The Ancestry of Hannah Strader
Hannah Strader’s lineage is known back to the ancestors who came to the Colony of North Carolina about 1750. There is so much to say, in fact, that this is the most text-heavy of all the individual pages of the Nathaniel Martin/Hannah Strader website. Keep in mind that even though a great deal is mentioned here, this is still only a summary.
Much of the knowledge cited here comes as a result of the genealogical research of Howard Frame in the 1960s and early 1970s. Howard was descended from Elizabeth Strader, a sister of Hannah, who married Jeremiah Frame. The union of Jeremiah and Elizabeth was one of at least six Strader/Frame marriages, entwining the clans to such a degree that the Strader story was a natural focus of Howard’s investigations. Though Howard labored without the advantages of the internet era, he succeeded in finding enough documentation to pencil in a sketch of the family in early America. He found that Hannah’s bloodlines were thoroughly German, most or all of them qualifying as “Pennsylvania Dutch.”
The easiest way to structure a discussion of Hannah’s forebears is to to begin with the most ancient known and proceed chronologically. Below you will find three sections of text, each launching with one of three immigrant ancestors -- Johann Heinrich Strader, John Jacob Starr, or Heinrich Weitzel -- and proceeding down to Hannah. But first, it is useful to talk about the Pennsylvania Dutch migration in general.
The story begins in a region of Germany known as the Palatinate. This area, part of the Rhineland, lies just north of the Alsace-Lorraine region and up against the eastern borders of Luxembourg and Belgium. By the early 1700s this area was home to a population divided into three major sects of Christianity -- Lutheran, Calvinist, and Catholic. This division of power meant each group dreamed of becoming dominant, and no lasting stability could be counted on until such time as that happened. The prize was obvious. With the retreat of the plague years the land, a wonderfully fertile agricultural zone, had become prosperous. Among those who coveted it were outsiders, hoping to further their own interests by shifting the balance of control one way or another. The most infamous meddler was the French monarch Louis XIV, the famous “Sun King.” During his tremendously long reign (1643-1715) he repeatedly sent his armies over the border, ostensibly to support his Catholic brethren, but also for purposes of pillage. A crisis developed following a somewhat pointless invasion in 1707, a campaign apparently fueled by the ambitions of one of Louis’s field marshalls rather than by the king himself. The invaders withdrew almost at once. Some say that during the retreat of the French forces, the marshall gave the residents three days to flee, and then the army destroyed everything on their way home, a “scorched earth” military tactic. It is said that the fleeing people gathered eventually into refugee populations that had to fit themselves into the societies of neighboring countries. More objective histories say that the residents did not actually have to leave, but in the wake of an intensely cold winter of 1708-09 that destroyed orchards and vineyards that had stood for generations, the prospect of starting over elsewhere did not seem so daunting given that the families were going to have to replant fields and rebuild homes and barns and shops anyway. Moreover, even in peaceful times the Palatinate was too crowded, leaving few opportunities for the younger generations of agricultural families to obtain acreage sufficient to support a household. Soon pamphlets extolling the virtues of the colonies of Pennsylvania and North Carolina began circulating in editions in the tens of thousands of copies. Queen Anne of England, eager to help what she perceived as victims of religious persecution, and Parliament, eager to fill the American possessions with white, Protestant settlers but not wanting to deplete England to do so, approved a policy in 1709 that granted free passage to any “citizens of foreign nations” that wished to settle there, provided they swore allegiance to the Colonies when they arrived. Some, particularly a large surge of Lutherans, immediately took advantage of this offer. From 1709 through the early 1750s, as the queen continued to subsidize the voyages, many more followed, and the phenomenon began to draw more and more Germans from beyond the Palatinate as well.
One of the key groups in this mass exodus consisted of families who had at first sought asylum in the Netherlands. Perhaps some of them were biding their time hoping for the opportunity to reclaim their homes in Germany, but political unrest prevailed in the France/Germany border area for the remainder of the century. Eventually these families crossed the Atlantic. However, having spent as much as thirty or forty years in Holland, they had become “Dutchified” in speech and customs. As these later refugees crossed the Atlantic, many landed in Philadelphia and settled in eastern Pennsylvania. This is the group famous today as the “Pennsylvania Dutch.” Hannah’s forebears have been described as such here; however, strictly speaking the label only lightly applies, because the relevant individuals spent at most a dozen years, and some probably only a matter of weeks, within the bounds of Pennsylvania.
Hannah’s ancestors may well have rejected Pennsylvania as a long-term home because they were of somewhat different character than their co-travellers. Many of the latter, thanks to the decades spent in the Netherlands, had shifted their Lutheran or German Reformed religious affiliation to the Dutch Reformed Church. Hannah’s people had resisted this change. The sub-group naturally felt more comfortable cleaving to others like themselves, and one of the places they chose to gather was Guilford County, NC, where they were better able to preserve their way of life with less pressure to assimilate. Becoming speakers of English and having to use Anglicized versions of their names already represented a sea change in their identities; they didn’t want to give up all they had stood for. So down the famous Emigrant Trail came Johann Heinrich Strader, John Jacob Starr, and Heinrich Weitzel and the women who were, or soon would be, their wives.
Johann Heinrich Strader was a great great grandfather of Hannah. He is one of only two of that generation that has so far been identified by name, the other one being his son Henry’s father-in-law Nicholas Holstein. The rest of the immigrants who will be discussed below, including John Jacob Starr and Heinrich Weitzel, were one generation more recent -- great grandparents of Hannah.
Johann Heinrich was probably born in the early 1720s, though this is only an estimate. His birthplace was probably the Netherlands because he used Johann (sometimes rendered as Johannes) rather than Hans -- Hans being a “more German” variation of the name, which in English would be rendered as John, Jack, or Johnny. Having this first name does not mean he went by Johann, though. Many Palatinate households used naming traditions as an expression of religious faith. The name honors John the Baptist and/or the Apostle John. The practice was so common that -- as will be discussed below in the section dealing with John Jacob Starr -- the same immediate family might contain more than one son with the first name Hans/Johann/Johannes/John. You might think this would lead to confusion, but in that time and place, there was no problem, because the person would be identified by his middle name. The same phenomenon occurred with girl children named after the Virgin Mary. Sisters living in the same home might be named Maria Sofia, Maria Katarina, and Maria Anna. They would be called Sofia, Katarina, and Anna by everyone they knew. They would be expected to use the first name only on extremely formal occasions. This has bearing on genealogical research because the “formal occasions” protocol was often applied in cases of marriage records, censuses, deeds, and ships’ passenger lists.
The name Johann Heinrich Strader (rendered as Johann Henrich Ströder) appears on the ship captain’s list of the Ranier, sailing out of Rotterdam and arriving in Philadelphia on 26 September 1749. The same day, a “John Henry Streader” is listed as having made his oath of allegiance to the Colonies. The ship’s captain’s list also includes a Casper Streader and a “Johannes Ströder junge” or Johann Jr.
It seems probable that Johann Heinrich Strader of the Ranier is the same man who was Hannah’s great great grandfather, and that “Junior” was his son, who will henceforth be referred to in this essay as Henry Strader. If so, it would make sense that Henry was a child at the time, but the Ranier information does indicate that Junior signed his name, which implies he was old enough to write. The two Johanns might have been cousins or even brothers, or an uncle and nephew; the repetition of Johann as a first name doesn’t preclude any of these possibilities.
It is also possible there was some sort of relationship to Casper Streader. People with names that are the same phonetically, travelling on the same voyage of the same ship? It is tempting to connect those dots. However, no other evidence links Casper and Johann Heinrich. A Casper Stratter of Alsace Township, Pennsylvania -- very likely to be the Casper Streader who came on the Ranier -- left a will dated 1778 whose text survives, and that text makes no mention of Johann Heinrich or of any relatives living in North Carolina, where Johann Heinrich settled.
Deeds and other records from Guilford County establish that a Johann Heinrich Strader was living there from about 1750 onward. Whether this was the individual who sailed on the Ranier in 1849 has yet to be conclusively proven, but if “our” Johann Heinrich did not come on that particular ship, he came on one much like it, and was then part of a large migration of people like himself southward from Pennsylvania. It is generally known that Palatinate families with the surnames Albright, Clapp, Faust, Holt, Sharp (Scherb), Cortner (Goertner), Ingold, Brower, Keim, Staley, May, Amick (Ewigs), Smith, Stack, Nease, Ingles, Leinberger, Strader, and Wyrick established a colony of their folk in the period between 1745 and 1760 in the counties of Alamance, Granville, Guilford, Orange, and Caswell, NC. These were families who had kept to the German Reformed and Lutheran sects. Where genealogical uncertainty arises is in which deeds, tax lists, and church records refer to Johann Heinrich, and which refer to his son. On this webpage, the father and son pair are called Johann Heinrich and Henry for ease of identification, but in the records from the 1700s North Carolina, they would both have been Henry Strader -- Strader being rendered phonetically in most cases, by clerks who had to decide on the spot what spelling to use, clerks who perhaps were not entirely literate themselves. And to complicate matters further, spelling was not a standarized sort of thing in the first place in those pre-Noah Webster days.
When Johann Heinrich died is conjecture, because it is so impossible to distinguish him from his son in the extant records. We will leave that as a mystery and discuss Henry, the son, because some of the documentation from the later decades of the 1700s unquestionably refers to him and not to his father. Among those documents are various Granville County, NC court records. These include: 1) The will of John Holstein, dated May 1790, which granted “to brother-in-law Henry Streider land in Granville on Adock Creek.” Henry is also mentioned as one of two executors of that will, the other being Jacob Holstein, a brother of the author of the will. 2) A wedding record that links Henry Straiter (yet another spelling) to Catherine Holstein and gives a wedding date of 31 May 1773. John, Jacob, and Catherine Holstein were likely three of the children of one Nicholas Holstein (Hostine), whose own will is recorded in Granville County.
Neither Henry Strader nor Catherine Holstein were mentioned by name in the within-the-family records that survived into the 20th Century. Those records begin with the family Bible of Henry’s grandson, Jacob Strader, whose contents do not include details on Henry’s generation. The earliest forebears in that source are Daniel Strader -- son of Henry and father of Jacob -- and his wife, Elizabeth Wensck. However, public-source records establish that Henry and Catherine did exist, and they dwelled in the right place and right time -- and obviously had the right surname -- to have been Daniel’s parents. Henry and Catherine definitely had a son named Daniel, and only the strictest of genealogists would argue that it might be some other Daniel than the one who was Hannah’s grandfather. In addition to Daniel, the names of three other children of Henry and Catherine have surfaced. Those three were Henry, Adam, and Katy, with Daniel falling between Adam and Katy in the birth sequence. Three other children, all younger, are listed in the 1790 census, but their names are not mentioned in that source, only their genders (a girl then a boy then another girl) and age ranges. Henry was the eldest, born in 1774. More children may have been born after 1790.
