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Armstrong, Samuel Turell, 1784-1850

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1784-1850-

Samuel Turrell Armstrong was born in Dorchester, April 29, 1784, the song of Captain John Armstrong. He learned the trade of a printer, and began business as printer and publisher with Joshua Belcher. One of their earliest productions was a literary work called "The Emerald." After dissolution of his partnership with Belcher he set up shop in Charlestown, and then published the first number of the "Panoplist," a monthly magazine relating to religious topics and missionary work.

In 1811 he moved to Boston, and opened, at 50 Cornhill, a store and publishing house, which became the mart of the religious literature for the orthodox churches. He took into the firm Uriel Crocker and Osmyn Brewster, his apprentices, and though the partnership was later dissolved, Armstrong was connected with the firm till his death. One of his publications in 1820 was Scott's Family Bible, in six royal octavo volumes, one of the earliest instances of stereotyping on a large scale in the United States.

He was captain of the "Warren Phalanx" in Charlestown during the War of 1812, twice a representative of Boston in the legislature, once senator from Suffolk, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts for two terms under Governor Levi Lincoln and Governor John Davis, and in 1835 he was acting governor, Governor Davis having gone to the Senate. The principal events in Armstrong's administration were the erection of the gloomy iron fence that originally enclosed four sides of the Common, the extension of the mall through the burial ground on Boylston Street, and the completion of the courthouse in Court Square. He was a member of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, and president in 1828 and 1829; and in 1845 he became a member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, and contributed generously to its foundation. His wife was Abigail Walker, the daughter of the Honorable Timothy Walker of Charlestown. Mayor Armstrong died on March 26, 1850.

Taken from "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White," City Record, Boston, 1979.