Harold Jedidiah Strangman

Strangman has an entry among index cards kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester.

Harold J. Strangman 14 Temple Street, Mattapan, enlisted Nov. 20, 1917. Overseas August 1918.  Battery D. 53 Artillery A.E.F.

Harold Jedediah Strangman. By Camille Arbogast

Harold Jedediah Strangman was born September 26, 1898, in Dorchester. His father, Charles A. Strangman, was a harness maker from Dorchester. His mother, Mary E. (Eberle), was from Sharon, Massachusetts. Charles and Mary married in Boston in 1897. Their older son, Lawrence Arthur, was born in October, 1897, and lived only a short time, dying of marasmus, or undernourishment. The family lived at 1205 Washington Street. There, on December 14, 1899, Mary died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

After his mother’s death, Harold was raised by his paternal grandfather, Jedidiah, in his home at 14 Temple Street in Lower Mills. It appears Harold never again lived in his father’s household. In 1900, Charles was a lodger at 48 River Street; he remarried in 1906, and died in 1915, also of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Jedediah Strangman was a harness maker with his own harness shop. Born in Grand River, Prince Edward Island, he immigrated to the United States as a boy, living first in Newburyport, Massachusetts, before moving to Dorchester when he was about 14. During the Civil War, Jedediah served in Company E of the Massachusetts 1st Infantry Regiment. Active with the Boston Fire Department, he helped fight the great Boston fire of 1872. He was naturalized as an American citizen in 1896. His brother, Thomas, owned the Strangman Carriage Works in Lower Mills.

Jedidiah’s second wife and Harold’s step-grandmother, Abbie (Curtis), lived with Jedediah and Harold at 14 Temple Street. Abbie died in 1900 of bone cancer. Harold’s three aunts were also in the household: Hattie born in 1874, Edna in 1880, and Ida in 1883. Hattie married police officer William Hazlett in 1903. Edna, a teacher, died in 1905 of meningitis. Harold, Jedediah and Ida were the only ones left at 14 Temple Street in 1910.

Harold attended school through the 8th grade, graduating from the Gilbert Stuart School on Richmond Street in Lower Mills in June 1914. In the mid-1910s, he was the captain of the Dowling Athletic Association of Dorchester’s baseball team, which, in 1916, was considered “one of the strongest amateur teams in Greater Boston.” The Boston Globe reported that year, “Capt Harold Strangman has played the best game of his career at second base this summer. His fielding is high grade; his throwing accurate, and he also held his own with the stick.”

On November 23, 1917, at age 19, Harold enlisted in the Coast Artillery Corps (CAC), Massachusetts National Guard, at Fort Standish, on Lovell’s Island in Boston Harbor. He initially served in the 28th Company of the Boston CAC. On March 17, 1918, he was transferred to the 26th Company Boston CAC, which was stationed at Fort Andrews, also located in Boston Harbor on Peddocks Island. Harold was made a Private First class on June 1, and promoted to Corporal on July 18. On July 30, he was part of the Fort Andrews August Automatic Replacement draft and prepared to go overseas. On August 16, they made their way to Quebec, where they sailed the next day on the troop ship Demosthenes.

In France, on September 19, 1918, Harold was assigned to Battery D of the 53rd Artillery CAC, which manned railway artillery, specifically a 340mm gun. At the time, they were stationed in Nixeville, near Verdun, in preparation for the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In the opening days of the battle, they fired on Dun-Sur-Meuse. In mid-October they moved to Sommedieue, where they fired on the Conflans railyard.

After the Armistice, according to the 53rd Artillery’s regimental history, “Ammunition on hand was returned to the ammunition dumps, guns were cleaned, platforms removed, and work of returning to camp was started.” Battery D moved to the 53rd Artillery’s camp at Haussimont on November 24. In December, they began preparations to return to the United States, making their way to Saint-Nazaire, which they reached in early February 1919. On February 25, they sailed on the USS Nanesmond, landing at Newport News, Virginia, on March 11. Harold was demobilized at Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, and discharged on March 31, 1919.

In 1920, Harold was again living at 14 Temple Street with his grandfather Jedediah and aunt Ida. Jedediah’s niece Nellie Woodworth, a 60-year-old laundress, also lived with them. Harold was a machinist at a valve factory, possibly the Mason Regulator Company on Adams Street, which made balanced valves, steam traps, and speed and pressure regulators. In the early 1920s, he was employed as a gasfitter, before beginning to work as a driver, his occupation for the rest of his career. Jedediah died in 1924 and was buried in Dorchester’s South Burying Ground.

By the next year, Harold had moved to 107 Fuller Street, which was owned by his aunt Hattie and her husband, William Hazlett. Harold continued working as a driver, appearing in Boston directories as a driver, chauffeur, and delivery salesman. In 1936, his uncle William died. His aunt Ida, who in the 1930s had lived and worked as a maid in Concord and West Newton, joined the household at 107 Fuller Street by 1941. At that time, Harold was a driver for the Gulf Oil Corporation at 31 Saint James Avenue in Boston, making $2,080 a year.

In 1947, Harold married Frances May Stone, a registered nurse at New England Deaconess Hospital who lived with her aunt on Richmond Street. Born in St John’s, Newfoundland, Frances had immigrated to the United States in December, 1922. After their marriage, Harold and Frances lived with Hattie and Ida at 107 Fuller Street. Hattie died in 1958 and Ida in 1963. Harold retired in the early 1960s. Frances died in 1970.

Harold died on February 6, 1973, in Bedford, Massachusetts, and was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. He had been a member of the Dorchester Lodge of the Order of Odd Fellows and a member of the American Legion Old Dorchester Post number 65.


Birth Record Harold J. Strangman, Marriage Record Strangman & Eberle, Death Records for Lawrence Strangman, Mary Strangman, Charles Strangman: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA; Ancestry.com

1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Federal Census; Ancestry.com

Naturalization Records for Jedediah Strangman, Frances Stone: National Archives at Boston, Waltham, MA; Ancestry.com

“Funeral in Dorchester of Jedediah Strangman,” Boston Globe, 4 June 1924; Newspapers.com

“Boston Elementary School Graduates,” Boston Globe, 19 June 1914: 9; Newspapers.com

“Dowling A.A. of Dorchester has One of the Strongest Nines in the City,” Boston Globe, 8 Sept 1916: 7; Newspapers.com

Military, Compiled Service Records. World War I. Carded Records. Records of the Military Division of the Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts National Guard.

Lists of Outgoing & Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, The National Archives at College Park, MD; Ancestry.com

“The History of the 53rd Artillery, CAC,” Joe Hartwell, RootsWeb.com, 2005-2014  <http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~cacunithistories/military/53rd_Arty.html>

Boston directories, various years; Ancestry.com

Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, National Archives and Records Administration; Ancestry.com

Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Massachusetts Vital Records Index to Marriages [1916–1970]. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society; Ancestry.com

Death Notices, Boston Globe, 28 Nov 1958: 45; Newspapers.com

Death Notices, Boston Globe, 15 Oct 1963; Newspapers.com

Death Notices, Boston Globe, 12 August 1970; 34; Newspapers.com

Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003. Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Services, 2005; Ancestry.com

Death Notices, Boston Globe, 8 Feb 1973: 67; Newspapers.com

“Dorchester District,” Boston Globe, 4 Oct 1926: 6; Newspapers.com




Posted on

April 10, 2022

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