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David Strain, Sr
Birth: unknown
Death: 1783
Dauphin County
Pennsylvania, USA

David Strain's birth place and date is unknown as yet. I believe he was born about 1727 (or before 1730), based on the ages to serve in our Revolutionary War. I suspect he was born in Northern Ireland, AKA Ulster. The area he settled in was totally Scots-Irish, meaning of Scots heritage, residing in Northern Ireland. Those Brits encouraged them to come to Northern Ireland, then made it impossible to live there. From 1720 onward, the Scots-Irish left en masse for ye new world, colonies. Freedom to practice Presbyterianism was a major cause, ability to eat, clothe, and work, another. They wanted freedom. The exact surname used in Scotland is not documented. Strain is found only in later records from about the 1800's in Scotland and N. Ireland, from what I've found. It's possible it was anglicized after arriving in America, by those who could write.

David was documented first in Hanover Township, (then) Lancaster County, PA from 1750, as a possible shoemaker (1 tax report only), on tax/assessment lists, surveys, land applications, land plots plans, land warrants, militia lists and oaths through to 1783. He "squatted" on his land as was customarily done (by all of his neighbors), until 1765 when he made application for it.

See 1754, Anthony McCreight/McCrait's survey map on daughter Jennet's FaG site, showing bordering neighbor David Strain was on the land in 1754. This recreated map was assembled from the original record on file in the Dept. of Internal Affairs of PA, per Act of Assembly 16 Feb 1833 and 72 years later 20 Dec 1905, this copy was recorded again.

See 1762, John Strain's surveyed plat map on John (Strayn) Strain's FaG site, showing bordering neighbor David Strain to his west, Anthony McCreat to his south, etc.

I assembled and drew one of the maps in photo on right using plat maps and the $35. Warrantee Tract map of Dauphin Co. Lebanon Co. does NOT have a redrawn Warrantee Tract map like the one in Dauphin Co. for E. and W. Hanover Twp. David Strain (and others) were not included on the Dauphin Co. map since in 1813, the same land previously in Lancaster Co., then Dauphin, became Lebanon Co., on the border with Dauphin. The plat shapes fit perfectly to the Dauphin Co. map. Do not REPRODUCE.

His Lancaster Co., PA Will (D, page 365-67) was made in Hanover Township on 25 Apr 1783 (when he was sick and weak in body) and it was probated on 3 Oct 1783, as was his complete inventory. He signed it with a mark and was witnessed by William Cathcart and James Caldwell. Based on these documents he died between 25 April and 3 Oct 1783. Noah's first American dictionary wasn't even printed yet and accepted spellings were a-changing. The majority could not write, but they could clear and farm the land, build a home, and fight the Indians. They also could meet at Presbyterian Meeting Houses, where they met socially with their neighbors all on large plots of land.

Sadly, there isn't a surviving record of David or his wife's death or gravestone to memorialize them. His home was located close to the Old Hanover Churchyard, near Bow Creek. It is documented that this churchyard has many unmarked or illegible gravestones as well. It's first pastor began there in 1738. The cemetery began much later.

David's will (original & the recorded copy) records his wife Elizabeth, children: John, Jennet, Mrs. John Wilson, and 3 unmarried children: Alexander and David (Jr.), plus William. The executors were his wife and son William. In 1785, Elizabeth warranted and patented his land (87 acres on warrant #1025 and patent Vol. P, Book 4, page 158) in her name ("Elizabeth Strain") and refers to David Strain's 1783 will. In April 1783, I suspect the only children living in Hanover were Janet (Mrs. McCreight), Alexander, David Jr. and William. John was not on any record. Mrs. John Wilson AKA Sarah Strain Wilson was living in Franklin Co., PA.

In June 1776, David, Sr. is documented serving in the local Hanover Militia (using "Strean" or similar). The military records also are not complete. 6 Jun 1776, Capt. James Roger's Company included Privates David Strean, (Thomas Strean and Wm Kithcart - Cathcart). "The return of Capt. James Rogers' company of militia of Col Timothy Green's Hanover Rifle Battalion of Lancaster County Associators, destined for the camp in the Jerseys, 6th Jun 1776." He took the oath in May 1778 and May 1779.

Son David, Jr. married a local girl at Old Hanover Church in October 1792 and her grandparents are buried at this cemetery.

There's a big gap in the church records from 1738, to 1780's other than a few marriages here and there, with the traveling Presbyterian ministers. Widower Elizabeth Strain was a member of the same Old Hanover Church and contributed to the stonewall surrounding the cemetery (still there), as did her son in law, James McCreight. The 1796 Dauphin Co. tax list includes Elizabeth's 80 acres containing 1 house, 1 stories high, of stone construction with a log barn, a small out house with 1 horned cattle, valued at 222. In 1803, Elizabeth Strain made an indenture in (now) Dauphin Co. to her grandson David McCreight (Deed Book P-1-450) for part of her land, signing it with her mark. It was recorded four years later on 7 Dec 1807. Elizabeth "Shean" and her grandson David McCreight are recorded side by side on the 1810 W. Hanover Township, Dauphin County Census and then Elizabeth disappears. In 1813, her land was on the eastern border of Dauphin in now, Lebanon Co. on its western border.

