By Bruce Whitaker
Joseph Stroup was born on May 2, 1776 at the German community on Hoyle’s Creek in Lincoln County, North Carolina. He was the son of Adam and Catherine Alexander Stroup. Joseph’s grandfather, Jacob Stroup, had moved the family from Maryland to North Carolina after Mason and Dixon resurveyed the line between Maryland and Pennsylvania; Stroup’s Maryland deeds were not any good after his land was found to be in Pennsylvania.
Joseph Stroup was four years old when General Cornwallis and his detested “lobsterbacks” camped near the family’s home in Lincoln County. Stroup’s father, grandfather, and uncle grabbed their guns and went to fight the British. Cornwallis and his men were so cruel and treated the residents around little Joseph’s home so badly that even though he was a fifth generation American, he refused to speak one word of English the rest of his life, though he understood English well. He would only speak German and made his wife translate what he said in to English. His wife was Catherine Creasman, whom he married on September 14, 1798, in Lincoln County.
The Creasmans were also a German family that had moved from Hampshire County, Virginia, to Lincoln County. Joseph and Catherine Stroup moved to Buncombe County around 1807. The German Creasman and Ingle families also moved to Buncombe around the same time. They settled in the Riceville section of Swannanoa. The Ingle family soon moved to Leicester but the Stroup and Creasman families remained in the Riceville section of Swannanoa. Joseph Stroup built his home on Bull Creek. According to Foster Alexander Sondley’s writings, “on Swannanoa, Mr. Stroup successfully grew the first wheat in Buncombe County.” Stroup dammed up Bull Creek and built a mill above it. He then built a two-story house above the mill. Stroup donated the land to build a school on Riceville Road and sent all his children, both boys and girls, to the school. This was unusual at the time, as people generally did not send girls to school. The school was still in use as late as the 1880s. Stroup’s great-grandson Paul Clifton Stroup attended the school during that period.
Stroup’s farm covered more than 1,000 acres of land, where he grew corn, barley, rye, and wheat. He was said to have been the first person in the area to grow sorghum cane, and he built the first molasses mill in the Riceville section of Swannanoa. He had a machine shop at his mill where he would make gears, farm tools, and pots and pans.
The Riceville area had no church when Stroup moved there. Raised a Dunker Baptist, he built the first church in Riceville; it was called Stroup’s Chapel. The church was located adjoining what is now incorrectly called Riceville Presbyterian Cemetery.
Jesse Clark married Joseph’s daughter Nancy and became Stroup’s partner in his mill. Joseph Stroup’s grandchildren called him “grandsire.” Stroup’s teenage grandson James lived with his Stroup grandparents to help them out in their old age.
Joseph Stroup made his last trip to Asheville on February 6, 1851. He did not believe in wills, so he deeded the last of his land to members of his family on that day. Alfred Head, Stroup’s nephew, wrote in a letter to his mother Elizabeth Stroup Head in 1851, “Old Uncle Joseph is poorly and most of the time confined to his bed.”
Joseph Stroup died on August 13, 1851. He was buried at Stroup’s Chapel Cemetery (now called Riceville Presbyterian Cemetery). Catherine Creasman Stroup, Joseph’s wife, died in 1864 and was buried beside her husband. Catherine was a charter member of Berea Baptist Church.
Joseph And Catherine Creasman Stroup had eight children.
Betsy Stroup was born in Lincoln County on August 19, 1799. She married William Shope (1788–1872) and died in Swannanoa on April 15, 1872. Both are buried at Piney Grove Cemetery.
Henry Stroup was born on October 3, 1802 in Lincoln County, married a woman named Barbara and died in 1870.
Sarah Stroup was born in 1807 in Swannanoa, married Archibald Ray and died after 1858.
Nancy Jane Stroup was born on November 29, 1811 in Swannanoa and married Jesse Clark (September 14, 1811–January 1870; he died of TB). She died on May 19, 1892.
Mary Stroup was born in Swannanoa on November 29, 1813. She married Peter Harper (1810–1891), son of Lot Harper (1781–1866) and Mariam Whitaker (1786–1824). They lived across the road from Fairview Elementary School. Mary died in Fairview on May 27, 1894; Peter and Mary Stroup Harper are buried in Cane Creek Cemetery.
David Stroup was born in 1815 in Swannanoa, married Mary Porter and died in 1870 in Swannanoa.
Silas Stroup was born on August 19, 1817 in Swannanoa. He married Susan Harper Henry (December 11, 1812–June 1, 1894); she was also a daughter of Lot Harper and Mariam Whitaker. Susan Harper’s first husband was Ephraim Henry, who went out west and was never heard from again. Silas and Susan Harper Stroup lived on Cane Creek. Silas died in Fairview on November 4, 1896; both he and Susan are buried in Tweeds Chapel Cemetery.
Delaney Stroup was born in Swannanoa and died as a child.
Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents genealogy in the Fairview area. He can be reached at 628-1089 or firstname.lastname@example.org