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Adolphus Strassman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-939

Scope and Content Note

The Adolphus Strassman Papers contain certificates, photographs, correspondence, a diary, medallion, wallet, a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commendation for services rendered, and calling cards.Of particular interest is the diary from the Civil War. The personal correspondence written about Strassman provides some additional information about his personal life.

Dates

  • undated, 1865-2014

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

Adolphus Strassman was born on March 7, 1848 in Ungvár, Hungary, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He arrived with his family in New York on July 7, 1857 and eventually settled in Fall River, Massachusetts, where he lived with his mother, Rosa, stepfather Henry Strassman, and two half-siblings, Etta and Henry.

On November 23, 1863, Strassman enrolled in the Union Army. Correspondence from his descendants indicates that Strassman lied about his age in order to receive the government’s bounty for completion of service, which would help his family. He served as a Private in the 2nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Company I, under Captain John D. Parker, Jr. The regiment was formed on July 28, 1863 in Readville, Massachusetts; Company I was mustered on December 11, 1863. The regiment was headquartered at Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, until May 1864, when it moved to the New Bern, North Carolina, and remained there until July 1865. Adolphus Strassman’s diary was written while the regiment was at New Bern.

In his diary, Strassman wrote about being on guard at Fort Rowen, North Carolina; Fort Dulton, North Carolina; Kinston, North Carolina; and Camp Chattanooga. He was present at the Battle of Wyse Fork (South West Creek) in Kinston from March 7-10, 1865, when General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate forces blocked Major General Jacob D. Cox’s Union troops from Bern-Goldsboro Railroad, which cut off supplies to General Sherman’s troops. Sherman’s two armies arrived in Fayetteville, North Carolina as Robert Hoke’s division of Bragg’s troops captured an entire New England regiment. Strassman documents this battle in his diary. He served for three years and was discharged on September 3rd, 1865 in Fayetteville.

Sometime before the 1870 census Strassman changed his surname to Rich, though no documentation has been found to explain its significance. Following the war, Rich returned to live in Fall River. Over subsequent decades he worked as a clerk, druggist, and a real estate agent. On July 3, 1882 he was initiated into the Masonic Lodge, No. 123, in Petersburg, Tennessee. He joined the Mount Hope Lodge in Fall River, on August 8, 1901, later serving as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Rich was also a member the Massachusetts Grand Army of the Republic for 45 years, and belonged to the Richard Borden Post #46 in Fall River, Mt. Vernon Lodge, and the Knights of Pythias. Rich never married. He died on November 14, 1923 at his home in Fall River. He was buried at the Hungarian Union Field Cemetery in Queens, New York.

References

  1. Materials from the collection
  2. Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002, 851.
  3. "Rich", New York Times, November 16, 1923.

Chronology

March 7, 1848
Strassman is born in Ungvár, Hungary (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
July 7, 1857
Strassman immigrates to the United States with his family.
November 23, 1863
Strassman enlists in the 2nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Heavy Volunteer Artillery, Company I.
September 3, 1865
Strassman is discharged.
April 26, 1872
Strassman (now Rich) becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States.
November 14, 1923
Rich dies at his home in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Extent

0.25 linear feet (1 half-manuscript box)

Abstract

Adolphus Strassman was born in 1848 in Hungary, which was at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a child, he immigrated with his family to the United States. They settled in Fall River, Massachusetts, where he lived with his mother, Rosa, stepfather Henry Strassman, and two half-siblings, Etta and Henry. From 1863-1865, he served in the Union Army. He served as a Private in the 2nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Company I, under Captain John D. Parker, Jr. His diary includes information about the Battle of Wyse Fork (South West Creek). The collection includes pension and discharge certificates, correspondence, a medallion, wallet with calling cards, photographs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commendation for services rendered, and an 1865 diary.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Margery Benjamin in 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Lael Dalal. Reprocessed by Kelsey Sawyer.
Title
Guide to the Adolphus Strassman Papers, P-939
Author
Processed by Lael Dalal. Reprocessed by Kelsey Sawyer.
Date
2018

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245