52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #22 – John J. Repsher

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandfather
Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.58.02 PM


One of the things that a budding genealogist is often told by more seasoned researchers is to check to see what other folks have done/found before you. Wise advise because there are some dedicated researchers out there. One of those researchers investigating the Repsher line is a gentleman named Donald R. Repsher. He took the time to put his findings into a book called Repsher Origins[1] which I was fortunate to find. Donald has traced the Rebscher line back to Hans Friedrich born in 1639/40.

From Donald, I learned the origins of the Repsher name. Originally spelled REBSCHER, the German origins of the name are rooted in an ancient occupation.

Rebe: the German word for vine or grape. Schere: the German word for shears or scissors (scheren: to shear or cut). “[2]

Thus my Repsher ancestors would be vine-tenders or pruners, a very important function in the tending of vineyards in the Old Country. They would have been highly-skilled laborers contributing to overall health of the vines and vital to increasing yields during harvests.

By the time my second great-grandfather was born the name had been Americanized to REPSHER. His given name was John Joseph and he was born on 03 July 1854 in a little, rural town called Mountainhome located on the eastern edge of Pennsylvania in picturesque Monroe County.[3] His parents were Jacob Henry Repsher and Suzanna Williams. He was their second child and second son. He and his older brother, Emmanuel, would not be alone for long. In all, Jacob and Suzanna had 14 children:

  1. Emmanuel James, born 08 September 1852
  2. John Joseph, born 03 July 1854
  3. Jacob H., born 23 January 1856
  4. Aaron Jerome, born 03 November 1857
  5. Samuel Paul, born 04 September 1859
  6. Sally Ann, born 22 September 1861
  7. Charles Frederic, born 21 July 1863
  8. Pherman Johnson, born 21 July 1865
  9. Jesiah Kichlein, born 08 July 1866
  10. Armon S., born 27 July 1869
  11. Mary Elizabeth, 24 August 1872
  12. George A., born 12 March 1875
  13. William H., born 02 October 1877
  14. Stillborn child with unknown birth date
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 2.05.58 PM

Jacob’s handwritten sheet listing his children “one after the other and living.”

Most of the birth information[4] comes from a handwritten sheet that John’s father Jacob sent to the Pension Bureau when filing for a pension claim. John’s sister, Sally Ann, was not listed because she died on 26 December 1862[5] at 18 months old. John’s bother, Charles Frederic, is not listed since he died 04 October 1881.[6] Both died before The Act of 27 June 1890 authorizing the payment of pension to Civil War Veterans.

Looking at the dates, I think July must have been a tough month to keep track of birthdays! In this family, five of the children (35%) were born in that month. September was also a front-runner with three children born during that month.

John was only 6 years old when the Civil War began 12 April 1861. It was touched off when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The war raged on for few years before his father, Jacob, enlisted to fight with the Union. Jacob enlisted as private in Company I of the 147th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry on 19 December 1863. He served for almost nine months and was discharged on 09 September 1864 at Atlanta, Georgia.[7]

When John was 10 years old, one of the last major events of the Civil War occurred. It was the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., on 14 April 1865.

Around 1875/76 John married Caroline Bonser. He was around 22 and she was around 17 years old. Following in his parents footsteps, John also had 14 children. I believe the saying is “Go big or go home!” Their first child was born in late 1876 and the rest came along at consistent intervals, as was quite common at that time. John and Caroline had the following children:

  1. Emma Susan, born 21 September 1876
  2. Mary Elizabeth [Lizzie], born 16 September 1878
  3. Letitia A., born 28 January 1881
  4. John H., born 17 May 1883
  5. James Franklin, born 24 August 1885
  6. Lewis Allen, born 29 April 1888
  7. George Arthur, born 02 October 1890
  8. Ella M., born 23 September 1893
  9. Robert Joseph, born 14 May 1897
  10. Lillian Ma, born 24 November 1899
  11. William Fred, born 24 November 1899
  12. Jennie F., born 08 May 1901
  13. Stillborn child, birth date unknown
  14. Stillborn child, birth date unknown

The birth information comes from Anna Maria (Karthaeuser) Repsher who was married to John’s son, George Arthur (#7 from above). She took the time to record the family group sheets and John and Caroline’s family is one of the first ones in the records.[8]

John Joseph Repsher was born in eastern Pennsylvania and raised all his children there too. According to the 1910 U.S. Census[9] and his death certificate[10] he was a carpenter by trade.

