Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

Index to
[Married to Miss L. Marie Ford, daughter of Rev. Lewis T. Ford, (b. Eaton, Madison County), the pastor of the Baptist Church of Peterboro.]

  Byron J. Strough, eldest child of Samuel W. and Emeline (Tallman) Strough, was born in Theresa, New York, February 6, 1844. He secured an excellent education, after passing through the common schools entering Theresa Academy, from which he was graduated in 1859. In November of the same year, at the early age of fifteen, he accepted a position as school teacher, and he developed such genuine ability for this calling that he followed it for a period of thirteen years, meantime (in 1866) taking the examination for which he received a state teacher's certificate, an honor rarely accorded at that time. He taught successfully in the towns of Clayton, Depauville, Lafargeville and Theresa, and would undoubtedly have distinguished himself in educational circles had he cared to continue in the work. In 1872, however, he entered into partnership with his brother, Lucien S. Strough, and they purchased the drug and grocery business then conducted by Clark B. Bushnell, in the Bushnell Block, Lafargeville, and which they successfully conducted until 1886, when they disposed of it. Early in the '70's the brothers inaugurated a hay and grain buying and shipping business, which they made the most extensive of its kind in Jefferson county. Byron J. Strough was actively identified with this enterprise until his death, since which time it has been continued by his brother and his widow. Mr. Strough made an honorable record and a high reputation as a business man among the hundreds of people with whom the firm had dealings.

  Byron J. Strough labored conscientiously and zealously in behalf of the betterment of the community, advancing its material and moral interests by all means in his power. His ability and worth is best discerned in the fact that, while the town of Orleans is normally Republican by what is considered a safe majority, and Mr. Strough was a stanch Democrat, the people regarded his political affiliations as of such slight consequence when compared with his splendid character and great capability, that they elected him to membership in the board of supervisors at sixteen consecutive annual elections. When he was first elected supervisor his town was heavily in debt and involved in litigation growing out of the building of the railroad, but before he retired this was ended and the debt wiped out. He was regarded as the ablest man on the board of supervisors during his term of service. In that body he was never known to champion an unjust measure, and was a vigorous opponent of anything that was not for the best interests of the county. He was a stockholder in the Exchange Bank of Clayton; and in the Jefferson County National Bank, of which he was also a director. He held high rank in the Masonic, fraternity throughout the state, in which he held various of the most important positions. February 28, 1866, he became affiliated with Theresa Lodge No. 174, F. and A. M., and in 1868 was demitted to Lafargeville Lodge, in which he was the following year elected master, a position to which he was re-elected for twenty consecutive years, and he was for six years district deputy grand master of the sixteenth Masonic district. He was also a member of Theresa Chapter, R. A. M., Watertown Commandery, K. T., and he held membership in all the Scottish rite bodies up to and including the thirty-second degree, and was a noble in Media Temple, Mystic Shrine. He was for, eleven years trustee of the Hall and Asylum Fund of the Masonic order in the state of New York, also served as its vice-president and president, and at the time of his death was treasurer. The work of building, furnishing and maintaining the Masonic Home at Utica was something that he was greatly interested in, and he gave it much time and thought. No member of the board had a better conception of what such a home should be and how it should be conducted, and his services have been highly appreciated, not only by his fellow members of the board, but by the fraternity, at large. He was for many years a member of the order of Odd Fellows.

  On June 12, 1867, Mr. Strough married Miss L. Marie Ford, who was born in Orleans, New York, December 27, 1847, a daughter of the Rev. Lewis T. Ford. Mr. Ford was born in Eaton, Madison county, New York, son of John Ford, who married Lucy Rich, in Connecticut, and the couple, with Reuben Rich, brother of Mrs. Ford, emigrated to Madison county, New York, about 1836. Mr. Ford worked upon his father's farm and in his mill until he came to manhood, receiving only a common school education. After arriving at his majority, through his own exertions he supported himself as a student at Madison (now Colgate) University, graduated from the theological department, and was ordained to the ministry of the Baptist church. At the age of twenty-one he married Miss Arminda Stetson, of Cooperstown, New York. Entering upon ministerial work, he had charge of a church in Peterborough, New York, the home of Gerritt Smith, who was a member of his church and became a lifelong friend. He was pastor of the Baptist church in Lafargeville in 1838; about 1841 at Watertown, whence he went to Parishville, St. Lawrence county, New York, and remained in that county about four years, returning about 1845 to Lafargeville, where he remained until his death. He was a man of great energy and force of character. He left surviving him four children, all of whom reside in Lafargeville: W. F. Ford, an attorney-at-law; L. Marie Strough, widow of Byron J. Strough; William G. Ford, and Charles H. Ford, the present supervisor. Of his brothers and sisters, John Ford settled in Diana, Lewis county, New York; Gilson Ford settled in Ohio; Guilford Ford remained in Madison county; Marie Rowell, a sister, resided in Wisconsin, and was the mother of thirteen children; Matilda Vincent resides in Wisconsin. Of his wife's relatives, Jesse Stetson left a large number of descendants, prominent among whom were Dr. Ezra Stetson, of Peoria, Illinois, and Mrs. Hannah Van Court, who resides in St. Louis.

  Mr. Strough died at his home in Lafargeville, New York; April 24, 1904, after a long illness, in the sixty-first year of his age. His death was regarded as a personal loss by the entire community, which held him in honor and affection for his lofty character, magnetic personality, and usefulness of life. The funeral of Mr. Strough was held from his residence in Lafargeville, and was conducted by Watertown Commandery, Knights Templar. Nearly every Masonic lodge and chapter in Jefferson county and some in adjoining counties were represented in the large gathering of the fraternity to pay the last respects to a beloved member. Lafargeville Lodge of Odd Fellows also attended in a body. At the cemetery, where several hundred people assembled, the Templars' burial service was conducted by Eminent Sir Charles D, Bingham, Grand Commander of Knights Templar in this state. The pallbearers were George L. Davis, Emmett Green, H. L. Mills, George Hatch, F. M. Galloway and C. J. Bellinger, all members of Watertown Commandery.


Anonymous. Genealogical and family history of the county of Jefferson, New York a record of the achievements of her people and the phenomenal growth of her agricultural and mechanical industries. New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1905, pp. 128-130.



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