One date mentioned for Henry’s death is 1792, but this does not agree with land transaction records. Again, the possible confusion with other Henry Straders is a factor, but it seems likely the “right” Henry bought and sold Orange County, NC land between 1787 and 1801, one tract deeded to Jacob Holstein in 1787 and another tract to his son Henry in 1794. The place of death for both Henry and Catherine is also unclear. By the end of their lives, a new migration had begun. North Carolina was now the “old country.” The “land of promise,” now that the Indian tribes were being pushed out of the region beyond the Appalachians, was Ohio. Henry and Catherine may have been content with the homes they had founded when young, and/or they may have died before the uprooting began. Their son Daniel, however, heeded the call westward.
Daniel’s life is firmly documented, and so we know his birth occurred 7 April 1777 in Guilford County. He was raised there as well. Six days after he turned twenty-one (i.e. 13 April 1798), he married Elizabeth Wensck, who had been born 22 August 1776, also in Guilford County. The bondsmen mentioned in the county marriage records is George Strader (rendered as George Steador), who was probably Daniel’s first cousin, son of the George Strader who fought in the Revolutionary War.
The first of Daniel and Elizabeth’s children, Jacob, was born 26 February 1799, about ten months after the wedding. Daniel and Elizabeth would go on to have many more offspring. The names of eleven children have surfaced. This may not be the full count, because these eleven names refer to children who reached adulthood. There may have been others who perished in infancy or in early childhood whose identities have been lost. Eleven may also be one too many names (see below).
Daniel and Elizabeth left North Carolina some time after the birth of their first four children -- Jacob, Polly, Susannah, and Mary, the latter born in 1804. Later census records of relatives hint that perhaps the family went next to Kentucky, but if so, it was a stopover of at most two or three years. Then it was on to Preble County, OH. According to the reference work History of Preble County, Ohio, 1798-1881, Daniel and Elizabeth arrived in 1809, but this does not agree with birth information concerning fifth child, named Elizabeth after her mother. She was born 25 March 1808 and her birthplace is listed as Preble County in a number of sources. Most likely the family had reached Ohio by the end of 1807. Their precise living place for the first few years -- during which time sixth and seventh children Daniel Jr. and Rosannah came into the world -- is unknown, but a county property transaction record reveals that Daniel purchased approximately 170 acres of land on 26 March 1813 from a Henry Strader -- this Henry probably being Daniel’s brother. The parcel, consisting of “the West half of fractional Section of No. 18 Town 8 Range 2 East,” was home to Daniel and Elizabeth for the rest of their long lives.
Daniel did not get to enjoy the experience of caring for and harvesting the first crop off his new land, though, because he left to fight in the War of 1812. The roll of Captain David E. Hendrick’s Company shows Daniel as serving May 1 to November 18, 1813. He had put in a tour of duty the previous year as well, and appears on the Roster of Ohio Soldiers of 1812, along with three other Straders.
Daniel survived the war and spent the next forty years as a leading citizen and prominent landowner of Preble County. The final four children, William, John, Levi, and Jane, were born by 1820 or not long after. The majority of the eleven kids lived in Preble County lifelong. Most were still local residents when Daniel passed away 11 February 1853. Elizabeth survived him only a brief while, expiring 30 August 1855. Husband and wife were both laid to rest in the Sherer Cemetery, Washington Township, Preble County. Sherer Cemetery had been established as a private graveyard of the Sherer family and then was expanded to include neighbors and in-laws. Two of Daniel and Elizabeth’s daughters had married Sherer men.
One of those Sherer/Strader marriages was that of Levi Sherer and Jane Strader. The best public-source evidence of the composition of the Daniel Strader/Elizabeth Wensck family happens to take the form of the records of the suit filed by Levi and Jane to force a partition of the family estate, described as 167 acres, so that the various heirs or their descendants would be able to get either get their fair share of the money or be able to obtain separate deeds to portions of the acreage, according to their wishes. Jane was the youngest daughter, and no doubt a suit was the only way she could get contrary older siblings to do right by her.
One puzzle brought up by the text of Levi and Jane’s petition is its reference to William Strader. This child of Daniel and Elizabeth does not appear in any other source. The most logical explanation is that William was an alternate name for John, who is known from other sources, and whose name does not appear in the petition. This would mean there were only ten known children of Daniel and Elizabeth, not eleven.
As mentioned, Daniel and Elizabeth’s eldest child was Jacob Strader, born in Guilford County before the migration, then raised in Preble County from the age of seven or eight onward. He would eventually become Hannah’s father. The first major step toward that development came with his marriage to Rachel Starr, daughter of John Starr and Catharine Weitzel. The wedding occurred 1 October 1818 in Preble County. Groom and bride were both eighteen years old and therefore had many decades together to look forward to. Before discussing length and breadth of that union, let’s shift back to the days when Guilford County was first being populated with its Palatinate settlers, and describe the lives of the grandparents and parents of Rachel Starr.
This individual’s life and identity are sketchy. His sons Adam, Jacob, and John -- all of whom married women of the same Weitzel family in Guilford County, must have had a father. The naming conventions of Palatinate families and the continuing use of the name Jacob in subsequent generations gives us the name John Jacob Starr by inference. The actual form of his name used in source material ranges from John Jacob to Jacob Starr to John Jacob Stohr -- Stohr probably being the “correct,” non-Americanized version of the surname.
John Jacob Starr’s father may have been Johannes Starr, age 38, a man who arrived 16 September 1738 in Philadelphia aboard the ship Elizabeth, which had sailed from Rotterdam via Deal, England. The passenger manifest of heads-of-families includes Johannes as well as three heads of Weitzel families -- Johann Werner Weitzel (or Weinard Weisell, age 27), Martin Weizel (or Weisell, age 30), and Henrich Weutsel (or Weitzel or Weisell, age 38). This is persuasive documentation that Johannes Starr might be the patriarch of the Starrs who settled in Guilford County, because these subsequent Starrs maintained a close association with the Weitzel clan. If the theory is correct, then Johannes was among the group of Palatinate German immigrants who stayed in the area of Berks, Lebanon, Schuylkill, or Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania until about 1750, then travelled down the Emigrant Trail to North Carolina. However, whether Johannes personally made it to that destination is unknown. His name does not appear in North Carolina court records. Perhaps he was dead by 1750. Perhaps he stayed in Pennsylvania. Given the uncertainties, Johannes is regarded as a “maybe” ancestor at this time.
As for “definite” ancestors, the best available within-the-family source for the history of the Starr family is the material written by his great great granddaughter Mary Rachel Frame Webb, whom we will call “Rachel Webb” (the name she went by at the end of her life, Webb being the surname of her final husband) from here to the end of this document. Unfortunately, her account is not particularly reliable in the matter of John Jacob Starr. In fact, it serves to confuse matters. Rachel Webb states that Rachel Starr’s maternal grandmother -- this would be Anna Margaret Low, wife of John Jacob Starr -- arrived in America from Germany as a widow with four boys, landing at Baltimore. This would mean John Jacob Starr died young. This scenario does not agree with the timing of the children’s birthdates. An early death also contradicts a theory in the volume Fox Family History 1703-1976 by John F. Vallentine, a reference work that touches repeatedly upon Hannah’s Guilford County forebears and was used as a guide by Howard Frame in his research. This book points to a record of the baptism of Adam Starr’s son John Jacob Starr, performed at the Brick Reformed Church in approximately 1779. The baby’s “sponsors” were his grandparents John Jacob Starr and Anna Margaret Starr. This implies John Jacob was in attendance to participate in the baptism of his grandson, and therefore was alive in 1779. However, it is also possible the sponsorship was honorary, a token of respect for a deceased family patriarch.
Boiling down the available references gives us a birthdate for John Jacob at the end of the 1720s, probably in Germany rather than the Netherlands. Both he and Anna Margaret Low, who is believed to have been born in about 1731, came to North Carolina well before 1750, perhaps with the first influx of their people from Pennsylvania to Guilford County, which dates from 1744. Their wedding must have occurred in 1749, about a year before the birth of their first child, Adam. These nuptials probably took place in Guilford County. Altogether five children are known, the youngest born about 1760. Those five were John Adam Starr (known as Adam), Jacob Starr, John Starr (known as John), Barbara Starr, and Anna Maria Starr.
You will note that these five include only three boys, not the “four boys” referred to by Rachel Webb. Webb also stated that the “widow” caused two of her sons to learn the tailor trade, and two the blacksmith trade. This much may have been somewhat accurate. John Starr is known to have been a tailor.
These three Starr brothers came of age in North Carolina and appear to have played a meaningful role in their communities as young men, and are mentioned in various local records of the 1770s through the early 1800s. In genealogical terms their most noteworthy accomplishment was that they all, as mentioned above, married daughters of the same family, named Weitzel. (1) Adam Starr married Margaret Weitzel. They had at least eleven children. Many of this brood would be part of the migrations from Ohio into Vermilion County, IL. A few went on to Green County, WI. For example, Adam’s namesake son Adam Starr, spent the last years of life in Clarno, Green County, WI, no more than a few miles from the home of his cousin, Rachel Starr Strader. (2) Jacob Starr married Anna Maria Weitzel. They had at least two children. Jacob is thought to have left Guilford County about 1790, but his later life has not yet been tracked. (3) John Starr would marry Catharine Weitzel. This pair would become the parents of Rachel Starr. But before elaborating on their lives, let’s take one more short step backward, and examine the life of the man who was the father to those three Weitzel daughters, and father-in-law to the three Starr brothers, the man we will refer to at first as Heinrich Weitzel:
This man was probably the son of the “Henrich Weutsel” who travelled on the H.M.S. Elizabeth and would probably, as a child, have also been a passenger on that voyage. That was probably the very day he Americanized his name to Henry. From here on down he will be referred to as Henry Weitzel because it is more in keeping with the public records. Those records, from Guilford and nearby counties through 1800, variously render the surname as Witzel, Wetzel, Weitzell, Whitsel, Whitzel, Whitzell, Whitesell, Whetsel -- as well as Whitesell and Weitzel. This applies not just to Henry but to many residents of those counties, most or all of whom were likely to have been members of the same extended clan. What version Henry himself would give us were he alive to be interviewed today is hard to say. Weitzel has been arbitrarily chosen as “official” here, though in fact a number of his children appear to have endorsed the idea that they should make themselves appear more English than German and were strongly tending to use Whitesell in their later years.
A Brief History of Alamance County reports that the Weitzel family of that region came from between Nurnberg and Dusseldorf in Germany, resided for about five years in Pennsylvania, moved to North Carolina in 1750, and settled on Gun Creek. This source (quoted in turn in the Fox Family History, published by the Fox Family Reunion, Ashland, KS, 1976) goes on to say that, “This history also confirms (Fox) family tradition in that Adam Weitzel of Orange County (now Alamance County) was a brother of Henry Weitzel of Guilford County, the two actually residing only a few miles apart. This relationship for them is probably correct, even though it appears Adam was probably as much as ten to fifteen years younger than Henry. The area along both sides of the present Guilford/Alamance County line was settled beginning about 1745 almost exclusively by Germans. Alamance County was created in 1848, mostly from Orange County, but with a small portion coming from eastern Guilford County, with later additions from northeastern Chatham County.”
