R. N. Armstrong is a sterling representative of all that is praiseworthy in financial and industrial circles in Coal County and since 1911 he has been president of the Farmers National Bank at Tupelo. The spirit that manifests itself in many bankers in the rural districts of Oklahoma–the spirit that organizes commercial clubs, good roads clubs, that endorses better methods of agriculture, that conserves resources and contributes to commercial prosperity–is found in a marked degree in the subject of this sketch. Living in a practically undeveloped country, he has an abundance of raw material on which to work and the varied resources that are still in their infancy in his home community receive much of his attention and financial support. The Town of Tupelo, which is the junction of three railroads and is located in one of the best agricultural regions of Oklahoma, is developing rapidly under the leadership of such men as Mr. Armstrong. This town is but nine years old yet it has a modern brick school building, two banks, two cotton gins and several up-to-date general stores. Surrounding it is a fertile soil that produces an abundance of wheat, oats, corn, cotton, alfalfa, kafir corn and other products. As Mr. Armstrong was reared on a farm in Missouri he has a splendid appreciation of the value of agricultural education and much of his time is devoted to the improving of agricultural conditions.
A native of the great State of Illinois, R. N. Armstrong was born in the year 1879 and he is a son of James T. and Ethel (Rollins) Armstrong, who removed to Missouri in 1883. Six sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong and concerning them the following brief data are here incorporated: J. C. is assistant secretary of the Kansas City Title & Trust Company, of Kansas City, Missouri; W. P. is manager of the coffee department of the Interstate Wholesale Grocery Company, of Joplin, Missouri; A. R. is connected with the police department of Pittsburg, Kansas; W. B. and W. T. are prosperous ranchers in the vicinity of Arthur, Missouri; and R. N. is he to whom this sketch is dedicated.
Mr. Armstrong was reared to the sturdy discipline of the parental farm in Missouri and after a public-school education he attended college at Rich Hill, Missouri. Subsequently he was a student for two years in the Warrensburg Normal School and for two years thereafter he was a popular and successful teacher in the public schools of Missouri. In the year 1901 he entered the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City as bookkeeper. Five years later we find him launched in the grocery business in Kansas City but one year in that line of enterprise sufficed and he then again turned his attention to banking. In the fall of 1907 he located in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and there became assistant cashier of the National Bank of Commerce. Three years later he settled in Stonewall, Oklahoma, and assumed the responsibilities of the position of cashier of the First National Bank. The year 1911 marks his advent in Tupelo and here he and his associates purchased the Farmers & Merchants State Bank, which was shortly afterward incorporated as the Farmers National Bank, with a capital stock of $25,000; this institution now has deposits amounting to about $75,000. The other officials of this reliable institution are: W. C. Duncan, vice president; and J. M. Wilson, cashier. Among the stockholders are P. A. Norris, of Ada; A. G. Adams, president of the First National Bank of Ada; H. T. Douglas, president of the Shawnee National Bank; F. J. Phillips, president of the Greenville National Exchange Bank of Greenville, Texas; B. F. Edwards, president of the Central National Bank of St. Louis; Tom Randolph, president of the National Bank of Commerce of St. Louis; F. C. Dillard, a lawyer of Sherman, Texas; Mike Mayer, president of the First National Bank of Coalgate; E. J. McKinney, of Ada; and R. E. Fowler and Price Statler, of Tupelo.
In fraternal circles Mr. Armstrong is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is noble grand of the local organization; and in connection with his business he is a valued member of the Coal County and the Oklahoma State Bankers associations. Mr. Armstrong is well known as a very expert and judicious banker–one who is always looking for the welfare of his bank and of his customers. In all his dealings he is the soul of honor and his word is as good as his bond. He is considered one of the strong men on finance in this section and his success in his chosen line shows that he has special talents for banking. He manifests a deep and sincere interest in all that affects the welfare of his municipality and he commands the loyal respect of his fellow citizens.