John J. Repsher

John Joseph Repsher

John was only 58 years old when he died on 28 January 1913.  His obituary states, “John J. Repsher died at his home at Analomink on Tuesday morning about 2 o’clock at the age of 56 years, 6 months and 25 days.”[11] Nope, not a typo on my part while stating his age in the obituary. There is a date discrepancy on his birth year depending on what source is consulted. The month of July and day of 03 are not in dispute.

  • John’s death certificate says he was born 03 July 1856. Of course, John wasn’t there to confirm that (he was dead) so the informant, son George Repsher, most likely told them the wrong date.
  • John’s obituary might be based off the death certificate but most likely it’s the same informant that provided information to the newspaper as well as for the death certificate.
  • John’s tombstone has the date of 03 July 1854.
  • John’s daughter in-law recorded his date of birth as 03 July 1854.
  • The year of 1854 fits neatly into the time line of his older brother Emmanuel’s birth in 1852 and younger brother Jacob’s birth in 1856. Every two years, donthca know!

My 2nd great-grandfather, John Joseph Repsher, was buried in the Analomink United Methodist Churchyard on 31 January 1913.[12]

REPSHER John J and Caroline - Find a Grave

John J. and Caroline B. Repsher grave marker, Find-A-Grave memorial #18041315.


[1] Donald R. Repsher, Repsher Origins (Knoxville, Tennessee: Scribes Valley Publishing Company, 2004).
[2] Repsher, p. 7.
[3]”Analomink United Methodist Churchyard,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 29 June 2013), entry for Caroline B. Repsher, memorial #18041315.
[4] Jacob Repsher (Pvt., Co. I, 147th Pa. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 632,252; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Undated lined paper listing the children of Jacob Repsher.
[5] Repsher, p. 35.
[6] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “St. John’s Cemetery,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 June 2014), entry for Frederick F. Repsher, memorial #93923398.
[7] Jacob Repsher (Pvt., Co. I, 147th Pa. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 632,252; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[8]Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 2; privately held by held by the blog author, Tucson, AZ, 2015.
[9] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 49, p. 4A (penned), dwelling 70, family 73, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1376.
[10] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate file no. 6479 (1913), John J. Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[11] Unknown newspaper, obituary for John J. Repsher (28 January 1913); folder: “Repsher Family File,” vertical files; Monroe County Historical Society, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
[12] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate file no. 6479 (1913), John J. Repsher.

Advertisements

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #21 – Sarah Matilda (Kimble) Strait

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandmother
Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.50.33 PM


Sarah Matilda is my 2nd great-grandmother. You’ll have to see my post about my Aunt Sadie to see why I have mixed feeling on the name Sarah. However, I really like the name Matilda. It’s very unusual for a girl’s name now but was quite popular in the United States between 1880 and 1910, when it was among the top 200 names given to girls.[1]  Mathilda (sometimes spelled Matilda) is a female name, of Gothic derivation, derived from words corresponding to Old High German “mahta” (meaning “might, strength”) and “hildr” (meaning “battle”).[2]

Sarah was assigned her middle name ahead of the popular trend, though, as she was born on 05 June 1855 in Clinton, New Jersey,[3] which is located in Hunterdon County. She was the fourth child of eleven children born to parents John W. Kimble and Nancy Elizabeth Kimble. Isn’t that a mistake? Her mom’s maiden name was Kimble too? Yes, it was. John W. Kimble and Nancy Elizabeth Kimble were most likely cousins. I have yet to confirm Nancy’s parentage but John W. Kimble was the son of William Kimble and his wife Catherine.[4]

An examination of the 1860 U.S. Census[5] showed Sarah living in the household of John and Nancy Kimble. At that time, the family was living in West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. (No relationships are given on the 1860 census but later census’ have confirmed the assumed relationships here.) Her father, William, was 37 years old and listed his occupation as a laborer.  Sarah’s mother, Nancy, was 33 years old. Sarah was 4 years old and found with her siblings: George (12), Lucy (10), William (7), James (3), David (2) and baby Garrett (11/12). In 1860, Sarah was smack dab in the middle of a passel of children!