The above excerpt is the first of many that place Henry (or perhaps his namesake father) in this particular part of North Carolina. Below is a map from 1808 that is helpful. Note the place name Weitzel in the upper right, circled and highlighted in red. This may well have been Henry’s precise place of residence for much of his life, and if not, was the place other members of his family were living, and he resided close by, probably just to the east in what was at that time known as Orange County.
As Henry Whitsel, Henry appears on the 1755 tax list of Orange County, which at that time included an area extending several miles inside present-day Guilford County. By 1762 he was a property owner along the waters of Alamance in what is now Guilford County. On 22 September 1770 Henry Weitzel took the oath prescribed by Parliament for naturalization at Hillsborough, Orange County. Henry (name spelled Weitzell) is recorded in the Brick Reformed Church records as a donor and collector of monies for the church in 1772. In Guilford County records, Henry is mentioned at least two dozen more times, including as a juror (1783), an assessor (1783), a purchaser of land (1762, 1763, twice in 1784, 1787), a recipient of land grants (1779, 1780, 1784, 1787, 1790, 1794), a seller of land (1773, 1785, twice in 1788, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1795), road overseer (1788), an executor (1791), and as a deceased owner (1797, 1798, 1806). All three Starr sons-in-law appear in these records, especially Adam Starr. In particular, Adam’s name appears as administrator of Henry’s estate. The names of Henry’s sons Tobias Weitzel and Henry Weitzel, Jr. also appear more than once.
Many of the records cited above confirm that Henry was the owner and operator of a mill along the Reedy Fork of the Haw River, and that he was a property owner along Beaver Creek. This means he may well have been the owner of the 1770s version of the mill shown at left, which is located on the Reedy Fork near Beaver Creek. The photo is a modern-day picture of an existing structure, still in operation and selling its flour not only to the local community but to the tourist trade. The website of this business does not specifically mention Henry by name in the brief summary it provides of the mill’s history. (Click here to visit said website.) However, the possibility this is “the” mill -- rebuilt and slightly relocated -- is too tantalizing to neglect to include the photo here. That possibility aside, it is a fact that Henry's mill was the site of a colorful historical incident. A minor skirmish of the Revolutionary War, to become known as the Battle of Whitsell’s Mill, took place in 1781 on Reedy Fork, Guilford County. British troops decided to occupy and make use of the mill, and local men briefly -- and unsuccessfully -- tried to prevent the seizure of the premises.
None of the available references provide precise birth and death dates for Henry and his wife, nor the birthdates for the majority of their children, but the following stats seem to be accurate: Henry was born about 1728, probably in Germany. His wife was Anna Maria Fronich. Some references include the name Sophronia but this is probably a misrendering of Fronich. She was born about 1729. Whether she came from the same part of Germany as Henry is unknown. The couple were wed about 1748 in Guilford County. Their ten children, born from 1749 to 1762, were Petrus, John, Heinrich (Henry, Jr.), Margaret, Samuel, Catharine, Anna Maria, Elizabeth, Phillip, and Tobias. This is believed to be the birth order.
Intriguingly, Anna Maria Fronich’s name appears on some of the property transaction records mentioned above. Furthermore it is her maiden name -- or variations of it, usually the Americanized version, Mary Froney. These documents date from late in the marriage, and do not seem to involve property that came as part of her dowry, nor can it be explained by widowhood, because she pre-deceased Henry. Perhaps she took charge of her life more than the typical woman of her era.
Henry and Anna Maria finished their lives in Guilford County. She died in the early 1790s. Henry’s death can best be determined by letters of administration on the estate of Henry Whitezel, deceased, issued to Adam Starr, Esquire, in 1797. An estate sale was held and was reported to the February 1798 court.
The three Starr/Weitzel marriages occurred in the mid-1770s, during Henry’s prime as a landowner, miller, and man of his community. Adam and Margaret were married 22 April 1773. Jacob and Anna Maria were next, wed on 5 January 1776, followed less than three weeks later by John and Catharine on 25 January 1776. All three weddings took place in Guilford County. All three couples began having children immediately, and those offspring arrived at frequent intervals.
John and Catharine were said by Rachel Webb to have had twelve children, but Rachel Webb gave the names of only seven in her notes, and only three others have been identified from other sources. The missing two were probably lost at birth or while they were very young. The ten whose identities are known are: John Henry Starr, Mary Elizabeth Starr, John Barnhart Starr, followed by Sophia, Catherine, Naomi, Daniel, Margaret, Absalom, and finally Rachel. More than one source agrees that Rachel was the very youngest, born 23 June 1799.
Rachel was born before her family left Guilford County, but she was not more than ten years old by the time the household was reestablished in Preble County, OH. It was probably only after getting to Ohio that she became acquainted with Jacob Strader. Though both the Strader Family and the Starr and Weitzel families originated in Guilford County, they seem to have lived in slightly different areas and may not have directly known one another. In Preble County, however, they were in fairly close proximity. Jacob and Rachel probably met when they were nine or ten years old. As mentioned above, they wed at age eighteen.
Jacob and Rachel had ten children, the first born nine months after the wedding and the last coming when Rachel was at the extreme end of her fertile years. These ten, as they appear in the Jacob Strader family Bible, were Mary Ann Marie (“Polly”) Strader, (b. 20 June 1819), Susan Anna Strader (b. 29 July 1821), Elizabeth Strader (b. 25 Jan 1824), Anna Catherine Strader (b. 11 May 1826), Hannah Strader (b. 30 June 1829), Margaret Ellen Strader (b. 12 March 1831), Daniel Strader (b. 11 March 1835), John S. Strader, (b. 22 January 1838), Rhoda Carolyn Strader (b. 25 March 1842), and Jacob Strader, Jr. (b. 15 November 1844).
Hannah’s known ancestry tree therefore looks like so:
In Preble County, the families mentioned above -- the Straders, the Weitzels, the Starrs, etc. -- began to give in to the great American melting-pot phenomenon. The spouses chosen by the new generations of the family were often not of German and/or Pennylvania-Dutch extraction. However, this mingling continued to obey a familiar pattern. The weddings were not just unions of a given man and a given woman. They were examples of a whole community blending together. Whether the groom’s forebears had come from the fens of Ireland and the bride’s from the Rhine Valley farmlands of Germany, the two of them were most likely to have been neighbors for most or all of their lives. Their families probably all attended the same church. They were almost all dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. They were all pioneer, frontier-dwelling settlers. Often multiple individuals of one immediate family would chose to marry members of another immediate family, just as the three Starr boys had married the three Weitzel girls. It was with this Preble County phase that the great mingling of the Strader and the Frame clan was initiated. The first instance was when Jacob Strader’s sister Polly married Silas Frame in 1821. Twenty-two years later John Strader (who was much younger than Jacob and Polly) would marry Rachel Frame. By then, the next generation had started to get in on the act, as will be described below. It is accurate to say that all these people were on a single journey. It was not individuals, but an entire community, that moved from the Palatinate to the Netherlands in the early 1700s. It was a mass migration from Europe to North Carolina in the mid-1700s, a common destiny driving the North Carolina-born generation into Ohio. And the journey was not done. By the late 1820s and early 1830s, the new generations of these interconnected families would head on Vermilion County, IL. Many would, in the 1840s and early 1850s, proceed north to the Pecatonica River region -- Stephenson County, IL, Green County, WI, and Lafayette County, WI.
Jacob Strader and Rachel Starr made the move to Vermilion County in 1822, joining her sister (Mary) Elizabeth and brother-in-law Henry Johnson and acquiring a homestead nearby amid a mini-colony of Starr relatives that included not only Lizzy and Henry, but additional siblings Margaret Marsh (now a widow) and Absalom Starr, and soon to be joined by Naomi (“Polly”) Jordon and husband John. Coming along with the latter in 1824 were Rachel’s elderly parents, John Starr and Catharine Weitzel. Johnson’s Point lay two miles west of where the village of Georgetown would eventually rise. All the children from Elizabeth to Daniel were born in Vermilion County, and possibly John as well. After fifteen years, the the family gave in to the temptation to go north. In the wake of the Black Hawk Wars of the early 1830s, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin were free of Indian aggression and there were plentiful opportunities to homestead farmland or dig for lead in the mines of Lafayette County. Jacob and Rachel again were journeying in the wake of Elizabeth and Henry Johnson, and came in a large convoy of oxen-drawn wagons with other relatives and neighbors. They were part of a large influx of settlers. They began farming near Waddams Grove. (In the 1884 History of Green County, Wisconsin, the Straders were said to have first come to the place known as Richland Timber, but this is unfortunately no longer a useful place reference, as the term has fallen completely out of use, and seemed to apply to a long stretch of woodland, rather than an individual settlement.) In about 1845, not long after the birth of Jacob, Jr., the family established a new farm over the border in Green County, WI in Jordan Township. Among the bachelors frequenting Stephenson and Green Counties in the late 1840s was Nathaniel Martin, who would soon take notice of Hannah, or vice versa. (For more on that, proceed to Hannah’s biography page. Click here to go straight there.)
(It is useful to compare the two images of Rachel Starr Strader you see in this section. The large one is better quality, scanned from an original tintype in the possession of great great great grandson Dave Smeds, but the exposure was not the best it could have been. The contrast is so high that the black lace bonnet Rachel was wearing looks more like a black wig. The details of the bonnet are more apparent in the image at right. Unfortunately the latter had to be scanned from a snapshot of a framed print hanging on a wall and not from an original -- note the glare from the flashbulb on the glass.)
Because Jacob and Rachel and their children established themselves in Wisconsin as a unit, Hannah’s kin were around her as an adult to a greater degree than her husband’s kin were around him. Several of Nathaniel’s siblings never came west from Virginia at all, and his parents only arrived when they were elderly. By contrast, all of Hannah’s siblings spent many years in or near Green County. Some finished their lives there. Parents Jacob and Rachel passed away in Green County as well, beginning with Jacob 28 February 1865. Jacob was buried in Kelly Cemetery (sometimes called Kelly/Franklin Cemetery) in Cadiz Township. Rachel thereafter lived with one or another of her children. The 1870 census shows her in the household of son John and his young family on his farm in Clarno Township. In 1880, she is with widowed daughter Rhoda and Rhoda’s two daughters in Cadiz Township a bit north of Martintown. Her nephew Esau Johnson wrote of visiting her there in May, 1880 -- as he put it, it was the first time he had seen his aunt in 53 years. (Esau had left Vermilion County for good in 1827.) Rachel survived her husband by more than two dozen years, finally passing away in Martintown 8 March 1889 at just under ninety years of age. Her remains were also laid to rest at Kelly Cemetery. Jacob and Rachel share a grave and a tombstone. (The gravemarker is shown at left. Photo taken by Robert Carpenter 1993. Note that this gravemarker is relatively new. The original marker is nearby. It is not in good condition and some descendant -- identity unknown at present -- must have been motivated to commission a replacement that would remain legible into the 21st Century and beyond.)
