- That the Strongs of England, Ireland and Scotland are of a different origin respectively, would seem to be manifest from the variety of their family-crests. The crest of the Strongs of Ireland is a lion rampart, azure, supporting a pillar argent (or silver); of those of Scotland, a cluster of grapes stalked and leaved; while of those of England there is a threefold variety of crest. One of them is, out of a mural coronet, gold, a demieagle, wings displayed, gold; another is an eagle with two heads, wings expanded: the third form of crest is an eagle displayed, gold. An eagle with wings expanded characterizes them all alike. Which of the three forms of crest belongs to the Strongs of this country, the author has no means of determining. Persons consulting books of heraldic symbols seem to have selected, on the principle of choosing the best, the first of the three English crests described as that of the American branch of the family. No one of whom the author has heard has in his possession any silver tankard, or other family relic, on which the real ensigns armorial of the family are engraved. If the crest with a mural coronet belongs to us the explanation of it will perhaps be worth the having, that such a coronet was anciently given to the man, who first scaled the walls of an enemy's city or entered by a breach. The rim of such a coronet was made to resemble battlements.
If there is any motto belonging to the ensigns armorial of the Strongs, the author knows not what it is. It was early represented to him by some members of the family, that there was a motto handed down to us by our ancestors, for the ever new inspiration of manly virtue in our hearts; and a grand motto it was for the practical wisdom that it conveys: Tentanda est via! they said that it was; and it is surely good enough to be written in letters of gold over the portals of any human pathway leading onwards and upwards. It has in it the sap and strength of a dozen or more of our best proverbs, such a "Try again:" "Nothing venture nothing have:" "First be sure your are right, then go ahead:" "Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing in the best manner possible:" "Practice makes perfect:" "Don't give up the ship:" "Faint heart never won fair lady:" "Perseverance conquers all things:" "Work and wait:" "Do or die:" "Real success is worth all that it costs." The author has put this motto fully to the proof in the preparation of this work: and he recommends it to all, young and old, as invaluable in the work of life, in the pursuit of whatever good one may wish to obtain. He is sorry to be compelled to drop itas the family motto. It belongs to the Stronge Family of Lyman Abbey - a baronetcy created in the last century - whose crest is an eagle displayed with two heads, sable, beaked and legged, azure, langued,
gules: motto, tentanda est via. This family may be connected in some way - as the resemblance of name and heraldic symbols would seem to suggest - with the Strong Family. If we cannot boast, as we would not if we could, of descent from the kings and nobles of other lands, we may well feel an honest pride in an ancestry whose wealth was wealth of character, and whose patent of nobility they obtained from above in following through storm and shine the footsteps of prophets and apostles and of the Son of God.
The Strong Family of England was originally located in the county of Shropshire. One of the family married an heiress of Griffith, of the county of Caernarvon, Wales, and went thither to reside in 1545. Richard Strong was of this branch of the family, and was born in the county of Caernarvon in 1561. In 1590 he removed to Taunton, Somersetshire, England, where he died in 1613, leaving a son John then eight years of age, and a daughter Eleanor. The name is stated in one record, on what authority the writer knows not, to have been originally McStrachan and to have gone through the following changes, McStrachan, Strachan, Strachn, Strong. John Strong was born in Taunton, Eng., in 1605, whence he removed to London and afterwards to Plymouth. Having strong Puritan sympathies he sailed from Plymouth for the new world, March 20, 1630, in company with 140 persons, and among them Rev. Messrs. John Warham and John Maverick and Messrs. John Mason and Roger Clapp, in the ship Mary and John (Capt. Squeb) and arrived at Nantasket, Mass. (Hull), about twelve miles southeast from Boston, after a passage of more than seventy days in length, on Sunday, May 30, 1630. The original destination of the vessel was Charles River; but an unfortunate misunderstanding which arose between the captain and the passengers, resulted in their being put summarily ashore by him at Nantasket. After searching for a few days, for a good place in which to settle and make homes for themselves, they decided upon the spot, which they called Dorchester, in memory of the
endeared home in England which many of them had left, and especially of its revered pastor, Rev. John White, "the great patron of New England emigration," who had especially encouraged them to come hither.
