Pee Dee Advocate Thursday, July 8, 1926 vol. 39-number 12
L. Strauss Died Early Monday
Bennettsville's Oldest Merchant and Citizen Passes After Long Illness
Leopold Strauss, the oldest merchant of this city as well as its oldest resident, died at his home here Monday morning at 2:25 after being in failing health for the past two years. He was a native of Hahnhelm, Rheinhessan, Germany, having been born in that city March 2, 1847. Had he lived until March 3, 1934, he would have been 87 years of age.
Mr Strauss came to this country in 1865, when a boy 18 years old, and became a naturalized citizen some years later. For some years he made headquarters in New York; traveling throughout the south. He was attracted to Bennettsville and came here to make his home in 1873, he and his uncle, Simon Strauss, having founded the mercantile establishment of Strauss and Company here the same years. Simon Strauss returned to Germany in 1903.
Mr. Strauss's firm is the oldest in Bennettsville, and during the 60 years since it was founded he remained active in the business until about two years ago when he was incapacitated by failing health. Since then it has been continued by his sons, Maxie and Leon Strauss.
Mr. Strauss was always interested and active in civic affairs, and was for several terms a member of city council. He was prominent in Masonic circles, having been a member of the lodge here since 1875. During that time he had held practically every office in the lodge, having served as treasurer for a number of years. On January 10, 1919, when he retired as treasurer, he was made a life member of the lodge, and was a trustee from 1910 until the time of his death.
When Mr. Strauss came to Bennettsville it was a very small village, and he lived to see it grow into the nice little city that it is today. He helped to put out the trees on the courthouse square and along Main Street; there was no barber shop or railroad here, and goods had to be hauled in from Society Hill or some other point on the Pee Dee River over almost impassable roads. There were only 33 white families, and the population was less than 500.
Mr. Strauss was married to Miss Lizzie Iseman, of Charleston, May 21, 1878, and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1928. Mrs. Strauss preceded him to the grave by two years, dying Sept. 7, 1931. To this union were born five sons and three daughters, one son, Juliana, dying in 1918. Those surviving are: Maxie, Leon, and Dr. D. D. Strauss, Misses Sadie and Mabel Strauss, of Memphis: and Mrs. Isadore Samuels, of Atlanta, Ga. He also leaves one sister, Mrs. Bertha Man, of Hahnheim, Germany.
Funeral services were held at the home Tuesday morning at 11 o'clock, conducted by Rabbi Rypins. of Greensboro. As a mark of respect every store in Bennettsville closed for 30 minutes during the funeral. He was laid to rest with Masonic honors by the side of his wife in the Jewish cemetery in Darlington, the following acting as pallbearers: E. P. Miller, Senator C. S. McCall, Dr. O. A. Matthews, Dr. P. M. Kinney, Edward C. Breeden, Sol Brown, W. E. McRae and Max Crane.
Submitted by Mary Lewis, 2003.