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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Black Sheep Had a Good Side, Too.


Despite his philandering and his hot-headedness, my paternal grandfathers brother, James H. "Jim" Troutman, seems to have been a likeable, energetic, and resourceful person. He was my dad's favorite uncle.

At age 24, Jim married Mary Sue Susie Olinger, 19, daughter of William and Sarah Olinger. It was 17 August 1904. At that time, Jim was a merchant.[1] He had already started a career as a retail store owner, a career that would make him a fairly successful businessman and landowner. In addition to his store, he purchased seven different properties from various people in the valley over the years.[2]

Jim opened a grocery story at the T of Long Hollow Road and the Valley Road in Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia. He had a strong work ethic, his motto being, Id rather wear out than rust out. Even so, his temper put him at odds with a few of his customers. My dad chuckled as he recalled Uncle Jim telling of the time a couple of drunks came into Jims store. One of them picked up a cane that had a carving on the handle of a hand with outstretched thumb. He used the thumb on the cane to thumb his nose at Jim. In that day, this gesture was equivalent to todays raised middle finger. Jim grabbed a shotgun from under his counter and chased the men out of his store at gunpoint. On the porch, he warned them that if he ever saw them again, he would shoot them. They must have taken him seriously, as they both left the valley soon afterward.

At his home located across the road from his store, Jim's wife Susie ran an efficient and elegant household. After the dishes for each meal were washed and dried, she set her table for the next meal using her best china and glassware. She was always ready for frequent guests, my mother told me. I have fuzzy memories of eating at her table and looking at her beautiful dishes.

Home of James and Susie Troutman, Valley Rd. Saltville, Virginia, c. 1925, the house that was supposedly haunted.

 Another story Dad used to tell about Uncle Jim was that he thought his house in the valley was haunted. In the night he would hear knocking sounds that he couldnt explain. It turned out that Susie and her mother wanted to move to the town of Marion, so they had conspired to make Jim think the house was haunted. They succeeded. By 1930, Jim and Susie were living in Marion.[3]
 
Home of James and Susie Troutman in Marion, Virginia, c. 1936. This house was located on the lot where Pizza Hut is located today.
In 1932, when my dad graduated from high school in Nebraska, Uncle Jim wrote to him:  "Rec your Picture and it sure does look good your [sic] are a good looking Chap I know. Say you know I hate to Just send you 100 after sending the other kids 5 each but as Andy says I know you know the repression is on so you must not think hard of me for this is the hardest time I ever saw to make a dollar." He also complained about the competence of President Herbert Hoover (grammar and spelling errors are his): “[I kno]w you are not making [any] money for there is no one [wor]king any now uless its old Hover and his 53 Verne you all have one smart man in Nebr I know I read after him some and that is Senator Norris he says he dident vote for Hoover for he dident think he was the right man for President."[4] Times were tough, but a few years later, Uncle Jim offered his nephews an opportunity to make money.

In a 1936 letter, Uncle Jim encouraged my Dad (Verne) and his brother, also named Jim, to bring a load of horses to Virginia. Dad and Jim, the younger, could buy horses in Nebraska and ship them to Virginia on the train and sell them for a profit. Uncle Jim wrote, “If you all bring some good hearty kind of good colts and horses not Branded I do think they will sell good so do as you want to and Ill sure help you dispose of the horses as I am some horse trader to and sure can tell a old one from a young one.”[5]

 
James H. Troutman and his team of  horses, c. 1938.

Verne and his brother Jim did ship horses on the train to Virginia. Jim went back home to Nebraska, but Verne stayed on another six years. He and Uncle Jim hit it off well, and Jim helped Verne with the sale of the horses. Later, Verne opened his own filling station business at Broadford and eventually married a Saltville girl in 1940. In 1938, Uncle Jim and Verne went to Troutman, North Carolina to the Troutman Reunion, the first of many returns for Verne. 

James H. Troutman and Verne Troutman in front of the train depot at Troutmans, NC. This depot was later moved to the grounds next to the Troutman Cemetery and the Historical Association Building pictured below.

Troutman reunion, Troutman, NC, 1938; James H. Troutman and Verne Troutman are designated by arrows at right. Verne drew the arrows when he sent the photo to his family.
Jim's family and Verne also went sightseeing together on occasion, and Verne took pictures. In 1939 when Verne was gravely ill with scarlet fever, Jim and Susie cared for him in their home until he was well enough to return to his own place.[6]

Verne (at left in shadows) and Uncle Jim at a waterfall in NC., c. 1938. (Dad liked to stand in treacherous places.)

