You are on page 1of 40

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STRASSER FAMILY

PRESENTATION MADE AT

STRASSER FAMILY REUNION MARYLAND, USA


24TH TO 26TH JUNE, 2011

VICTOR E.H. STRASSER-KING


22ND JUNE, 2011

INTRODUCTION

y This presentation is prepared for the Family Reunion Maryland, USA (24th to 26th June, 2011)

in

y The content is put together from personal knowledge and anecdotal evidence from family members over the years y There may be some inaccuracies and gaps. y Hopefully these shall be addressed with further research and contributions from all of you.
2

The information on the family history is not limited to the content of this presentation This is only an overview which hopefully, I will develop into a booklet.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STRASSER FAMILY


ORIGIN OF THE NAME STRASSER Name Strasser originates in Germany Was the family name of the wife of the Rev. Theophilus Frey, a German Missionary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Our ancestral Grand Father was domestic staff of Rev. Frey and wife. On death (reportedly by accident) of Mrs. Frey s brother (Hans Strasser) our ancestral grandfather was named after him
4

He thus became known as Hans Strasser

- No evidence of his name prior to this.

AFRICAN ORIGIN OF HANS STRASSER

All evidence suggest that he originated from an area in Benin (formerly Dahomey) close to present day Nigeria He was of the Paupau tribe Evidence of his Paupau origin includes:
Names given to his children were of Paupau origin Anecdotal evidence that he spoke and taught some of his children Paupau language
6

HOW DID HANS JOIN THE FREY FAMILY? He could have been a freed slave shipped to London from the Americas (Haiti??) Could have been a liberated African adopted as a young boy by the Freys on their arrival in Sierra Leone Rev. Frey and wife may have served in Paupau country and took him on as domestic staff prior to their posting to Sierra
Leone.

If indeed he spoke Paupau he could not have been a freed slave shipped to London; thus either
a liberated-African or adopted in Paupau country

(This requires further research. Need to search CMS documents archived in London??)

REV. FREY AND HANS STRASSER S WATERLOO LINK Rev. Theophilus Frey, was:Born in Schorndorf on 11th April, 1811 Posted to Sierra Leone on 2nd December 1841 Appointed to Waterloo village in January 1843 and assigned to St. Michael and All Angels Church Lived in Waterloo for 14 years with his wife and domestic staff (Hans)

Because of Rev. Frey s dedication to the community a street in the village (Frey Street) is named after him. A memorial tablet in his memory can be found on the front left hand wall of the nave of St Michael and All Angels Church in Waterloo

10

The inscription on the tablet reads:

SACRED
To the memory of the Rev. Theophilus Frey Church Missionary Born at Schorndorf 11th April, 1811 Arrived in the Colony, Dec. 2nd 1841 Appointed to Waterloo, Jan. 1843 Were he faithfully labored for 14 years He departed this life at Fourah Bay April 23rd 1857 On his return from the Yoruba country With the late Bishop Weeks
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours Rev. XIV 13
11

The inscription explains the Waterloo and Anglican origin of the Strassers Also provides evidence of time of our ancestor s arrival in Sierra Leone

12

HANS STRASSER LIFE IN WATERLOO On the death of Rev. Frey, Hans remained and settled in Waterloo Build a life and family in the village Fathered five girls and a boy (see abridged Family Tree) All acquired reasonable education and were very talented Most of the daughters engaged in Petty Trading when old enough. Most of his children resided in the village throughout their lives.
13

Many of his descendants compounded their surnames (changed through marriage etc.) with Strasser . Thus Strasser has became the clan name of the descendants of Hans Strasser This explains the Strassers, Strasser-Nicols, Strasser-Kings, Strasser-Davies, Strasser Williams, Strasser-Coles etc. Any Sierra Leonean with the surname Strasser or Strasser whatever, is a member of the clan. Hans and many of his children and descendants were interred in the Waterloo village Cemetery
14

The family grave is the first on the right on entering the cemetery through the main gate

15

NAMES OF THE STRASSERS Many of Hans children and those after carried Paupau names which have run through succeeding generations Some examples include Esegrabo (Segra), Esehwacho (Sewacho), Esehwanu (Eseh), Omolagi (Molaji), Esevie, Esenamie, Masadie (Sadie) Some German first names have also passed through the family, such as Hans (late Mr. Aynor), Wessah (Late uncle Wessah) Sigismond (late Uncle Molaji)

16

Other names running through the family include Mathew, James, Heathcote, Raymond, Amber. To connect, the Strassers with Germany, one of Han s daughters, late Grandma Betsy reportedly spent some years in Germany as a circus performer.

