1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Armstrong, Samuel Chapman

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ARMSTRONG, SAMUEL CHAPMAN (1839–1893), American soldier, philanthropist and educator, was born on Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, on the 30th of January 1839, his parents Richard and Clarissa Armstrong, being American missionaries. He was educated at the Punahou school in Honolulu, at Oahu College, into which the Punahou school developed in 1852, and at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1862. He served in the Civil War, on the Union side, from 1862 to 1865, rising in the volunteer service to the regular rank of colonel and the brevet rank of brigadier-general, and, after December 1863, acted as one of the officers of the coloured troops commanded by General William Birney. In November 1865 he was honourably mustered out of the volunteer service. His experience as commander of negro troops had added to his interest, always strong, in the negroes of the south, and in March 1866 he became superintendent of the Ninth District of Virginia, under the Freedman’s Bureau, with headquarters near Fort Monroe. While in this position he became convinced that the only permanent solution of the manifold difficulties which the freedmen encountered lay in their moral and industrial education. He remained in the educational department of the Bureau until this work came to an end in 1872; though five years earlier, at Hampton, Virginia, near Fort Monroe, he had founded, with the aid principally of the American Missionary Association, an industrial school for negroes, Hampton Institute, which was formally opened in 1868, and at the head of which he remained until his death, there, on the 11th of May 1893. After 1878 Indians were also admitted to the Institute, and during the last fifteen years of his life Armstrong took a deep interest in the “Indian question.” Much of his time after 1868 was spent in the Northern and Eastern states, whither he went to raise funds for the Institute. See Samuel Chapman Armstrong, a Biographical Study (New York, 1904), by his daughter, Edith Armstrong Talbot.

His brother, William N. Armstrong, was attorney-general in the cabinet of the Hawaiian king Kalakaua I. He accompanied that monarch on a prolonged foreign tour in 1881, visiting Japan, China, Siam, India, Europe and the United States, and in 1904 published an amusing account of the journey, called Round the World with a King.