By James A. Strain, Copyright 2004

The STRAIN family from which I descend, immigrated from Ireland in about 1760 and apparently landed in Philadelphia, though I have no documentation on this date and port.  After migrating through the Virginia and North Carolina colonies, they settled in the upcountry hills of SC in 1763.  At this time the area was known as Granville District or described as the Long Canes, and then 96 District.  Ultimately, the area became known as Abbeville.

The apparent head of this family was John Strain, Sr., who was granted 400 acres of land on a patent from King George III of England on 6 June 1766.  This land was originally filed for patent in SC on 18 May 1763, as one can see by the date at the bottom of the Patent.

1766 Patent    from the microfilm in the SCDAH.

Once established in Abbeville, John Strain, Sr. lives just a few years.  It is possible that his widow remarried, as his son Samuel clearly states in his will that his minor children should never be under the care of a stepfather, supporting a family tradition that he was raised by a stepfather.  As the children grew, they all actively participated in the Revolutionary War, and at the conclusion of the fight for independence, continued to purchase land, and participate in the affairs of the Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church.

In Howe's "History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina," the early family is mentioned as Shain in his text.  This is an obvious misreading of Howe in the manuscripts sent to him by Robert H. Wardlaw, and I have often seen an entry for Strain mis-transcribed as Shain, esp. when the "t" is not crossed, or is crossed too far to the right.  Several documents in the SCDAH are indexed as Shain, also.  In addition, there are no known families named Shain in the Abbeville area during the time period in question, and it's quite documented that the Strain families were there, esp. due to the Constitution of the Upper Long Cane Society.

George Howe states on pages 549-550, of Vol. I:

Mr. Hall was ordained by the presbytery of South Carolina, on the 27th day of July, 1785, at a stand on the middle ground between the congregations of Upper Long Cane and Saluda (now Greenville).  Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Cummins presiding, preaching the sermon from Ezekiel xxxiii., 7, and delivering the charges to the minister and people.  Mr. Hall's labors were greatly blessed to both congregations.  To what is now called Greenville church, twenty members were added at one communion season.  The elders in Upper Long Cane were Andrew Pickens, Andrew Hamilton, John McCord, Hugh Reed, and Edward Pharr, perhaps others.

Among the names in these two congregations were those of Shain, Reid, Lesly, Bowie, Pickens, Campbell, Jones, Watts, Rosamond, Seawright, Wardlaw, &c., a considerable number of whom were settlers before the Indian war, and the greater part actively sustained the cause of American independence.

Many of the above names were intermarried with the Strains and all dealt with them in daily affairs of the community and church.  General Andrew Pickens purchases Samuel Strain's Revolutionary War bounty; David Strain's grand daughter marries the son of Major Bowie; Robert H. Wardlaw becomes guardian to a descendant of a Strain; the Reids intermarry with sisters-in-law of the Strains; and several Strains are married to the Watts name.  The names Wilson and Kyle interact heavily with my ancestors from Abbeville, also.

There were many more names associated with the Strain families during the nearly 50 years that most of them lived there. A detailed study of the land grants and plats was done in 2001 by Richard McMurtry, and I would highly encourage anyone with ancestors in this vicinity to purchase his map to see where each family lived at that time.  Richard's list of all the settlers of long cane and the date they patented their land can be found at:

TIMELINE for STRAIN in Abbeville, SC.

SIGNATURES for STRAIN (and others) in Abbeville, SC.

At the beginning of the 1800s, three of the Strain families (Samuel, the widow of John, Jr. with her son John R. Strain, and David) migrated through KY (Barren Co.) to Ohio.  They first settled in Ross Co., and then finally established themselves in Madison Township, Highland Co., OH.  As their sister ended up in Indiana soon after, it's also probable she and her husband migrated at this time.  By April of 1810, all three of these families were charter members of the Rocky Spring Presbyterian Church.  Their lives are chronicled in the session books for this church, available at the Ohio State Library in Columbus, OH.

SIGNATURES for STRAIN (and others) in Highland Co., OH.

The children of John Strain, Sr. were:

John Strain, Jr. m. Margaret Watts

David Strain m. 1) Nancy Montgomery and 2) Sarah Ann Watts

William Strain m. Margaret Montgomery

Thomas Strain (?)

Sarah Strain m. Joseph Robinson

James Strain (Killed in the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Thicketty Fort near Kings Mountain)

Samuel Strain m. 1) Watts 2) Miller 3) Wilson 4) Johnston

If you would like information on any of  the above children of John Strain, Sr., in addition to what I've posted on my ancestor David, please e-mail me for more information.  Although some information is posted here regarding them, I'll probably not get to their lines for a long time. :-)