Leopold Strauss (1863-1936) was born in New York to German immigrants Seligman Strauss (died 1883) and Yetta Goodman Strauss (1839-1905). Leopold’s father ran a cigar and stationary shop, while his mother kept house. Sometime during the 1870s, Seligman became paralyzed. To keep food on the table, Leopold and his older brother, Isaac (1861-1923), got jobs as store clerks. After Seligman’s death in 1883, the family moved to South Carolina, where they had relatives. Shortly after arriving in Sumter County, Leopold was caught selling illegal liquor, and subsequently arrested. Despite his predicament, Leopold became the proprietor of a Sumter store by 1910. In addition to his mercantile activity, which he likely carried on for several years, Leopold administered the estates of Sumter’s bankrupt companies.