While it is not possible to describe the entire line of descent of Jacob Strader and Rachel Starr with the sort of attention that has been devoted to Hannah’s family, what you see below is hopefully a good start. Hannah survived until 1919 so she would have been aware of much of the information, and it feels right to have it here. Please be aware that this section is a work-in-progress. From 2005 to the end of 2014, each of Hannah’s siblings only received a paragraph or two of coverage. Now there is more, with the added goal of saying at least something about each of her grand nieces and nephews. Eventually this material will be more than just a section on the page about her ancestry, and will have its own dedicated page. However, that will take some time to complete. As of now (December, 2014), you will not see the expanded coverage about the children of Hannah’s sisters Elizabeth, Anna Catherine, and Margaret. That will come later. Meanwhile it didn’t seem right to hold the rest back.
Mary Ann Marie “Polly” Strader was perhaps the sibling who had the most impact on Hannah’s life. In a way this is surprising because Polly was a full ten years older than Hannah and was gone from the bevy of the family home by the time Hannah was seven to eight years old. The two siblings did not get the chance to spend much time together as adults until the mid-1850s when Polly settled on a farm less than ten miles from Martintown. After that, though, Polly and/or her family members maintained regular and extended contact. A number of Polly’s children and grandchildren would go on to have a week-by-week presence in Hannah’s life. Of all the lines that spring from Jacob Strader and Rachel Starr, it is Polly’s clan that today is represented in the greatest proportion in Green County, WI or spots nearby -- and this was the case to an even greater degree during Hannah’s lifetime. (By contrast, Hannah probably never again laid eyes on her sister Susanna or any member of Susanna’s family from 1854 onward.) Polly was also one of the longest-lived of the Strader/Starr offspring and therefore Hannah was able to spend time with her oldest sister right up into the 20th Century, something true of only two other siblings, both much younger than Hannah.
Frustratingly, even though Polly and her descendants were so well known to Hannah herself, a number of questions have developed in the past hundred years about Polly and her story. One uncertainly is to what degree Polly embraced her nickname. She is called Polly in old family notes and is described as Polly in the probate file paperwork created in 1852 and 1853 during the interval when her late first husband’s estate was being settled. But she appears in virtually all other documents under an array of other names including Mary, Mary Ann, Anna, and Marie. We will continue to call her Polly here, but this is not to be taken as a declaration of her “true” identity.
One of the most authoritative sources about Polly in recent years was her great-granddaughter Florence Mauermann Behrens (1910-2000). Florence, a former schoolteacher, became a dedicated historian and family researcher. She served the town of Brodhead, Green County, WI as chair of the mayor’s historical preservation committee and she oversaw the efforts of the Brodhead library history room even in the 1990s when she was quite elderly. This means Florence was skilled as a genealogist and succeeded in finding out facts about Polly that eluded others. Moreoever, Florence seems to have been the heir of Polly’s own personal papers, which Florence inherited from her mother Naoma Whitehead Mauermann, who had them from her mother Rhoda Cathryn Frame Whitehead. Unfortunately, even Florence did not have all the answers about Polly and her life. And even more unfortunate, Florence did not survive long enough to serve as a direct consultant when this website began to be assembled in 2005.
Polly was already in her late teens by the time of the big family migration from Vermilion County to Stephenson County. She came along on the trip, but in fact she may not have done so as a daughter of Jacob and Rachel, but as a wife of William Swearingen. The latter may even have been one of the influences that caused Jacob and Rachel to move. Jacob and Rachel knew they could depend once again on the anchoring presence of Elizabeth and Henry Johnson, but their new son-in-law William had already visited Stephenson County. William, a son of Daniel Swearingen and Lydia Peters born to that couple in Kentucky 30 September 1816, was a river trader. During the early to mid-1830s as a teenager and young man, he had made a number of runs between the more settled parts of southeastern Illinois and the newly-opened-for-settlement lands in northwestern Illinois and southern Wisconsin Territory. Assuming William recommended the Pecatonica River region as a fresh place for his new parents-in-law to live, that may have been the final endorsement Jacob and Rachel needed in order to make up their minds.
Florence Behrens’s notes say Polly and William were wed 24 September 1837 in Stephenson County. This date and place seem credible, but there is a statistical conflict that must be taken into account. Florence lists the couple’s first child as Susannah Swearingen, born 7 February 1837, died 12 March 1844 in Vermilion County. This birthdate is before the wedding date. Perhaps the wedding actually took place 24 September 1836, a date which would imply the ceremony occurred in Vermilion County, not in Stephenson. Perhaps the birthdate was actually 7 February 1838. Either of those changes would put the birth after the wedding. Four and a half months prior, actually. This would have meant Polly was pregnant as a bride. This is believable. What is not as credible is the idea that Susannah was born out of wedlock. The Straders were religious enough that this would not have been an acceptable scenario and it is not likely things happened that way. There are two other possibilities: 1) William may have been a recent widower when he married Polly, with Susannah being the product of a brief marriage to a woman who died in childbirth. However, this theory has no evidence to support it. 2) Susannah may not have existed. Florence may have found records of a Susannah Swearingen with that birthdate and death date in cemetery records of Fischer Graveyard in Covington, Vermilion County, IL and decided she must have been Polly and William’s daughter. It is possible Polly and William only had five children. Florence is pretty much the only source for the extra pair. The five whose existence is unquestioned consist of Mary Jane, born in 1838 or 1839, Lydia Elizabeth, born 13 December 1842, Rachael, born 25 December 1844, Sarah Jane, born about 1846, and William Henry Swearingen (possibly a junior), born 23 June 1848. Florence included Susannah and one other child who died before reaching adulthood. She names that last child as Isaac, born about 1848, and Florence says he died at the age of twelve or thirteen of an intestinal complaint caused by “green apples.” While traces of Susannah can be found -- an example being the 1840 census which shows the William Swearingen household contained two little girls who would correspond to Susannah and Mary Jane -- there is no confirmation Isaac ever existed. He is not in the household in the 1850 census, for example.
The children, whether there were five or seven, were not all born in the same home. William’s occupation must have required him to keep seeking new opportunities. Mary Jane was born somewhere in Wisconsin. In 1840, as shown by the census, the family home was in Stephenson County near the Strader homestead. Once the children were more numerous and more mobile, though, a steadier arrangement would have become vital, and it would appear that Polly and William chose Vermilion County as their base of operations -- or at least, they were there more often than anywhere else. They were enumerated there in the 1850 census. Polly is unique among the children of Jacob Strader and Rachel Starr in coming back to the family’s former stomping grounds. Her parents and siblings never resided there after the 1836-37 exodus.
William Swearingen died 8 June 1852 in Vermilion County. Now a single mother, Polly did the natural thing and sought the refuge of her parents in Green County. This brought her back into the same social circle as her siblings. Her need for another husband and breadwinner was obvious and she did not remain a widow long. However, her second marriage was not successful. Her niece Juliette Martin Savage wrote in 1947 that Polly “only lived with her second husband a short time.” Florence Behrens notes this marriage was to a man named Starr or Blair, but apparently Florence was unable to learn anything more about the fellow than these two possible surnames. Both names are intriguing and are cause to wonder if Florence got her facts right. The name Starr suggests Polly married a Starr cousin. Certainly there were Starr second cousins in the area who might have been the source of such a groom. The name Blair suggests she may have wed an uncle of Adelaide Blair, the eventual bride of Polly’s brother John S. Strader. There is a possible date and place for this wedding -- 24 November 1853 in Cadiz Township (probably in Martintown). In some family notes this date and place is used in association with William Swearingen’s death, but the 1852/Vermilion County stats seem to be accurate, meaning the 24 November 1853 date must have some other reason to have been jotted down. The timing and place sound right for Polly’s second set of nuptials. All that can be said for sure about the second marriage is that it was brief. It seems likely that it ended with an annulment rather than a divorce.
Polly went on to marry Silas Frame 31 October 1855 in Argyle, Lafayette County, WI. This union was one of the six Strader/Frame marriages referred to at the top of this page, and part of a trio involving three of Hannah’s sisters and a set of three Frame brothers. The marriage of Polly and Silas is not to be confused with one that occurred a generation earlier when Silas Frame, an uncle of the three Frame brothers, became the husband of Jacob Strader’s sister Polly Strader. Yes, that means that for two generations in a row, a Silas Frame married a Polly Strader! Sorting out which is which is sometimes a genealogical challenge unless one pays attention to the dates and places. The older Silas Frame/Polly Strader pair lived out their lives in Preble County, OH. The younger pair established themselves as newlyweds on a farm in Clarno Township, Green County, WI and stayed put. Silas in fact died on that farm in 1894, after which Polly spent most of her final years there.
Though Polly came to her marriage to Silas at over thirty-five years of age, she had an additional four children. They were Jacob Strader, born in 1856, Rhoda Cathryn, born 10 January 1858, Ellen, born in the spring of 1860, and Emma Frame, born 22 November 1861. That means Polly was the mother of at least nine, and possibly eleven, biological children. Impressive as that is, it is only a fraction of the mothering she did. She was the foster mother of several of her grandchildren. Her daughter Mary Jane died in the early 1870s. Within a dozen years four more such tragedies would follow. Lydia, Sarah, and William Swearingen would perish in their thirties, and Jacob Strader in his twenties. In her 1947 letter, Juliette Savage stated that all of these first cousins of hers died of tuberculosis. All these five except Jacob Strader Frame produced children before they expired. Polly and Silas came to the rescue time and time again. They accepted full custody of grandsons Silas Edward Trickle and Ashford Lewis Trickle. Several other grandchildren spent substantial periods in their home until their surviving parents had remarried and were able to handle the responsibility.
Polly was widowed again by the death of Silas in 1894. She spent the last fragment of her life residing with her daughter Rhoda and son-in-law Charles E. Whitehead on their Clarno Township farm. Polly finally perished 27 June 1905 at age eighty-six. Of her siblings, only Hannah would surpass that mark. Polly may have succumbed at home in Clarno Township, but a death index entry places the event in Cadiz Township, an indication she was cared for by Martintown relatives during her very last days. She was buried with Silas in Kelly/Franklin Cemetery. (Gravemarker shown at left.)
Polly’s offspring were, as a group, probably more a part of Hannah’s life than any other set of nieces and nephews. Here is a summary of each of their lives (not counting Susannah and Isaac Swearingen, in view of the fact that they may not have existed):
Mary Jane Swearingen married Loren Brewster Devoe 4 April 1861 in Clarno Township. They became parents of three children -- William Carlos, Charles Henry, and Cordella (aka Della) -- in the 1860s. In the early 1870s the couple moved to a farm in Cadiz Township in the vicinity of Martintown, where Mary Jane soon passed away, becoming the first of Polly’s children to be taken by tuberculosis. Loren lingered in and/or near Martintown for many years to come, marrying a second and then a third wife and siring a son with each. Hannah was particularly well acquainted with her grand nephew Charles Henry Devoe, who made Martintown his base for nearly the whole of the span during which he and his wife Fannie Long raised their eleven children. (And when they weren’t based in Martintown, they were only a few miles away in Browntown). The Swearingen-Devoe branch has tended to remain in Wisconsin more than other parts of the Strader/Starr clan, many of the others having abandoned the area quite early on. Even today Charles’s great-grandson Duane Devoe lives only a dozen miles from Martintown. (Duane is one of the modern-day relatives who has contibuted information for this website.) Mary Jane's son William Carlos Devoe was an exception, leaving for Iowa as a young man and then spending his final decades in Missouri. Loren Brewster Devoe survived until 1916, passing away in Waterloo, IA, having spent his final few years with his youngest son (by third wife Ariel Howe) George Loren Devoe.
