Sepia Saturday #314: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

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This is a card given to my Aunt Sadie and is labeled as being from Joan L. in 1938. I believe Joan L. was a friend or neighbor since I don’t have a Joan L. in my family tree program related to any close family members. This little boy is rowing his heart out on some rough water. The boy and the boat on the card rock back and forth to give the sense of the waves. A bright yellow fish watches and one of the Valentine’s Day hearts has fallen out of his boat.

One of my 2nd great uncles was born on Valentine’s day. Since he didn’t get into my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts, he’s today’s topic.

Orval D. Strait was the 3rd of nine children born to Ira Wilson Strait and Sarah Matilda Kimble. He was born on 14 February 1883 in New Jersey,[1] most likely somewhere in Sussex County since his parents resided there all their lives.

Orval is found in the 1895 New Jersey census[2] in the very broad category of 5- to 20-year-old males. He would have been 12 years old in 1895. He was listed with his parents and six of his siblings.

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Orval went to school in Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey. Around 1897, when Orval was about 14, the local newspaper took a picture of the Vernon School students. This photo was reprinted in July of 1956 in the New Jersey Herald. Brothers Ora (18), Asa (12), and Orval (14) were all in the picture.

Even though Ora’s occupation was listed as teacher in the 1900 census and this photo was taken around 1897, I don’t think Ora wasn’t actually the teacher for this class based on the punctuation in the caption. “… Nettie Rhodes (Mrs. Bert Drew), Ora Strait; Teacher, Uhler H. Creveling, Charles Utter.” The semicolon provides a break between Ora Strait and Teacher. Since the photo was loaned to the newspaper by a Mrs. Uhler H. Creveling, I think it was in her husband’s family mementos and that he was the teacher at the time.

Asa was in the second row, fifth from the left. Orval was also in the second row, eleventh from the left. Brother Ora was in the back row, fifth from the left. However, given the way the students are positioned, it’s tough to be really sure who is who in this picture. One also has to trust that the person giving the information relayed the correct names to the reporter.

Ora Simpson STRAIT class photo

In the 1900 U.S. census,[3] Orval was listed as being born in February of 1883 and was a 17-year-old. Again, he’s with his parents and six of his siblings. Orval’s grandmother, Elizabeth, was also living with them.

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At some point between 1900 and 1905, Orval met and married his wife. Their son, F. Howard Strait was born in 1905 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[4] It is unclear why F. Howard was born in Philadelphia. What is clear is that he didn’t get to know his father. He was only three years old when Orval passed.

Orval died on 03 April 1908.[5] A short death notice shows that he died at Beaver Run at the very young age of 25.[6]STRAIT Orville D.

His obituary[7] has him as 25 years, one month and nine days old at his death. Working forward from his birthday, that would mean he died on 23 March 1908.  However, this obituary (below) is dated Friday, 10 April 1908 and says he died “Friday last.” That would put his death date as 03 April 1908 which matches his tombstone and the death notice above. Using the 25 years, one month and nine days and working backwards from his death date, would put his birthdate at 25 February 1883 which does not match what’s on his tombstone. So, I believe he was 25 years, one month, and 19 days (not nine) when he died. One could speculate that the nine days was supposed to be nineteen and a simple typo makes sense.

STRAIT Orville D 2

Orval’s first name seemed to be somewhat fluid over his short life. There is some discrepancy in his first name. His obituary has him as Orville. The 1895 N.J. census has him as Orval. The 1900 U.S. census has him enumerated as Orvin. Whatever he was known by, his tombstone has him immortalized as Orval.

STRAIT Ira W. and Sarah M.

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo: Boat

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[1] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker; photos taken by author, July 2006.
[2] 1895 NJ state census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Vernon Township, p. 50 (penned), dwelling 290, family 328, Ira W. Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 April 2013); citing NJ State Archives microfilm 54 reels, roll V227_103.
[3] 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.
[4] Sussex County, New Jersey, probate case files, docket no. 24162, F. Howard Strait (1972), record of death, 11 December 1972; Sussex County Surrogate’s Office, Newton.
[5] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ira W. and Sarah M. Strait marker; photos taken by author, July 2006.
[6] “STRAIT,” obituary, New Jersey Herald, 16 April 1908, p. 5, col. 3; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[7] “Orville D, Strait,” obituary, Sussex Independent, 10 April 1908, p. 5, col. 4; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.

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7 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday #314: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

  1. How did you get the picture from the New Jersey Herald? Having two boys, one Ora and one Orval was confusing enough never mind the Orval, Orville problem. Good thing he called his son F. Howard.

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    • My family is still in New Jersey so they keep an eye out for “items of interest” for me. It was something that I inherited from my Grandmother when she passed. Lots of family newspaper clippings!

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  2. What’s in a name – Ora, Orval, Orville, Orvin . . . It never occurred to me when we named our daughters Suzanne & Stephanie that it might become a bit of a problem one day. Being 18 months apart in age & only a year apart in school, and both very much into sports, whenever the local newspaper reported on games in which both girls played on the same team, instead of listing them using one initial of their given name plus a last name as they did other players, they had to list our girls as Su and St plus their last name. Good thing we didn’t have a third daughter, then, as the other name I had in mind for a daughter was Samantha.

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