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Strawhacker Family

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Alternate Spellings - Strawhacker, Strawhecker, Strohecker, Strohacker, Strawharker. The name is German with a meaning roughly of "straw field." In very early times before surnames were in use, people were often identified by where they lived; hence the distant ancestor would have been a person who lived "near the straw field." Some descendants consider themselves Dutch. This may be a confusion for the word for German which is "Deutsch," or as many immigrants did, they may have paused briefy in Holland before continuing immigration to America.

Links - Ditto, Wheeler, Swafford

Contacts - William Strawhacker. Bill has a great deal of information on later generations of the family into the 1900's. He is posting his family information on his Web Site. Norma Meier has also contacted us about the John Ambrose Strawhacker family (4/2009).

Photos (courtesy Bill Strawhacker): Tombstones in New Boston Cemetery: Benjamin & Mary Strawhacker; John A. Strawhacker; Eliza Ditto Strawhacker; Overview in New Boston Cemetery.

John Ambrose and Elizabeth Ditto Strawhacker

Our main interest in this family is John Ambrose Strawhacker who was a resident for many years in New Boston Town. He was the son of Benjamin and Mary Miller Strawhacker of Pennsylvania. John is found, with his family, in New Boston in 1920 as John A. Strohecker and in 1910 on Franklin Street as John Ambrose Strawhecker. His wife was Elizabeth Ditto, daughter of Levi and Jane Ditto. They married on 10/1/1874 in Mercer County. More on this family below. John's father and siblings also had connections with Mercer County and at one time lived in Eliza Township.

Benjamin Strawhacker Family

John's father, Benjamin Strawhacker, also lived in Mercer County for a time. He died March 7, 1893 from a runaway team accident and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. He was married on 9/14/1848 to Mary Ann Miller, daughter of John and Susannah Miller, in Union County, Pennsylvania. Mary Ann was born 2/2/1830 in Union County, Pennsylvania and died 4/15/1925 in Oakville, Iowa (obituary courtesty of William Strawhacker). Although she died in Oakville, Iowa, Mary Ann is buried in New Boston Cemetery beside her husband (See Strawhacker Cemetery Records at the bottom of the page.)

Benjamin and Mary Ann are found in Eliza Township, Mercer County, Illinois, in 1880: Benjamin Strawharker, farmer, age 60, born US, parents born US; Mary Ann, wife, 55, born In, parents born Us: James P., son, 22, born Il; David E., son, 19, born Il; Henry E., son, 17, born Il; Rose E., dau, 14, born Il. Son John A. is nearby: John A. Strawharker, age 26, born Il; Lamos Strawharker, wife, 19, born Il (more below). Son William is in New Boston: William Strawhacker, 26, born Pa, parents born Pa, Nancy J. Strawhacker, born Il, parents born Ohio; Elmore Strawhacker, son, 5 months, born Il (more below).

Son James P. Strawhacker apparently never married. He is found in the 1900 census in New Boston as a boarder with Martha Ballard, widow, and family. The 1900 census gives him born Dec 1857, Pa, parents born Pa, age 42, working as a farm laborer. He is the J. P. Strawhacker buried in New Boston Cemetery (see cemetery records below). (Link to James P. Strawhacker obituary, courtesy William Strawhacker). There is some interesting information about an incident in which James Strawhacker was almost poisoned while helping a friend (see Wheeler link above).

Son David Edwin Strawhacker married Lillie May Smith, daughter of William and Nettie Stannard Smith, on 12/31/1885 in Mercer County. As noted in the cemetery records below, Lillie soon died. David married (2) Emerence Herr, daughter of Gregor and August Herr, on 19 December 1893 in Louisa County, Iowa. Some of their children are buried in New Boston Cemetery. Both David and Emerence died in Oakville, Iowa.

Son Henry Strawhacker is found in North Dakota in 1910:Twp 134 R85 Morton N. D. page 207B
District 127
#107 Henry Strawhacker, 46, single, born Il, parents born Pa, farmer Harry Strawhacker, 34, single, Il, Pa, Il, laborer
(this is evidently John Ambrose's son Harry - see below)
Brother William Strawhacker was also in Morton N. D. in 1910 (more below)

More on the John Ambrose Strawhacker Family

John Ambrose Strawhacker was born January 13, 1850 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and died August 25, 1936 at the Mercer County Farm. He married Eliza E. Ditto, daughter of Levi and Jane(?) Ditto on 10/1/1874 in Mercer County. (We have a Ditto page up but have not as yet identified Levi and Jane. There was a Levi Ditto in Mercer County but he didn't appear to have a wife Jane.) Eliza was born 10/30/1856 in Illinois and died 12/14/1935 in Mercer County. John and Eliza are buried in New Boston Cemeteries and photos of their tombstones are linked at the top of the page. Children of John and Eliza Ditto Strawhacker include: John W. (b. 2/27/1898); Harry; Pearl (male b. abt 1881); Dennis (b. about 1888); Stella; Myrtle; Addie J. (b 1/18/1890); Anna (b. 8/1877); Vida; and Elsa or Elva (b. about 1900). (Note: Elva and Vida may be one in the same - Norma Meier tells us the name was Elva but she was known as Aunt Vida.)

