William is one of the more colorful Strouds in our line. Although he was illiterate, William bought and sold a great deal of land in Virginia and North Carolina. He appears to have been somewhat of a land speculator and he didn’t remain in any one place for long. He was arrested twice, the first time in Virginia about the same time as his brother Joshua, and on similar charges, and for breaking out of jail the second time.
He was born about 1700 in Bristol Parish, Prince George County, Virgina. He lived on the south side of the Meherrin River, Surry County, Virginia between 1721-1723. He received a grant of 100 acres on the south side of Meherrin River in Surry (probably now Mecklenburg) County, Virginia, in 1721; he sold it in 1723. This was the first recorded of many land transactions that William would engage in. He was married to Margaret, maiden name unproven but often given as “Rose”.
In 1738 John Sr. died leaving half of his land on Sturgeon Run in Brunswick County, 196 acres, to William and the other half to John Jr. This was in St. Andrew’s Parish on the line between Dinwiddie and Brunswick County, Virginia.
By late summer of 1739 William purchased 1,000 acres on the south side of the Roanoke River, in Brunswick County, Virginia. He was sued for adultery by the church wardens of the parish, for trespass, assault, and also for debt. On 7 Aug 1740 it was reported that he was not in the county.
In 1741, as in Brunswick County, Virginia, Deed Book 2, page 107, there is a “Lease and Release”, from William Stroud, Sr., of Edgecombe Precinct, North Carolina, to John Shearman of Brunswick, for a 100 acre tract in Brunswick, bounded by Robert Ferington and Lewis Parham. It was signed, William X Stroud, and witnessed by Andrew Hampton, Susanna King and George King and recorded 1 October, 1741. On 27 Jun 1741 both William and his brother John Stroud Jr sold Drury Stith the 196 acres on Sturgeon Run where he was living at the time. Brunswick County Deed Book 2, page 125, 27 June, 1741, shows that William Stroud, “Planter, of the Parish of St. Andrew’s”, a mortgage held by Drury Stith, Gent., on 196 acres on both sides Sturgeon Run, where Stroud now lives, it being part of tract surveyed for John Stoud in 1729, and having been part of a larger tract containing 392 acres. William made his mark, thereby agreeing to pay off the mortgage, plus interest and expenses, by 27 June, 1742, or lose the property.
He then moved his family to Edgecombe Precinct (now Warren County), North Carolina. His brothers Joshua (who had been arrested for adultery about the same time William had and who had abandoned his wife) and John Jr and his family came with him. In 1742 he received a grant of several hundred acres on Cabin Branch of Smith’s Creek and several years later received another 500 acre grant for more Cabin Branch land. Over the next twenty years he proceeded to purchase more land here and to sell it to several others, including his son John, who continued to buy land along the creek.
15 March, 1742/3 he acquired 400 acres in Edgecombe, on Powell’s branch. Other locations were Cabin Branch, Smith’s Creek and Little Creek. During this period of time William Stroud, Jr. met his wife to be, Elizabeth Estridge, as William, Sr. sold to her father, Ephraim Estridge, 100 acres.
On 22 February, 1743, William Stroud, county not identified, sold to Ephraim Estridge, county not identified, for 4 pds 10 shill, 100 acres on Cabbin Branch, all houses, etc., “part of grant to ye sd Stroud, 15 Mar 1742″.
On 1 December, 1747, William Stroud, Jr. sold 100 acres on the east side of Powell’s Creek at Ephraim Estridge’s SW corner. On 5 March, 1754, William Stroud received a license in Granville County to keep and Ordinary at his dwelling.
At some point his first wife Margaret died, and he married Elizabeth. In 1755 he was imprisoned in Granville County, North Carolina but escaped aided by his wife Elizabeth, his son William Jr, his daughter-in-law Elizabeth, and others. William Jr. was later indicted for assisting in the escape. We are left to wonder the cause of his incarceration. Perhaps the “Crown” was displeased with William, as his family did not appear to be. There are records regarding his neighbors having covered the roadway with limbs and brush so as to deter agents of the King, but we will never know whether William was arrested for so honorable a cause. William and his family locate next in Orange County where, in 1756, he purchased 315 acres and immediately gave half to William Jr. and half to Peter. He then moved up to Lunenberg County, Virginia, by 1759, as Granville County Deed Book C notes that “William Stroud of Lunenberg County, Virginia”, sold 100 acres on Dodson’s Branch in Granville, to William Woodward.
The last known mention of William Stroud Sr. was on 1 Feb 1783 when he acknowledged in Lincoln County that John Stroud of that county was his eldest son by his first wife Margaret. At this time he would have been around 83.