The grandfather of Elder John Strong was, as tradition informs us, a Roman Catholic, and lived to a great age. The Strong Family has borne out remarkably, in its earlier generations in this country at any rate, the historical genuineness of its name, in its wide- spread characteristics of physical vigor and longevity, and the large size of very many of its numerous households.
Eleanor Strong came with her brother John to this country, when he was but twenty- five years of age, and she was probably several years younger, and married Walter Deane, a tanner, of Taunton, Mass., previously of Taunton, Eng., and became the mother of four sons and one daughter. He was born about 1617, and was a prominent man in the affairs of his new home. Her descendants have been numerous and highly respectable. For various accounts of some of them see N. E. Gen. Register, published at Boston in several volumes, in various places.
In 1635, after having assisted in founding and developing the town of Dorchester, John Strong removed to Hingham, Mass., and on March 9, 1636, took the freeman's oath at Boston. His stay at Hingham was short, as on Dec. 4, 1638, he is found to have been an inhabitant and proprietor of Taunton, Mass., and to have been made in that year a freeman of Plymouth Colony. He remained at Taunton, as late at any rate as 1645, as he was a deputy thence to the General court in Plymouth, in 1641, '3, and '4. From Taunton he removed to Windsor, Ct., where he was appointed with four others, Capt. John Mason, Roger Ludlow, Israel Stoughton, and Henry Wolcott, all very leading men in the infant colony, "to superintend and bring forward the settlement of that place," which had been settled a few years before (1636) by a portion of the same colony that with him had founded Dorchester. Windsor was in fact called at first, and for several years (1636-50), Dorchester.
In 1659 he removed from Windsor to Northampton, Mass., of which he was one of the first and most active founders, as he had been previously of Dorchester, Hingham, Taunton, and Windsor. In Northampton he lived for forty years, and was a leading man in the affairs of the town and of the church. He was a tanner and very prosperous in his business. His tannery was located on what is now the southwest corner of Market and Main streets near the rail road depot. He owned at different times, as appears by records in the county clerk's office, some two hundred acres of land in and around Northampton.
How he obtained his office and title as Elder John Strong will appear by the following quotation from the church records at Northampton: "After solemn and extraordinary seeking to God for his direction and blessing, the church chose John Strong ruling Elder, and William Holton, deacon. They were ordained 13: 3 mo: '63" (or, the year beginning then in March, June 13, 1663, O. S., or N.S. June 24, 1663), "the elder by the imposition of the hands of the pastor" (Rev. Eleazer Mather) "and Mr. Russell of Hadley - the deacon, afterwards by the imposition of the hands of the pastor and elder. Mr. Russell, Mr. Goodwin, and brother Goodman were present from Hadley; Dea. Chapin and Mr. Holyoke from Springfield, who gave the right hand of fellowship to these delegates." How near to the minister himself, so greatly revered, the ruling elder stood in the thoughts of our Pilgrim
fathers, is manifest from the functions of his office, as described in the following church record under date of Sept. 11, 1672: "Solomon Stoddard was ordained pastor of the church in Northampton by Mr. John Strong, ruling elder, and Mr. John Whiting, pastor of the second church in Hartford."
His first wife, whose name and family the author has not been able to ascertain, he married in England. She died on the passage or soon after landing; and in about two months afterwards her infant offspring, a second child, died also. He married in December, 1630, for a second wife, Abigail Ford of Dorchester, Mass., with whom he lived in wedlock for fifty- eight years. She died, the mother of 16 children, July 6, 1688, aged about 80; he died April 14, 1699 aged 94. He had had, up to the time of his decease, 160 descendants, viz: eighteen children, fifteen of whom had families; one hundred and fourteen grandchildren (6, John of Windsor; 16, Thomas of Northampton; 14, Jedediah; 7, Return; 10, Elder Ebenezer; 6, Abigail, Mrs. Chauncey; 12, Mrs. Joseph Parsons; 13, Mrs. Zerubbabel Filer; 8, Samuel; 11, Mary, Mrs. John Clark; 7, Hannah, Mrs. William Clark; 4, Hester, Mrs. Thomas Bissell); and thirty-three great grandchildren, at least.
He made over his lands in his life-time to his children, and took bills of those whom he had helped, beyond their share - as of Ebenezer, for land and rent