David Strean/Strain was born c. 1720-1730 and died between the date he wrote his will, 2 Apr 1783—when he was “sick and weak” in body—and the date it was probated, 3 Oct 1783.  Will Book D, page 365-7 was recorded in Hanover Township, then in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now in Dauphin County.  His inventory was also dated 3 Oct 1783.  His wife Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) is mentioned in his will and also appears in his land warrant and patent as Elizabeth “Strain”.  Prior to his death, records including tax assessments, land applications, land surveys, military service, oaths of allegiance, etc. show that David lived in Lancaster County from at least 1750 to 1783.


Children in his will include John, Jennet (Mrs. James McCreight), Mrs. John Wilson (first name unknown), Alexander, David, Jr. (under 21) and executor William, who died before probate.  Jennet and David, Jr. both married in Hanover Township.  Jennet, her husband and five of their seven known children are buried at Old Hanover Churchyard where her brother David, Jr. was married in 1792.


There is much confusion over David’a parents and siblings.


David is suspected of being the brother of Reverend John Strain of York Co., Pennsylvania.  According to Reverend George M. Scott’s Journal (W. PA. Historical Magazine, Vol. 17, p. 33, Narrative of a Pioneer Preacher: Geo. M. Scott) he says he boarded with a Widow Strain in about 1785 who had an excellent library of good books, formerly the property of her brother, the Revd. Mr. Strain, deceased.  Also a David Strain signed a renunciation to administer his “dearest brother John’s will” following the Reverend Strain’s death, turning over the responsibility to his “mother in lae” instead.  This mother in law was likely David’s step mother, making Reverend John and David half brothers, sharing the same father. 


David’s father may have been John Strayn of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who died in 1752.  John Strayn’s will named a son David, and a David Strayen witnessed the will.  David’s son John was named first in his own will, and David may have followed the Scottish custom of naming his first son after his father.  Other sons mentioned in the John Strayn will were Robert, John, William and Gilbert.  Robert died a year after his father.  It is believed that Gilbert relocated to Orange County, North Carolina and changed his last name to Strayhorn.


According to A Historical Sketch of New Hope Church, In Orange County, N.C., by Rev. D.I. Craig, Reidsville, N.C., 1891, “It seems that, Gilbert’s [Strayhorn] eld(e)st brother in PA, whose name was David had three sons.  These sons came to N.C. in search of their uncle Gilbert, and after finding him in the neighborhood of New Hope, and they were no other than Alexander, John and James (?) Strain.  They found that their uncle had changed his name and not willing to adopt it, they retained their name of “Strain,” or at any rate they were known by that name.”  


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