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Volume I-C
Book V
Strange of Eastern America

Third edition published December 2000
Author: John R. Mayer
Edited by: Barbara Jean Way née Mayer
       and Floy Marie Mayer née Strange

str-dani.jpg (6038 bytes)Daniel Strange (born 1843, Michigan)

Strange emigrations from Europe to America have been chiefly from the British Isles, and a great many instances of emigration have been variously recorded in the twelve books of this series. Most of these emigrations to America fall into one of three categories. One sizable Strange family in America came from Scotland, and established itself in Virginia and North Carolina. The family Strange of Virginia presumably came from England, and became the largest and most extensive Strange family in America. Finally, we know of several families that seemingly arose in England and Wales, and then emigrated to areas around Maryland and Rhode Island. These last are collectively known herein as Strange of Eastern America.

None of these colonial Strange families has a clear pedigree connecting it to a known and established lineage in Great Britain. In fact, there are very few American Strange families that can even been linked to families across the Atlantic, and the few migratory connections we have been able to identify have seldom established patrilineages with the Strange surname in America. For instance, we know that Sarah L’Estrange (circa 1840) came from L’Estrange of Moystown in Ireland, but she married George Mahon in Massachusetts, and therefore the surname L’Estrange survived only as a middle name in subsequent generations in Michigan. The routes of emigration have furthermore overlapped one another, making it difficult for the researcher to discern the proper lineages to which individual families should be assigned.

We have designed and devised for this work three large phratries or gentes of American Stranges, namely the Stranges of Eastern America, the Scottish Stranges, and the Virginian Stranges. However, each of these superior lineages is said to have had inferior lineages in Virginia, leading us to wonder whether or not our identifications are correct. Genealogists of the future should use Strange of Virginia as a yardstick, because it is the largest, oldest, and most reliable lineage. If a particular family does not belong to the Virginian family of New Kent County, then the scholar should assign it somehow to the Scottish family, or to the repository called Strange of Eastern America. Coöperative efforts should one day redefine all of these lines, providing genealogists with even better categories with which to compare records.

This book commences by telling the story of the large Strange of Maryland family, and its many distaff branches, which migrated from Maryland to Kentucky and Indiana, and later to points in Kansas and Mississippi, among other states. Collected together with this large genealogy are smaller genealogies called Strange of Portsmouth, and Strange of Massachusetts describing families that arose in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

We have enough information on Strange of Portsmouth (1590) to describe nine generations, and know of several members who moved from Rhode Island into Massachusetts. However, we have no reason to believe that the Portsmouth family had any connection with other lines in this book. The Portsmouth Stranges claim to have originated in Wales, but their Welsh progenitor has yet to be identified. A recurring prename in this family was the namesake Lot, and their occupations included those of the English hatter, cooper, tavern owner, and soldier. The family included several Revolutionaries, and one British loyalist, and it apparently belonged to an urban class of craftsmen and shop owners. To the eighth generation of this family was born Daniel Strange (1843-after 1937) of Michigan, who was Presbyterian, ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892, and authored scientific, legal, and historical tracts.

Strange of Massachusetts seems to have had a short career, roughly from 1634 to 1657, and must be long extinct, for we can identify only three generations in the seventeenth century, but know of no progeny that survived after that time. However, we have some convincing records to show that the first Strange immigrant to Massachusetts came from the same neighborhood in Devon that gave rise to the founding members of Strange of Maryland. The chapter contains some important Massachusetts immigration records on persons surnamed Strange from 1630 to 1716, but we cannot very well claim to have identified all of them successfully.

We have concluded herein that the large family Strange of Maryland (1670) was originally a seafaring family from north Devon. Unfortunately our knowledge of the earliest generations of this family is very sketchy, between 1670 and 1745, but we are lucky to have rather extensive records after 1745. John Sylvester Strange and Grace Strange were apparently siblings, and jointly became progenitor and progenitrix of the same clan. The descendants of John intermarried with the Ash family, into which Grace married, and from which arose some Ash spouses that intermarried with their maternal Strange cousins. Altogether, we have identified ten pairs of cousins with various surnames who intermarried between 1797 and 1940, but have noted further that this intermarried cousinage appeared only in the lines Strange of Hardin and Martin, Lincoln, Lost Creek, and El Cajon, but did not appear in Strange of Elnora and Bramble.