Susie, Frances, and Jim at a waterfall in NC., c. 1938

Frances Troutman at Grandfather Mountain sign, c. 1938.
In February of 1969, just a few weeks before I was to be married, my dad took me to visit Uncle Jim where he lived in a nursing home in Meadowview, Virginia, one of several such places he had lived. It seems that he would get mad at someone at one nursing home, so he would move to another one. When Dad told Uncle Jim that I was to be married soon, Jim looked at me straight in the eye.

“Will he pull?” he said. Confused, I looked at my dad. I didn’t know what Uncle Jim meant.

“That’s a horse term. A good team of horses pulls together equally. If one won’t pull and leaves the pulling to the other one, it’s not a good match,” Dad said. My dad and I assured Uncle Jim that my husband-to-be would pull, and we were right.

That’s the last time I saw Uncle Jim. He died 5 July 1970, just a few days before his 90th birthday. He was buried at the Rose Lawn Cemetery in Smyth County, next to his wife Susie.[7]
Tombstone of James H. and Mary Sue "Susie" Troutman, Rose Lawn Cemetery, Marion, Virginia; photo by Z. T. Noble, 13 Oct. 2012.


[1] Smyth County Virginia, Register of Marriages, Book 1, p. 122, James H. Troutman and Mary S. Olinger, 1904.
[2] Smyth County Book of Deeds, Index shows that James H. Troutman purchased property from the following names: Tyler, Patrick, Lewis, McCarty, Ryburn (3 properties), Olinger, and Tyler.
[3] 1930 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Marion district, p. 99 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 87-15, sheet 20-A, dwelling 295, family 299, James H. Troutman household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 June 2015); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2461.
[4]  Troutman, J. H., Marion, Virginia, to Verne Troutman, Winside, Nebraska, letter, 17 May 1932, to congratulate Verne on his high school graduation; Assorted Letters, Memorabilia, and Other Papers from the Collection of Verne and Lois Troutman binder; privately held, Z. T. Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[5] Troutman, J. H., Marion, Virginia, to Verne Troutman, Winside, Nebraska, letter, 23 September 1936, to encourage Verne to bring horses to Virginia; Assorted Letters, Memorabilia, and Other Papers from the Collection of Verne and Lois Troutman binder; privately held, Z. T. Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[6]Troutman, Frances, Marion, Virginia, to Lois McIntyre, Saltville, Virginia, letter, 2 February 1939, to tell Lois about Verne’s illness and his whereabouts in James Troutman’s home; Correspondence Between Norma Lois McIntyre and Verne Clinton Troutman, 1939-1942, binder; privately held, Z. T. Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[7] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 5 August 2015), photograph, memorial page for James H. Troutman (1880-1970), Find A Grave memorial no. # 98718451, citing Rose Lawn Cemetery, Marion, Smyth County, Virginia; photograph contributed by Z. T. Noble.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Current Adventures: Finding Old Documents and Tombstones



Besides the trip to Harman land, which I wrote about last week, additional exciting happenings occurred on my recent vacation.

Just to remind you, a while back, I wrote about meeting my third cousin on the Troutman/Pratt side, Hal Campbell, who showed me the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church’s session minutes dating back to 1836. He let me copy a few pages relating to the Troutman history. Since then, Hal and I have talked several times about the importance of those minutes to genealogists and family historians. Not long after seeing the minutes, I learned (on good old Facebook) that the Smyth-Bland Regional Library was digitizing many historical documents from Smyth County.[1] Immediately, I contacted the person on that project and told her about the session minutes.  She was definitely interested.

Finally, on Wednesday of my recent trip, I met with Hal, got the session minutes and took them to the library. Now the ball is in the library’s court to get the records digitized and indexed. I can hardly wait!

But that’s not all. Hal produced a bonus document. He had found a ledger for a country store in Rich Valley owned by F. G. Buchanan dating back to 1905-06. Entries were arranged alphabetically, so I quickly found names from my Troutman and the Waggoner families.

Dated Dec. 4, 1904 - Dec. 29, 1906, this shows Mrs. Troutman's purchases; this was most likely America Troutman. The only other "Mrs. Troutman" would have been John W. Troutman's wife, Jennie, America's daughter-in-law.
Dated Sept. 3, 1902 - Dec. 31, 1903, Eli Waggoner's purchases and payments. Eli was my paternal grandmother, Mary Waggoner's father.
May 6 - Oct 4, 1905, Emory Waggoner's purchases and payments.

1905-06, Gordon Waggoner's purchases and payments.