Sarah was next found in the 1870 U.S. Census[6] as a 16-year-old young woman. She was still in her parents’ household but the number of children had expanded to eleven. The family was now living in Hardyston Township in Sussex County, New Jersey. Her father William (49) listed his occupation as a farm laborer. Sarah’s mother Nancy (43) listed her occupation as a housewife. The children were listed next but I found it interesting that the children were not listed in age order. It may have been that the informant (which may or may not have been the Kimbles themselves) thought to list the working members of the household first. The order was as follows:

  • George (22) – Farm laborer
  • Lucy (21) – Domestic servent
  • William (18) – Farm laborer
  • James (14) – Farm laborer
  • David (13) – Farm laborer
  • Garret (12)
  • Julia (5)
  • Sarah M. (16)
  • Henry E. (14)
  • Noah (2)
  • Lewis (6/12)

Only four years later, at the age of 20, Sarah was married to Ira W. Strait by Simon Siegried, Jr. at the Regular Baptist Church on 26 September 1874 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.[7] The newlyweds set up their household together, settle in Hardyston Township, and according to the 1880 U.S. Census had two children.[8] Ira (26) was listed as a worker at the mines and Sarah (24) was keeping house. They have a daughter, Eda (5), and a son, Ora (1). However, this tiny household did not stay tiny for long….

The 1890 U.S. Census was taken but was later lost in a fire. Which means the next time Sarah was found in a census was 1900. Ira and Sarah have moved to Lafayette Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, and Ira had changed professions to become a farmer.[9] Again, there was a discrepancy in the way the children were listed. The listing was as follows:

  • Mary (8) – Daughter
  • Ora S. (21) – Son – School teacher
  • Orvin (17) – Son
  • Asa (15) – Son
  • Adam R. (10) – Son
  • Ward (2) – Son

Sarah said that she was the mother of six children who were all still alive at the time of the census. Also listed in the household was Sarah’s mother Elizabeth who was widowed and 64 years old.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sarah Matilda (Kimble) and Ira STRAIT (Carl H. Strait is standing in the background)

Sarah and Ira were then found in the 1910 census where the couple was now living back in Hardyston Township.[10] Ira (56) was still a farmer and Sarah (now also 56) was the mother to seven children, six of which were still living. The children listed in the household at this time were:

  • Adam (19) -Son
  • Mary (17) – Daughter
  • Ward (12) – Son
  • James (10) – Son

Looking for the child of Sarah’s that passed away, I found that Orvin/Orville/Orvan had died [11] before the 1910 census:

STRAIT Orville D 2

But wait! If I look back at all the children listed in the census’ throughout the years, it seemed to be more than seven children born to Sarah. Putting them all together, looked like this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 11.39.15 AM

I would think that Sarah would be aware of how many children she had given birth to. So why the discrepancy? The 1920 census provided no further clues. In that census, Ira and Sarah were in-laws living in the household of George Dowd[12] who is married to Ira and Sarah’s daughter Mary.

I would speculate that perhaps James was a grandchild, possibly the child mentioned in Orville’s obituary. Further research would be needed on this little mystery. Also, I have two other children Dennis (1884, died at 6 months of age) and Bertha (no birth information) in Sarah and Ira’s family group not found on any census records. Dennis and Bertha are based on some correspondence from a cousin and I haven’t yet substantiated them as children of Ira and Sarah’s based on independent records.

In between taking care of the house and the children, Sarah supported Ira’s farming efforts. In March of 1908, Ira had purchased “the S. O. Price farm, near North Church. The farm contains thirty acres and Mr. Strait paid $100 an acre for it. He will make strawberry culture a specialty.”[13]

Sarah passed away on 28 February 1926 at the age of 70 in Hardyston, New Jersey. She was buried with her husband Ira in the North Hardyston Cemetery.

