The Armstrong Family


Conrad Mobley’s notes on the Armstrong Family

                          Photo- Armstrong 01   

These 4 girls where the daughters of Thomas and Hannah Armstrong of Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick. The family was of Irish origin and where Presbyterian. They had issue of 11 children.


A1- Edward R. Armstrong………..  b.1858   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A2- Ada Jane Armstrong…………. b.1861   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A3- Emma May Armstrong……….. b.1863   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A4- Georgiana Armstrong……….... b.1864   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A5- Jane H.S. Armstrong…………  b.1866   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A6- Frances Myrtle Armstrong…    .b.1868   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A7- Martha Armstrong…………….. b.1869   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A8- Isabell F. Armstrong………….. b.1872   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A9- Frederick H. Armstrong ……….b.1873   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A10- Lizzie H. Armstrong…………. b.1877   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

A11- Frank E. Armstrong…………. b.1880   Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick

While this family is not directly in our blood line, it is associated by marriage, and they do present a little historical interest.

A3- Emma May Armstrong- Reverend John fernie

Based on the information in my procession, indications are that Rev. John Fernie,  moved to Belvidere, South Dakota where he was a missionary This would have been shortly after his wife, Janet Sanderson Fernie (Weir) died in Nov. 1903 in Lacombe, Alberta. Here he met and married Emma May Armstrong, a school mistress. They resided there for a year and then moved to Prince Albert east Sask. for two years. From there they moved to Moose Mountain, she to her old position as teacher at The Indian Day school and Rev. John as a missionary.

The following is a quote from an early newspaper;


     “Mrs. (Rev.) John Fernie, one of the outstanding Indian teachers of Canada has resigned her position at Moose Mountain in the Indian Day School there. We have a mission on this Reserve close to the school.

     Mrs. Fernie, then Miss Emma M. Armstrong, began her teaching career in the Province of New Brunswick in 1880. She came to Winnipeg in 1885, about the time our soldiers were returning from the 2nd. Northwest Indian Rebellion. Miss Armstrong taught (The middle portion of the clippings is missing)

(cont.) married to Rev. John Fernie who was at that time missionary at Belvidrere, South Dakota.  After a year’s residence there and two year’s more at Prince Albert east, Mr. and Mrs. Fernie came to Moose Mountain, she to her old teaching position as a teacher. Mrs. Fernie continued her work with earnestness and ability, until November, 1917, when owning to ill health she was compelled to resign, much to the regret of the Home Mission board and the Presbytery of Arcola.

     The moose Mountain Government Indian agent, Mr. Thos. Cory, speaks in the highest terms of her good work and her influence for good among the Indian Children. It is gratifying to know that Mrs. Fernie’s health has sufficiently improved to enable her to accept the position on the Reserve, of Field Matron and Domestic Science Instructor.

I have a number of letters from Rev. John Fernie dated the 12th, 18th, 27th. and 30th. Of September, 1919 to his daughter, Anne Laidlaw Mobley in Tappen, B. C. saying how lonely he was and would she come and stay with him.

This leads me to believe that his wife Emma May must have died between 1917 and 1919.

The last letter in the group was from his youngest daughter, Emma Sophia (Queenie) to her sister Annie Laidlaw Mobley in Tappen advising her that their father, Rev. John had died. The latter is dated Carlyle, Sask. Jan.18, 1920. He died at 4:00PM Jan.17th.1920 at the age of 82 years. See “Notes On The Fernie Family”

This small portion of family history had never been mentioned to me by anyone in our family. I would have never known about it if I had not found the one photograph of the Armstrong girls with their names on the back. For days I looked at it and wondered on the connection. Then as I kept sorting through my mother’s collection, I found a piece of a newspaper clipping. Then I found another piece. Then recently I located a third piece. There is still the middle portion missing, however the pieces gave me enough of the story to tie things together.

a4-Georgiana Murray Armstrong- Reverend Charles W. Bryden

In the 1881 Canada Census, Charles W. Bryden is listed as living with the William Anderson age 27 and Sarah Anderson, age 32 He listed as a shopkeeper and a Baptist and of English origin. She is listed as wife and a Westlyan Methodist and Irish origin. Two others listed are Olba Anderson, age 1 and Mathew McGovern, age 18, servant, Catholic and of Irish origin.

