroll Democrat, transcribed on Genealogy Trails.

Volney married Lucinda Wheeler Clock on January 20, 1856. She was born on January 17, 1836 in Madison County, New York (probably Clarkville), the daughter of George and Nancy (Chapman) Clock. She and Volney Armour probably married in New York State, since her parents were still living there, and their marriage isn‘t listed in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900. Lucinda’s parents and their son Darwin G. (born November 3, 1846) moved to Carroll County sometime in 1856, according to their short bio in Kett’s 1878 History of Carroll County. They were farmers and owned 180 acres in Section 35, Mt. Carroll Township. George, Nancy, and Darwin Clock (who probably never married) are all buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Mt. Carroll.

Volney and Lucinda Armour had six children, all born in Mount Carroll:

Preston G. Armour, born November 8, 1856

  * Capitola N. E. Armour, born February 9, 1859; she was the famous temperance leader of the late 1870s.

  * Darwin Lucian Amour, born October 1, 1861 and died January 21, 1862 (also at Mount Carroll).

  * Richard V. M. Armour, born November 27, 1862. He appears on the 1870 census as Virgil M. Armour.

  * Duane Browne Armour, born June 28, 1868. He appears on the 1870 census as Wayne B. Armour. (There is no explanation for the spelling to have been Browne instead of Brown, which was the child’s grandmother’s surname; both names came from the same History of Union, Conn. source.)

  * Josephine Blanche Armour, born May 29, 1874.

Another member of the Armour household was Hannah Gill, who first appears on the 1870 US Federal Census for Mount Carroll as a school teacher who was living with them. She was 28 years old in 1870 and born in Pennsylvania. There were other Gill families living in Carroll County at the time, including a John A. Gill who was born December 11, 1824 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, who was married to Elizabeth Sharp, also of Franklin County. I found a John A. Gill and a Hannah Gill in the same family on the 1850 US Federal Census for Greene Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He was 25 in 1850 and Hannah was 9, so their ages match fairly well. The parents were Thomas Gill, who was 52 and Mary who was 54. John and Hannah’s other siblings were Margaret, Elizabeth, Isabella, and William. I couldn’t find any evidence that her parents or siblings ever moved to Carroll County. And even though she lived with them apparently the rest of her life, I can find no evidence that Hannah Gill was related to the Armour family.

Volney’s son, Preston G. Armour married Eliza E. Riddle on June 5, 1880. The History of Union, Conn. (published in 1893) lists their children and states they were all born in Logan, Iowa:

  * Franklin Chapman Armour, born June 22, 1882
  * Darwin Blaine Armour, born May 4, 1884
  * Lucinda Armour, born September 30, 1887.
  * Josephine B. Armour, born November 15, 1889

The 1900 US Federal Census for Twin Lakes, Calhoun County, Iowa shows Preston G. Armour as a farmer and living with his wife Eliza and seven children: Those children born after Josephine B. Armour were:

  * Philip D. Armour, born May 1894 in Iowa
  * James P. Armour, born April 1895 in Iowa
  * Marie Armour, born May 1899 in Iowa

By 1910 this family was on the move, for Preston G. Armour appears on the 1910 US Federal Census for Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa as a married, retired farmer lodging with the William Sanford family. His wife Eliza wasn’t living with him, but they both appear together on the 1920 US Federal Census for Victor Township, Roberts County, South Dakota. Preston G. Armour was working as a barber and none of their children were living with them.

Capitola Armour, Volney’s daughter, married George Lewis Hoffman on January 1, 1880. A leading attorney in Mount Carroll, he was born in Hesse Darmstadt on December 1, 1847 and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was 3 years old. The Hoffman family settled in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and I found them on the 1860 US Federal Census (Guilford Township); they were Adam and Ernestine Hoffman (Ernestine was spelled in the German Austina on the 1860 census). His siblings named on the census were Charles, Adam, and Leah. George was being called Lewis then, but he was 12 years old on the 1860 census, so it‘s him.

George Hoffman was educated in the local schools and learned the shoemaking trade. (His father appears on the 1860 census as a master shoemaker.) George came to Carroll County in 1870 and worked as a shoemaker, then as a school teacher. But in 1873 he entered Normal School in Normal, Illinois, graduating four years later and admitted to the bar in 1877, having also graduated from Wesleyan Law School at Bloomington, Illinois in 1877. (Bloomington is near Normal, Illinois so this is possible.) He located in Des Moines, Iowa for a year but returned to Mount Carroll and joined the law office of J. M. Hunter. I could find no evidence that any of George Hoffman’s siblings also came to Carroll County, Illinois. But there are no Hoffman biographies in the History of Franklin County, Pennsylvania published in 1887 so they may not have lived there either. There was another Hoffman family in Carroll County at the time, but they had immigrated from Switzerland and don’t appear to be related.

