Subj: The Year 1900 (article submission)
Date: 3/6/99 3:26:52 PM Eastern Standard Time From:BONNIESTROPE@prodigy.net (Bonita E Strope)
Hi, Joyce, 'Can't go anywhere due to the snowstorm (6 fresh inches since morning)...so I sat down and prepared the following for you to add to the page of articles about happenings in the year 1900. Thanks. Bonnie Strope
Reflections on the year 1900 A Year of Sadness for the family of LaFayette Strope
LaFayette Strope was employed as a hired farm hand at the Hoyt Farm in Montrose, Susquehanna County, PA as the new century was ushered in. He had married Minnie Bennett of Towanda just five years previous on 25 December 1895. LaFayette left his childhood home in Overshot, Bradford County, PA to marry Minnie; and together, they moved to Montrose. LaFayette’s parents, Ezra and Estella Hutchinson Strope, maintained a 50 acre farm in Overshot, Burlington Township, Bradford County. Minnie’s parents, Elmer R. and Emma Robinson Bennett lived in Monroeton, Monroe Township, PA. In the years just previous to 1900, LaFayette and his wife were thrilled by the arrival of two children. Earl David was 2 years, 3 months old and his sister, Hannah Edith, was 7 months old when the family observed the change of centuries. But the family’s happiness was abruptly halted during the night of February 22 when Minnie unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. She was found the next morning by her husband, LaFayette. Newspaper articles tell of the aftermath. The "Bradford Star," 1 Mar., 1900 reports, "Mrs. Lafayette Strope, daughter of E. R. Bennett of Monroeton, found dead at home in Tiffany, Susquehanna County. Buried Riverside Cemetery. Husband and two children survive." Another newspaper, the "Independent Republican," February 23, 1900, p. 5, published in Montrose states, "Mrs. Lafayette Strope died suddenly on Wednesday night at her home on the Hoyt Farm near Williams Pond. Her husband and several children survive her..." A second Montrose newspaper, the "Montrose Democrat," February 22, 1900, p. 3 says, "Sudden Death-Mr. Strope, a young man living on the Hoyt farm east of town found his wife dead in bed this morning." The cause of her death is a mystery; no county or state records have been found. Overcome with grief, LaFayette sought out the immediate help of his parents and in-laws to help take care of his two motherless children. So distraught was he, that according to the "Montrose Democrat," March 8, 1900, p. 3, LaFayette resigned from his farm hand position within weeks after Minnie's death. This article reads, "L. F. Strope, who recently buried his wife, offers his personal property at public sale." The 1900 Census for Monroe Township, 1st District, lists LaFayette's two children, “Earl David and Hannah Edith Stropes,” residing with Elmer and Emily (Emma) Bennett when the census was taken on June 1, 1900. This author speculates that after Minnie's death, Earl and Hannah were soon given over into the care of their maternal grandparents while LaFayette struggled with his grief.
In 1906, LaFayette remarried, and the new family lived in Allegheny County, NY for a few years. They later moved to Newark Valley, Tioga County, NY, where more sadness came to the family. LaFayette’s second wife, Martha Witherall, gave birth to a son, Chaney L., in Newark Valley. Chaney contracted pneumonia and died just 3 months later on 11 December 1913. Still more grief was brought upon this family when 19 year old daughter Hannah became an additional statistic in the influenza epidemic which took the lives of thousands in 1918. She died during the peak month of the epidemic on 24 October. Again unwilling to remain in a home where death had visited, poor LaFayette and his second wife sold their farm in Newark Valley and ultimately settled in Ross Corners, Tioga County, NY where they owned and operated a vegetable farm, root beer stand, gas station and the “Liberty Cabins” guest cottages. The complex would probably be classified as a “Mini-mart” 100 years later in this present year of 1999. Here the family settled into a peaceful era. LaFayette was able to welcome two grandchildren into his family while living in Ross Corners. His only surviving son, Earl David, married Mildred Earlene Snyder of Endicott, Broome County, NY in 1920 and provided LaFayette with the joy of two healthy grandchildren. These two grandchildren, Edith Irene and Gerald Elwood, did all that children normally do to brighten his latter years. This author is the unexpected youngest daughter of Earl, birthed a number of years after LaFayette’s death in 1931. The family has prospered over the past 100 years. If LaFayette was still alive, he would celebrate the arrival of the new millenium with his 3 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren.
Submitted by Bonnie Strope.