My older relatives (great grand dad, named after him and born 46 years after his 1783 death, plus his sister, daughter and a D.A.R. applicant) believed David was born in County Down, Northern Ireland or Scotland in about 1720 to 1730 but it hasn't been proven. To serve in the militia, he was probably born closer to 1730. Family tradition (1 recorded in 1899, by his great grandson) says he fell sick or (his great granddaughter says) was crossing a bridge that gave way while hauling supplies during the war.

Now David was ill in April 1783 when he made his will, possibly from injuries in the war. His will was recorded and presented with his estate inventory on the same day in Oct 1783, so he died somewhere between these dates. Or maybe he recovered after the illness and signed up to break down the remaining posts from the war which were carried out even after Oct 1783. This had to be done, following the signing of the document to end the war in Paris on 3 Sep 1783. Not having cell phones or the net, it took time to get the word back to Pennsylvania and elsewhere. A voyage could take 2 months across the pond.

In Oct 1783, Newburgh, NY where Major Caleb Gibbs was serving, they still received "upward of 20 wagons a day of supplies." Wagons made 6 to 10 miles a day on average and he has 400 wagons enroute to him at all times. "Eight years of war have left our roads, bridges and ferrys in terrible condition. The soldiers and teamsters that convey the supplies to the army are always at risk." Injuries hauling revolutionary war supplies were common. In mid Oct 1784, General Washington was inspecting West Point. (Author, Donald Moran of SAR)

Only one child is known to have stayed in Hanover Twp. His daughter Jennet (wife of Captain James McCreight) is buried at the Old Hanover Churchyard in Grantville, (current day) Dauphin Co., PA with her husband and some children. Another daughter Sarah, married John Wilson, and were still in PA, but in current Franklin Co. Son, William died between the dates of his father's will (Apr 1783) and probate (Oct 1783) and suspect he could have been with his father when he passed. Son David, Jr. remained in Hanover Twp., to get married in Oct 1792, have a daughter and then settled in Augusta Co., Virginia.

My family tradition from the 1800's says that two sons of David's went south, one to Tennessee and one to Carolina (although it didn't say when or North/South). Two SUSPECTED sons, John and Alexander are found in Orange County, North Carolina. No graves have been located for them, but family records exist there, although not complete, look convincing. Alexander and John are said to both have kids with the same names in David's will, supporting a family connection, but I have yet to see a document showing this.

The last son to leave Hanover Twp. Pennsylvania, was the youngest son, David Strain, Jr. following his 1792 marriage and birth of his first child, Rebecca (no doubt, named for Elizabeth Allen's mother, Rebecca). He went south down the Indian trail, settling in (Greenville) Augusta Co., Virginia per his deeded land there, 15 Sep 1795. David, Jr.'s second and next child was named David Strain and the tradition continued (through the 1900's) of naming sons after this pioneer man, whom immigrated here, cleared the land, struggled with the Indians, raised his family and fought for our country's independent future.

Lastly, I must note there were other Strain/Strean/Strayens in the same area in Hanover Township in 1749 (+ 1 in 1739: Robert, possibly the son of John, d 1752, on a land doc). My David's land bordered that of an illiterate John Strayen, (positively connected to the Strain surname with a land doc), who died testate in 1752, with several children, including a son David. In fact, he left his family bible to this David (if only). I only follow the trail here on one David Strain, not 2, so IF there was a 2nd one, he did not live here based on the records I've found. There was another early David Strain, with land in SC and NC, but his trail also is not complete. Was this the other David, son of John? Maybe he resided elsewhere and was just purchasing land for an investment (like mine did). Did David the son of John Strayen stay or go? So many possible connections, but not enough to confirm either. From experience wills usually list children in order of age. So it would appear that John's son David would have been older than Gilbert (below born in about 1715, aged 88). Now there is no proof that John is or is not this David's father. I could go either way on this at times and I've really tried to connect them, but I do not believe he is. John's will also mentions a cousin Alexander and a David Strayen/Strean witnesses it with an X, but could not appear to witness it at Court per the local Reverend. This David should not have been John's son, if he witnessed the will, not that rules weren't broken then. My David, died 1783, signed his will with an X (due to an injury like my family folklore says or more than likely couldn't write? No previous records of a David here that could write and it appears most settlers could not. They were Scots-Irish farmers escaping their Scottish mother or adopted Ulster lands (read Senator Jas Webb's book, Born Fighting). If I had to guess at the moment, I'd guess my David is this John's nephew due to age of kids and death, service in the revolutionary war age limits, etc. I've only found one source (New Hope Church) that believe my David is the son of John, died 1752, but it is based on memory of an elderly man and there are known errors in this source. I'd just like to find some other documentation to back it up to present it properly.