At the end of the eighteenth century, two large branches were formed by the descendants of Ignatius Strange, Sr. (1767-circa 1851) and his brother Philip Strange (1771-1817), as we shall see in the chapters entitled Strange of Hardin and Martin (1767) and Strange Distaffs of Faith and Love (1771). Ignatius was once involved in a lawsuit as a co-defendant with Thomas Lincoln, father of President Abraham Lincoln. Ignatius’ family produced the odd example of James William ‘Willie' Ash alias Joseph William Squellati (1898-1979), who was second cousin to himself in the Ash family, third cousin to himself in the Lents family, and fourth cousin to himself in the Strange family, but was nonetheless piteously abandoned by his widowed father.

Strange of Elnora was founded by the Reverend John Joseph Strange (1806-1858), noted for his conversion from Roman Catholicism to Baptist Protestantism. His brother William Ambrose Strange (1809-1894) established the Strange of Bramble family, which remained Roman Catholic. Strange of Lincoln sprang from the Elnora family, in the person of the Reverend John Sylvester Strange (1831-1915), and his line gave rise to two others, namely Strange of Lost Creek and Strange of El Cajon. In Strange of Lost Creek, we have recorded the life of Thomas Madison Strange (1851-1919) who homesteaded in Kansas in the 1870s, and led the life of a resplendent pioneer, hunting buffalo and harvesting corn. George Washington Strange (1837-1939) was the founder of Strange of El Cajon, so called because he is remembered as having climbed El Cajon Mountain when he was eighty years of age.

This selection of biographies teaches us about guardianship and adoption, foster parenting, single motherhood, single fatherhood, child abandonment, and the rediscovery of unacknowledged ancestry. We shall remember on these pages two families decimated by diphtheria, and one large family tragically killed in an automobile accident at a train crossing. The Maryland family came out of a seafaring clan, producing a man who was jailed for his debt, who redeemed his reputation through military service in the War of the American Revolution, and then became the progenitor of a grand family of Kentucky pioneers and Hoosiers, members of which spread far apart, into the bleak dugout communities of early Kansas, and the lumbering communities of Mississippi. Several of his descendants were religious men, some of whom became Catholic priests, Methodist ministers, and Baptist preachers. One boy’s promising youth was cut short when he was attacked by a native warrior on horseback, but several relatives contemporary to him, and several in the following generation were lucky enough to lead full and exemplary lives, epitomizing the American ideal of finding success through earnest work, as if they had been characters created by Horatio Alger, Jr.

What better way do we have to define the traditional family than to write the personal histories our kinsfolk, our affines, and our friends? Taking care to note the spaces and times that once enveloped these brief lives, the biographer, genealogist, or historian should attempt to outline for the next generation, his own view of the world, and interpretation of the family. The isolation and delineation of one individual life often leads to an understanding of several successive and connected lives, painting for us an intimate portrait of historical times. As our studies expand, so too our vicarious experiences will increase, giving us a tangible grasp on the course of human events, and an earthy, pragmatic wisdom by which to guide our own affairs during our own brief lives. Lives and loves may be brief, but philosophies and arts are long enduring.

Refer to the Table of Contents, Book V, Strange of Eastern America  for chapter titles, page numbers, dates covered, surnames, and localities. 

            John Strange, ca 1590, Wales-RI
            John Strange, ca 1620-ca 1675, Middlessex Ash, ca 1736, MD
            George Strange, fl 1634-1640, Devon
            Captain Lot Strange, 1699-1786, RI-MA
            Melatiah Strange, 1732-ante 1786, MA, NC
            John Sylvester Strange, 1745-ca 1795, MD
            Ignatius Strange, Sr., 1767-1851, MD-KY-IN
            Phillip Strange, 1771-1813, MD-KY-IN
            The Reverend John Joseph Strange, 1806-1858, KY-IN
            William Ambrose Strange, 1809-1894, KY-IN
            John M. Strange, ca 1812-1885, KY-IN-IL
            The Reverend John Sylvester Strange, 1831-1915, KY-IN-MO-KS
            Malinda Ellen Poindexter Faith née Strange, 1838-1921, IN
            Valentine Strange, 1845-1926, IN
            Thomas Madison Strange, 1851-1919, IN-MO-KS
            Charles Strange, 1851-1932, IN
            George Washington Strange, 1857-1939, PA-IN-CA
            Mary Ellen Hopkins née Strange, 1860-1935, IN
            Dr. John William Strange, M.D., 1876-1951, IN
            Dorinda Rebecca Webber née Strange, 1876-1973, KS-IA
Extraneus, Book V, Strange of Eastern America, by John R. Mayer, third edition, 2000
ISBN 978-1-893880-01-6, hardcover, 8-1/2" x 11"
xxxvi, 478 pages including bibliographic references, illustrations, prosopography, and index
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 00503649.  

NOTE: The printed version of this book is out of print.
The .PDF file referenced below is still available.

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