- The link between David and his son James can only be rated as a logical possiblity, but no definite evidence of the connection exists. More work is needed on James's parentage. I have debated about whether to even include David here as James's father. I have chosen to do so in the hopes that others may see and comment on it: including him here means that many other Strain descendants and family also get added to the site, which might lead to other connections.
The information in Eva Strain's letter, attached as a .pdf document under "Histories," confirms a family story about the Strains, that three Strain brothers, sons of David Strain, migrated south. The same story appears in the narrative by Rev. D.I. Craig entitled "A Historical Sketch of New Hope Church in Orange Co., N.C.," in which he describes the foundation of the church by Gilbert "Strayhorn." Craig notes that "it seems that Gilbert Strayhorn's elder brother in Pennsylvania, 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 David, Alexander, and James Strain." This elder brother on this site is David Strain Sr., brother of Gilbert Strayhorn.
Rev. Craig's information is crucial for this site, it needs to be noted, because it is the only place that James is named as a son of David Sr. David "Strean" Sr.'s will "of Hanover Township Lancaster County" exists, dated April 5th, 1783, and does not name James as a son. It does name (in this order) wife Elizabeth, son John, son-in-law James "MCright," son-in-law John Wilson, son Alexander, son David ("when he comes to twenty one years old"), and at its end son William (executor with wife Elizabeth). The will also, however, vaguely mentions "my youngest child," and "my children now unmarried," and, after mentioning David, "the rest of my unmarried children." It was, apparently, possible that property given before death was not mentioned in a will, so there could be un-named children implied here.
Note the problems. Fathers could leave property to their children before death which would not be described in will. But, if the birthdates of his children John and James (1776 and 1780, respectively) are correct, James would have been married by 1783. And second, again, this means that the narrative of D.I. Craig is the only evidence which connects James Strain to David Sr.
A second issue aside from these is that Rev. Craig's narrative is also the only evidence linking Gilbert Strayhorn and his three nephews to the Lancaster Co. David Strain family.
In any event, information about David Sr. is known or can be guessed at. He was from County Down, Ireland. It seems likely that he fought in the Revolutionary War. There are two members of Capt. James Roger's Company, in Col. Timothy Green's Hanover Rifle Battalion, whose names are David Strain and Thomas Strain. He probably took the Oath of Allegiance in 1779.
The story about his death is related in Eva's letter; this story also appears in other researchers. He was drafted for work during hostilities against the British, and died, either by disease or injury, from the work. The fact that his death was two years after the end of the war may mean that the effects of disease or some other debilitiation is most likely.
The tree "Burke-Ansley Two Great Families" on Rootsweb mentions the following source: The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 4.3 (Summer, 1976): ___-___. (This tree also gives James as a son.)
There are other Strains.
--John Strain (from Lancaster Co., PA) had children Abigail Strain and Allen Strain; that Allen Strain had a child Mary Strain (this from ancestry.com, with no references cited: argh!), who married William Elliott Walker.
--There is a John Strain who applied for a Rev. War pension: "Private, North Carolina Militia, $40.00 Annual Allowance $120.00 Amount Received February 12 1833 Pension Started Age 74 (1835 TN Pension Roll)" (from www.tngenweb.org). He must have moved from SC to Washington Co., TN later in life.