Article Number Five - 
 The Strong Family

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on March 29, 1879, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell



The history of the Strong family can be traced back more than three hundred and forty years. The name is said to have passed through the following changes:---McStrachan, Strachan, Strachn, Strong.  The family was originally located in the county of Shropshire, England. One of the family married an heiress of Griffith, of the county of Caernarvon, Wales, and went there to reside in 1545. Richard Strong was born of this family in Wales in 1561.  In 1590 he removed to Taunton, Somersetshire, England, where he died in 1613. His son, John Strong, was born in Taunton, in 1605, whence he removed to London, and afterwards to Plymouth. He sailed for America, March 20, 1630, in the ship Mary and John, and arrived at Nantasket, (Hull), Mass, May 30, 1630. He and his fellow passengers, among whom was his sister, Eleanor, and others founded the town of Dorchester that year. In 1635 he removed to Hingham, Mass., and afterward to Taunton, from which place he was elected a deputy to the General Court in Plymouth, in 1641,2,3,and 4.  In 1645 he removed to Windsor, Con., and in 1659 to Northampton, Mass., where he died, April 14, 1699. aged 94.  He had, up to the time of his death, 165 descendants, viz: 18 children, 114 grandchildren, and 33 great grandchildren. His first wife died on the passage, or soon after landing, and he married Abigail Ford, with whom he lived 58 years. Thomas Strong, the third child of John Strong, was born in Dorchester, Mass., about 1631.  He married Mary Hewitt, Dec. 5, 1660. She died Feb 20, 1670. He married his second wife, Rachel Holton, Oct 1671. He died Oct 3, 1680, leaving 15 children.  His oldest son, Thomas Strong, Jr., was born Nov 16, 1661, at Northampton, Mass.,  November 17, 1683, he married Mary Stebbens, and they had eleven children. Their third son, Lieut. Eliakim Strong was born Sept. 26, 1688, and married Mehitable King, on the 13th day of April, 1712. He removed to Durham, Conn., in 1725, and died there in 1745, leaving seven children.  His third child, Lieut. Eliakim Strong, Jr., was born at Durham, Conn., March 7, 1720.  He married Hannah Seward, on the 4th of June, 1751, and was for many years a large farmer in Durham, Conn.  He was the father of Selah Strong, to whom we have so often referred in these sketches. He had 8 sons and 4 daughters.  Of these eight sons, four, viz., Medad, John, Selah, and Stephen, lived in this old town of Durham, N.Y., some portion of their lives.  Medad was born July 4, 1753, and married Hannah Kelsey, Feb. 9, 1775. He was a farmer in Connecticut and "also a teacher of music, and a district school teacher in the winter,"  and a man of fine appearance.  He had five children. His eldest, Anson Strong, was born in Durham, Conn., June 27, 1776, and married Sally Butler, Feb. 6, 1803. He came to this town to live in 1796. He was honored by his townsmen with the offices of town clerk and justice of the peace. He is still spoken of as "Squire Strong".  I have seen some of his writing in the old town records, and the penmanship is beautiful. He taught district school for seventeen winters---was a consistent member of the M. E. church at Cornwallsville. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. He died in 1858, aged 71. Had six children. His two sons, Ellsworth and John, became members of the church, and John was a class-leader for thirty eight years. He died Sept. 26, 1870, aged 56 years. His widow, Rhoda, daughter of Rev. Bela Smith, still lives in Cornwallsville.  Ellsworth lives on the old farm, and for many years has been a justice of the peace.  That branch of the Strong family (Medad's descendants) is now represented by him and his sons Frederick, William H., and Ellsworth Anson, and his daughters, Mary, Martha, Elizabeth and Olive. His brother John's family is represented by Mrs. Rhoda Strong (widow) and her sons Francis Asbury, John Stratton, Philip Embury, Thomas Barrett, and Charles Smith and their sisters. One of "Squire" Ellsworth Strong's sons, Wilbur Fisk Strong, became a soldier in the late civil war. He enlisted in March, 1864, in the 5th NY Regt Heavy Artillery.  He was under Gen. Hunter, in the campaign of the Shenandoah Valley during the month of June that year, in which he endured many hardships, under which his strength failed, and he died in the hospital at Martinsburgh, Va, aged 25 years. He was a Christian, and his last letter to his father was full of the spirit of the message he sent: "If I do not see you again try to meet me in heaven."  Of the other branch of the Strong family (Selah's descendants) we will add to what has already been said, Charles, the eldest, was born Aug. 17, 1783, married to Sarah Field, daughter of Ambrose Field, Feb. 1 1807, lived on the west part of the farm now owned by Horace Strong, was a farmer and carpenter, and died March 28, 1857. He had five daughters, three of whom are still living. They all married and had families, although but few of their children now live in town.  One of his grandsons gave his life for his country in the war.  Charles A. Simmons enlisted Sept. 5, 1861, in Co C., 20th NY Vols. He was in Mc Dowell's command, and was in the battles of Norman's Ford, Sulphur Springs, Gainesville, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburgh and Gettysburgh, where he was taken prisoner and taken to Belle Isle, where he died. Lyman Strong,  the third son of Selah Strong, was born Feb 21, 1788, married Olive Hickok, Oct 4, 1821, and died March 8, 1871, aged 83.  He was a farmer and carpenter, and often superintended at the removal of buildings and other heavy jobs. But with plenty of ox teams and Capt. Strong, any thing, from a wood house to a church, could be moved. He united with the Presbyterian church on the 3rd day of March, 1822, and Nov 18th, 1830, he became an Elder in the church, holding his office until his death, with the exception of ten years, 1847-'57. when the church was Congregatonal in its polity, although retaining its connection with the Presbytery.  He was an excellent man, and I used often to think often that the church would meet with a great loss when uncle Lyman's prayers ceased. He as two children, Horace and Harriet, and two grandchildren, living on the old farm. Salmon Strong, the fourth son of Selah, was born March 23, 1790, married Rachel Kellogg, of Clinton, Oneida Co., April 14, 1821. He became a scholar, and at an early age entered Williams College, but he was poor and was obliged to teach at intervals all through his college course; but he persevered and graduated in 1813. Then he went to Princeton Theological Seminary, and graduated from there in 1818. His wife was the grand daughter of Capt. Amos Porter, of Revolutionary memory.  He spent the most of his life in Clinton, NY., as a tutor in Hamilton College, a teacher of grammar school, and pastor of several churches in that vicinity. He died at Harrisburgh, PA, July 14, 1872, aged 82.  He had three sons, Addison K., Edward K., and Theodore B., who died at three years.  Addison K. graduated from Hamilton College in 1842, and Auburn Theological Seminary in 1845. He became a pastor at Syracuse, Manlius, Harrisburgh, PA, Monroe, Mich., and now at Clyde, NY.  He is a D.D. Edward  became a merchant, and died in 1863. His wife was a daughter of Judge John Fine, of Ogdensburgh, NY.  Anna Strong, the fifth child of Selah Strong, was born Dec 2, 1792, married Elizur Hull, Sept. 11, 1811. She was a devoted Christian and one of the best mothers.  She was the mother of nine children, of whom we may speak in the future. She died Aug. 10, 1874, age 81.  Eunice Strong, sixth child of Selah Strong, was born May 13, 1797. She was a tailoress, and died Sept. 7, 1872.  Stephen Strong, a brother of Selah Strong, was born in Durham, Conn., July 31, 1768. He came to Durham, NY in its early history; was a blacksmith, and lived near Jonathan Baldwin's and worked in his shop, and paid for a piece of land of 3-4 acres making enough nails on his anvil to build a house with.  He died in 1840.

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