Person of Interest: Sarah (Card) Strait
Relationship: 4th great grand aunt and, her mother, Phebe (Angle) Card, is my 5th great grandmother
Source Citation: Martha F. Strait, “Angle-Card-Strait Family History: Recollections of my Mother, Sarah Card Strait” (14 January 1909); folder: “Strait Family File”, vertical files; Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
Document Description: This type-written document was written by Martha F. Stait who was the daughter of Sarah (Card) Strait. It is a copy of an original and the type is a bit faded but readable. Sarah’s recollections also appeared in a shortened, edited article in the The North Jersey Highlander in their Spring-Summer 1985 edition on pages 27 to 34. This document is the longer, unedited version which runs 5-1/4 single-spaced pages plus an additional sheet that is letter addressed to the New Jersey Historical Society for Soldiers of the Revolution. The document is dated 14 January 1909.
This is not a transcription in the true definition (an exact copy of a record, word-for-word, preserving original spacing, punctuation and spelling) since I’ve inserted spacing between paragraphs for easier reading, taken some liberties with the formatting of the original tables as WordPress isn’t great at tables or indenting or columns, added comments in brackets [ ], and added some pictures to break up the layout of the blog post.
Keeping people straight in the narrative is sometimes difficult to follow so here is a flow of mother to daughter for reference:
Martha (Burrel) Angle > Phebe (Angle) Card > Sarah (Card) Strait > Martha Frances Strait
Please note: This is not a politically correct article; it is transcribed as found including the “n-word” as it was used at this time. No sugar-coating has been applied.
Document Scan and Transcription:
Angel – Card – Strait Family History
by Martha F. Strait.
Recollections of my Mother, Sarah Card Strait.
Martha Burrel, my Great-Grandmother, was born in England in 1723. She came to America in 1740, when she was twelve years old, with her two aunts, Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Meeker, and their husbands. Her parents were dead. When she landed in Newark, New Jersey, there were only three houses – log, of course. The Indians used to bring in huckleberries to sell, but the people were afraid to eat them for fear they were poison. The Indians pointed to the hogs and wanted them to eat, which they did very greedily; then they pointed to the cow which gave milk. The people tried the berries with milk and found them good, so they called them milk berries.
About 1748, when Martha was twenty years old, she came across John Angle, who came from Germany, and married him. They must have come up around Snufftown (now called Stockholm) and settled near where Jephtha W. Dunn now lives. They had eight children:
- Elizabeth, born 1749 – married Benjamin Price
- Samuel, born 1753 – married Mary Wright
- Abraham, born 1757 – went to Elmira, N.Y.
- John, Jr., born 1761 – went to Elmira, N.Y.
- Edward, born 1765 – he took the horse the John sent to his mother.
- Hannah, born 1769 – married a Hand and then Anthony Zeke
- Sally, born 1773 – married John Daniels
- Phebe (my grandmother), born 1776 (May 10) married Peter Card, Nov. 12, 1792
In September, 1776, when his daughter Phebe was only four months old, John Angle, with his two brothers, Jacob and William Angle (also from Germany), enlisted in the Sussex County, New Jersey, Militia at Newton, N.J., and so became soldiers in the Revolutionary Army.
“STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Office of the adjutant General,
Trenton, June 29, 1908.
It is Certified, That the records of this office show that JOHN ANGLE served as
Private in the Sussex County New Jersey Militia, – during the Revolutionary War.
(Signed) R. Heber Brentnall,
The Adjutant General.”
I supposed the three brothers must have enlisted at the same time, but John Angle did not go to the war as he ought, and so they came and took him while he was plowing int the filed below Jephtha W. Dunn’s (which went by the name of Angle’s hill) and did not even let him go in and say good-bye to his family. It was such as a shock to his wife that she went deranged and kept so all winter. In the spring she was all right in her mind, and this kept up all the rest of her life, she being deranged in winter and sane in summer. When she was herself she was a very pious woman.
