Strother Family Anecdotes and Stories
A collection of anecdotes and stories about the Strother family, including the famous, the talented, and the infamous! If you have a Strother story or tidbit that would make an interesting addition here, please send it to the Webmaster.
Harsh Justice in Colonial Virginia
Justice in colonial Virginia was rather primitive and harsh. Barnably Sate learned this from the King George County Court on 17 May 1736, where Joseph Strother served as Justice of the Peace. Sate was found guilty for feloniously stealing one pair of gold earrings and about 15 shillings cash. The court ordered that Sate be taken to the common whipping post of the County and given 25 lashes on the bare back well laid on. Also, the court ordered that Sate be held for one week and as security for his good behavior for the next year pay 40 pounds of tobacco (King George County, Virginia, Order Book 2, 1735-1751: 72; FHL microfilm 0,032,085).
Jimmerson Strother Captured by Mexicans in Matagorda Bay, November 1835
Consulate of the U.S.A., Matamoros, Mexico.
Jimmerson Strother, a citizen of the United States of America and a resident of the State of Mississippi being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, deposes and says: That on the 13th day of November last past, he set sail on board the American schooner Hannah Elizabeth, from the Port of New Orleans, bound for the port of Matagorda, Texas that on the 18th day of the same month, the said vessel stranded on the bar in attempting to enter Matagorda Bay in which unfortunate condition she was fired into by the Mexican armed schooner General Bravo, and boarded by twenty armed soldiers under the command of two officers, who forcibly took him, (this deponent,) together with others belonging to the wreck, on board the Bravo, where he was chained down in the hold of that vessel until her arrival off this port of Matamoros on the 2nd instant, when he was landed at the Brazos de Santiago, and placed under a guard of soldiers, until he was liberated on the 24th instant, by the order of commandant of this place, after having been subjected to a rigid confinement of thirty-six days. And this deponent further says that he was, at the time of his capture, a passenger on board the Hannah Elizabeth, had no interest in her cargo, nor was he a soldier in the actual service of an enemy to the Mexican Government. And further this deponent saith not.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 28th day of December 1835.
D. W. Smith, U.S.A. Consulate of the U.S.A., Matamoros, Mexico.
(Source: John H. Jenkins, Texas Revolution 1835-1836; Austin: Brig. Gen. Jay A. Mathews Publisher, 1973, 3: 356-357)
Note: While the identity of the above Jimmerson Strother has not been definitely established, it is likely that he was Jamison Strother, son of John Strother and Hannah Stroud, who was living in Pike County, Mississippi in 1831.
Edward Athelstan Marshall (1920-1944), an American Soldier
Edward Athestan “Ted” Marshall was born 8 May 1920 in Baltimore, Maryland, the first child of Julian Howard Marshall and Eleanor Howard Jones (Thomas Barton Jones, William Strother Jones, William Strother Jones, William Strother Jones, Margaret Strother, William Strother, William Strother). He went to John Hopkins University, where after Pearl Harbor, he joined the infantry ROTC. Ted graduated from John Hopkins in February 1943 and went to Fort Benning, Georgia, for advanced infantry training. In May 1943 he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army.
In August 1944, Ted was shipped overseas to Europe. As he described himself in a 22 September 1944 letter, “I’m George Patton’s newest shavetail, and as happy a one as he ever acquired.” He was quickly put into combat and experienced many of the horrors of the fighting in France in 1944. He wrote the following letter home to his family:
First Combat, 30 September 1944, France
Well, I've been in my first battle, and passed the acid test of leadership and self-control, and I'm very happy.
Its' odd what conflicting emotions this business gives you. Before I got here, I was miserable to get into it. Now I've been in, and still am, and as I really knew all the time, there is no good in it. And yet, Jo, there is a thrill in doing a job well, and a funny sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are a power to be reckoned with.
Which is wrong, and I say it and felt it, because right at this moment I am warm and comfortable and relatively safe, and basking in the smiles of others who have just finished doing a good piece of work with me. Yet right now, most of my Co. are standing in fox-holes out in the dark; cold, scared, dirty, unshaven, utterly miserable, realizing completely the utter senselessness of this all.
I have seen so much this last week-so much brutality, and killing, so much waste and foolish destruction--so much suffering. Every man here wants, thinks, and talks but one thing--to get home, alive and fast, and no man's heart is in this work.
And yet--it does have to be done, and you cannot help but admiring the men who do it well.
This business deadens everything in a man that is fine, or good-you cannot think about what you are doing if you are going to get it done. You cannot think of the value of a human life if you are going to kill a man; and you must not let yourself think of death, or you become afraid. In combat, your men must be riflemen, or mortar men, or machine-gun men, or squad leaders--they are weapons, and you think only of their ability: can they lead, or must you lead them? If you tell that man to hold this position when the counter attack comes, will he hold it? If he is knocked out, what will be the best way to plug the gam?