Lydia Swearingen married Robert Edward Trickle, Jr. (aka Trickel). The couple spent their marriage farming in Green County. Lydia, too, would die of TB, but she did not succumb until the latter part of the 1870s when she was almost forty years old, so hers was a very substantial brood -- much more so than her siblings and half-siblings. She gave birth to ten known children, having had an early start on marriage, becoming a wife in 1859 as a teenager. Two of her elder sons, William and Perry, married nieces of Loren Devoe. Another of Loren’s nieces married into the Lockman family of Martintown. The Trickel/Devoe/Lockman clan has been robustly researched by modern-day descendants including Duane Devoe and as a consequence much of the line of Polly Strader Swearingen Frame is unusually well defined in recent genealogies. Once Lydia passed away, Robert found it impossible to care for all of such a large group of children. He sent a couple of the younger girls into fosterage while younger sons Silas Edward Trickle and Ashford Lewis Trickle were taken in by Polly and Silas. Robert moved as a widower to Delta County, CO accompanied by or soon joined by sons John, Perry, Andrew Jackson (Jack), and William. Some did not go quite as far, ending up instead in Dodge City, Ford County, KS. Younger members of the brood found the Colorado and Kansas options less compelling, perhaps feeling (rightly so) that they had been left behind. Ashford, after coming of age back in Wisconsin, chose to settle in Iowa instead. Nellie Mae, the very youngest of Lydia’s offspring, did spend a few decades in Colorado, but finished her life in California.
Rachael Swearingen married Carlos J. Wells in late 1861. They immediately settled down on a farm in Rock Grove Township, Stephenson County, IL. That was where the couple spent the rest of their long lives. They produced four children -- William Warner, John E., Cora Ellen, and Lura Ann Wells -- at the sensible pace of about one child every five years. They also took in Olive Wolf, daughter of Rachael’s late half-sister Emma Frame, when Olive was a teenager (perhaps simply to have a servant, as she is described in the 1900 census, or perhaps to let the girl get out of her stepmother’s house). Carlos was apparently popular within the clan. A number of Rachael’s nephews and grand-nephews were named Carlos (usually as a middle name) and he seems to have been the source. Carlos died in 1917. Rachael remained on the farm, which was in the hands of daughter Cora and son-in-law David Rockey. Rachael died in the mid-1920s -- the only one of Polly’s kids to come close to matching the number of years Polly herself survived. By the time of her death Rachael had been a fixture of Stephenson County for over sixty years. Her clan would carry on that connection and even today descendants inhabit the area. As for her kids, John and Cora remained within the county for life. William Warner Wells and family eventually relocated to DeKalb County, but in the grand scheme of things this was not a big shift. He and his household ended up only thirty miles southeast of the old farm in easy visiting distance. The only one who truly left was Lura Ann Wells, who with her husband Owen Reed moved to South Dakota in the early 1900s. Her three Reed grandchildren were the only ones Rachael did not get the chance to see on a regular basis.
Sarah Jane Swearingen took a page from her mother’s book and went through a marriage that was over so quickly it is difficult nowadays to confirm it happened. She wed neighbor Thomas Hackworth 12 March 1865 in Clarno Township. Divorce or annulment must have followed because both Sarah and Thomas appear in the 1870 census married to other people. In Sarah’s case, her second spouse was Stephen Decatur Black. (Called Dick Black in Juliette Savage’s 1947 letter -- apparently he was nicknamed “Deck” and inevitably some people started calling him Dick instead. (Because of this nickname, a few pre-internet genealogies identified him as Richard Black.) Sarah and Stephen were wed 19 September 1868 in Green County, WI. Precisely seven weeks later, Sarah’s younger brother William H. Swearingen married Stephen’s younger sister Hulda D. Black. The two Black siblings were children of David W. Black and Nancy Cable.
As newlyweds, Sarah and Stephen moved in with his parents in rural Cadiz Township near Martintown. David and Nancy Black had founded their farm in the 1860s after the family had come out west from Tuscawaras County, OH. Stephen was the eldest son (by quite a margin) and was his father’s right-hand man in caring for the land, which he did throughout the time Sarah was his wife. The couple produced three children: Nancy, Rachel, and Ernest, the first born in 1869 and the last in 1879. It was while Ernest was an infant that Sarah’s case of tuberculosis manifested in full force. Leaving her husband and two older children at the Black farm -- no doubt in order to lessen the chance that they would contract the disease -- she retreated to the sanctuary of her mother and stepfather’s home in Clarno Township, where she passed away in the spring of 1880. Stephen raised the kids back in Cadiz Township before he died in 1898. Because of the proximity, Hannah got to know her niece’s offspring quite well. Nancy and Rachel Black went on to spend the rest of their lives in Green County. (Ernest Black moved away to Minnesota in early adulthood.)
William Henry Swearingen and Hulda Black would eventually make a similar move to Cadiz Township, but not until a few years into the marriage. They farmed at first in Clarno Township, staying more-or-less within the sphere of Polly and Silas Frame. First child Anna was born in Clarno Township. In the early 1870s the family spent a short sojourn in Hardin County, IA. Second child William Carlos was born there. By the middle of the decade (and possibly sooner) William and Hulda decided the Martintown area appealed to them. The family lingered about twenty-five years, though William did not live to see the end of that phase because he succumbed to TB 7 November 1883 at the age of only thirty-five. By then the family had expanded to six, the four younger ones consisting of Stephen, Elsie May, Cora Ellen, and Lee Henry (sometimes Henry Lee) Swearingen. Hulda went on to marry Orville Hubbard in 1891. The ties to Martintown weakened with the late 1890s deaths of Hulda’s parents and her brother Stephen. Older son William Carlos Swearingen had just become established in Mazomanie, Dane County, WI, so Hulda and Orville -- who was eighteen years Hulda’s senior and was ready to retire -- also moved to Mazomanie. The two would finish their lives there, Orville dying in 1927 and Hulda in 1933. Two of her other children, Elsie and Lee, also put down roots in Mazomanie. Descendants can be found in Mazomanie to this day.
Jacob Strader Frame accompanied his brother-in-law Robert Trickle to Delta County, CO in 1880. Jacob was by then in his mid-twenties. He is not known to have married or become a father. In the 1947 letter, Juliette Savage includes Jacob on the list of the cousins who died of tuberculosis; however, a conflicting note written in the early 1910s by his double first cousin Rachel Webb states Jacob drowned in Colorado.
Rhoda Cathryn Frame was the child upon whom Polly came to lean at the end of her life. In some ways this was inevitable. With the exception of Rachael Swearingen Wells, no other child of Polly survived past the mid-1880s. Rhoda was born in 1858 and spent her whole upbringing on the Clarno Township farm. In 1877, she wed Charles Edward Whitehead. The Whiteheads as a whole share a number of other genealogical ties to the Martin/Strader clan, but this union was the most direct example of the connection. The pair settled as newlyweds on a Clarno Township farm not too far from Polly and Silas’s property, but far enough to have a bit of a cushion between them. This farm was to be their home for all of Rhoda’s remaining forty-six years of life, after which Charles lingered there until retiring in his mid-seventies (in 1929 or 1930). Rhoda and Charles produced just three children, a son who died either at birth or in infancy, and two daughters, Blanch and Naoma. They also get credit for raising Rhoda’s first cousin Benjamin Franklin Eveland from the age of eleven to adulthood. (For more on that, see the Margaret Strader section below.) Just when she and Charles took in elderly Polly is not absolutely certain. Polly does not appear as a member of their household in the 1895 Wisconsin state census, which was recorded after Silas Frame had been dead a year. However, by 1900 she was there, and would remain until her final days. Rhoda was one of the lucky ones to avoid tuberculosis and whatever other misfortunes claimed so many of her generation before the turn of the century, but in the end her luck ran out. While visiting her daughter Blanch 12 November 1923, Rhoda stepped off a curb in Brodhead, WI. Her eight-year-old grandson, Ralph Roderick, spotted an on-coming automobile in time to leap back out of the way, but Rhoda was struck. She died almost instantly.
Ellen Frame appears in the 1860 census at the age of two months, proof that her birth was in March or April of 1860. Florence Behrens’s notes say Ellen died in infancy.
Emma Frame was Polly’s last biological (as opposed to fostered) child, born 22 November 1861 in Clarno Township. She probably did not feel as though she was the youngest, though, given how many nephews and nieces shared the home during her childhood. In late 1882, Emma married Charles E. Wolf, son of Michael Wolf and Hester Cable. Both the Wolf clan and the Cable clan be linked to the Martin-Strader clan in multiple ways, the most clear-cut example being the 1908 wedding of Charles Wolf’s nephew Tecumseh Edgar Claus to Hannah’s granddaughter Blanche Bucher. Emma and Charles do not appear to have established their own home as newlyweds. Instead they boarded with Polly and Silas and Charles helped his elderly stepfather keep up the farm. Emma may in fact have never known any other home than the one she was born into, because she died 21 December 1886 at only twenty-five years old. She left behind two little girls, Olive Mary Wolf and Esther Verdi Wolf. Charles went on to marry Lora Earlywine in 1891 and produced four sons with her. He spent the latter portion of his life in Rock Run Township, Stephenson County, IL among his kinfolk, passing away 10 October 1933. He spelled his last name Wolfe during the final quarter century of his life.
Susan Anna Strader -- whose name is rendered as Susanna in all censuses and as Susannah in cemetery/death records -- married Peter Pence Hughes, son of David Hughes and Sarah Margaret Pence, who Susanna was Ohio was Ohio-born. Peter caught a case of California gold rush fever and left Wisconsin, probably in 1849, and definitely by early 1850, probably travelling with his brother-in-law Joshua Tatman Bailey and two young nephews. The June 1850 census confirms that Susanna and children Elias Hughes and Peter P. Hughes, Jr., age five months, were living at the home of Jacob and Rachel Strader in Jordan Township without the presence of Peter P. Hughes, Sr. -- though Peter’s brother William Hughes is enumerated right next door. Peter returned in 1851 and stayed for an interval. Daughter Rachel was born in Wisconsin in June, 1852. But in 1853, Joshua Tatman Bailey returned to Wisconsin with the intention of moving his family permanently to California. (Joshua’s wife was Peter’s eldest sister, Sarah.) Susanna and Peter decided they would do likewise. The two families may literally have travelled together. They would continue to associate with one another over the next few decades in El Dorado County and Sacramento County. Susanna and Peter’s younger children David, Jacob Strader, and Catherine G. (Kate, Katie) were all born in California. Not long after arrival, Susanna and Peter established a home in Cosumnes Township in El Dorado County, where they would remain until about 1870 or 1871, at which point they moved to the city of Sacramento. Susanna died 10 November 1878 in Sacramento of typhoid fever, a disease that would claim the life of her daughter Katie in 1886. Peter Hughes, Sr. died 25 August 1875 of septicemia. Sacramento city cemetery records show Peter, Susanna, and Katie were buried in sequential graves. Much later Rachel would be buried beside them. No headstones appear to have been commissioned for any of the family members. Rachel’s name and statistics were added to the side of the headstone of her husband Abraham Nusbaum and his first wife. (As shown at right.) The Nusbaum grave lies a long walk away from the Hughes plot, so this means the memorial for Rachel is not near where her remains were interred. It’s unclear if this circumstance means her surviving husband was too cheap to commission an original headstone for her, or if Rachel had made arrangements for her memorial to be handled in just that way. The latter scenario seems more likely.
