Some tombstones speak volumes:
Some tombstones  whisper:
Elizabeth Strait is the subject of this post and as you can see her tombstone provides some very basic information that raises lots of questions. Whose mother was she? Is Strait her maiden name? Not likely, but not very obvious. Who was her husband and why is she not buried with him?
Maybe her obituary would help define Elizabeth a little more. I found her obituary in the vertical files of the Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey. Unfortunately, the clipping was not dated but it does provide some answers to whose mother was she and who she was married to.
“Mrs. Elizabeth Strait.” – Mrs. Elizabeth Card, widow of William Strait, died Wednesday morning at 7:45 at the home of her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Wilson, at Quarryville. Mrs. Strait was born near Stockholm on August 10, 1835. She was a lifelong member of the Hamburg Baptist Church. She is survived by five children, Ira W. Strait, of Franklin; Mrs. J.S. Wilson, of Quarryville; Coursen and Warren Strait, both of Paterson and Mrs. Brice Bedell, of Newton; one sister, Miss Abby Card, of New Milford; fourteen grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock, standard time, at the home where she died. Rev. James Bristow, of Warwick, will officiate. Burial will be in North Church Cemetery.”
Putting this together with the tombstone we know she died on a Wednesday morning in 1922 which makes her 85 years old at the time of her death. We know her maiden name is Card. We know she was married to William Strait. We can pull out her sons’ names (surviving but not necessarily all) of Ira, Coursen and Warren. We know she had two surviving daughters who are married, Mrs. J.S. Wilson and Mrs. Brice Bedell but not their first names. Elizabeth had a surviving sister named Abby.
That is more than enough information to start building Elizabeth’s biography and researching her further!
Elizabeth Card was born on 10 August 1835 near Stockholm, Sussex County, New Jersey, to parents Henry Card, Jr. and Julia Card . Yes, both her parents names were Card. I suspect, but have not proven, yet, that Henry and Julia were first cousins.
Elizabeth’s parents, Henry and Julia, had seven children:
- Phebe Jane, born 17 June 1833
- Elizabeth, born 10 August 1835
- Mary, born 10 June 1838
- Martha, born 26 August 1841
- Abby S., 09 March 1845
- David S., 11 May 1847
- Ira R., 07 August 1849
Elizabeth met and married William Strait and they were found in the 1860 U.S. Census  living in the township of West Milford in Passaic County, New Jersey. William (35) and Elizabeth (25) were listed with their first three children, Ira W. (7), Mary (5) and Coursen (1). William was a farmer and had $600 worth of real estate and $180 in personal property. They had a farm hand living with them.
In 1870, Elizabeth (35) and William(45), a farmer, were now living in Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey. Their household had expanded and now included Ira (17), Mary (12), Coursen (10), Martha (7) and George (1). There is an interesting gap in time between Martha’s age and George’s age. Perhaps more children were born but died prior to the census being taken?
They settled down in Hardyston Township and were found in the 1880 census. William (55) was still working as a farmer and Elizabeth (44) was keeping house. The children listed in the household were Coursen (21), Warren (19) and Mallie B. (4). Their son Ira had moved out by then to set up his own household. (See his story at:http://wp.me/p4WHi0-4Q) George was missing as he had passed away 29 August 1876 and was buried in the Canisteer Cemetery.
The 1890 census is non extant due to a fire that destroyed those records.
Looking back at the records that were generated for Elizabeth and William, it can be shown that they had the following children together:
- Ira W., born 30 May 1852
- Mary Ida (Ida M.), born 12 March 1855
- Coursen, born about 1859
- Warren, born about 1860
- Martha (Bertha), born about 1863
- George E., born 20 January 1869
- Mallie B., born October 1875
Elizabeth was next found in the 1900 U.S. Census living with her son Ira and his wife Sarah. She was 64 years old at the time and was listed as Ira’s mother and her birth month and year were August 1835 which corroborates information found above. She was widowed which means William passed away between 1880 and 1900. Elizabeth was listed as being able to read and write. She was surrounded by six of her grandchildren (listed in census order): Mary (8), Ora (21), Orville (17), Asa (15), Adam (10) and Ward (2). I’m sure that daughter-in-law Sarah must have welcomed the extra pair of hand around the household!
Looking into the 1910 census, Elizabeth was hard to find. I suspect that in 1910 she was living with her daughter in Middletown, Wallkill Township, Orange County, New York. I found an Elizabeth Strait (74, which is the right age) as a mother-in-law to Evi Adams. The entire household consisted of head Evi Adams (48), mother Bertha (46), son Warren (13) and son Joseph (6). Now, in prior records, Elizabeth didn’t have a daughter named Bertha but she did have a daughter name Martha (very close in spelling) who was born about 1863. Census Bertha is 46 which means she would have been born about 1864, the same time Martha was born. I suspect Bertha and Martha are the same daughter. I will have to track down the marriage records for Evi and Bertha to see if they yield any more information on Bertha’s parentage.
In 1920, Elizabeth had moved back to New Jersey and was living in Wantage, Sussex County, New Jersey, with her daughter Ida M. (Mary Ida) Wilson (64) and her husband Joseph S. Wilson (65). That would make the daughter in the census a Mrs. J.S. Wilson, same as listed in Elizabeth’s obituary, so I’m confident Mary Ida and Ida M. are one in the same.
Just two years after the census was taken in 1920, Elizabeth passed away in Quarryville, New Jersey, and was buried in the North Hardyston Cemetery with the simple but elegantly carved headstone pictured above.
 North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
 North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Elizabeth Strait marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
 “Mrs. Elizabeth Strait.” Undated newspaper obituary. Folder: Strait Family. Vertical files. Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
 J. Percy Crayon, “The Crane Family,” Rockaway Records of Morris County, N.J. Families (Rockaway, NJ: Rockaway Publishing Co., 1902), 208.
 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.
 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.
 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 5 (penned), dwelling 38, family 39, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
 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.
 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, Orange County, New Yort, population schedule, Middletown, ED 21, Ward 1, p. 3A (penned), dwelling 41, family 59, Evi Adams; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 August 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1059.