During the last thirty-five years of her life, she lived with her daughter Phebe Card. She was a very little woman and became blind before she died. She wanted the lads to carry her out doors in the sunshine, so she could look at the sun and see if she could see a glimmer of light, but she could not, so she said “Take me back and put me to bed.” She was about 101 years old she she died, in the spring or summer of 1829. She was a great smoker, but you see that did not kill her, for she died of old age.
When Phebe Angle was married to Peter Card (Nov. 12, 1792), she was about sixteen years old – a mere child in feeling. They lived in a little log house where James Woods used to live. A man by the name of Michael Stagg go up a dance in a
house called the County House, since burned down. Phebe wanted to go to the dance, but her husband (my grandfather) did not want her to go. She said she would go, if the Devil stood at the door, so she went, and when they got pretty well warmed up in dancing, why the old fellow did appear. He ground and rattled his chains and nearly scared the people out of their wits, but it broke up the dance. When Phebe got home her husband was abed and, to all appearances, asleep. In the morning he got up and said he would go and hunt the cow, as she had laid out all night. He told Phebe not to wait breakfast for him, as he could not tell when he would be back. He took his gun along – and it was two years before she saw him again. He could here from her, but she did not hear from him. During his absence she went to live with Lydia Winans (every one called her Granny Winans). When her husband came back, he told her what he had done and said if she would settle down and not to to dances and sprees, he would stay. She did settle down and got to be a very pious woman. She was quite a tall woman and had brown eyes.
All the fine dresses they had in those days were of flannel, made from black sheep’s wool, but after my Mother got big enough to spin, they bought cotton and carded it, spun it and colored it and made them Sunday dresses for summer. We call such stuff now shirting. So it did not take them very long to make fancy things. The people of those days spun all their own thread out of flax and cotton and made their garments with that kind of thread.
Our Church was built in 1827 and my grandmother, Phebe Card, was the twelfth one who joined the class. She must have been around 51 years old then. She may have been a Christian longer, but there was no church to join. Her daughter Sarah, my mother, was the 130th member and joined the church October 24, 1829. In August, 1836, just a short time before my birth, the minister (Rev. William Baker) turned her out of the church because she did not attend class meeting. But it makes no difference to me now. I am a Methodist yet, if they turn me out of church pretty young.
- Born Nov. 10, 1768
- Married Nov. 12, 1792, Phebe Angle
- Died Feb. 14, 1818
- Born May 10, 1776
- Married Nov. 12, 1792, Peter Card, afterward Peter’s brother Henry
- Died Mar. 22, 1854
Children: [of Peter and Phebe]
- Martha Card, born Oct. 15, 1795, married to Frederick C. Haunson, died about 1812
- Sarah Card, born July 4, 1799, married on Dec. 14, 1816 to David Strait (born Jan. 11, 1790 and died May 7, 1874), died Nov. 24, 1879
- Elizabeth Card, born Apr. 10, 1802, married to Thomas Allington and John Edwards
- Andrew Card, born Apr. 4, 1804, married to Elizabeth Crane (born Mar. 12, 1812), died Nov. 12, 1879
- Sylvester Card, born Apr. 2, 1807, married on Mar. 20, 1830 to Catherine Crill (died Apr. 2, 1866), died Mar. 1, 1881
- John Card, born Apr. 2, 1811, married to Sarah Cook (born Sep. 20, 1812 and died Oct. 20, 1880)
- Emeline Card, born Jun. 24, 1815, married on Nov. 3, 1832 to John Crain, died Apl. 24, 1894 [marriage date and death date are handwritten in with ink]
- Julia Card, born Mar. 8, 1816, married on Oct. 8, 1830 to 1st Henry Card Jr. (born Jan. 27, 1807) and to 2nd William Dunn, died Feb. 20, 1892
Son of Henry Card, Sr. and Phebe (Angle) Card:
- Peter Card, born Feb. 18, 1820, married to Mary E. Cole, died May 19, 1840
Peter Card’s brothers and sisters were: Henry, Catherine (m. Joseph Crill), Stephen (m. Catherine Oldham) and Rachel (m. Benjamin Sullivan). Peter Card lived in the time of the Revolutionary War, but did not go to war. However, if any call came to defend the house, he was there.
