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Stradley, Thomas

by Richard C. Barnett, 1994

15 Mar. 1798–2 May 1891

Thomas Stradley, Baptist clergyman, was born in Woolwich, England, the sixth child of John, a junior constructor of carriages at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, and Sarah Wheeler Stradley. At age fourteen he was apprenticed to a blacksmith in the Royal Arsenal. He married Mary Frances Diblin in 1819. With his wife and five children, Thomas left England for the United States, arriving in Charleston, S.C., in 1828. He settled in Asheville, N.C., where his brother Peter had located in 1823, and established a blacksmith's shop near the later site of the Battery Park Hotel. In 1829 Thomas joined Peter and eleven others in the constitution of a Baptist church. After the new church was admitted to the twenty-three-year-old French Broad Association in 1830, Thomas was ordained to the ministry and immediately became active in the association. He later played a prominent role in the Salem Association, formed in 1838, until his retirement in 1875.

Stradley was the first mountain minister to attend the newly established North Carolina Baptist Convention when that body held its third annual session in 1833. He was one of the original agents of the Biblical Recorder, the journal of the Baptist Convention, and continued that association for several decades. When the convention divided the state into missionary districts, he was entrusted with the Eleventh District, one of two covering western North Carolina. He also was one of forty members of the board of trustees named in the charter of 1833 granted to Wake Forest Institute. Stradley remained on the board—the sole representative of mountain Baptists—until July 1835, when his resignation was announced. When difficulty of travel resulted in the organization of the Western North Carolina Baptist Convention in 1845 as an auxiliary of the state convention, Stradley began to play a vital role in that convention. In 1857 he was elected president and served three terms. During his presidency the Western North Carolina Convention became an independent body, voted to establish a Baptist Female College, and took charge of the Taylorsville Institute. In 1859 he was named to the board of trustees of the Female College. From 1852 until at least 1871, after which there is a gap in the records, he was one of six men who seemed preeminent in the life of the Western North Carolina Convention.

From 1829 to 1875 Stradley was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Asheville. He built a new church, seating 450, and to pay for it mortgaged his own property and traveled to New York and Boston after the Civil War to raise funds. Throughout his ministry he was a stout champion of education, temperance, Sunday schools, and missions. He also served temporarily as pastor of numerous other churches and traveled widely in behalf of Baptist causes.

Stradley was the father of thirteen children, one of whom, the Reverend J. A. Stradley, became a well-known Baptist minister. He was buried in the Beaverdam Baptist Church cemetery, Buncombe County.


Biblical Recorder, 1834–91, 1 July 1891.

Minutes of the First Baptist Church of Asheville (1829–81), of the French Broad Baptist Association, of the North Carolina Baptist Convention, and of the Western North Carolina Baptist Convention (Baptist Collection, Wake Forest University Library, Winston-Salem).

Stradley family papers (possession of Mrs. G. W. Stradley, Asheville).

Wake Forest Student 26 (September 1906).

Wake Forest University, Minutes of the Board of Trustees (University Library, Winston-Salem).

Additional Resources:

Buncombe County Baptist Association (N.C.). 1883. Minutes of the ... annual session of the Buncombe County Baptist Association, Volume 1883-1920. North Carolina: The Association. (accessed August 6, 2014).

Cathart, William. 1883. The Baptist Encyclopaedia: A dictionary of the doctrines, ordinances, usages, confessions of faith, sufferings, labors, and successes, and of the general history of the Baptist denomination in all lands: with numerous biographical sketches of distinguished American and foreign Baptists, and supplement. Philadelphia. L H. Everts. (accessed August 6, 2014).

French Broad Baptist Association (N.C.). 1828. Proceedings of the ... annual session of the French Broad Baptist Association, Volume 1828-1903. North Carolina: The Association. (accessed August 6, 2014).

Salem Baptist Association (N.C.) 1838. Minutes of the ... annual session of the Salem Baptist Association of North Carolina, Volumes 1838-54, 57-60, 62, 68-71, 73-81. North Carolina: Salem Baptist Assocation. (accessed August 6, 2014).

Slusser, Dale Wayne. 2013. Ravenscroft School in Asheville a History of the Institution and Its People and Buildings. McFarland. (accessed August 6, 2014).

Stradley, John. 1757. John Stradley Memoir, 1757-1784. (accessed August 6, 2014).

Origin - location: 


I have a book (record book made scrap book news articles, etc) that I purchased some years ago north of Greenwood, SC. I pulled it out tonight and went thru it again. It has a lot of articles on the Stradleys. Of note is a letter written May 12, 1854 in Beaverdam, by Joshua Stradley to T. or J.W and S. Roe.

It looks like maybe a church diary turned scrap book.
If interested and it is your family, please let me know.
Tom Pannell

Thomas Stradley was my great-great-great uncle. His brother, James Stradley (1793-1885), was my great-great-great grandfather. Their father, John Stradley, was left at the Thomas Coram Foundling Home as a baby. I am trying to find any information available concerning his parentage and information on the descendants of his children.

I have a booklet compiled by June Roper Walton in 1986. It is titled Some American Descendants of John Stradley Plus the Line of Minnie Jackson Stradley and Miscellaneous Stradley Information. She has since died and I do not know how to contact anyone related to her to see if there are any remaining copies. I did contact the library at Wake Forest University. They have the original diary of John Stradley which is copied into the booklet that I own. I would like to be able to scan the information and put it on This would be an arduous because I do not want to dismantle the bound booklet. Do you have any ideas of how I could go about sharing this information? After all, we are descendants and this is a part of our history. John Stradley is my third great grandfather and James Stradley is my second great grandfather. The lady that I spoke to at Wake Forest University seems to think it would be legal but I don't want to get into copyright issues.

Dear Rita,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your history and question.

Unfortunately, we can't give you any advice on legal issues related to copyright, digitization and publication online. However, I can tell you that June Roper Walton's publication appears to still be under copyright. The copyright page indicates a copyright date of 1986 with the statements "all rights reserved" and "permission to reproduce in any form may be secured from the author."  

One method for sharing this work is to share the libraries that have it in their collections.  World Cat is an online catalog that searches the holdings of thousands of libraries around the world. Researchers can search for a work and locate a library nearby that may have it.  Interlibrary loan is also another option for accessing a book under copyright.  Here is the link to Ms. Walton's book on World Cat --  You can use the "Find a Copy in the Library" feature to locate a library that has the book.  

If descendants are located in North Carolina, a number of libraries throughout the state have Ms. Walton's compilation, including the N.C. Government & Heritage Library in Raleigh.  You can see these libraries on World Cat at

I hope this information helps!  Please feel free to post back here if you have additional questions.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Govt. & Heritage Library

Dear Alice,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking a minute to share your connection to NC history and Thomas Stradley.

If you would like assistance researching the Stradley family history, you can contact reference and genealogy librarians at the Government & Heritage Library at the State Library of NC.  Their contact information as well as the library's services and collections can be found on the website at

I am also forwarding this information to you via email.

Thanks very much and good luck with your research!

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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