Dr. Greene Wallace Strother
& Other Willis/Strother Family Connections in Rapides Parish, La.
by Randy Willis
Rev. Joseph Willis (1758-1854) was the maternal great-grandfather of Dr. Greene Wallace Strother. Greene Strother's (1892-1981) father was John Houston Strother, Sr. (1852-1926). John Houston Strother, Sr. married Carolyn Matilda Willis Strother (1855-1931). She was a daughter of Lemuel Willis (1812) and Eveline/Emeline Perkins. Lemuel Willis was a son of Rev. Joseph Willis.
Greene Strother's sister Nellie V. Strother (1899-1984) wrote me in a letter (1983) about her mother: "about Carolyn Matilda Willis Strother - a granddaughter of Joseph Willis. During the Civil War her grandfather Perkins came for her mother [Patsy] and children to live on the plantation. Following her mother's [Patsy] death the children lived there - each had a black nurse. She [Carolyn Willis] was several years younger than the others: Polk, Olive, Sryldia and Liddy. She was given the choice of where to live and she chose Polk [Willis] and his wife Anna. The estate was settled and she and John [Strother], after marriage, settled on her acreage...she was known as pet, mother, mamma, ma, mom."
Greene Strother's siblings were Rev. John Houston Strother, Jr. (1873-1950), William (Willie) Strother (1879-1963), Martha Strother Ford (1882-1966), Katie Strother Head (1884-1979), Julius Scott Strother (1889-1966), Harry Winfield Strother (1894-1921), Hattie Bernice Strother (1897-1948), and Nellie Vernice Strother (1899-1984). Greene Strother married Martha Krause. Greene and Martha had four children: Miriam Jean Strother, Greene Wallace Strother, Jr., Joyce Carolyn Strother and Joseph Willis Strother. Their first three children were born in China.
John Houston Strother, Sr. father was Alexander Asaria Strother, Sr. (1829-1864). Alexander Strother, Sr. was hung and shot in his front yard during the Civil War, May 11, 1864, by soldiers who were stealing horses. His wife and son John were witnesses to the tragedy and cut him down. Alexander Strother married Martha "Patsy" Coker (1830-1899). She is listed with the maiden name Willis in some later documents, because it would seem, she was raised by Joseph Willis, Jr. & Jennie Coker. Dr. Greene Strother wrote me, in 1981, concerning Alexander and Patsy: "My father's father was Alexander. His wife, my grandmother, was Aunt Patsy Coker. I remember her as a quite little women. He was killed in the Civil War times." Dr. Strother also stated that "Patsy Coker was a granddaughter of Rev. Joseph Willis by his second wife."
Alexander Asaria Strother, Sr. and Martha "Patsy" Strother are both buried at Ashworth/Osborne Cemetery. Alexander Asaria Strother, Sr. and Martha "Patsy" Strother's children were: Sarah Strother (1848-1895 - married Chan Johnson), Dr. William Strother, MD (1850-1926), John Strother (1852-1926 - In 1865, he became a coachman for the first carpetbagger governor of Louisiana), Alexander Asaria Strother, Jr. (1854-1941), Martha Strother (1858), Rosanie Strother (1860), Texanna Strother (1870-1937 - married Andrew Johnson), and Mary/Martha Strother (1884 - married Frank Perkins).
Alexander Asaria Strother, Sr.'s brother, Richard Strother, III (1843), had a daughter named Matilda by Lucinda "Lydia" Willis (1847). Lydia Willis was a daughter of Rev. Joseph Willis' (1758) son Lemuel Willis (1812) and a sister to Greene Strother's mother Carolyn Matilda Willis Strother (1855).
Richard Strother, III, was in the CSA from Nov. to Dec., 1862 and then deserted Dec. 9, 1862. He was later shot soon after having the child by Lydia Willis. He and Lydia could not marry, as he was a hunted man. Lydia later married Henry Stanley. Matilda later married Ruben Fee. Lydia also lost a brother, Crawford Willis, in 1862 at Shiloh in the Civil War.
Richard Strother, III joined a group of Jayhawkers (probably the large group based in Oberlin, Louisiana at the time). He would slip into see relatives (although he was not really safe when around some of them) and to see Lydia.
He only lived for a short time after their daughter Matilda was born. She only remembered seeing him once. Lydia took her out to the woods on the pretense of looking for a goose nest and he was there on a horse in the woods. Matilda barely remembered him. It was not long after that when the law (or whoever was looking for this group of Jayhawkers) found several of them together and killed them. The location was close to the Calcasieu River near the Ashworth/Osborne Cemetery area. It was a small lake and 5 or 6 men were killed there thus giving it the name "Dead Man's Lake. "
Alexander Strother's father was Richard Strother, Jr. (1806). Richard Strother, Jr.'s sister, Rhoda Strother (1814), married Rev. Joseph Willis' son William Willis (1804-1881) on the Darbourn on the upper reaches of the Calcasieu. Richard Strother, Jr.'s brothers John A. Strother, Sr. (1820) and Francis E. Strother (1823) married two of Agerton Willis' daughters. Agerton Willis was the eldest son of Rev. Joseph Willis. John A. Strother, Sr. married Eliza Willis (1818). Francis E. Strother married Mary S. Willis (1827). Eliza and Mary Willis were sisters of Rev. Daniel H. Willis (1817-1887), my great-great-grandfather.
Richard Strother, Jr.'s father was Richard Strother, Sr. (b. 1782 Hancock, Georgia, married a Sally? b. 1787, South Carolina). Richard Strother, Sr. was a private in the War of 1812. Richard Strother, Sr.'s children were: Richard Strother (1806), James Strother (?) (1808), Rhoda Strother (1814), William Strother (1817), John A. Strother, Sr. (1820), and Francis E. Strother (1823).
Richard Strother, Sr.'s father was Francis Strother. Francis Strother was born in Virginia about 1760 and removed to Georgia. Other Strother relatives wound up in Chambers County, Alabama. Francis Strother then moved to St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. Francis died about 1821 in St. Helena Parish. Francis's first wife died and he then married Sarah Ray Fairchild in 1820, in St. Helena Parish. The Hagan family who are buried with the older Strother graves in Oak Hill Cemetery are also neighbors to the Strothers [Stroders in census records] in St. Helena Parish, in 1820.
Francis Strother's father was John Strother, born 1743, in Culpeper, Virgina. He died June 11, 1796 in Hancock County, Georgia. He married Jane Fussell. They had several children including another Richard (who died in 1838 in Hancock, Ga.). Most of the children died in Georgia. Francis Strother died in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, another child, Aaron Strother, died in Arkansas. Several of his children lived in Chambers County, Alabama including at one time a George Strother which the House of Strother book incorrectly gave as the father of the Louisiana Richard Strother.
John Strother's father was Francis Strother, born 1709 in St. Marks Parish, Orange County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Fossaker.
Francis Strother's father was Jeremiah Strother, born 1655 in Westmorland, Virginia. He died in 1741 in Orange County, Virginia (now New Culpeper, Va.). He married Eleanor?
Jeremiah Strother's father was William Strother (the immigrant), born 1630. He died in 1702 in Richmond County, Virginia. He immigrated from England or Germany.
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