George’s parents remained in Franklin County, Pennsylvania through June of 1880 (when the census was taken) but apparently moved to Carroll County, Illinois shortly afterwards, for his father, Adam Hoffman, appears on our Oak Hill Cemetery list as having died November 11, 1883. His widowed mother, Ernestine Hoffman (unknown maiden name) was living with George Hoffman and his family in June 1900 when the census was taken, and her date of birth was recorded as June 1824 in Germany; she had six children, three of whom were alive in 1900. She also appears on our Oak Hill Cemetery list as having died April 6, 1909.

George and Capitola Hoffman had three children, all born in Mount Carroll:

Blanche Hoffman, born in November 16, 1880.

Ernestine Hoffman, who was born February 17, 1883 and married Victor Hasskasin on January 1, 1908; his name is spelled Hasskarl on an family tree. They had three children.

Capitola Margarite Hoffman, who was born October 31, 1894. She married Lewis Raymond Kentner and lived in Savanna, Illinois. He was born about 1890 in Iowa, and worked as a yardmaster for a steam railroad; they lived in Savanna. They had two sons, Lewis and Raymond. Lewis Raymond Kentner died in October 1961. Capitola Kentner died sometime in the 1980s (no date on the obituary). She is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Mount Carroll.

George Hoffman died in September 2, 1922 in Mt. Carroll, and his wife Capitola Armour Hoffman lived with her daughter Capitola Kentner in Savanna to age 96, dying September 25, 1955. I don't know where they're buried. It is reported she was a fountain of information; please let me know if any of it was published.

As Volney and Lucinda Armour got up in years, they first moved to Calhoun County, Iowa, in 1884, but moved back to Carroll County in April 1896. Volney was working in the law office of George Hoffman, and was still there in March 1898 when the Carroll County Democrat’s Souvenir Edition was published. But I couldn’t find them in the 1900 US Federal Census anywhere, Illinois, Iowa, or anywhere in the country, and I checked under a variety of spellings.

I did find Volney and Lucinda 1910 US Federal Census for Des Moines, Iowa, living with two unmarried children, son Duane, B., who was a grocery salesman and Josephine, who was a bookkeeper for a coal company. Hannah Gill moved with them to Des Moines and lived with them; the census taker showed her as a servant. The 1912 Des Moines City Directory shows Volney Armour’s address as 1419 12th. The same directory shows a Preston J. Armour as a barber (and it‘s Preston J., not G.), Richard W. Armour as a grocer, D. Brown Armour as a clerk, and Josephine B. Armour as a stenographer. (Hannah Gill isn’t listed in this directory.)

And from there the trail goes cold. Neither Volney or Lucinda Armour appear on any subsequent census. He was 79 on the 1910 census, and she was 74, so presumably they both died before 1920, and probably in Iowa. They are not buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Mount Carroll. Volney’s son Richard Armour appears on the 1920 US Federal Census for Arcade (village), Wyoming County, New York with his wife Emma (Loop) Armour and their sons, Volney aged 12 and born in Iowa and Lucien aged 5 and born in New York. He was a dairy farmer. Richard’s brother Duane Armour lived with them; he was a single and salesman of laundry supplies (if I‘ve read it correctly).

But by 1930 the Richard Armour family had moved again, to Los Angeles. They were living on Florence Avenue when the 1930 US Federal Census was taken April 1930. Richard Armour was a painter and decorator, and his wife Emma was a cook and manager of a café. In addition to their two sons, Emma’s father, Cornelius H. Loop and their nephew Marvin Hogan was living with them. Cornelius H. Loop was 81 and a widower born in Germany. Their nephew Marvin Hogan was 20, single, born in California and a trumpeter in an orchestra. Duane Armour was not living with them.

The California Death Index, 1940 - 1997 fills in some of the gaps. Richard V. M. Armour is shown as Richard Wheeler Armour, with the same date of birth, November 27, 1862, born in Illinois, and dying December 15, 1946 in Los Angeles; it shows his mother’s maiden name as Clock. It shows Richard’s wife Emma I. Armour’s date of birth as January 14, 1874 in Iowa and date of death as May 30, 1962 in San Bernardino County, California; it doesn’t provide her mother’s maiden name. It shows their son’s name as Volney Cornelius Armour and gives his date of birth as August 28, 1907 in Iowa, his date of death as December 23, 1987 in Butte County, California and his mother’s maiden name as Loop. It also shows someone who probably was Emma Loop Armour’s brother, a Henry Cornelius Loop, who was born August 21, 1878 in Iowa and died March 20, 1952 in Los Angeles; it gives his mother’s maiden name as Hykes.

But I couldn’t find when or where Volney Armour died. Nothing either for his wife Lucinda, or his daughter Blanche. There are several good online sources for Iowa death information, including the Iowa WPA Grave Registration Survey (made in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program which promoted jobs and recovery from the Great Depression) and the Iowa GenWeb’s Iowa Gravestone Photo Project. But they don’t have everything and Volney and Lucinda Armour aren’t on those lists. They aren’t on either. It seems a shame since Volney and his children were so interested in history. Please let me know if anyone finds any information about this family.

History of Carroll County
By Volney Armour

More Information of the
Armour - Hoffman family

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