Henry Strickland Jr. and Pauline Hardiman: tracing the tracks of a railroad family
Henry Strickland, my wife’s great-grandfather, was born in Arkansas around 1900 to Henry Strickland Sr. and Ora Leverett Strickland. The Stricklands came from Gwinnett County, Georgia, and the Leveretts were from Anderson County, South Carolina. Ora Strickland died when Henry Jr. was a teenager. Henry Sr. worked for the railroad until pneumonia took his life in 1929. Like many people in Conway County, Henry Jr. tried his hand at farming before he ultimately went to work for the railroad.
Pauline Hardiman was born October 27, 1907 in Plumerville, Arkansas to Rev. Sampson Henry Hardiman and Pauline McFall Hardiman. Her father’s family came from Tate County, Mississippi, and her mother’s family from Greenville County, South Carolina. Pauline Hardiman was born as Pasalogna or Partholona but later took her mother’s name. Most people remember her simply as Grandma Pauz. When Pauline was 13, her mother died, and she married Henry Strickland Jr. a few months later on April 23, 1921. The Conway County marriage record lists her as 18 instead of 13.
Together, Henry Strickland Jr. and Pauline Hardiman Strickland had seven children: Ollie Bell Strickland (1922-1990), Henry Strickland III (1924-1924), Elizabeth K. Strickland Thurman (1925-2005), Laberta Strickland Jackson (1928-2007), Willie Hamp Strickland (1929-1992), Walter Strickland (abt 1930-abt 1930), and Earl Strickland (born 1931). Henry’s job with the Missouri Pacific Railroad caused the family to move around. Pauline Strickland later remarked to her grandchildren that they “lived like gypsies.” The family spent significant time in Van Buren, Arkansas before settling in Coffeyville, Kansas in the 1930s. At only 43 years of age, Henry Jr. died of a heat stroke and is interred at Edmonson Cemetery in Plumerville. Despite being only 35 and having children at home, Grandma Pauz never remarried. I like to imagine she was a strong, independent woman, and that Henry Jr. was simply irreplaceable. City directories show Pauline working as a motel cook a few years following Henry’s death. Some of Henry’s sons would follow in their father and grandfather’s footsteps by working for the railroad. Pauline Hardiman Strickland died on November 7, 1989 and is interred at Fairview Cemetery in Coffeyville, Kansas.