Many lives I run across are too rich to fit into the space of a newspaper…even the highlights of these majestic pioneers exceed space available. Such is the case with J. P. Strickler of the Cheaney Community. Strickler came to the area as a farmer, but is best remembered as Cheaney's blacksmith. Neighbors visited him to get plows sharpened, tools fixed or hoofs shod. Children would crowd his blacksmith shop door to see the sparks fly off his anvil, made red by the hand-pumped billows.
Strickler's fine tenor voice often led the singing at Cheaney's Church of Christ and he even taught a singing school from time to time. Strickler's tuning fork, hit hard against the songbook to "get the tune" was graciously donated to the Alameda-Cheaney Room by his granddaughter, Betty Strickler Shook.
Strickler in his later years would make novelties for the home that filled many a home in the community. Best known were the spool racks, sewing boxes, footstools, or corner shelves. Some of his handiwork is also on display at the museum. Strickler lived a long, fruitful life (1861 - 1950) married to Sirrener (1872 - 1966) on a place just up the hill from his beloved church (and earlier the Cheaney School). One can see his legacy in the character of his descendents, and the stories that float forward, many decades after his passing.
Jeff Clark - Jdclark3312@aol.com
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