Finding Alpheus Adams’ Mother : Part V

In Part V, we meet the family of John Strain, probable 2nd great-grandfather of Alpheus.

John Strain and his family emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania around 1750. That is 90 years before the Porters, Gallaghers, Hannahs, Virtues, and associated families (all the other families represented in the cluster diagrams) emigrated from Donegal, Ireland, to Ontario, Canada, in the 1840’s.

John had at least seven children including six sons (John Jr., David, William, Thomas, James, Samuel) and one daughter (Sarah).

Before 1762, John and his family removed from Pennsylvania. John’s son Samuel was born in 1762 in Augusta County, Virginia. We do not know if they settled there, or Samuel was born there while they journeyed south.

Before 1765, they settled in what is now Abbeville County, South Carolina. In 1765, the counties of Tryon and Mecklenburg, North Carolina, exercised some jurisdiction over this northern area of present-day South Carolina. In 1769, the area became part of Ninety-Six District, one of the seven original Judicial Districts of South Carolina.

The Strains resided in the Long Cane Settlement, which was near the Long Cane River and Little River. There they learned to love grits and say Y’all with a proper accent. It’s documented. Trust us.

The South
\ thə ‘sau’th\, noun

The place where …
1) Tea is sweet and accents are sweeter.
2) Summer starts in April.
3) Macaroni & Cheese is a vegetable.
4) Front porches are wide and words are long.
5) Pecan pie is a staple.
6) Y’all is the only proper noun.
7) Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy.
8) Everything is Darlin’.
9) Someone’s heart is always being blessed.

Unknown; displayed in the dining room of a member of the Spratlin family, in the South

[faint sound of author chuckling]

John passed away there in 1766, and is buried there.


The first major battle of the American Revolutionary War in the South was fought at a fort named Ninety Six in Ninety-Six District.

All six of John’s sons served in the war, but we don’t have all the details for each. Son James was killed in a battle at Thicketty Fort, South Carolina, in 1780, and son Thomas is said to have been killed in 1781.

Son William served as a lieutanant and captain in the Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment. Private James Watts served under him. Son Samuel Strain married Hannah Watts in 1782.


Ok, this is where things gets weird.

[sound of author chuckling louder]

Also serving in the Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment are Major Benjamin Tutt, who was Justice of the Peace in Ninety-Six District in 1776, and Ensign Gabriel Tutt.

In the Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment, we find more members of the Tutt family, and several members of the Martin and Key families.

Liberty flag, the standard of the South Carolina militia during the American Revolutionary War.

These families are living on the edge of South Carolina’s sparsely populated frontier, members of the families serving together for several years in two regiments of the South Carolina Patriot Militia. They must have known each other.

“Tutt, Martin, Key; who are they?” you ask. You haven’t been reading our blog.

They are family.

They are members of our Knight branch. Major Benjamin Tutt is the 7th great-grandfather of MKS in the Knight branch. The Martins and Keys are in this branch as well.

Where is Ninety-Six District, South Carolina? Across the river from Georgia, where this author grew up.


At the end of the Revolutionary War, Ninety-Six District was on the western frontier of the United States. Large numbers of soldiers were awarded land grants, and headed farther west.

Son Samuel Strain and his family remained in South Carolina until the early 1800’s.

Before 1808, they removed to Highland County, Ohio. In 1833, Samuel applied for his Revolutionary War pension while residing in Ohio. He passed away on 29 Apr 1845, and is buried in Rocky Spring Cemetery in Highland County.

Samuel’s son Thomas McCartney Strain was born in Abbeville County, South Carolina. He also headed west with the family, but did not go immediately to Ohio.

We find Thomas McCartney Strain in:

  • Barren County, Kentucky, before 1810
  • North Carolina, before 1815
  • Fayette County, Ohio, before 1820
  • Highland County, Ohio, before 1823
  • Montgomery County, Indiana, about 1829
  • Boone County, Indiana, Feb 1860

The families of John Strain’s son David and daughter Sarah also removed west to Ohio and Indiana with their brother Samuel. John is also believed to have siblings who removed with him from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. And some of these families also then removed west to Ohio and Indiana at the same time as Samuel.

By 1844, we find too many Strains living in Ohio and Indiana to count.


From 1814 to 1871, Reverend Ezra Adams was a Methodist Episcopal circuit rider. In a prior post, we detailed his circuit assignments across Ontario, Canada.

In 1844, he is preacher in the Newmarket circuit, York County, Ontario, Canada West. Ezra’s son Henry Proctor Adams is living nearby, by today’s standards, in Halton County, Ontario.

It is 569 miles from Halton County, Ontario, to Montgomery County, Indiana. In 1844, it would have taken days or weeks to travel this distance. It would have involved boat travel across Lake Erie, or railway travel around Lake Erie.

We now know the Strain family, but we haven’t put the Adams and Strain families together in the same place at the same time. They are not even in the same country.

Will this mystery ever end?


Benjamin Tutt (1739–1790) and Maria Barbara Stalnaker (1743–1799) are 7th great-grandparents of MKS in the Knight branch.

John Strain (1730–1766) is probably 7th great-grandparent of MKS in the Watne branch.

Samuel Strain (1762–1845) and Hannah Watts (1762–1798) are probably 6th great-grandparents of MKS in the Watne branch.

Ezra Adams (1788) and Isa Proctor (1797–1832) are 5th great-grandparents of MKS in the Watne branch.

Henry Proctor Adams (1822–1882) is probably 4th great-grandfather of MKS in the Watne branch.

Alpheus Adams (1845-1910) is 3rd great-grandfather of MKS in the Watne branch.