And lastly, Charles W. Bryden, age 34, Presbyterian Minister and of Scottish origin.

While these others don’t bear any significance to our story, I can imagine there could have been some interesting discussions in that house hold.

His age given does not agree with the latter information.

These Andersons do not appear to be directly connected to our Andersons of Scotland.

Charles W. Bryden was of Scottish descent and was born the 14 Oct. 1845 at Tatamagouche, Colchester, Nova Scotia.

His parents where, Robert Hunter Bryden and Christina Reilly. He married Georgiana Murray Armstrong on 27 Nov.1887 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He died 12 Oct.1940. I do not have the location.  They had issue of 6 children.


1- Elizabeth Myrtle (May) Bryden……………….. b.05 Oct.1907, Mistawiss Indian Res. Sask.      d. 17 Mar.1972

2- Charles Gerald  (Gerry) Bryden…………….... b. 30 May 1895, Battleford, Sask.                      d. 04 Jul.1954

3- Thomas Hunter Bryden……………………….. b. 21 Apr.1889, Lower FT. Garry. Manitoba       d. 15 Aug.1917

4- George St. Clair Bryden………………………. b.15 Aug.1898, Prince Albert, N.W. T.               d. 12 May 1944

5- Martha Christina ( Mattie) Bryden…………… b.13 Jul.1891, Battleford, Sask.                          d. 20 Mar.1984

6- Mary Gwendoline Bryden…………………….. b. 24 Mar.1893, Battleford, Sask.                       d. 20 Apr.1985

A6-Frances Myrtle Armstrong-john edward sinclair

The following excerpt is taken from the Saskatchewan Historical Archives.

      No history of Canada or Saskatchewan would be complete without extended mention of John Edward Sinclair, Dominion Government Appraiser of grazing lands, with residence in Prince Albert. It was in St. Andrew's parish of the Red River settlement (which settlement was planted within the vicinity of Winnipeg in the first half of the last century and was composed principally of Scotch immigrants) that John Edward Sinclair was born, on the 11th of July, 1855. For more than a century and a half the name of Sinclair has been known in connection with official responsibility in the vast regions of western Canada, and both the annals of the great fur companies and also of modern affairs make respectful and dignified mention of members of this honorable old family. A complete account of the Sinclair family during its residence

in British America would fill a volume.

     The father of John Edward Sinclair was Thomas Sinclair, whose birth occurred at York Factory in Keewatin, and his grandfather was William Sinclair, who was noted as being a lineal descendant of the Earl of Orkney.  The maiden name of Mr. Sinclair's mother was Caroline Pruden and she was a native of old Fort Carlton in Saskatchewan. Her father was John Pruden, an Englishman by birth, the chief factor at Fort Carlton. The motto of the Sinclair family is "Credo" ("I believe"), and it is inscribed on a crest consisting of a shield with a cross and a dove, the latter holding an olive branch in its bill.

     For a number of years Mr. Sinclair's father was a councilor of Assiniboia and during the regime of the Hudson's Bay Company over the western territory, he also served as president of the petty courts. Included among his other official honours were the offices of chief magistrate, postmaster and inspector of roads and bridges. The fact that the senior Mr.

Sinclair was residing in the far west so early a period indicates in itself an unusual character for adventure and pioneer achievement. He was a man of enterprise and intelligence much above the average western settler at that time.

      His name has gone down into history as the builder of the first steam grist mill in Manitoba, the site of which institution was in Winnipeg where the Redwood Brewery is now standing. The machinery for his mill he purchased in Chicago, Illinois, and it took him two years to transport it to Fort Garry on the Red river, where Winnipeg now stands.