On the other side, a Rev. John Strain, 1731-1774 died in York Co., PA with a brother David. David refused to settle his dear brothers' estate so his mother in law Jean Strain did. My David was alive during this time, and signed his name with a mark in 1783. Also see Western PA. Historical Magazine, Vol. 17, p. 33, article called The Narrative Of A Pioneer Preacher: George M. Scott. IF this connects, my David, then Gilbert can't also be his brother, as Gilbert's brother John died in 1760.

DAVID STRAIN Lancaster Co. Will Book D, 1, page 365-7, 1783
Below is taken from the original will (The original will is recorded by the registrar who copies it in his own handwriting. The recorded will skips a small paragraph and made small minor spelling changes and capitalized different words.):
In the Name of God Amen this Twenty fifth day of Aprile one thousand seven hundred and Eighty three. I David Strean of hanover township, Lancaster County and State of Pensylvania being seeck and weak in body but in perfect mind and memory and Calling to mind the mortality of my Body and that it is appointed for all men once to die do therefore make Conftitute and ordain this my Last Will and Teftament and firft I recomend my Spirit to God Who gave it, and my Body I recomend to the Earth to be Buried in Defent Burial order Nothing Doubting But I Shall recive it again at the general Resurrection by the mighty power of God. and touching such Worldly Eftate as it hath pleafed Almighty God to blefs me With in this life. I do bequeath, give Demise and Difpofe of the same as followeth wiz. first I give and Bequeath to my Well beloved Wife Elifabath Strean the one third of all my Estate Real and perfonal to her, her heirs and affigns for Ever. Also I give and Bequeath to My Son John Strean the Sum of Ten pounds. Also I give and Bequeath to my Son in Law James McCright the Sum of Ten Pounds. Also I give and Bequeath to my Son in Law John Wilfon the Sum of Ten Pounds. and it is my Will that these three Sums Bequeathed to my three Children be paid to Each of them at the End of five years after my internment. Also I give and Bequeath to my Son Alexander Strean one Horfe Colt of a Bay Colour with some White on his face. Also I allow and it is my Will that my Children be mintane - till they Come to Maturity and that such of them be schooled as hath not got Common learning this I allow to be done from the Benefites of my Estate. Also I will that when my Youngest Child then living is Twenty one years old that then and not till then my Whole Eftate both Real and Perfonal Be sold Excepting Such Articles as are here Demifed Before; also I allow that the price of this my real and perfonal Eftate be at the Difpofal of my beloved Wife Elizabath Strean to give it to my Children now unmarried; as she my Wife shall see Caufe to order Excepting Twenty Pounds Which Twenty Pounds I give and Bequeath to my Son David Strean when he Comes to Twenty one Years old and this I allow to him over and above his Part With the Rest of my unmarried Children and I do conftitute and ordain my Beloved Wife Elizabath Strean and my Son William Strean to be the Whole and Sole Executors of this my last Will and testament: (turn over) - And I do difallow Revock and difannull all other Wills Executors Legacys or Bequeath in any wife Before named by me only Ratifieng and Confirming this and no other to be my laft Will and Teftament in Wittnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal Day and year above written David Strean(seal) - Signed sealed and pronounced in presence of us William Cathcart
James Caldwell
(MISSING on the recorded will but on the ORIGINAL will it says below the mark of David
William Cathcart & James Caldwell the witnefses Sworn.
Elizabeth Strean the Surviving
Exen. Sworn - the other Exor.dead.
October the 3d 1783-
James Jacks Regt.

Lancaster County fs.
On the third Day of October in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty three, before me the Subscriber personally appeared William Cathcart and James Caldwell the two Subscribing Witnefses to the foregoing Will and being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of the Almightly God did severally depose and say that they were present, and saw and heard David Strean the Testator above named fign feal publish pronounce and declare the foregoing Writing as and for his Last Will and Testament, and that at the doing thereof he was of sound and well disposing Mind, Memory and Understanding to the best of their Knowledge Observation and Belief. James Jacks Reg. (Registrar)
Be it remembered that on the third Day of October in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty three, the Last Will and Testament of David Strean late of Hanover Township in the County of Lancaster, Yeoman deceused was proved in due Forn of Law and Letters Testamentary thereon were granted to Elizabeth Strean the Surviving Executrix therein named, She being first duly qualified well and truly to administer the Estate of the said Deceased and especially to exhibit a true and perfect Inventory thereof into the Register's Office at Lancaster on or before the third Day of November next and to render a just and true Account of her Administration on the said Estate within one year or when there unto lawfully required
Given under the Seal of the said Office P me.
James Jacks Reg. (Registrar)

I held this original 1783 document that David marked and held, even though he did not pen it. What a thrill!