Martha Card, oldest daughter of Peter and Phebe Card, was commonly called Patty, so Phebe Grimstead told me. She married a man who called himself Frederick Cotton,
Sarah Card (my mother) was born July 4, 1799. When she was little girl about 9 years old, she had rheumatism which kept her in bed about a year. There came along an old woman who stopped to react and asked what was the matter with the girl. They told her and she said, “Take her out to the spring nine mornings and pour a teakettle full of cold water on her knees and wrap them up in flannel and she will walk.” She walked in three days. She lived to be over eighty years old, so that did not kill her.
My mother learned to spin before she was ten years old. They had to get her a plank to run on to make her high enough to reach the wheel so she could turn it around. My grandfather lived in a log house and had a big fireplace with a back log, where the children sat and knit stockings and mittens.
Mother always liked to clean out the corners, but Grandmother did not like to have things disturbed. One day, when she was about eleven years old, her mother went visiting, to be gone all day, so she thought she would make her brother Sylvester a pair of pants, as he was a great big boy who still wore dresses. She took some of the old garments that had been hung up for patches, ripped them up and laid the pieces on the floor, laid Sylvester on and cut out the back part of the pants, then turned him over and cut out the front part. Before her mother got back, the pants were done and on the boy, and was he not proud!
When Mother was eleven years old, she and a girl friend went huckleberrying and there came up a fearful thunderstorm, so they stopped at the first log cabin they came to, and there they found a woman sick. Her husband had gone after some woman to help his wife through her trouble, and had got drunk. The woman called Mother to her and explained what was the matter. The other girl got up in a corner and would not go with Mother to the woman. The woman talked very nice to the girls and made them promise not to tell, which Mother never did until she got older and had the right. Mother and the woman fixed up the baby all right and Mother helped her to bed. After the shower was over, the girls started for home (I can just imagine how the little tots looked), and when they were nearly home they met the man with his midwife.
Grandfather was a worker in the forge at our place (called Wingden Forge) owned by Mr. Ford. [see interpretation 1 in analysis section] One day when Mother was about twelve years old, Grandfather came in and said he did not know what they were going to to to live, for Mr. Ford had given him his discharge, but had told him he could cut all the wood he wanted, and he would give him his fifty cents a cord. Mother and Aunt Betsey both said they would help, so Grandfather cut down the trees and the girls trimmed them up. At first they put up three-quarters of a cord a day, but after a while a cord a day. Grandfather laid up money that winter and lived better than ever, and it was a fine thing to have a good living. My mother was a very ambitious woman all the way through life to the end.
The same winter my grandfather took care of John O. Ford’s cattle. They were steers and cows and oxen, also some yearling cattle. One night wolves were heard howling and the cattle bellowing. Grandfather went out at break of day to feed the cattle and see what was the matter with them. The wolves had been frightened way by returning daylight and my grandfather saw all the big cattle lying in a circle, with the small ones in the center. They had fought the wolves all night and had tramped the snow and earth hard, but not one of them was hurt.
This same winter Grandfather shot a lot of pigeons [see interpretation 2 in analysis section] or caught them in nets – anyway to get them. They ate all they wanted and salted down a barrelful, which came in very good for a change of diet.
The following spring Grandfather tapped a lot of sugar maple trees, and Mother and Aunt Betsey gathered the sap and boiled it (I think they had two big iron kettles) and made a barrel of sugar like the brown sugar we buy. They also made a lot of maple
syrup and some maple sugar cakes. In another part of the sugar camp were two boys in the sugar business, Anson and Andy Barton. The girls kept losing their sap and could not think what became of it. Aunt Betsey watched while Mother took care of the boiling sap, and found Anson taking the sap. She said she would match them, which she did by taking their sap out of the kettles when it was almost sugar. Then the boys cried and Aunt Betsey told them what she had seen them do, and they agreed to steal no more sap.