Over a large part of the distance traversed the boilers and other equipment were transported on wagons until the headwaters of the Red river were reached. From there they floated down to their destination. The valuable cargo arrived in the year 1855 and after Mr. Sinclair had built his mill he operated it but a single day. Subsequently enemies set it on fire, thus destroying a costly enterprise which would have been a great boon to the entire region.  Mr. Sinclair never rebuilt his mill.

    The grandfather of John Edward Sinclair came to Canada in 1760 to take charge of the trading post of Fort Churchill and the surrounding district From the day of his arrival in Canada to this there has always been a Sinclair in that district, either in charge of the district or holding some important post in its commercial administration. In 1911, C. C. Sinclair, who is a great-grandson of the original chief of the district, was the administrative head, taking charge more than a century and a half after

the pioneer had landed to assume the direction of one of the most historic posts in the domain of the fur company.

     John Edward Sinclair pursued his education in the schools of his native parish and later attended St. John's College at Winnipeg. Listed among his teachers were the Rev. Samuel Pritchard, the late Bishop McLean and S. B. Matheson, who was later archbishop. At the age of seventeen years his schooling was completed and he engaged in farming for the following two years. He then followed the lead of so many of his family and became associated with the great Hudson's Bay Company, spending four years in the service and during that time being stationed at Fort Francis, Kettle Falls, Northwest Angle of the Lake of the Woods, Rat Portage, Leseul and Trout Lake. One year he was associated with William Stobart & Company of Rat Portage and was sent by that company out to the distant Prince Albert, which for years had been a fur trading post, having at that time but little else to distinguish it as a center of commerce and population.  For ten years Mr. Sinclair made Prince Albert his headquarters, while he acted as manager for this company in the fur trade throughout the northern portion of Saskatchewan. At the end of the ten years he bought out the interests of the firm at Prince Albert and was an independent operator in the fur trade for fourteen years. His establishment became a familiar feature in the business district of Prince Albert and it is readily recalled by the older citizens. It is to be placed to his credit that he was the first to open the route north of Prince Albert into the Hinterland, extending his trading posts up to the Churchill River and Reindeer Lake, and thereby bringing thousands of dollars and trade into the town of Prince Albert.

     For three years, after retiring from his independent operations Mr. Sinclair was busy in establishing and building up the business of the great firm of Revillon Brothers, having charge of the operations throughout this section of the country.  He succeeded in establishing ten posts for that company, next turning his attention to the founding of the Veteran Trading Company at Prince Albert, in which he remained an active factor for two years. The expert knowledge of Mr. Sinclair, secured from years of work in various branches of the fur trade, made his services invaluable to any firm fortunate enough to secure him. For three years he was fur buyer for the McMillan Company of Minneapolis and for a like period he bought for R. S. Robinson of Winnipeg. Mr. Sinclair then turned his attention to the real estate business and he was very successful in that

line of work, until the depreciation of value of land in 1914 when he became a heavy loser like many others. In 1912 he was appointed fish commissioner for Saskatchewan and he was active in that office three  years, and then resigned to accept his appointment as Dominion Government Appraiser of grazing lands for Battleford and Prince Albert districts, which extend from Township 43, range 11, west, of second meridian to the fourth meridian.

      For some years Mr. Sinclair had been justice of the peace, holding that office under four lieutenant governors. Mr. Sinclair has been twice married. His first marriage was celebrated in Prince Albert in 1883, when he took Miss Lydia V. McKenzie for his wife. By this marriage he had five children, three sons and two daughters, of which one son, Frederick Stanley, is living.  Mrs. Sinclair's death occurred in 1892. 

In 1898 Mr. Sinclair was married at Prince Albert to Miss Myrtle Armstrong, daughter of Thomas Armstrong, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia.  By this marriage he had one daughter and one son. The son, John Elmer, is living.  Mr. Sinclair's religious faith is that of the Church of England. He is a worthy representative of the name he bears and he has the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.

A6-martha Armstrong- ? Wright

No information.

At the time of this writing I have acquired no further information on the rest of the Armstrong family.