Of all Hannah’s siblings, Susanna is the one who spent the least time in the Wisconsin/Illinois border region -- only sixteen years from the arrival in Stephenson County circa 1837 to the Hughes family departure from Green County circa 1853. Due to the large geographic separation from the rest of the family from middle of the century onward, less is known about Susanna than the other Strader kids. Among the uncertainties is whether or not her line persists today. Family notes do not shed enough light and public records do not allow a definitive answer. The name Hughes is so common it has not been possible to track the lives of Susanna’s sons all the way to their deaths. It could be that one or more of them produced offspring; however, at this point the whole family line appears to be extinct. Elias, who became a painter of railroad cars after the move to Sacramento, is known to have still been single in the mid-1880s at nearly forty years of age. He has not been successfully tracked past 1886 when his name appears in cemetery records as the relative responsible for his sister Katie’s burial arrangements. David probably died in childhood. Katie had not married by the time she passed away. Peter Pence Hughes, Jr. is in the 1870 census near his parents in Cosumnes Township and then disappears. Jacob Strader Hughes became a plasterer. He is known to have followed that occupation in Sacramento, then Fresno in the late 1880s, and then in San Luis Obispo County. He did marry. His wife was Annie Davis, the surname Davis perhaps having been acquired from an earlier husband. The pair were wed in 1889 in Fresno. By then Annie was in her late thirties. Whether the pair had offspring is unknown but it does not seem so. The last trace of Jacob is his entry on the 1892 voter register for San Luis Obispo County when he was approximately thirty-eight years old.
That leaves Rachel. She is the one member of the family whose life story can be somewhat fully captured. She spent the whole stretch from the early 1870s to the early 1920s residing in the city of Sacramento, where she passed away 23 December 1923. She never became a mother. While her sister Katie depended upon Elias and never seems to have had a job other than keeping house for him, Rachel maintained an independent lifestyle, supporting herself variously as a seamstress and spinner and then as a domestic servant. She wed three times. Her first husband was Thomas Jefferson Clunie, an attorney who would go on to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The wedding occurred 23 March, 1873; however, the union ended immediately, undoubtedly in the form of an annulment, no doubt because Thomas had married Florence Turton four weeks earlier! One wonders how that scenario played out that spring. In long term, we know the answer. Rachel went back to using her maiden name. Thomas Clunie was still married to Florence decades later.
Rachel was still going by the last name of Hughes at the turn of the century when she became a live-in housekeeper for an elderly man, Abraham Nusbaum, whose wife Lucretia had become too ill to cook and take care of the home. Lucretia soon died, and in 1902, Rachel became the new Mrs. Nusbaum. She was soon widowed, but the sequence of events meant that she had a home for the rest of her days. Abraham and Lucretia Nusbaum had not had children, so Rachel inherited the 812 Eleventh Street residence they had owned and lived in since the early 1870s. Rachel took on boarders to help her make ends meet. In the early 1910s, one of those incoming lodgers was Abraham Miller, twelve years her junior. History repeated itself, only in a flip-flop way. Now it was Rachel who was the older of the set as she wed Abraham Miller in the summer of 1916. In some ways, it was the only marriage that allowed her to settle in and be a spouse, as she had never spent any meaningful interval living with Thomas Clunie and may not have ever had sexual relations with Abraham Nusbaum due to his extreme age and decrepitude. She and her new Abe were a couple until her death, which came seven and a half years after the wedding. Abe inherited the house at 812 Eleventh Street. He remarried a few years after Rachel’s death and went on to live at that same address at least into the mid-1940s. (That house, not far from the Capitol, no longer exists. The entire block is now taken up by a the huge building that serves as the headquarters of the California Environmental Protection Agency.)
Elizabeth Strader married Jeremiah Frame 18 May 1842 in Jordan Township. Jerry, born 23 April 1812 in Bourbon County, KY, was a Lafayette County lead miner. The couple spent about three decades residing in the border region of Lafayette and Green Counties and their ten children were all born in one county or the other -- several of them in Martintown or its outskirts. The tally of ten includes two daughters who died in early childhood. In 1874, Jerry acquired the rights to a mine in Green County about half a mile northeast of the town of Monroe. The mine had first been established thirty years earlier, but had remained productive. When owned and worked by John Monahan from 1870 to 1872, it had yielded 50,000 pounds of lead. Despite a gloomy assessment of its remaining potential, Jerry put in a couple of years of work there, only to turn out a meager 4,000 pounds. Disgusted, he gave up mining for good. He and Elizabeth moved in late 1874 or early 1875 to Greene County, IA.
Many of the kids had come of age by 1875. Eldest son Elias had already moved away to Seward County, NE in 1872. Son David decided to remain in Wisconsin. But the other six kids appear to have all made the move to Greene County. This was true even in the case of Mary Jane and Jacob Silas (“Jake”), even though both were by now married and had offspring and were no longer part of their parents’ household. Elizabeth and Jerry apparently viewed Greene County as the place that would be their final home, as they were both advanced enough in age not to want to “start over” yet again. But their plans did not work out. The couple became dissatisfied with the heat and humidity of central Iowa and the resultant tornadoes, so in 1879, when son Jake and his wife and kids came back to Lafayette County due to the ill health Jake’s father-in-law was suffering through, Elizabeth and Jerry tagged along, saying farewell to Iowa for good. Son William Patterson Frame did remain there, though. Apparently Will was not as unhappy with the climate as were his parents. Mary Jane and her husband Isaac Rinehart joined Elias Frame in Seward County, NE. This turn-of-the-decade juncture might have marked the moment when the destinies of the eight kids diverged for good, but that was not the case. Soon most of the clan was gathering itself back together.
In 1880, Jerry and Elizabeth moved to the Sand Hills country of northern Nebraska. Who instigated this is unclear. Probably it was Elias, who had decided he wasn’t doing well enough in Seward County in eastern Nebraska and wanted to try again in a fresh spot. Regardless of who thought of it, nearly the whole family seems to have become enthused by the possibilities and even a few members of the extended family got in on the action, specifically Elizabeth’s sister Anna Catherine and her kids.
Elias homesteaded along Plum Creek at a locale between the spots where Johnstown and Ainsworth would rise. The rest of the family properties were either adjacent or within a few miles. It was an odd sort of place to try to fashion into their paradise. The vicinity was still bureaucratically unorganized, not becoming Brown County until after their arrival. It was unsuitable for farming. Even at its peak its white population did not exceed seven thousand people and is now half that. Eventually all of the family members who gave the place a try in the 1880s would leave, the last of them departing by 1892. Elizabeth and Jerry would not live to see the final phase of the exodus. Brown County was their final home. In their final years, Jerry helped his son with the maintenance of his farm. (Elias’s house and yard are shown at right, viewed from a ridge looking down on Plum Creek. This was one of many photographs taken 24 December 1890. A photographer had made his way there to the isolated locale for the Christmas Day wedding of Elias’s daughter Rozella to William Adam Henry.) Elizabeth, no longer obliged to care for children now that even her youngest had come of age, spent a brief interval in the mid-1880s running a small boarding house in Johnstown for some extra cash (farm income simply not being enough). Jerry died 20 January 1886. Elizabeth survived him by only a couple of years despite being so much younger than he. She passed away 23 March 1888. Family accounts say Jerry died of pneumonia and Elizabeth of cholera. Both were buried in Johnstown.
The California-based offspring of Elizabeth in 1901. Left to right, Will Frame, Jake Frame, and Elias Frame, with their wives Theodosia Heater, Dora Sweeney, and Mary Catherine Trickle.
Anna Catherine Strader -- better known by her middle name and sometimes by a reversal of the first and middle names (Juliette Martin Savage refers to her as “Aunt Katie Anne” in her 1947 letter, and she is called Katie Anne in a 1901 biography of her second husband Henry Rush) -- initially married James Frame, who had been born 17 July 1820 in Preble County, OH. The wedding took place 21 October 1849 in Jordan Township. The couple had three children -- David Patterson Frame, Mary Rachel Frame, and Jacob Strader Frame. James was yet another Lafayette County lead miner. However, he gave up the profession in the early 1850s, taking to farming a forty-acre parcel in Cadiz Township, Green County. His abandonment of mining may have come too late. His health went bad by the mid-1850s, perhaps an after-effect of lead poisoning, though his daughter later attributed it to general overwork, recalling a time when her father collapsed from heat stroke after a grueling day harvesting grain. James spent about four years as a semi-invalid and then died 26 January 1861. He was buried in Kelly Cemetery. Katie Anne soon married Henry Rush, a Bavarian immigrant and a veteran of the so-called Mexican War of 1846 to 1848, who just after the war had settled in Martintown as a carpenter. He had been married twice before (and would eventually marry a fourth time), fathering three children with each of those two wives before they passed away. Katie Anne helped finish raising her Rush step-children in addition to caring for her Frame kids. She and Henry did have one biological child together, but lost that one as an infant. Henry owned a great deal of land in the Martintown area -- second only to Nathaniel Martin in the extent of his holdings -- and in the 1870s was a key business associate of the Martin family, operating the Martintown hardware store and conducting sales of building supplies and lumber, some of the latter product inevitably being generated by the Martin sawmill. Henry remains a notable figure in Cadiz Township/Green County history, among other things being the founder and sponsor of Rush Elementary School. During his lifetime he was popular with his Martin in-laws, but it seems Katie Anne did not regard him as the best of spouses. This led to a divorce in 1881, after all the children of the various marriages were grown. Having been unable for one reason or another to count on the men in her life, Katie Anne took steps to control her destiny a bit more. Among other measures, she learned to read and write at about sixty years of age. This gave her more direct control over her assets -- she had kept title to the land she and James had owned in Green County. She no longer cared to live near Henry Rush, though. She moved to Brown County, NE along with her son Jacob Strader Frame and his new wife Hattie Radliff. Jacob and Hattie soon founded a farm in the Ainsworth/Johnstown area close to the land belonging to Elizabeth and Jerry Frame. Katie Anne continued to be a part of Jacob and Hattie’s household for the remainder of her days. Jacob in turn became quite close with his cousins Elias, Jake, and Will Frame. When he returned from the west recommending that they all move to the San Joaquin Valley of California, his advice was heeded. Jacob and Hattie went first, bringing Katie Anne with them. She did not get to be a Californian for long, though. She died 3 August 1893. Her grave is located at Porterville’s Home of Peace Cemetery.