When Mother was twelve years old, her mother gave her a whipping which streaked her back and made the blood come. This was the cause of the whipping: Grandmother had company and my mother was getting supper and the two boys kept snatching the food off the table. She asked Grandmother to make them quit, and she would not, so Mother cuffed Andrew’s ears to make him behave, and the Grandmother took a whip to Mother and whipped her until she was tired. Then Mother said “You might as well give me my freedom suit [see interpretation 3 in analysis section] while you are at it”, which she did. The next morning Mother put on all the extra clothes she dared and went to see Aunt Betsey, who lived with Granny Hulmes. (Granny kept the mill at Stockholm). Mother said “Granny, I have come to do your spinning if you want me to.” She said she did, so she went to work. She asked Granny to get her some muslin and made a garment, working nights, and got it done before they washed. She helped Aunt Betsey wash and no one saw how she was hurt. They asked her what made her look so sober, but she told them nothing. After she finished spinning for Granny Hulmes, she went to Charity Woods, and she also spun for Mrs. Susan B. Day, and wherever any one wanted her she went. You know the people mostly did their spinning of wool in the winter, and they had a fire in the fireplace which kept the wool warm, and nights she carded the wool into rolls. And when she had finished spinning wool, she would spin flax on the little wheel. After that was done, she would do housework or sew – so she kept busy. She did not go home until her sister Emeline came to town, then her father coaxed her up, and for his sake she went. She was sixteen years old then.
When she was about sixteen, she kept house for John O. Ford (at the place now owned by Clarence Linn) while J.O. Ford and his wife kept house at Franklin Furnace, New Jersey, and ran the furnace, making stoves, pots, and teakettles and all such useful things. My mother was left in care of the house at Stockholm. She had a little girl stay with her, and a darkey man whose name was William Downes, but he was lazy, so they sent her another one. Mother baked the bread (rye of course) and cake and kept provisions on hand cooked to fix them up a dinner for the team drivers. They had four mule teams which took iron to Dover and brought back ore. There was a slave named Walter Leonard whom Mr. Ford brought of the Sewards. Walter was the son of a school teaher – his mother a slave of Sewards. The people saw young Israel Seward talking to Walter several times, and they took Walter’s team away from him at Franklin and gave him an old run-down team in its place, so he had quite a time, and then he started out for Stockholm. Mother heard some one knocking at the door and said “Who is there!” He told her “Walter Leonard”. She let him in and he asked if she would get him his new suit of clothes Granny Winans had made for him. Mother said “What are you going to do?” He said “I am going to run away”. She told him to go and get the clothes and she would fix a lunch for him to carry with him. She took a loaf of bread (it was a good sized one) and cut a hole out of the middle and put in a good chunk of butter and some meat. When he came back dressed, his lunch was ready. She told him he had better take to the woods for they would surely be after him. This was about ten o’clock, and at about eleven o’clock there was another knock at the door. Mother said “Who is there?” The answer was “David Strait”. She let him in and he said “Have you seen Walt?” She said “Yes”. He said “Did he take his clothes?” She said “How could I help him taking them? What would I do in the hands [from note on the back of page 4, see snippet to the right]
of a big nigger?” Every little while there would come a knocking at the door; they were hunting for the poor nigger. I suppose he was worth at least a thousand dollars. Of course they did not catch him, for Israel Seward was running the runaway. Mother never heard from Walter until after she was married, when one day Israel Seward came to see her. After a little he asked if she would not like to hear from Walt, and she said she would, so he told her Walter was living in Illinois and had married a girl half white like himself, and was getting along nicely. He had learned the blacksmith trade and was saving money, and Israel added: “Here is a present he sent you for helping him to be a free man. [sic, no end quote] It was a very pretty black alpaca dress, which came in very good. So you see my mother was an abolitionist quite young.