Later, when the battle is over, when someone else is holding the ground and your responsibility is over for a while-then your men are fathers, or sons, or lovers, or husbands. Then you look at pictures of their wife and kids, see their best girl, talk about their home town.
But come your next fight, and it must be forgotten again, just as your own girl your Mother, Father, brothers, and sister must be forgotten, and your life counts as nothing but a platoon leader whose value rests only in his courage and ability.
And so, as time and battle and strain pile up, your true senses dull, and you see shattered houses, burned villages, devastated towns without thinking of the lives of and loss and suffering of their inhabitants. And you do not think as often of all you hold dear because you need all your thinking strength to keep on your job. And when that strength gives out, you crack up, and they call it combat fatigue, and send you to the rear for a rest, and you may get over it and you may not.
You think of attending to--and it has to be--your physical wants first, and the physical things about you determine your happiness. When you are wet, or cold, you are miserable, and war is hell, and you would give all you own just to get dry and get it over with. When he is shelling you, you wish to hell he would come on and get it over with, you wish your hole was deeper. You are hungry, or not hungry; cold, or warm; safe or in dread.
Many things I saw when in Replacement Depots, I noticed, and wondered about. Here, there are many, many more things, more interesting, more important, and I see in them nothing unless they hold some physical or military value for me.
Right now, I miss letters more than anything else. No mail since England, and this waiting gets more and more of a strain. The latest dope is that we move tonight to another camp, but all talk of the future is nine tenths rumor and one tenth hope, and there is no telling.
On November 10, 1944, near Fontney, France, Ted was leading two bazooka teams against an advance of enemy tanks. Owing to the quick action of these two bazooka teams, the enemy tanks were driven off after two tanks had been hit. Had this attack not been stopped, the whole flank of the battalion would have been vulnerable to attack. While moving up to the tanks, the bazooka teams came under enemy sniper fire and were pinned down. Ted deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire, leaving his men behind under cover, in order to locate the tanks. He was mortally wounded, but still directed the advance of his bazooka teams to the successful completion of their mission. Second Lieutenant Edward A. Marshall was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Metal and the Silver Star for his service to his country. He was buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial at St. Avoid, France.
Randolph Scott - George Randolph Scott (1898-1987) was an actor on the stage and in the movies from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for most of his movie career, his most enduring image is that of the tall-in-the-saddle Western hero. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame. His Strother lineage is William, William, Anthony, Benjamin, Catherine, John W. Crane, Joseph M. Crane, Jr., Lucy L. Crane, George Randolph Scott. (Source: Wikipedia and the William Strother Society database.)
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., became the assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia on January 1, 2011. Previously, Bishop Gulick served as diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky. Bishop Gulick served as a parish priest for 20 years before his election as a bishop. His line is William, Robert, Enoch, James, James, James, Mildred Childs Strother Gulick.
An airport, jointly owned by Arkansas City and Winfield, was under construction in April 1942 when the Army Air Force indicated a need for the airfield. The facility was rushed to completion with the first class of cadets scheduled to arrive for basic training in the BT- 13 on December 14, 1942.
On November 13, 1942, the field was officially named Strother Army Air Field. It was named in honor of Captain Donald Root Strother. Strother, a Winfield native and graduate of Winfield High School and Southwestern College, was the first Cowley County Army Air Force pilot to lose his life in World War II action (February 13, 1942) on the island of Java. He was the youngest of four brothers, all involved in the war effort; Dean, eventually an Air Force general, Kenneth an infantry captain, and Robert who served in the Office of War Information.
The field was dedicated January of 1943 by Governor Schoppel, local officials at the Strother Field Commander. During the ceremony which included a military aerial review, The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were presented to Captain Strother's three year old son, Colbert.
The field was deactivated in 1945 and eventually returned to the cities. (Article by Peter Giroux)
William Strother, Horse Thief
Not all of our Strother ancestors were leaders of our country. William4 Strother (Francis3, Jeremiah2, William1) was convicted by the court of Salisbury in North Carolina for horse stealing and sentenced to death. However, numerous friends and neighbors presented a petition to the governor in April 1763 asking for clemency, saying that William4 had fallen in with bad company and led astray. The governor granted a reprieve for six months and on 22 December 1763 granted a further reprieve for 99 years. Source: Robert J. Cain, editor, The Colonial Records of North Carolina [Second Series], Records of the Executive Council 1755-1775, Volume IX: 120, 125, 416-418 (Raleigh, NC Division of Archives and History, 1994)
James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, Jr., 39th president of the United States, is a Strother descendant. His line is William, Robert, Priscilla Elizabeth Strother KAY, James KAY, James KAY, Mary Kay PRATT, James E. PRATT, Nina Pratt CARTER, James Earl CARTER, Sr. If you are a descendent of one of William's sons other than Robert and are of the same generation as Jimmy Carter, you and Jimmy Carter are 8th cousins. If you are a descendant of Robert, you are even closer kin. (Source: 1998 Strother Family Directory, p. 42)
George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945), one of the foremost American combat generals of World War II, was a Strother descendant. His line is William, Jeremiah, James Lawrence, French, Margaret French Strother SLAUGHTER, Lucy Coleman Slaughter WILLIAMS, Margaret French Williams PATTON, George Smith PATTON I, George Smith PATTON II, George Smith PATTON III. (Source: 1998 Strother Family Directory, p. 43). His grandfather George Smith Patton, a Confederate Colonel of the 22nd Virginia Infantry, died in 1864 in a Civil War battle. (Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9077).
