Thursday, April 17, 2008

Edwin Floyd STRONG

Source: Strong, Edwin Floyd. Photograph. C. 1916. Original photograph in the possession of Avis Strong Russell, Italy, Texas. 2008.

This handsome young man is Edwin Floyd STRONG, the youngest son of my maternal great-great-grandparents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and Mary Lucy WRIGHT. He was the eighth of their ten children, and just older than my great-grandmother, Lillian Fern STRONG. Edwin was born 9 February 1893 in Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan and with his parents and many siblings spent much of his childhood moving back and forth between Western Michigan and Tioga County, New York, his parents' birthplace. His father seemed to have an itchy foot, and whether he couldn't keep a job or simply didn't like living in one place too long, the family was constantly on the move. My great-grandmother wrote that she attended 15 different schools in her lifetime, and it's likely that Edwin, just four years older, attended as many or more.

The family eventually migrated west, with their mother and sisters cooking for threshers. They spent one very cold winter in Saskatchewan, Canada--probably in Fiske, where older brother Archie was living--residing in a sod home. It was so cold that a little pet calf they had froze its ears. At last they arrived in Seaside, Clapsop Co., Oregon. Edwin was working as a laborer for a door and sash company when the 1910 federal census was taken. Part of the family returned to Grand Rapids and it was there that Edwin married Margaret Viola McELHENY on 10 September 1916, just ten days before my great-grandmother Lillian married my great-grandfather John Martin HOEKSTRA. The two young couples were very close and spent much time together. My great-grandparents had three little girls, and Ed and Vie had four all around the same age as their cousins. It must have been quite a ruckus for those seven girls to get together and play!

I believe Ed and Vi spent the rest of their lives in Grand Rapids as my great-grandparents did (the Strong siblings were probably glad to be settled in one community for a good long time!). Edwin died two days before his 90th birthday on 7 February 1983 in Grand Rapids and is buried in Graceland Memorial Park in that city.

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