The Sewards, who went to Illinois, did not do very well, as they loved whisky [sic] too well. I think my grandfather, Peter Card, lived where Garry Brown now lives, and the Sewards on the present Margarum place. The old lady – they called her Granny Seward – used to get her darkey woman to mix up a big lot of shortcake, as they called it, and the old lady would get on her horse’s back and the colored woman would go along to bake the shortcake and help, and then they would go a visiting to my grandmother’s and spend the day. (It is interesting to know they made “shortcake” in those days. In the place of soda or baking powder, they took a lot of corn cobs and burnt them to ashes, and that answered all purposes.)We thought it probable that Peter Card first came to Stockholm with the Sewards, as the two families were always very intimate. Emeline Seward was one of my mother’s greatest friends.
While my mother was keeping house for Mr. Ford, she found out that David Strait liked her pretty well. One day she went to Franklin Furnace and bought her wedding dress. It was white and she had it made like they used to make baby dresses – low neck. After a couple of years she made it into baby dresses for her babies.After David Strait and Sarah Card were married, they went to live in a log house on the old road to Holland (D. D. Lewis’ place). Father made a partition in the house so he could have a shop in which to make or mend wagons. Their furniture consisted of a table (Father probably made it), no carpet on the floor, I think they had two chairs and some benches, a bedstead and of course a straw bed, and I suppose they had some blankets for covering. They had a fireplace where they put on a back log so large that it took three or four men to put it in the fireplace, then they had a forestick and put the fire in the center. There they lived, and while there Nancy came. In about two years they moved to Stockholm (the first Stockholm – where J. J. Mead lived), and remained there until spring of 1831.
Another wolf story belongs to this period. It relates to what was probably the last wolf seen in this section of the country. He was a very big and wise old fellow, who roamed the county and killed off lots of cattle. No one was smart enough to catch him until a man named Buckey DeKay of Hamburg set out to trap him. He hired men to help him, and when that got tired, he hired another set, and so on. David Strait was one of the hunters. Buckey DeKay stuck to the hunt every day, but he was in a sleigh with a horse to draw it. When the dogs got tired out, Buckey would get another set. The wolf went from Hamburg mountain to Williamsville, through by Double Pond and back by Dunker Pond Mountain, then down to Longwood and so on back to Hamburg, around and around, and finally he was shot. There was a big bounty on the wolf, and after he was killed, Buckey DeKay took him to a place called Snufftown (now Stockholm), placed him in an upright position, put a pipe in his mouth, and then treated everybody to whisky [sic] who came around, and they had a general time of rejoicing. The wolf was kept on exhibition all night and every one went to see him.
In April 1831 Father and Mother moved to this house, and on June 14, 1831 Hiram came. The first carpet my mother ever had was when they had the scarlet fever in 1833, when Hiram was two years old. Only think of that – to scrub a floor all your lifetime! The first matting or carpet on the Church floor was when M. P. Hendrickson preached here. On August 19, 1836 I came, and her I am yet, but don’t know how long I will stay.
January 14, 1909 Martha F. Strait.
[handwritten underneath is (Age 73)]
[Typewritten here in different font is:]
Hiram died Jan. 13, 1901
Martha died March 5, 1911
Both buried in the Stockholm United Methodist Church Cemetery
New Jersey Historical Society for Soldiers of the Revolution, Newark, New Jersey.
Sometime ago I was in correspondence with you regarding the Revolutionary War record of my ancestor, John Angle, and mentioned some incidents of family history connected with that period. In a letter from you dated August 25, 1908, you stated that you would be pleased to hear from me again in case I could give any further information about those people.