The image of Katie Anne shown at right was scanned from a print manufactured during her lifetime, found in 2012 amid the memorabilia that had belonged to her daughter-in-law Hattie Radliff Frame. The color is artificial, added by the photographer. It is highly unlikely she was wearing lipstick when she posed. The use of such dramatic red was a form of advertising for the photography studio, a way the owner could declare, “Lookee here, isn’t it fantastic I can make photographs have bright colors?” Unfortunately by modern standards the embellishment does not compliment her appearance. (Thank you to Katie Anne’s great great grandson Bill Haskins, Jr. for finding and scanning it. Bill also found similar portrait shots of Katie Anne’s children David, Rachel, and Jacob, which will be displayed here once their mini-biographies are completed.)
Margaret Ellen Strader married Virignia-native James Henry Eveland 27 February 1848 in Jordan Township. Like Peter Hughes, James went to California to mine gold. Like her sister Susanna, Margaret remained in Wisconsin and lodged with her parents. Both Peter and James returned to Wisconsin in the early 1850s, but while Peter convinced Susanna to move the whole household to California, Margaret persuaded James they should remain in Wisconsin. Margaret and James settled in as a farming family near Monroe. From that point until she died Margaret's circumstances were as stable as any of the Strader-Starr offspring, matched or exceeded in that regard only by Elizabeth and Hannah. Margaret and James had nine children -- all boys. First was Millard, born 19 January 1849, having been conceived before his father yielded to his case of gold fever. The youngest was George Washington Eveland, born 8 August 1871 (or perhaps 1872). It was such a large brood and so lacking in an older daughter to help keep house that in the late 1860s, with eight of the nine boys already born, Margaret persuaded a neighbor girl, Lucinda Frame, to help out. Lucinda, who soon became Millard Eveland’s wife, was a daughter of Thomas Alexander Frame and Sarah Devoe. As mentioned in Hannah’s biography, Thomas Frame was the man Hannah was “supposed” to marry, which would have created a fourth Frame/Strader union in the same generation, a scheme that Hannah’s preference for Nathaniel Martin thwarted. Sarah Devoe was a sister of Loren Devoe who, as mentioned above, married Millard’s first cousin Mary Jane Swearingen, the daughter of Margaret’s sister Polly. While Millard and Lucinda were not actually blood relatives, theirs was in a sense a marriage of first cousins, because Lucinda’s uncles Jeremiah, James, and Silas Frame were all brothers-in-law of Millard’s mother.
Today the tally of Margaret’s descendants is quite high, in the same league with Elizabeth and Hannah. The number would be reaching the ceiling if not for the shockwave created by her death. Margaret passed away in Monroe Township 6 January 1879 before she could finish raising her younger kids and before any of her boys other than Millard had settled in with spouses. (Margaret’s grave, shown at left, is at Kelly Cemetery near her parents.) James Eveland apparently found himself unable to cope with being a single father. He moved to Phillips County, KS and spent his final couple of decades as a widower farmer, not even living in the same state as any of his sons until he joined Millard and family in Thurston County, NE at the very end of the century. Inasmuch as the parents were not in Green County to serve as anchorage, the nine boys scattered far and wide. Though all eventually married, many did so well into adulthood and sired very small families, the most extreme example being second son Daniel, who did not wed until he was turning seventy and who had no children at all. Only one son lingered long-term in southern Wisconsin. That was David Francis Eveland, who dwelled right in Martintown in the 1890s and thereafter lived out his days nearby in Wiota, Lafayette County, WI. He married his first cousin, once removed Nancy Anna Black (also known as Anna Black), a granddaughter of Mary Ann Marie “Polly” Strader Swearingen Frame. The other Eveland boys left by no later than the early 1890s to a variety of locales in Iowa, Nebraska, and later, Minnesota, South Dakota, Idaho, and Washington. Only a small fraction of them appear to have kept in touch with one another. The rift was probably widest in the cases of the two youngest sons, Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Eveland and George Washington Eveland. Frank was only eleven when his mother died, and was fostered by his cousin Rhoda Frame Whitehead, daughter of Polly Strader (and an aunt of Anna Black). George, only seven or eight when Margaret died, must have been similarly shipped out, precise circumstances unclear, and as an adult very much forged a separate path of his own in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. In a twist of fate that echoed his own youth, George was unable to be a day-to-day parent to his firstborn son Leo, born in 1897, the cause being a divorce from Leo’s mother in late 1900 or early 1901.
The reason the Eveland clan eventually became substantial in number is because those who did found families tended to create huge ones. George Washington Eveland sired eleven kids with his second wife, making him father of twelve counting Leo. Millard and Lucinda’s son James had thirteen children with his wife Mary Julia Styer. A strikingly large fraction of the greater clan is doubly related due to marriages of cousins or multiple unions within the same two families, a la the pattern shown among the Starrs and Weitzels, Straders and Frames, et al. Not only was there the union of David Francis Eveland and Anna Black, but soon after James Eveland (Margaret’s fifthborn son) married his bride Iva Mae Hiserote in 1888, his niece Anna Isabel Eveland (daughter of Millard) married Iva’s brother Charles Hiserote. In the Twentieth Century, a number of members of the Eveland/Styer branch married members of the same Allen clan in Idaho.
Daniel Strader worked for Nathaniel Martin as a young man, and while doing so boarded with Hannah and Nathaniel. He was no doubt a welcome presence during the 1858 episode of insanity that incapacitated Nathaniel for a time. Daniel married Sarah Jane Mace 16 August 1862. The wedding took place four days after he had enlisted in the Union Army (obviously before he reported for duty). He served in the 31st Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry and died in the war, perhaps of an infected wound, at Columbus, Hickman County, KY. His date of death was 29 July 1863. He is credited with having sired Harriet Almetta Strader, who supposedly was born 14 January 1864. Chances are this date is wrong and the year should be 1863, meaning that Sarah was a pregnant bride. If the birth year of 1864 is correct, it implies Daniel obtained a furlough in the late spring of 1863 or that Sarah was able to visit him. By the time of the birth or shortly after Sarah moved back to her birth home in Muskinghum County, OH and soon went on to Poweshiek County, IA, where she would spend the rest of her long life, dying in 1922. In 1869 she married Levi Walker Ferneau, settled with him on a farm near the town of Montezuma, and produced six children with him in addition to raising Hattie. (Shown at right is Sarah’s gravemarker at the Oddfellows Cemetery in Montezuma, OH.) Because Hattie was never a part of the lives of the Straders of Green County, her existence is not mentioned in any of the original early and mid-20th Century genealogical notes made by Hannah’s descendants or her sisters’ descendants -- the notes that were so central in the creation of this essay. Hattie had to be rediscovered in a genealogy posted on the internet. This forgotten-kin aspect is somewhat of an irony because Hattie survived until 1951, making her the next-to-last grandchild of Jacob Strader and Rachel Starr to pass away. (The very last to go was George Washington Eveland, himself another near-forgotten grandchild.) Whereas at one time Daniel Strader’s line was thought to have been extinguished before it had the chance to be founded, the list of his known descendants is now substantial and some are presumed to be alive today, springing from the five children Hattie had with first husband James Oliver Briney.
With dad Jacob Strader dead as of 1865 and brother Daniel a casualty of the war, it was up to John Starr Strader to step up and become the patriarch of the family. He slipped into the role somewhat gradually, not giving up his bachelor ways until his thirtieth birthday. His bride was Adelaide D. Blair -- Addie -- with whom he settled on a farm in Clarno Township. Over time the Blair clan and the Straders would come to be associated genealogically in multiple ways, but John and Addie’s wedding appears to have been the first manifestation of that entanglement. Unfortunately that bond was active a distressingly short time because Addie perished 24 September 1870, less than two years into the marriage. She left two sons motherless -- Homer Herbert Strader, born 4 May 1869, and Sebert Blair Strader (known as Bertie and later as Bert), born in July, 1870 and therefore only a couple of months old when deprived of his mother. Unlike some single fathers of that era, John neither fostered out his offspring nor did he marry again at once. He was willing to take on the challenge of being a single father. Perhaps he had been too fond of Addie to bear the thought of replacing her while his memories of her were still fresh. He was a widower for over seven years. His mother, despite her advanced age, probably was the factor that allowed him to keep the boys with him. Rachel had been part of his household before the tragedy and would continue to be a part of it during the 1870s. John may have also combined forces with his little sister Rhoda, particularly after Rhoda’s husband John Campbell died and she, too, was left with two young children. Or it could easily be that John, like so many other members of the clan, was rescued by the childcare efforts of his big sister Polly.
Finally on 23 February 1878, John wed Henrietta E. Harris of Sturgis, St. Joseph County, MI. At thirty-four years old, Etta was not a young bride -- she would be referred to as an “old maid school teacher” by Juliette Savage in the 1947 letter -- but she was young enough to bear John two more children in the first half of the 1880s, Bessie R. Strader (middle name probably Rachel) and John Stanley Strader.
In May 1880, when Esau Johnson came down from Sparta, WI to visit the many relatives he had in southern Green County, WI, John was one of the cousins he stayed with. By then, Esau was about to turn eighty and John was forty-two, and yet the two first cousins had never before met.
John’s farm in Clarno Township was a thriving concern, described in an 1884 profile of the county as 240 acres of good farmland, and abundant with fine hardwood timber, which John harvested in the winters when his crop work was on hiatus, selling it in the form of lumber and railroad ties. His brother-in-law Nathaniel Martin’s mill no doubt played a role in processing that bounty.
By 1900 -- and probably not long after Rachel Starr Strader’s death in 1889 -- the family relocated to a farm in Dell Prairie Township, Adams County, WI near the village of Kilbourn, John perhaps having exhausted the supply of timber on his Clarno Township acreage to the degree that he craved a piece of less-exploited property with which he could continue usual winter occupation. However, John and Etta’s affection for Kilbourn dimmed following the death of Homer H. Strader in 1902. When widowed daughter-in-law Alice Shank Strader retreated back to Monroe to the security of her birth family, removing John and Etta from regular contact with their only set of grandchildren -- Homer Iliffe Strader and Ula Kathryn Strader -- this must have sharpened the emotional anguish. The couple moved to Rock County, WI. Bert, now in this thirties, chose to stay in Kilbourn, so the household was reduced to John and Etta and children Bessie and Stanley -- which is a way of saying it was now as much a Harris household as a Strader one. This was a defining change, because from this point in his life John behaved more as a member of Etta’s family than of his own. This surely was not out of any dissatisfaction with his blood kin, but simply “the way things turned out.” They had only been in Rock County a brief time when a new opportunity presented itself. Etta’s sister Carrie, who as a young bride had lived with John and Etta, had long since moved to southeastern Virginia with her husband Boyd Henry. John and Etta decided to follow suit -- a huge change given that both husband and wife were people of the northern portion of the nation, very much Yankees and not at all Dixie folk. Yet they went, departing in the latter part of 1905 or the first part of 1906.
