Mark Strouse

Mark Strouse served two terms as Virginia City's chief of police and two terms as city treasurer. Additionally, he developed Nevada's first large meat processing business—which included a kosher option—and married into the prominent Edgington family.

Strouse (also Strauss, Strause, Straus, and Strous) was born in 1845 in Lauterbach, Germany, and at age fifteen, immigrated to Mokelumne Hill, California. In 1863, he reportedly herded 5,500 sheep over the Sierra to Virginia City. Strouse's mother, one brother, and a sister followed him to Nevada. He purchased a 500-acre ranch and feed lot north of Reno and built a butchering business that eventually occupied a four-story building.

Strouse was elected Virginia City chief of police in 1868 and served two terms as city treasurer. His 1874 marriage to the manor-born Lillie B. Edgington was a standing-room-only event at the Protestant Episcopal Church. They had a daughter the following year and lived near Lillie's parents on B Street—"millionaire's row"—in Virginia City.

In spring 1878, Strouse, a member of the local Jewish B'nai B'rith lodge, hired Rabbi Solomon Aragor, who was certified as a shochet, to prepare meat according to Jewish law. The availability of kosher meat at Strouse's market meant that kosher meat no longer needed to be imported from Sacramento. Meanwhile, the Strouse marriage was in trouble. In August 1878, Mark divorced Lillie, citing her improper relationship with J.C. Janes, her former beau and principal of the Virginia City High School located at the Fourth Ward School. The latter two married the day after the divorce.

The following year Strouse's mother died and was buried at Mokelumne Hill, California. His sister, Amelia Strouse McCreadie, also died in 1879 and was interred in Virginia City's Jewish cemetery. Census records from 1880 show the divorced Strouse living in a lodging house near his meat market on C Street. He left Virginia City for San Francisco in March 1881, and Nevada's first kosher meat market closed.

Article Locations

Further Reading