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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: GLOUSTER & Reuben Strange, Winchester, VA
In Response To: GLOUSTER--NANCY ()

I haven't found any family connections to Glouster. However, I've continued to research African-American Strange families that migrated to Pennsylvania from northern Virginia. I believe that several families in PA census 1880-1930 apparently are descendants or relatives of Reuben Strange, a former slave who was freed in Winchester, Frederick County, VA in 1817. (According to a post by Douglas Jones on RootsWeb Ancestry Message Board, the elder Reuben Strange was freed in 1817 by Edward McGuire and the sons, Reuben Jr. and Richard, were held as slaves by a man named Smith until about 1830-40. Possibly it was Edward Smith who freed the younger Reuben and his brother Richard?)

Reuben Strange who was freed in 1817 had sons named Reuben (wife Betsy) and Richard (wife Sarah) as well as a daughter Courtney (born circa 1798) who married Moses Leonard in December 1827. Moses (born circa 1801) was a baker. Possibly Moses Leonard helped Reuben Strange with the family business, serving "cakes and beer, and sometimes oysters and other eatables" to "respectable" customers in Winchester. Moses was a son-in-law of the elder Reuben Strange (born circa 1770?) and brother-in-law of Reuben's sons Reuben and Richard (born circa 1800?).

I've found families in Pittsburgh, PA (headed by Reuben and Catherine Strange and Emanuel and Margaret Strange) that appear to be descendants or relatives of Reuben and Betsy Strange from Clarke County, VA. A free African-American woman, Elizabeth Strange or Mrs. E. Strange (born in VA circa 1800) was counted in Pittsburgh 1840-1860. Could she be Betsy, wife of the younger Reuben from Winchester, VA?

In Philadelphia census, 1880-1930, I've found descendants or relatives of Richard and Sarah Strange from Frederick County, VA. A family headed by Reuben and Josephine Strange in Philadelphia appears to be directly descended from Richard and Sarah Strange in Winchester, VA. Pennsylvania families with Strange surname in Harrisburg, Dickinson, and Carlisle may also be related to Strange families in Virginia from neighboring Frederick and Clarke counties.

So far, I haven't been able to find a definite connection of these families to free African-American household heads Reuben and Mariah/Maria Strange in Ohio (1850-1910). Response from a historical society in OH indicates that VA-born Reuben Strange in Warren County, OH may be a son of David Strange and Rachel/Rachael Mann.

Thanks for the very helpful information you sent regarding Reuben Strange, which I'm copying below:

Source: Garland R. Quarles and Lewis N. Barton, eds. WHAT I KNOW ABOUT WINCHESTER. RECOLLECTIONS OF WILLIAM GREENWAY RUSSELL 1800-1891 (Staunton, VA: McClure Publishing, 4d 1984; original by Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society)

This is a house by house, street by street, walk through of Winchester by Russell.

"The next property [identified by editors as 118 E. Piccadilly in Winchester] belongs to the heirs of Robt Barr, my old schoolmate. At an early day it was occupied by old Reubon (sic) Strange, a colored man who belonged to the estate of Edward Smith. Having been a good servant, he was sold to his wife for a small sum. The law would not permit the master to emancipate a slave, and they were often sold at a small price, and sometimes to irresponsible persons. Old Reuben kept cakes and beer, and sometimes oysters and other eatables, and the house was so well conducted that it secured very respectable custom" (p. 127)

On Edward Smith (p 25, note 13): "Edward Smith (1752-1826): Edward Smith owned Lots No. 10, 11, and 12 on the west side of Stewart St. extending from Cork to Wolfe St." Mentions building torn down to provide for old Winchester Inn.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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