STRAIT Ira W. and Sarah M.

 


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_(name).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Membership application, Jodi Strait-Shutts, National no. 855323, on John Angle (1725-1784, New Jersey), approved 06 October 2007; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, D.C.
[4] 1860 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 15 (penned), dwelling 101, family 90, John Kimble; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 706.
[5] Ibid.
[6] 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston Township, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 62, family 62, Jn W. Kimble; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.
[7] Sussex County, New Jersey, Sussex County Clerk’s Office Marriage Book B: 359, Ira W. Strait and Sarah Kimble, 1874: Hall of Records, Newton.
[8] 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 50 (penned), dwelling 411, family 476, Ira Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
[9] 1900 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Lafayette Township, ED 169, p. 1B (penned), dwelling 23, family 25, Ira W. Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 995.
[10] 1910 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 174, p. 80A (penned), dwelling 353, family 381, Ira Straight; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 909.
[11] “Orville D, Strait,” obituary, Sussex Independent, 10 April 1908, p. 5, col. 4; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[12] 1920 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 132, p. 18A (penned), dwelling 376, family 413, Ira Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1068.
[13] “Ira Strait, purchases the S.O. Price farm” land transfer announcement, Sussex Register, 18 March 1908; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.

 

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20 – Hannah Jane (Longcor) Hunt

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandmother
Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.47.52 PM


Hannah Jane was worried about getting her widow’s pension from the U.S. Government. She didn’t have her marriage certificate to prove that she was married to William H. Hunt. Her husband had fought in the Late War of the Rebellion from 28 April 1861 to 30 June 1865.[1] He had passed away on 23 February 1918[2] and she really needed the pension to make ends meet.

She was a bit worried and confused. Before he had died, William had sent paperwork to the pension office stating that he and Hannah had been married on Christmas Eve of 1868.[3] Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 5.57.18 PMWhy were they asking her for more proof? How could she prove she was officially married when she didn’t have a document? The reverend that had married them was long gone.

Fortunately, the pension office provided her with some answers. The letter had come from the Commissioner in early May of 1918 explaining what she would need to do if there was no verified copy of public or church records.[4] She would have to find some people that knew her well and who would testify in an affidavit that she had been married to William. But who to ask?

She thought about it. Sarah! Sarah was at the wedding and had been a bridesmaid! Sarah A. Longcor was married to Joseph P. Longcor, one of her father’s brothers. Her brother, George, would also testify on her behalf. And what about someone not related? Hmm… Mr. Steele would probably agree to help. He had been at the marriage ceremony too.

When Hannah asked them to testify, they agreed. They all gathered at the Sussex County Clerk’s office in Newton, New Jersey, on 09 May 1918 to get the affidavits completed.

Sarah was sworn in and started her testimony:

“I reside at No. 152 Sparta Avenue, in the Town of Newton, in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey and am the wife of Joseph P. Longcor.

I know Hannah J. Hunt widow of William H. Hunt and have known her for the past fifty five years.  Her maiden name was Hannah J. Longcor, daughter of Samuel and Eliza Longcor.  I also knew her husband William H. Hunt in his life time, and knew him for fifty years prior to his decease.

I was present at the marriage of the said Hannah J. Hunt and William H. Hunt on December 24-1868, and was bridesmaid at their wedding.

Hannah J. Hunt and her husband lived together continuously from the time of their marriage until the date of his death of February 23-1918, and they have resided in Sussex County continuously since their marriage, and I have also lived in Sussex County and have visited at their home frequently.”[5]

Hannah was so nervous when the testimony was over that she signed the affidavit. “No, no,” said the Clerk. “Mrs. Longcor is the one that needs to sign.” He crossed through Hannah’s signature and handed the pen to Sarah. “Mrs. Longcor, would you please sign under the crossed over signature?” he asked.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 6.04.20 PM

George Longcor was sworn in and began his testimony:

“I reside at No. 48 Pine Street in the Town of Newton, in said county and state, and have resided in the County of Sussex all of my life, and am fifty four years of age.