Some of the children are identified in census records. We find John Ambrose Strawhacker living on Franklin Street in New Boston in 1910: John Ambrose Strawhacker, farm laborer, 60, born Pa, parents born Pa, married 35 years, 12 children born, 10 living; Eliza, 52, born Illinois, father born Ohio, mother born Ill; Anna, 32, born Il, cook at a restaurant; Dennis, 22, born Il; Mary 17, Il; John, 13, Il; Elva, 10, Il. The family is still in New Boston in 1920: John A. Strohecker, 69, own home, born Pa, parents born Pa; Eliza, 62, born Il, father born Oh, mother born Il; Dennis, son, 32, farm laborer; John, son, 22, farm laborer; Elsa, daughter, 20 Il. The notation (from his obituary) that he died at the Mercer County Farm is interesting. There is nothing in his history to indicate why he would be an inmate, but we do find him in the Almshouse index as admitted in 1933 and that he was there through 1935 (as J. A. Strohecker). It might be of interest for descendants to obtain the actual record to see what the problem was; it did not appear to be poverty, so there might be some medical problem.

Son John W. Strawhacker was born 2/27/1898 and died 8/3/1932 in Oquawka, Illinois. In the 1920 census John W. is at home, single, and a laborer on the family farm, so he evidently married after that date (to a Mrs. Fields).

Son Pearl Strawhacker was in New Boston in 1920, next to his father, working as a farm laborer for a Garrett family. He was 39 and single. He died January 3, 1952 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Daughter Addie J. Strawhacker married Michael H. Dacey on February 12, 1907. Michael Dacy died in 1957 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. There is a tombstone for Addie marked 1890-____. Either she is not buried there or had not yet died when the cemetery walkdown was done in the 1960's.

Daughter Anna Strawhacker is the only family member found in Eliza Township in 1900. She is listed as a servant with the Thomas Murry family, born August 1877, Il, father born Pa, mother born Il, age 22. It should be noted that young women in this time period may be listed in the census as a servant when actually they were "apprenticed" out sometimes to learn household skills from another family and in return were helping with household chores. She was at home with her parents in 1910. She married Charles McNeal on 3/15/1911.

William J. Strawhacker Family

John’s brother, William J. Strawhacker was born March 4, 1854 in Pennsylvania, and died February 10, 1934 in the home of Mrs. Rose Wallace in Oakville, Iowa. He married Nancy J. Partridge on August 2, 1877 in Mercer County. She was born about 1856 in Illinois and died January 15, 1920. An obituary for Nancy Jane furnished by Bill Strawhacker gives children Elmer, Fred, Pete, Della Spitznogle, and Steve all in Iowa, and Cleve, Will, Elma, and Lyda all deceased. As mentioned above, William and Nancy are found in the 1880 census in New Boston, with son Elmer, age 5 months.

Nancy Jane Partridge Strawhacker was daughter of Samuel and Lydia Ann Robbins Partridge, both of whom died before the 1870 census was taken. She was living with her grandparents, Hiram and Barbara Robbins in 1870.

Son William J. Strawhacker was born April 11, 1882 in Mercer County and according to an obituary he died on May 1, 1899 at Oakville, Iowa, at his father's home. He was kicked in the abdomen by a horse and died the next afternoon. He is buried in New Boston Cemetery (Willie, as listed in the cemetery records below). Son Cleveland Strawhacker was born August 29, 1888 and died April 14, 1893 and was buried in New Boston Cemetery. Son Steve Strawhacker was born in Oakville, Iowa, and died before 1920. He married Lucille Hattress Johnson.

William and Nancy were in North Dakota in 1910: Twp 134 R85 Morton N. D. Page 206B
District 127
#78 William Strawhecker, 56, married 33 yr, born Pa, parents, Pa, farmer Nancy J., 53, 10 chil born, 5 living, Il, Pa, Pa
Peter, 23, Il, Pa, Il
Fredrick, 18, Il, Pa, Il
Stephen, 16, Ia, Pa, Il
We have nothing further on the other children.

Strawhacker Family Cemetery Records in New Boston Cemetery

(These records are from the 1960's walkdown by the local DAR Chapter) Bill Strawhacker - has other records received from Larry McHenry in Mercer County.)
Benjamin Strawhacker died March 7, 1893, age 60 yrs 3 mo 16 da
J. P. Strawhacker Sept 22, 1857-March 24, 1910
David E. Strawhecker, b. Feb 4, 1860 - ________ (he is actually buried in Iowa)
Lillie M., wife of D. E. Strawhecker, b. March 19, 1869, d. Mar 22, 1889
Erma A. Strawhecker born and died May 12, 1894 Little Frankie, son of D. E. and E. Strawhacker, b. May 6, 1898, d. Aug 22, 1899
Emory C. Strawhacker b. Sept 15, 1895, d. Dec 7, 1895
Willie, son of W. G. & N. J. Strawhacker b. Apr 11, 1882 d. May 1, 1899 age 17 yr 20 dy
Cleveland Strawhecker b. Aug 29, 1888, d. Apr 14, 1893
Pearl Edgar Strohecker Dec 5, 1879-Jan 3, 1952
Michael Dacy 1887-1957 Addie J. [Strawhacker] Dacy 1890-_____

4/6/2009 Added Norma Meier to Contacts and corrected an error that had made the contacts invisible on the page.