Charles S. Robb, former Governor of Virginia and former U.S. Senator from Virginia and son-in-law of President Lyndon B. Johnson, is a Strother descendant. His line is William, William, William, Elizabeth Strother FROGGE, John FROGGE, Elizabeth Strother Frogge ESTILL, Isaac ESTILL, Floyd ESTILL, John Floyd ESTILL, Susan Gay Estill ROBB. (Source: 1998 Strother Family Directory, p. 43)
Fort Strother near the Coosa River in St. Clair County, Alabama was named for Major John Strother (William, William, Francis, George) who was the chief Topographer for General Andrew Jackson from September 26, 1813 to February 26, 1814 during the War of 1812. (Source: Houses of Strother Newsletter, Feb 1991, Vol 3, No 1, p.10)
Strother, Missouri, a small, now largely abandoned, town in South Fork township of Monroe County on the eastern side of the state, was named for Prof. French Strother who was principal of the Strother Institute which was for many years a prominent institution of learning in the area. Prof. Strother's lineage is William, William, Francis, John Dabney, John, French. (Source: Houses of Strother Newsletter, Jan & Mar 1996, Vol 6, No 6 & 7, p.10; Descendants of William Strother, Vol. I, p. 119, published by the William Strother Society, Inc. 1993.)
David Hunter Strother (1816-1888) was one of the most talented artists and draftsmen of the Civil War era. Using the pen name, "Porte Crayon," Strother worked for Harper's Monthly, sketching famous events such as the capture and trial of John Brown. His lineage is William, William, Anthony, Benjamin, John. To see a biographical sketch of David Hunter Strother and some of his work, click on Porte Crayon. (Source: Descendants of William Strother, Vol. I, p. 102, published by the William Strother Society, Inc. 1993)
John Tyler, Jr. (1790-1862), 10th President of the United States, 23rd Governor of Virginia, although not a direct descendant of William Strother, the immigrant, had a close relationship to the Strothers as two of his first cousins, twice removed, two brothers, Henry Tyler (b. abt. 1710, d. 1777) and Francis Tyler (b. 1723), married two Strother sisters, Alice Strother (b. abt. 1719, m. 1738, d. abt. 1792) and Anne Strother (b. 1723, m. 1744), respectively. The lineage of the sisters is William, William, William, Alice and Anne. (Source: Wikipedia, June Wright and the William Strother Society database.) (Suggested by June Wright)
The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400, is a collection of stories in a frame story. It is the story of a group of about thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury. One of the earliest mentions of Strother in literature is on line 160 of The Reeves Prologue and Tale (Line 94 of the Tale). (In England at this time a reeve was the chief officer of a town or district.) At this point, the tale is about two young Cambridge students. In modern English, "One was named John, and Alan the other; Born in the same town both - a place called Strother far to the north - I cannot tell you where."
A Strother Link to the Sinking of the Titanic
James Arnold Fenwick (1873-1943) and Mabel Strother (1878-1953) were married April 8, 1912 in Louisville, Kentucky. The service was performed at the Broadway Baptist Church by Paul Bagby, Mabel's brother-in-law. For their honeymoon, they traveled by train to New York and several days later, boarded the SS Carpathia destined for Gibralter and Genoa. Three days later they were awakened to the running feet and chatter of crewmen on the deck above and were told that "the Titanic has hit an iceberg and we are going to the rescue." The Carpathia was the first ship on the scene at 3:35 a.m. and the only ship to pick up survivors. Mabel Fenwick, with a new camera, documented the icebergs and the rescue of the people. The ship "California" arrived at 8:30 a.m. The Carpathia returned to New York on April 18 and immediately began refueling in order to begin her scheduled voyage. Most of the passengers on the Carpathia opted to stay in New York but the Fenwicks re-boarded and continued to Spain for their honeymoon. Mabel Fenwick's photographs were used by many news agencies and by National Geographic. (story in the Strother Family Database, provided by Ed Strother)