52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #36 – Ward Beecher Strait

Relationship: 2nd Great uncle

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Ward Beecher Strait

Ward Beecher Strait was the 8th of nine children born to Sarah Matilda Kimble and Ira W. Strait between 1875 and 1900. He had five older brothers, two older sisters, and one younger brother.

Ward was born on 16 June 1897 in Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey.[1] However, the 1900 census, when Ward was two years old, he was listed as being born in June of 1898.[2] His tombstone was inscribed with the 1897 year.

Along with all his siblings, he grew up in Sussex County but did have some significant experiences out west. Per Ernest Wirdel, who was married to Ward’s daughter Gwendolyn, “While a young man, Ward went west (this to help his brother Adam who had contracted TB [tuberculosis] and was advised by his physician to seek a dryer climate–he [Adam] died in Wyoming and is buried in Laramie). In Ogden, Utah, Ward met and married Marie Mitchell–this marriage ended in divorce. No further details known.”[3] One has to wonder if religious differences were a contributing cause to the break up of the marriage.

It is unclear whether, after his marriage to Marie, he returned immediately to New Jersey. But on 02 May 1925, Ward was married to Katherine Edith Current in Wallkill, Orange County, New York,[4] which is located about 39 miles northeast of Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. Katherine was born 26 September 1903[5] and she was 21 years old when she and Ward were married by Justice of the Peace, B.T. Reeves. Their witnesses were Ward’s sister WitnessesMary I. (Strait) Dowd and another woman named Rosella L. Wagar.

Ward and Katherine settled into married life. They had two daughters: Carolyn Winifred Strait, born 04 August 1926 in Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, and Gwendolyn Charmion Strait, born 07 June 1930 in Sussex, Sussex County, New Jersey.[6] It would be interesting to see why the daughters’ middle names were Winifred and Charmion which were unusual. Perhaps they are family names from Katherine’s side of the family.

At only 66 years of age, Ward passed away on 30 March 1964 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, at Newton Memorial Hospital.[7] His last Will and Testament was filed on 15 April 1964 in the Sussex County Surrogate’s Office. His wife Katherine and two daughters were listed as his heirs and they were all living in the same place at the time of Ward’s death.heirs

Ward was buried in the family plot in North Hardyston Cemetery.[8]


STRAIT Ward B. and Katherine E.

[1] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Strait-De Groat-Wirdel marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
[2] 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.
[3] Dennis Degroat, to Jodi Lynn Strait, e-mail, 27 December 2007, “Descendants of Abram Strait I,”; privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, Arizona.
[4] New York, Department of Health, Marriage Certificates, marriage license no. 8895 (1925), Strait-Current; Digital copy with Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ.
[5] Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index (SSDI),” Database, Rootsweb.com (http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com), entry for Katherine E. Strait, 1989, SS no. 150-40-1227.
[6] Dennis Degroat, to Jodi Lynn Strait, e-mail, 27 December 2007.
[7] Sussex County, New Jersey, Petitions and Renunciations Volume T: 469-470, Ward B. Strait (1964); Sussex County Surrogate’s Office, Newton.
[8] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Strait-De Groat-Wirdel marker; photos taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.


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