Story of Charles Benton Strang, Jr.
Husband. Father. Blacksmith. WWI Veteran.
This is a short story of the life of Charles Benton Strang, Jr. as written by him during his 81st year in January 1979.
Transcribed by Marian C. Strang: March 6th, 1979.
“On January 16, 1898 the first son and third child was born to Charles B. and Beryl (Jones) Strang. I was born at home in Lindenwood, IL, and delivered by a midwife, Mrs. Albert Hackbert. The doctor, who was called Dr. Harry Davis, Sr., was from Monroe Center, IL; who about 14 years later bought a 2-cylinder Reo automobile from my dad with the stipulation that I come to stay with him and drive for him.
“I was named Charles Benton after my father. I had two sisters, Grace M. and Amy B. My other brothers and sisters that came along after me were Merrill George, Clinton, Clifford, Donald (who died about age 1 yr.), Molly Carol, Eva, Lyle, and Joyce. We were all born right in Lindenwood.
“My dad’s father came from France. Our name originally was LaStrange but later the ‘La’ and ‘e’ were dropped. Dad’s mother came from Alsace-Lorraine (the region between France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland——now French). My dad was born in Byron, IL, in 1864. My mother was born in Rochelle, IL, in 1875. My parents were married about 1894 in Lindenwood by a Justice-of-the-peace, Cassius Perry. (The day he was married Dad shod a carload of Western ponies for $1 apiece and made $20 which was great money for a days’ work in that time.)
“I went to Lindenwood School from 1904 till 1912 thru the eighth grade. I was helping dad off and on in his blacksmith shop while I was also helping farmers thrash and put up hay.
“I went to Rockford, IL to work at the Roseland Can Company at about age 15 for four to five months. I took a horse and buggy to Holcomb, IL, where I caught the C.B. & Q. railroad to Rockford. After this I went back to the blacksmith shop. Dad taught me the basics of blacksmithing, including horseshoeing and striking and learning the signals between himself and the striker. It was my favorite place to spend my summer vacations – with dad in the shop starting when I was about age 6. We made log chains and all kinds of ironwork. By now we were buying our horseshoes already made instead of making all of them, unless it was a special one that needed to be made. I worked with dad until April 1917 at which time I volunteered for military service. I won’t go into this now as I have written my memories of World War I in a separate book. I was in the service until July 29, 1919.”
Sorry, the rest is in the book, plus a bunch more!
About the Author
My name is Jeremy Benton Strang (J.B.). I am one of Charles Phillip Strang’s (C.P.) two sons. C.P. was the only son of C.B. Strang. We, along with my only son Isaac Andrew, have decided to put together a few of my grandfather’s memoirs in the hopes of sharing some authentic history of a simple man during the World War One era.
The true author is my grandfather, for he is the one who lived his own life and left us the stories. My mother, Marian C. Strang, wife of Charles P. Strang, first transcribed C.B.’s WWI memoirs in 1977 and then his general life story in 1979. Much of this book has already been written, and although I have never done a book of this genre before, I have performed some minor editing. I have left the exact order as it was told and most of his direct original language. I feel that it is important for the reader to hear and experience just how the 81 year old C.B. told the story, with an edge of early 19 century wit.