Whither William?
By Jud Banks

In the 294 years since William Strother passed from this world, much information - and mis-information - has been published concerning him. The William Strother Society is dedicated to attempting to sort the authentic from conjecture and to try, once and for all, to establish our William's ancestry. It's not an easy task.

This issue of the Houses of Strother Newsletter contains some material on which several experts agree. It also reports from some writings that may not have been considered previously. Everyone is welcome to comment in this forum. If you have factual information the Society doesn't seem yet to have, please present it. By factual, we mean something that is based on actual recorded and proven writings; wills, deeds, original letters, etc. Unfortunately, a large number of "authoritative" sources are little more than a copy of someone else's previous work. We cite an example in this issue.

No rumor should be taken entirely at face value. On the other hand, rumors, or family "traditions" sometimes give us leads that, when followed, often result in the true facts becoming known. It is then that we see how garbled a story can become after it is repeated many times. There's a thread of truth, but some pertinent information may be left out or a little embellishment added. We have an idea that William's case is no different.

There is a RUMOR that William died in Virginia and that his body was sent back to England for burial. This came to me about six years ago from someone whose name I don't know today. Nor can I find the paper among the many volumes of notes I've accumulated. If any reader has information about this rumor, particularly if it can be substantiated, please contact Robin Hite, George Fenwick or me at once. If there's truth to it, it may be the clue we're looking for that could tie our William to his forebears.*

Please look at the chart on Page 6. It's an example of how respected writers (whose work often is taken as gospel) can differ. No one doubts the sincerity of any researcher or reporter, but discrepancies in names, spellings, dates and other identifications often lead to confusion. It is this confusion that the William Strother Society seeks to rectify. If you have material in your collection that might help sort out the facts, be sure to bring it to the Conference in Fredericksburg. If you can't attend, send copies (not originals), please.

*[As a curious aside, the body of the British commander, killed in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, was returned to England for burial, preserved in a hogshead of rum. The remains of Capt. John Paul Jones, hero of the Continental Navy, lay buried for years in a sealed coffin in France, preserved in alcohol. He was finally exhumed and re-buried at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. This shows that it could have been possible for our William to have been returned to England after death, although Marjorie Strother assures us that there was probably not that much rum in all of Virginia in 1702 !!

The Puzzle of William I, Part 1
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