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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ARMSTRONG, WILLIAM W.

ARMSTRONG, WILLIAM W.

ARMSTRONG, WILLIAM W. (18 Mar. 1833-21 Apr. 1905), was a local newspaper publisher and Democratic party political leader. He was born in New Lisbon, Ohio, and lived there until moving to Tiffin, Ohio, in 1854, where he bought and published a local newspaper. In 1857 he married Sarah Virginia Hedges; they had one daughter, Isabella. After serving as a registrar in the state treasurer's office in Columbus, Armstrong was elected secretary of state--the youngest man to hold that office in the history of Ohio (1862). He moved to Cleveland in 1865, bought the PLAIN DEALER and edited it until 1883. In 1868 he testified at the impeachment trial of Pres. Andrew Johnson. Armstrong served as a delegate to the Democratic Natl. Conventions in 1868, 1880, and 1884. He also served on the Democratic Natl. Committee. In 1881 he declined the nomination to run for governor of Ohio. In 1891 the Democratic party adopted his rooster design as party symbol. Although often referred to as "Major" or "General," Armstrong never served in the military. The titles dated from his youth, when he was a member of a military organization for young boys. The fact that his father, Gen. John Armstrong, had been a military officer, enhanced William's reputation of possessing a military background. Armstrong died at his home in Cleveland and was buried in Tiffin, Ohio.