James Samuel Thomas Stranahan was born on April 25, 1808 in Petersboro, New York. He was the son of Samuel and Lynda (Downer) Stranahan. Samuel and Lynda had three children; Belinda (1805-1805), James S.T. (1808), Mary Ann (1810). They lived in Petersboro, New York.
I did not find a marriage record for James Stranahan and Marianne Fitch. They were married around 1840 and at that time James was living in New Jersey according to a bio listed below. By the 1850 Federal Census, James and Marian live in Brooklyn, New York. Living with them are their two children and his mother; Mary Ann (1840), James Fitch (1844) and Lynda (1782). In the 1855 New York Census and again in the 1860 Federal Census, James and Marian are found living in Brooklyn with their children and James’ mother. Marian Stranahan died on August 30, 1866.
On July 20, 1870, James married Clara C Harrison in Westfield, Massachusetts. In the 1880 Federal Census, James and Clara are recorded in Brooklyn with James Fitch and James’ married daughter, Mary Ann Croxson. Mary Stranahan Croxson’s husband John Croxson died on December 31, 1873. In the 1892 New York State Census, both of these two grown children of James S T Stranahan still are living at home. It appears that Fitch Stranahan never married. Clara is also listed and she is just a few years older than Mary Ann at the age of sixty.
James S. T. Stranahan was a very important figure both local New York government and in our national government as stated in the Biographical information outlined below.
Biography from Appleton’s Cycopedia of American Biography
He received his education in the local schools of Petersboro where he later was a teacher. He also studied Civil Engineering. After his primary education was complete he traveled the Upper Lakes wanting to begin trading with the Indians who lived there but he soon found the business to be undesirable so he engaged in the woolen trade. He began working in 1832 with Garret Smith in developing the manufacturing interest of Oneida County. In 1838 he was sent as a Whig to represent the Oneida district in the Legislature. In 1840 he moved to New Jersey and became interested in the construction of the railroads, accepting stock in payment for his work. He settled in Brooklyn in 1844. In 1854 he was sent again to Congress and served from 1855 -1857. Mr Stranahan was a member of the Police Commission in 1858 and a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1860 and 1864. During the Civil War he was an active supporter of our National Government and President of the War-fund committee. The War-fund committee founded the “Union” in order that the government might have devoted support. In 1860, he was appointed president of the park commission in Brooklyn and held the office for over 22 years. He was instrumental in creating Prospect Park, and the system of boulevards known as Ocean and Eastern Parkways. He was president of the Union Ferry company and the Great American Docks. He was also instrumental with the building of the East River Bridge.
Bio from Findagrave
“US Congressman. He was elected to represent New York’s 2nd District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1855 to 1857. Born in Peterboro, New York, James was considered the “Father of Prospect Park” and played a key role in virtually every great civic project in Brooklyn during the second half of the 19th century, including Ocean and Eastern Parkways and the Atlantic Docks. He was president of the Union Ferry Company, trustee of the Brooklyn Bridge, headed the Brooklyn’s Parks Commission, and led the movement to unite the cities of New York and Brooklyn. A statue of Stranahan, paid for by grateful citizens, was erected at Prospect Park’s north entrance before he died, where it still stands. After his death in 1898, his funeral cortege was the first ever permitted to pass through Prospect Park.”
Bio by: BKGeni
One hundred and twenty one years ago today James Samuel Thomas Stranahan died in Saratoga, New York at the age of ninety. He is buried in the Stanahan plot in the Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
Rest in Peace, James!
James Samuel Thomas Stranahan is the second cousin of the husband of my first Great Grand Aunt…(I know that it is a stretch…but James was the only person identified who died on this date…)