I am a brother of Hannah J. Hunt widow of William H. Hunt deceased, that the said William H. Hunt died on February 23rd-1918 leaving him surviving his said widow Hannah J. Hunt.

I was a small boy when my sister and the said William H. Hunt were married, but remember their marriage and have visited their home frequently, in fact at least every month of the year since their marriage, and I know that they have lived together continuously from the time of their marriage until the date of the death of the said William H. Hunt, and that they were never divorced nor have any divorce proceedings ever been commenced by them or either of them.”[6]

Satisfied with his testimony, George signed his affidavit at the bottom.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 6.10.31 PM

 

Charles S. Steele, an employee of the Sussex National Bank, was sworn to tell the truth in the same manner as the others and started his testimony:

“I reside in the Town of Newton in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, and am receiving and paying teller for the Sussex National Bank of said Town of Newton.

I know Hannah J. Hunt and have known her for more than fifty years past. I also knew her husband William H. Hunt, who died on February 23-1918. I was present at their marriage on December 24th-1868 and have known them both continuously ever since they have resided in Sussex County from the time of their marriage until the death of the said William H. Hunt on February 23-1918, and they have always lived together continuously since their said marriage until the date of the date [sic, most likely should be “death”] of the said William H. Hunt.”[7]

Mr. Steele then signed the bottom of his affidavit, adding a swooping flourish underneath it.Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 6.19.49 PMThe testimony was done. Hannah gathered and sent all the documents to the Pension Bureau and waited for news on whether she would receive the much needed pension.

Hannah finally received news that she had been approved for a widow’s pension of $25.00 per month in September of 1918.[8] And, more good news, it was retroactively effective back to 26 March 1918! She would now have some income with which to support herself. She smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.
Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 6.32.56 PM


[1] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. This is William Henry Hunt’s full pension file which includes all documents in the file related to soldier’s claim (SO) no. 359,438, widow’s claim (WO) no. 1,117,693, widow’s certificate (WC) no. 852,451, and soldier’s invalid claim (Inv.) no. 424,023.
[2] “Death of William Hunt,” obituary (28 February1918);  Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[3] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Form 3-389, questionnaire dated 02 April 1915.
[4]William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Letter to Hannah J. Hunt from the Pension Bureau Commissioner, dated 03 May 1918.
[5] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of Mrs. Sarah A. Longcor, dated 09 May 1918.
[6] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of George W. Longcor, dated 09 May 1918.
[7] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of Charles S. Steele, dated 09 May 1918.
[8] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Form 3-732, approval of widow’s certificate 852,451 dated 09 September 1918.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #19 – Ira Strait

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandfather
Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.49.55 PM


Ira Strait and his wife Sarah were a roly-poly couple later in life. I have a photo of him and his wife Sarah Matilda (Kimble) Strait taken somewhere in Sussex County which proves my point and it makes me smile whenever I see it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sarah Matilda (Kimble) and Ira Strait.

Ira was born 30 May 1852[1] in Sussex, Sussex County, New Jersey, to parents William Strait and Elizabeth Card.[2] He is the oldest of seven children born from 1852 to 1875 to William and Elizabeth.

Ira’s siblings were:

  • Mary Ida (born 12 March 1855)[3]
  • Coursen (born about 1859)[4]
  • Warren N. (born about 1860)[5]
  • Martha (born about 1863)[6]
  • George E. (born 20 January 1869)[7]
  • Mallie B. (born October 1875)[8]

Ira Strait was 22 years old when he and Sarah Matilda Kimble were united in marriage 26 September 1874 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, at the Regular Baptist church by Simon Siegried, Jr.[9]

At 28, Ira was working in the mines.[10] Mining was a very intensive industry in Sussex County in the 1700 and 1800s). There were a number of viable mines in Franklin and Ogdensburg excavating iron and zinc. http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org is a good resource for further reading on this topic.