With Bessie and Stanley, John and Etta settled within so-called “Tidewater Virginia” on a farm on the south bank of the Pamunkey River in New Kent County, VA. The area was and still is very lightly settled and still has no place-name designation that has stuck. The farm was located in a swath of land between Cooks Mills Road and the river, very near Chestnut Grove, the birthplace of Martha Washington, and upstream of the tiny village of West Point (which is on the opposite bank in Prince William County). The Straders themselves called it Brett or Brette, which appears to be a name no one else used. Another name bandied about at the time was Cousiac. Censustakers designated it part of Black Creek Township in 1870, and part of Cumberland Magisterial District during the period when John and Henrietta lived there. When John purchased the parcel, it was still called the Col. Gordon plantation after former owner William Westmore Gordon, an attorney famous for his role in the Civil War as a Confederate Army officer and a man often labelled a hero of the South for his resolute part in the First Battle of Manassas (aka First Battle of Bull Run), though he had only dwelled upon the property for at most half a dozen years right after the war, leaving it behind for good in 1871. These days residents of the area have Lanexa addresses. John’s relatives back home, hearing the word “plantation,” may have pictured a setting invoking the antebellum South connotation of the word, with huge fields of cotton and/or tobacco and a large number of resident laborers. But it was just a farm. Even though John was on the brink of seventy years old when he arrived, he actively managed the acreage, using it mainly for the raising of purebred swine. The only other adult male workers living on the land consisted of Stanley and one farm hand, Sam Braxton, a young man of color. The latter’s household included his young wife, two small children, and an adolescent female cousin.
Daughter Bessie went off to nursing school in Boston within a couple of years of the move to Brett. She returned in 1909 and lived at home for a period, but as she found employment in her profession, ranged farther and farther away. Stanley went out 29 January 1910 in a small sailboat on the Pamunkey River with Clem Meekins, a local fisherman (quite possibly a relative of the Braxtons). Neither could swim, and when a gust of wind capsized their boat about three hundred yards from the dock out in the middle of the river (which is so wide along that part of New Kent County it is more of a bay than a river), they could not swim to shore. They hung on to the overturned craft for half an hour, crying out for help. John grabbed a dinghy and tried to reach them, but only had a plank of wood as a paddle, and the tide carried him beyond them and forced him up against the bank. Helpless to stop it, John, Henrietta, and Clem’s wife Rosa watched in horror as the two young men lost their strength in the chilly January water and eventually slipped under the surface. Clem’s body was never found. Forty days passed until Stanley’s body turned up. By the time those remains made their belated way into the care of a mortician, John and Etta had decided the burial place would be in her family’s section at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis. This in turn ensured that John and Etta would themselves be buried at Oak Lawn when the time came. (Which is a way of saying John is not buried with his first family. The graves of Addie and her children and grandchildren are at Greenwood and Bethel cemeteries of Monroe, WI.)
In the spring of 1912, John and Etta bought the farm of Etta’s brother-in-law Boyd Henry and sister Carrie. They immediately left Brett and took up residence on the newly acquired acreage, which was located half a dozen miles north of Williamsburg near the village of Norge. This farm was their home until Etta’s death 1 November 1917. Once Etta was gone, John preferred to move on. He spent the final few years of his life in Richmond or a suburb of that city, not all that far in mileage terms from his Brett and Norge farms, and within easy reach of Carrie and Boyd, who had likewise gravitated to Richmond. John died 23 March 1923. Rachel Webb’s notes say he died in Richmond; this may be the equivalent of saying he died somewhere in southeast Virginia, but he may literally have died within the city limits.
John’s surviving clan is tiny. Stanley had not married nor produced offspring by the time he drowned at age twenty-five. The story was the same with Sebert. He at least enjoyed a long life. As mentioned, Bert stayed in Kilbourn long after his parents had departed. In fact, he served as the clerk of Dell Prairie Township for many years and in fact appears to have still been there as of his final few weeks of life, by which time his place of residence had ceased to be known as Kilbourn, and was now called Wisconsin Dells. When Bert’s final decline came upon him, he was hospitalized in nearby Baraboo, Sauk County, WI, and that is where he died 27 September 1946 at age seventy-six.
As mentioned, Bessie Strader returned from nursing school to her parents’ New Kent County farm in 1909. Her first jobs as a nurse were in nearby parts of Virginia such as Norfolk, Richmond, and Petersburg. She had already remained single through her twenties and would continue in this fashion through her thirties. She may have been adamant about keeping her independence, i.e. she may have been profoundly unwilling to let herself be encumbered by a husband. Her choice to be a career woman despite possessing a substantial degree of beauty prompted her uncle Boyd Henry to imply she must be a slut or a lesbian -- or words to that effect. The lesbian part may have literally been true, but in that era, Bessie did not dare let the accusation stand uncontested, so she sued Boyd for slander and defamation of character April, 1913 in court in Williamburg, asking for $5,000 in damages. (To give an idea of how much that sum was worth in 1913, that same year John’s grand nephew Bert Warner purchased a house in Sanger, CA for $6,000, and Bert could have found one for less if he had been willing to settle for a fixer-upper instead of a quality residence constructed only two years earlier.) In the late 1910s Bessie became a chiropractor in South Carolina, basing herself in Anderson in 1920, in Greenville in 1921, back to Anderson from 1922 to 1927, and in Spartanburg in the late 1920s onward. Despite the possibility that she may have been a lesbian, she wed Richard T. Durham in approximately 1922. She was already in her forties and the union does not appear to be for purposes of procreation, but for maintenance of reputation. Richard Durham may even have been disabled and marrying him was one way she could served as his caregiver while simultaneously not having to make excuses why she and her spouse slept in separate beds. He appears to have passed away in the early 1930s. In 1935, Bessie wed dentist Leroy Feltz Crenshaw. This does look like a “real” marriage but that may be deceptive. It simultaneously gives the impression of a “Hollywood Marriage” à la Rock Hudson’s marriage to Phyllis Gates, i.e. one that put the spouses in the limelight of society but did not involve the usual sort of spousal companionship in private. As near as can be determined, the couple remained in Spartanburg for the whole of their marriage. Feltz died in that city 21 November 1959. She is described as “the late Bessie Strader Crenshaw” in his obituary, but that source does not reveal how long she had been dead.
Homer Herbert Strader died in Dell Prairie Township in early adulthood when an injury to his abdomen turned septic. His daughter Ula was only an infant at the time. Homer Iliffe Strader did not last much longer, dying in 1909 at age ten or eleven. Ula, by contrast, lived to be almost ninety-seven. She became a stenographer in Washington, DC in her late teens, and went on to get a degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After graduation in 1926, she spent a brief interval in Louisville, KY before moving to Chicago, IL, where in 1928 she married Gerald Llewellyn Tyler. They spent their eleven-year marriage in Chicago and its suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park. The couple had two children. The first, born in Chicago in 1933, was stillborn. The other was still an infant (or even still in the womb) when Ula and Gerald parted ways. From 1939 onward, Ula was based in Monroe, with possible brief exceptions, such as an interval in the mid-1940s when she appears to have lived in Winslow, IL. She never married again, but maintained a close emotional bond and association in Monroe with her mother, her stepfather Jacob Huffman, and with her aunt Dora Shank Crosby and uncle Anson Newell Crosby. Together with these relatives, Ula invested in commercial property in Pocahontas, Buena Vista County, IA -- such investment being one indication Ula did well financially in spite of the lack of a spouse. Ula remained very active in lodge functions and various clubs and charitable societies. Not all of that was volunteer work. In the 1940s, she was a Green County employee assigned to the child welfare department, responsible for the program devoted to finding homes for abandoned children.
Ula passed away in 1998 in Monroe, within a few miles from the place her Strader ancestors had settled more than one hundred fifty years earlier. Inasmuch as her first child was stillborn, Ula’s entire surviving line -- who collectively make up the only living descendants of John Starr Strader -- flow through the remaining child, born in the late 1930s.
Rhoda Carolyn Strader married John B. Campbell. John was a son of William and Margaret Campbell. Born and raised in Muskingum County, OH, he had come to Green County as a young man. He and Rhoda were married 21 September 1865 in Monroe after he had served in the Civil War. The pair immediately settled on a farm in Jordan Township. In the early 1870s, they moved to Clarno Township. They became parents of three children, including one that died as a baby. The children who survived were daughters Nellie (full name Rachel Eleanor Campbell) and Anna, both born in the latter half of the 1860s. John died some time in the second half of 1870s. (Born about 1836, he may not even have reached forty years of age.) The 1880 census shows Rhoda living as a widow in Cadiz Township, the household consisting of herself, her daughters, and her mother Rachel Starr Strader. They were probably dwelling in or near Martintown. She did not remarry until 1890, after both Nellie and Anna had reached adulthood and become wives and mothers. Rhoda’s second husband was William G. Dunell, son of Charles Dunell and Anna Gaines. William had been born in England and had raised a family in Senatchwine, Pulham County, IL and Tullahoma, Coffee County, TN with his first wife. Rhoda and William enjoyed only a relatively brief marriage because William passed away within a few years -- the precise date is unclear except to say that he was gone by the time the 1900 census was recorded. No children resulted from the union inasmuch as the wedding took place after Rhoda had reached the end of her childbearing years -- in fact, the ceremony occurred on her forty-eighth birthday. Rhoda spent her second widowhood employed as a live-in housekeeper in Green County. After 1905 she was Hannah’s only surviving sister and is known to have visited Hannah a number of times, including an extended stay at the house in Martintown during Hannah’s early widowhood. A newspaper clipping reveals she spent the summer of 1913 in Eleroy, which is in Stephenson County about a dozen miles south of Martintown. This was followed by what appears to be a substantial stay with Hannah, beginning in October, 1913 and continuing for at least a year. At some point, Rhoda’s health failed, and it would appear to be at that point she moved in with her daughter Anna and son-in-law Silas Keller in Clarno Township. Their home was near Monroe. It’s unclear if this final decline phase lasted a couple of years or even as little as a few days. The Keller home seems to be the very place where Rhoda died. She passed away in September, 1916. Her grave is at Staver Cemetery in Clarno Township.
Rhoda’s daughter Nellie wed Ezra Josiah Wickwire 6 April 1884 in Cadiz Township and at the end of the 1880s or beginning of the 1890s moved with him to Iowa. Over a fifteen-year span she and Ezra had five children, then she married Ezra’s brother Fred Wickwire, with whom she had three more. In the early 1900s she and Fred moved to Nebraska, and then in about 1915 on to Wyoming, where Nellie passed away in 1940. Her offspring settled variously in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Twin Falls, ID and descendants remain in all those places. Anna Campbell produced a family line with Silas Keller that lingered in southern Wisconsin (mostly in Rock County and Green County), and descendants can be found in there to this day. They include members of the Coplien clan of Monroe.
Jacob Strader, Jr. died in infancy shortly after the family reached Green County. Juliette Savage attributed his death to tuberculosis, but she may have been guessing at the cause.
To return to the Martin/Strader Family main page, click here.