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. 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”).
Sarah was assigned her middle name ahead of the popular trend, though, as she was born on 05 June 1855 in Clinton, New Jersey, 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.
An examination of the 1860 U.S. Census 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 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. The newlyweds set up their household together, settle in Hardyston Township, and according to the 1880 U.S. Census had two children. 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. 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.
Sarah and Ira were then found in the 1910 census where the couple was now living back in Hardyston Township. 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  before the 1910 census:
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:
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 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.”
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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Sussex County, New Jersey, Sussex County Clerk’s Office Marriage Book B: 359, Ira W. Strait and Sarah Kimble, 1874: Hall of Records, Newton.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 “Orville D, Strait,” obituary, Sussex Independent, 10 April 1908, p. 5, col. 4; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
 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.
 “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.