I would imagine mining was a tough occupation and by 1900 Ira had switched to farming[11], another active industry in rural Sussex County. In March of 1908, he purchased “the S. O. Price farm, near North Church. The farm contains thirty acres and Mr. Strait paid $100 an acre for it. He will make strawberry culture a specialty.”[12]

Ira Strait 034

Ira Strait: Gentleman farmer

Along with farming, Ira was busy having a family. As was the norm of the time, his family wasn’t small. There were 10 children in all! Daughter Eda W. was born about 1875.[13] A son, Ora Simpson was born 26 January 1879.[14] The next son, Orval D., came along on 14 February 1883.[15] Son Dennis was born in 1884 but only lived to be 6 months old.[16] Son Asa Havens was born on 09 May 1885.[17] Another son, Adam R. was born February of 1890.[18] After five sons, another daughter was finally born. Mary Ida comes along April of 1892.[19] It’s back to boys when Ward Beecher was born on 16 June 1897[20] and James follows around 1900.[21] Another daughter Bertha was born but I haven’t found a birth date for her yet. [There is a discrepancy with this list of children. Please see my posting on Sarah’s life for further discussion. http://wp.me/p4WHi0-4U]

Another little tidbit about Ira came from a cousin Dennis DeGroat who said: “Ira Wilson Strait served as a ‘Lay Preacher’ for the Methodist Church for 38 years.  He preached in small gatherings in and around Hardyston, New Jersey.”

Ira lived to the ripe old age of 78. He died the day after Christmas in 1930. He was interred in the North Hardyston Cemetery.[22]

STRAIT Ira W. and Sarah M.


[1] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
[2] 1860 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 9 (penned), dwelling 57, family 54, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 706.
[3] James Wright, forwarded personal e-mail, to Jodi Strait-Shutts, e-mail, 16 June 2013, “Vernon births.”
[4] 1860 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 9 (penned), dwelling 57, family 54, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 706.
[5] 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston Township, p. 37 (penned), dwelling 289, family 292, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Canisteer Cemetery (Canisteer Rd, Sussex County, New Jersey), George E. Strait grave marker; From Route 23, follow Canisteer Road 2.7 miles where the cemetery is on the left side of the road. Photo taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, 27 December 2011.
[8] 1900 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Deckertown, ED 164, p. 11B (penned), dwelling 247, family 267, Brice Bedell; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 06 November 2005); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 994.
[9] Sussex County, New Jersey, Sussex County Clerk’s Office Marriage Book B: 359, Ira W. Strait and Sarah Kimble, 1874: Hall of Records, Newton.
[10] 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 50 (penned), dwelling 411, family 476, Ira Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
[11] 1900 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Lafayette Township, ED 169, p. 1B (penned), dwelling 23, family 25, Ira W. Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 995.
[12] “Ira Strait, purchases the S.O. Price farm” land transfer announcement, Sussex Register, 18 March 1908; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[13] 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 50 (penned), dwelling 411, family 476, Ira Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
[14] Ora Simpson’s membership booklet for The Carpenters and Joiners Union, dated 20 October 1917. Privately held.
[15] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
[16] Jean Pitts, contributor, “Stockholm Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery,” text data file,  Usgwarchives.org  (http://files.usgwarchives.org/nj/sussex/ cemeteries/stock.txt: accessed 25 November 2011), listing no. 163 for Dennis Strait; citing records of Joseph P. Crayon.
[17] Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index (SSDI),” Database, Rootsweb.com (http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com), entry for Asa Strait, 1964, SS no. 156-24-0616.
[18] 1910 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 174, p. 80A (penned), dwelling 353, family 381, Ira Straight; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 909.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index (SSDI),” Database, Rootsweb.com (http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com), entry for Ward Strait, 1964, SS no. 145-30-8294.
[21] 1910 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 174, p. 80A (penned), dwelling 353, family 381, Ira Straight; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 909.
[22] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #18 – George Arthur Repsher

Relationship: Great-grandfather
Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.21.25 PM


George Arthur Repsher, like my other paternal great-grandfather, Ora Simpson Strait, did not live to a ripe old age. George was only 45 when he passed away.