17

SPREAD OF STRASSER S IN SIERRA LEONE Through marriage late Aunty Modu (mother of Late Ofeh, Stella, Aina etc) settled in Newton Grandpa Matthew Strasser, popular organist and most prolific of Han s children left his name behind in : - Allen Town through James Strasser Sigsmond Valentine Essegrabo) - York (Lettie Dentist Reffel Wyse) Bob Heathcote Strasser-King left his name in: -Port Loko (Roland Boie Strasser-King Oseh and others )

18

Francis Esewacho Strasser-King left his name in: -Bauya (Comfort Yambasu Aiah Charles, Philip Tamba, Sia) Mobai (Femi Raymond Francis) Uncle Olu Strasser-Nicol left his name in: -Wilberforce (Dr. Strasser-Nicol and brothers)

19

FOURAH BAY LINK A daughter of Hans, Aunty Louisa married to a Mr. Cole, a Muslim railway worker from Fourah Bay She settled on Orange Street, Fourah Bay with her husband Had several children including late Aunty Zainabu, Uncle Abu Strasser-Cole of Fire Force, and many others. She was warmly accepted by, and contributed to, the Fourah Bay Community On her death, was burried in the Aku Mohammedan Cemetery, normally reserved for only those born in the community.
20

STRASSERS IN THE DIASPORA Many Strassers have emigrated to several parts of the world, mainly to the USA and UK Some have set up homes in their adopted countries. Today there are more Strassers in the Diaspora than in Sierra Leone

21

CONTRIBUTIONS OF STRASSERS IN SOCIETY Strassers have excelled in many fields of endeavour We should be proud of our achievements and celebrate our contribution to the betterment of mankind Let us continue to keep the flame of success burning Most important of all let us stay united and strengthen our family ties We owe this to our ancestors and succeeding generations of Strassers.
22

FAMILY TREE I can only show a small branch of the family tree in this presentation I now realize that the branches of the tree are so many that one tree cannot accommodate the entire clan

This presentation is only an overview of what I plan as a project leading to the production of a booklet I plan to interview many members of different branches of the family at every possible opportunity, both in Sierra Leone and the Diaspora It is my hope that not too long we shall see a more comprehensive work.
23

HANS STRASSER

Amber
(King/Nicol)

Betsy

Mathew

Boevie

Madora

Louisa

Bob Heathcote
(Strasser-King)

Olu
(Strasser- Nicol)

Freddie
(Davies)

Masadie (Hamilton) Quasie

Eglentina
(Porter)

Segra

Aynor Hans

Francis Esehwacho

Molaji Sigismond

Bob Moses

Roland Boie
24

PLACES AND FACES How many do you recognize?

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT THE FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT? Interview any Strasser you come across at home or anywhere in the world - Get details of siblings, parents and grandparents and other relatives including dates (birth, death etc.) - Occupation e.g. Petty Trader, Seamstress, Accountant, Teacher, Factor at PZ - Collect photographs, if possible

37

Make available any information you have or can remember and note them down Digitize photographs of parents, grandparents etc. Send all information to me preferably in soft copy at: strasserking@yahoo.com

38

CONCLUSION Strassers have excelled in many fields of endeavour We should be proud of our achievements and celebrate our contribution to the betterment of mankind Let us continue to keep the flame of success burning Most important of all let us stay united and strengthen our family ties We owe this to our ancestors and succeeding generations of Strassers
39

THE END
HAVE A MEMORABLE AND ENJOYABLE REUNION
ESEHWANU40

Related Interests