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Robert Strang

Resides on section 36, Antioch Township, where he has a palatial home, and one of the finest farms of the county. He is a prominent and influential citizen of the community and this volume would be incomplete without his sketch. He was born near Stirling Castle, Scotland, on the 8th of August, 1815, and is a son of John Strang, who was born in Stirlingshire, near Bannockburn. He was one of a family of eleven children, nine sons and two daughters. When a young man he went to South America and invested his money in a ship, and lost all through a wreck. Another vessel came along and took him and his companions from the wreck, but this ship was soon overhauled by a British cruiser in need of men, and John Strang and such of his companions as were wanted were pressed into the service of the British navy. Thus he took part under Nelson at the battle of Arbuckle, Egypt. He lost his eye-sight in that country, and in consequence was discharged, but subsequently regained his sight.

About 1800 Mr. Strang married Margaret Clellan, a native of Glasgow, and unto them in Scotland was born a large family of children. In 1835 he emigrated with his wife and family to Canada, settling in the woods near Chatham, were he remained for four years. The Revolution in Canada in 1837 caused three of his sons to leave that country in order to keep from serving in the army. They came to Illinois by way of Detroit, and having no money walked to Joliet, where for four years they were employed upon the canal. By their united industry and economy during that time they saved enough to purchase a claim in Lake County which they located in 1838. The following year the father came from Canada and settled upon the claim. The land had not been surveyed but it comprised between four hundred and five hundred acres, a part of which is the present site of Millburn. Mr. Strang was a pioneer of both Canada and Lake County. He continued farming here until his death in the autumn of 1866, at the age of eighty-seven years. His wife had preceded him to her final rest, and they were laid side by side in the cemetery at Millburn. In their native land they were active members of the Seceder Church, but on coming to this county joined the Congregational Church of Millburn soon after its organization. Mr. Strang was a successful business man and worthy citizen, whose life was characterized by uprightness and integrity. His last years were spent with his children. The following is the record of the family. Agnes, the eldest, died in Scotland; Peter, a pioneer of this county, is now deceased; Elizabeth, died in Scotland; Margaret, is the wife of Joshua Wedge, a pioneer of this county, residing in Millburn; Robert is the next in order of birth; Mrs. Jane McAllister makes her home in Waukegan; George, one of the early settlers of Millburn, is now deceased; Janet is the wife of William E. Thayer, who also came to this county in an early day and now resides near Millburn; Susan, is deceased; John is represented elsewhere in this work. All came to this country with the exception of the two eldest daughters who died in Scotland.

Robert Strang was twenty years of age when he came to America. His stock in trade consisted of an old fiddle. Truly he may be called a self made man, for from the lowest round he has worked his way upward to wealth and affluence. His first service in this country was as a clerk, after which he aided in clearing and breaking forty acres of land in Canada. Then came his work for four years upon the canal in Joliet. In the years thus spent he bad been economical, industrious and persevering, and was now enabled to purchase one hundred and sixty acres of land. He gave his entire attention to farming until 1856, when he built a store in Millburn. which for eighteen years he carried on in connection with his other business. He succeeded in building up a good trade, becoming one of the leading merchants of the place, but in 1874 he retired from mercantile life, turning the store over to his son. He has also laid aside the duties of farm work, and is spending his declining years in the enjoyment of a competence which is the fruit of former toil.

On the journey of life Mr. Strang has been accompanied by one who has proved to him a true helpmate. In 1845 he returned to Scotland and at Dumblane, Perthshire, January 19, I846, was united in marriage with Jessie Monteeth, daughter of James M. and Mary (Eadie) Monteeth. She is the only member of the family who came to America, and the only one now living. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Strang returned with his young bride, and they began life in their far Western home. Twelve children came to bless their union-John, who wedded Mary J. Wedge, and carries on the store in Millburn; Mary wife of William Mavor, one of the contractors of the World's Fair buildings to be erected in Chicago; twins died in infancy; Maggie, deceased; Jessie, who died at the age of six years; Eliza, wife of John Hughes, of Millburn; Ruby, deceased; Lottie, wife of Ward Bain. Of Somers, Wis.; Robert L., who married Emma Hughes, and operates the farm, and also travels for a wholesale house of Chicago; James H., twin brother-of Robert, died in infancy, and Jessie, wife of Frank Yule, of Somers, Wis. When Mr. Strang first came to this county, he was in very limited circumstances. There was not much money in circulation, and sometimes he would have to leave a letter in the post office several days before he could get money enough to pay the postage, which was twenty-five cents. He has labored untiringly for the interests of his family, and has now the satisfaction of seeing his estimable wife presiding over one of the finest homes in the county. It is a large brick residence, tastefully furnished and situated in the midst of well kept grounds, adorned by beautiful shade trees. It seems hardly possible that his fine farm was half a century ago an unimproved tract, but such is the case. With the public interest of the county, its progress and upbuilding, Mr. Strang has been prominently identified. He helped to draw the logs for the first church and schoolhouse in Millburn, and in the early days bore his share in every public work. In politics he was first a Whig, and a strong anti-slavery man, so that when a party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery he espoused its cause and has since been a Republican, although he is not an advocate of high tariff. Both he and his wife were reared under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, but are now members of the Congregational Church of Millburn. They are charitable and benevolent people, and their home is the abode of hospitality.



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