Senator William W. Armstrong was born in Rochester, New York in 1864 and was brought up in Albion, New York where he attended local schools. He became clerk of the Orleans County Board of Supervisors from 1884 to 1887. He was admitted to the Bar in 1888 and returned to Rochester to practice law.
He was elected to the Monroe County Board of Supervisors from Rochester’s ninth ward in 1893. The following year, 1894, he was elected to the New York State Assembly. He served four terms in the “lower house”, during which time he was Chairman of Committees on Codes and Judiciaries.
In 1898, he was elected to the New York State Forty-sixth Senate District, and represented the Westside of the Rochester and Monroe County, for five consecutive terms. During this time, he served on the following Committees: Judiciary, Canals, Military Affairs, Public Printing and Forest, Fish and Game, and Rules. He was Chairman of: Roads and Bridges, Internal Affairs of Towns and Counties, and Finance Committee (1905, 1907). In 1902, he was present at the NYSNA Convention in Rochester where the Nurse Practice Act was formulated and debated. He sponsored this bill, The Armstrong Act (also known as the Armstrong-Davis Act) that provided for the licensure of nurses in New York State.
In 1905, he became Chairman of the Joint Committee of the legislature investigating abuses to the reform of the insurance industry. He also became known as the “father of good roads” through his co-sponsorship of the Higbie-Armstrong Law.
Retiring from politics in 1908, he returned to Rochester to practice law until his retirement in 1924. He moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1934. He died on July 20, 1944.