George’s story starts in the picturesque rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania. He was born 02 October 1890 in Mountainhome[1] which is about 12 miles northwest of Stroudsburg and lies in modern day Monroe County. His parents were John Joseph Repsher and Caroline Bonser.[2] He was born smack-dab in the middle of a passel of 14 children of which 12 lived to adulthood.  Siblings Emma, Lizzie, Letitia, John, James and Lewis preceded him. Ella, Robert, Lillian, William and Jennie were born after him. No small families in the Repsher clan!

The 1900 census[3] shows him in his parent’s household as a 9-year-old boy. Along with his brother Lewis and sister Ella, he is attending school.  He is still in his parent’s household in 1910[4], but now he has a young wife. George had married Anna Maria Karthauser earlier that year on the 18th of January in Stroudsburg at St. John’s Lutheran Evangelical Church.[5] He was 19 years old and working as a stone crusher.

George registered with the draft board on 05 June 1917[6] in Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey. According to the registration form, he has a wife and four dependent children by then.

George and Anna Repsher

George and Anna Repsher, circa 1930

George and Anna wasted no time in starting their family. Shortly after their marriage in January, their first daughter and my grandmother, Beatrice Irene (Bea), was born on 18 August 1910 in Analomink, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.[7] Another daughter, Helen Hildegard (Toots), followed shortly after on 10 September 1911.[8]

At 23 years old, George’s wife Anna suffered a tragedy. She gave birth to a son on 04 September 1913 and they named him after her father John Adam. The baby was not stillborn, but he was sickly and only lived for six days, passing away on 10 September 1913.[9]

Between 1911 and 1913, George and Anna moved their growing family from Analomink, Pennsylvania, over the Delaware River and approximately 40 miles east to Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey, which is located on the picturesque shores of Lake Musconetcong. It is here in New Jersey that son Arthur George (Art) was born on 08 September 1914.[10] Three more sons followed like clockwork every two years: Adam Otto, born 06 October 1916;[11] Robert William (Bob), born 05 August 1918;[12] Henry Allen (Hank), born 03 October 1920.[13]

Slightly less than three years later, Anna gave birth to another baby girl on 08 January 1923, but unfortunately this daughter was stillborn.[14] There was no recorded name for this baby girl. This event brings Anna’s child bearing years to an end. With husband George Repsher, she now has had eight children in total over the course of thirteen years: five sons, four of which survive to maturity, and three daughters, two of which survive to maturity.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.16.19 PM

The 1920 census shows that George, along with his wife and family are living in Stanhope.[15] He is now working as a fireman on the steam railroad.

Because of his daughter Beatrice’s persistence to attend St. Michael’s Catholic School, he was baptized later in life on 20 April 1924 when he is 33 years old in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey.[16]

The last time George Repsher family is found intact in census records was 1930.[17] They were living in Netcong and George was working as an engineer in a sand pit. His daughters Beatrice and Helen (Toots) were also employed as quillers at the silk mills.

George was not found in the 1940 census because he starts feeling poorly on 30 March 1936. He went to the doctor’s office and while there suffered a fatal heart attack.[18] He left a young family behind and Anna never married again.


[1] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011), card for George Arthur Repsher, no. 46, Local Draft Board 0, Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1754441.
[2] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 84.
[3] 1900 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 139, p. 7A (penned), dwelling 131, family 135, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 06 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1442.
[4] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 49, p. 4A (penned), dwelling 70, family 73, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1376.
[5] “Pennslyvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 February 2012), marriage entry #350 for George A. Repsher, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; citing Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[6] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011), card for George Arthur Repsher, no. 46, Local Draft Board 0, Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1754441.
[7] Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 1234010-1910 (1910), Beatrice Irene Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[8] Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri, compiler, “Family George Arthur Repsher and Anna Repsher nee Anna Karthaeuser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Newton, New Jersey, 1971-1995), p. 9.
[9] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[10] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 88.
[11] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 90.
[12] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 95.
[13] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 96.
[14] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[15] 1920 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Stanhope, ED 127, p. 12B (penned), dwelling 113, family 123, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1068.
[16] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[17] 1930 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 55, page 15A (penned), dwelling 329, family 290, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1374.
[18] Personal recollections of his grandson, William Charles Strait, Jr. William recounted the story as told to him.