I enclose herewith a manuscript giving incidents in the history of the Angle, Card and Strait families as related by my mother, Mrs. Sarah Card Strait. There is only one person bearing the name of Angle now living. The father, Samuel Angle, was a soldier in the War of the Rebellion (1862-1865) and gets a pension. There are quite a number of the Card family still living. The Straits are nearly gone. I am the last of that race living that bears the name of Strait, though I have two older sisters living who married.
I send also a History of our Church and Society – how and when it started, when the Church was built, how the ministers worked in those days, and the Society up to the present day. The Newark Water Company are buying up homes and farms in this vicinity, and of course the Chruch will go in time (though it may not be in my day, as I am seventy three years old) and all this country will again become a wilderness.
If you do not care to keep these records, please let me know and I will send stamps to cover the return postage. In case you return them, I will appreciate it if you will kindly let me know where they may be so that they will be preserved for the information of future generations.
Kindly acknowledge the receipt of this letter. Stamped envelope is enclosed for your convenience.
Yours very truly, [signature not on this sheet]
Analysis: I picked this document to feature because it’s a wonderful example of oral, family traditions later written down for posterity. Not only is it chock full of genealogical information (as the family knows it), it provides some insight into the personalities and physical characteristics of my ancestors. Martha (Burrel) Angle was a long-lived, little woman, occasionally deranged, an avid smoker, and blind later in life. Phebe (Angle) Card was a tall woman with brown eyes and a rebellious streak. Sarah (Card) Strait was ambitious, stubborn, an abolitionist, a bit proud but very hard working.
- I think Wingdam is really Windham. An 1860 map of Sussex County, New Jersey, found on the Library of Congress site, shows that David Strait lived very near a forge and a place called Windham around Snufftown. I know this is the right David Strait and place because I also find people named Lewis, Ford, Winans, Woods, Dunn, etc. All of these people are named in the narrative.
- The pigeons that were the food source for one winter were most likely passenger pigeons that are now extinct. In the early part of the 1800s, they were plentiful.
- A freedom suit refers to the customary new suit of clothes that indentured servants were given upon completion of their servitude. Sarah wasn’t indentured but given the whooping she had just received she must have felt like one and wanted her mother Phebe to know it. Later in the 1860s, just before the Civil War, freedom suits came to mean the legal petitions slaves filed in court suing for their freedom.
You might ask, “Why transcribe this since? It’s already type-written.” Well, transcription forces me look at all the details and read every word. I question what sort of pigeons, where was Franklin Furnace, what types of non-motorized tools were used to cut the cords of wood, how were sugar maples tapped, what might Newark look like with only three log cabins in 1740, whether David Strait owned the land and cabin he occupied on the road to old Holland, what did the shortcakes taste like, how many hours did Sarah spend spinning thread, etc.? The stories give me a great appreciation of what life was like at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. Also, the story of Sarah Card coming across the woman by herself in the cabin giving birth to a child, shows just how precarious it was to be a woman at the time. If the drunk husband had never returned with the midwife or Sarah and her friend hadn’t happened by, who knows what the fate of that poor lady and her baby would have been.
The genealogical information about John and Martha (Burrel) Angle’s children is especially useful. New Jersey didn’t have a formalized requirement for recording births until May 0f 1848. So this family tradition is about the only place where one could find birth information for the eight children. Martha herself relates that her church was built in 1827, so earlier records of births would not likely be found there. This document’s creation is bit after the actual births in the early 1800s but given that one should look for documents close in time to when the events happened, I consider this a pretty good quality source.
Get out there and interview your oldest family members. If that’s you, so be it. Write up the family stories, record the traditions. Add maps and photos for spice. Then, print it out and donate it to a historical society, library, or some other repository. Do it now, while you still can!
 Map of Sussex Co., New Jersey : from actual surveys and records (Philadelphia: Carlos Allen, M.D., 1860); digital image, Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3813s.la000466/ : accessed 22 November 2016). Cropped image (scale changed) from a map with an original 1-1/2 inch to 1 mile scale.