Origin of Armstrong County

Armstrong County was formed in 1800 from parts of three other counties — Allegheny, Lycoming, and Westmoreland. The county was named in honor of Colonel John Armstrong, who had represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress. Kittanning, from the Indian name “Kit-Han-Ne” is the original and current county seat.

The Battle of Kittanning

During the French and Indian War, the village of Kit-Han-Ne was the center for Indian raids on white settlements in western Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland and Virginia. Colonel John Armstrong led 300 frontier troops in an attack on the village on the morning of September 8, 1756. Most of the village was destroyed (helped by the explosion of a gunpowder magazine in one of the cabins) and the Indian leader, Captain Jacobs, was killed. Although Armstrong suffered losses (men killed, some deserted), the battle was considered a victory since the Indians left the village and stopped most of the raids.

An event commemorating the 250th anniversary of the French & Indian War Battle of Kittanning was held September 7-10, 2006 in Kittanning. Over 5,000 people gathered on a hillside to witness the Battle of Kittanning reenactments, visited the “William Thompson: The Forgotten Patriot” exhibit, attended the original play “The Battle of Kittanning,” attended a memorial service at Blanket Hill, and wandered through a recreated Native American village and military encampment occupied by reenactors.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 664 mi². Of that area, 654 mi² of it is land and 11 mi² of it (1.58%) is water.