The following is about Scottish naming patterns popular in this age. Parents David & Elizabeth had 6 kids: John, Jennet, Sarah, Wm, Alexander and David.
David's son William died between April and October 1783 and is not known to have a family of his own. That leaves five. I can positively connect 3 of David's 5 children believed to have married: Jennet, Sarah and David. Two are not yet proven (fit the data) but believed to be: John and Alexander. Of these five married children, all had children named: David, Elizabeth and William, 4 of 5 had Sarah and Alexander, 3 had a John and one had an unnamed infant. It breaks down like this:
1) John (presumed): David, Wm, Alexander, Elizabeth, Sarah;
2) Jennet: Elizabeth, David, William, Sarah;
3) Sarah: David, John, William, Sarah, Alexander, Elizabeth;
4) Alexander (presumed): Alexander, David, Elizabeth "Betsy," John, William and Sarah;
5) David: David, John, Wm, Alexander, Elizabeth, unnamed infant.

Searching for the elusive Strains, I traveled throughout Scotland but found absolutely nothing there to connect our Strains, although it was a slightly different name there. I perused the records at New Register House in Edinburgh.

In 1998, I was privileged to have traveled to beautiful County Down, Northern Ireland and elsewhere, while my husband was working in Bray for about 3 months. I did my own Irish Strain research as much as I could, and leaving County Down, had to pay a local genealogist to further my research there in Belfast's genealogical records (due to the Troubles, at the time around "voting day"). No one could get in. Sadly nothing could connect our David Strain to County Down, despite the several later Strain graves I found in the area. The records are not complete. Practically all of my VA surnames still exist in Northern Ireland today. Like Scotland, it's such a BEAUTIFUL country still and I can see why our kin settled in Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, VA, as there are a lot of similarities in the land and climate. Maybe more time in Northern Ireland records would bare something.

1)Found gravestones for Jennet, Sarah and David. The other 3 have not been located but are documented below to keep the family intact.

2)I SUSPECT that there is a family connection with Wm Cathcart (buried at the Old Hanover Presbyterian Churchyard, near Jennet Strain McCreight) and his wife Sarah (surname unknown), as he has written many documents for this local Strain/Strean/Strayn family. His handwriting (not the court clerk) matches on several documents and he witnesses them. Elizabeth named a son William as well.

His burial location is undocumented. I suspect it is either on his homestead or at the Old Hanover Churchyard. They lived very close to this church. The church does not have any records as yet found for the period 1740 to about 1788. In June 1745, recorded Minutes of the Presbytery mention Hanover and Rev. Sankey. David's wife, son David and daughter Jennet were members there in 1788 and David, Jr. was married there in 1792. The church pastors revolved for many years, going from church to church. It was written in 1878's The Historical Sketch of Old Hanover Church, by Rev. Thomas H. Robinson, D.D., that "the well-filled grave-yard, where many an UNMARKED MOUND, many a well-worn MOSS-COVERED STONE, with the better-preserved memorial of later times..."

The surname Strain was not used in Scotland before about 1800. It appears to have been used in N. Ireland after the Ulster Scotts arrived.
My best bet is on the surname Straughan. An earlier neighbor and probable relation of David's named Gilbert Strain changed his name in NC to Strayhorn, "to make it sound." His children appear to have used both names. The poll (head) tax created a need for surnames in about the 1600's up to then, not commonly used. If you've heard a lot of Scottish dialects it's easy to understand the many different spellings and pronunciations even today.

BIO researched and written by LSP
DO NOT reprint attachment photos or data within 
Family links: 
  Elizabeth Strain*
  Alexander Strain (____ - 1831)*
  William Strain (____ - 1783)*
  John Strain (____ - 1826)*
  Jennet Strain McCreight (1751 - 1828)*
  Sarah Strain Wilson (1752 - 1848)*
  David Strain (1766 - 1830)*
  Alexander Strain (1767 - 1831)*
*Calculated relationship
Non-Cemetery Burial
Specifically: homestead burial, before cemetery in area
Created by: LSP
Record added: Mar 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35243342
David Strain, Sr
Added by: LSP
David Strain, Sr
Added by: LSP
David Strain, Sr
Added by: LSP
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- Kristy
 Added: Dec. 13, 2015
May GOD Bless you as you have blessed us kin all so very well!
- Jonathan Robert De Mallie
 Added: Mar. 9, 2014
This memorial day is for you and all those who fought for freedom.God bless
 Added: May. 30, 2011
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