1906-07, Mrs. Waggoner's purchases and payments. This would be Rachel Waggoner, wife of Eli and mother of Emory and Gordon--and my grandmother Mary. Notice that  my Mary's name is associated with two of the purchases. Looks as if Rachel sent Mary to the store for her. I'm sorry that this one is blurry. Didn't get it focused well.
Another one of the goals for this trip was to see the cemetery where Andrew Hayes was buried, so that's what we did the next day, Thursday, July 9. We met Shannon, owner of the land on which the Shannon Cemetery rests. Matching names are a coincidence--one of many odd and uncanny happenings in Shannon's experience. She had ghost stories to tell. 

With the baaing of penned sheep in the background, we hiked across a foot bridge and through a steep pasture shared by Shannon's Lipizzan horses. At the top of the hill we found the cemetery. Although it was as full of brambles as the Harman Cemetery from Tuesday's outing, Shannon had cleared a path to Andrew Hayes' grave. Sad to say, in a winter storm, a tree had fallen on it and broken off another chunk. Shannon still hopes to find the first missing broken piece and repair the whole thing.
Shannon's Lipizzans, looking down the hill at them.
A cleared portion of Shannon Cemetery. Andrew and Martha Hayes tombstone is third from left.
View going back to the house, across the bridge. Sheep are under the pink roof.
Shannon and I are a bit windblown. Shannon is a wonder woman. She built the bridge; she's remodeling the house; she takes care of the horses and the sheep; she mows the pasture, she's going to clear the cemetery; not to mention that she has two children and a husband. And, she researches family history. ( I don't know why she mows the pasture when she has sheep and horses to eat it.)
Last but not least, on Thursday evening, Myron and I had a relaxing meal at Cracker Barrel in Abingdon with Find A Grave friend, Barry L. Seitz--talking about cemeteries and such. Didn't get a picture of Barry's Santa beard.

[1] To explore Smyth-Bland Regional Library's digital collection, go to http://www.sbrl.org/ and click on S-B Digital Collection, top of left column.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Current Adventures: Walking Where My Ancestors Walked

Once in a while, I feel the need to digress from the past and write about current activities. This is one of those times. I've been on a research adventure.

One of the great benefits of writing this blog has been the wonderful people who have contacted me with additional information or questions regarding my blog entries. Last January, the lovely and gracious Tina Kiehn of The Quarter Way Inn, Nebo, Virginia, messaged me that she thought she lived on the property of my Harman ancestors.

Then when I wrote about Andy Hayes, my Find A Grave friend, Barry L. Seitz, contacted me that Andy's memorial,  complete with photo of the tombstone, had just been added to the web site--the day before I posted my blog! How spooky is that! Immediately, I contacted Shannon Simpson, the person who created the memorial.

Another person who has helped me with my Waggoner research is Ann Beardshall of the Bland County Historical Society. And a recent contact is Kitt Slusser Edwards, an enthusiastic Harman researcher and distant cousin who invited me to join a Facebook group, The Descendants of Heinrich Adam Harman, which has been immensely interesting.

My travel goal this week has been to meet these wonderful people.  My long-suffering husband agreed to tag along. First we met Ann at the old jail in Bland where the historical society has its office. Ann has written several books about places and events in Bland County, and I bought one, The Lynching of Ivy Jackson, February 5, 1885--nothing to do with my family, but so interesting. Ann showed us the dark and hard looking cells of the jail, tiny cells with two metal bunks and a toilet, barely room to turn around. As far as I know, none of my ancestors spent time there, but you never know. We talked for about two hours.
Bland County Historial Society and form jail in Bland, Virginia. (Photo by ZTN)


At The Quarter Way Inn, Tina and Bret met us with open arms. What a thrill to be on the grounds where my great-great-grandmother, Anna Harman, played as a girl; where her father, Henry Harman, also played and worked, where he brought his wife, Fanny Brown, where he raised his family, and lived his life; and where Anna's grandfather, Mathias Harman, also lived and died at age 32 from injuries in 1802 when his horse ran between two trees somewhere on this land. The land was in the Harman name for well over 100 years.

Land formerly owned by 4x great-grandfather, Mathias Harman (1769-1802) and his son Henry Harman (1797-1878). House built about 1900, not the original, of course. (Photo by ZTN)

This ancient tree, however, has seen many generations of the Harman family come and go. (Photo by ZTN)
Tina showed me the deeds she had copied from court house records of Mathias Harman's land grant, transfer of the land to his children, and a plat map showing the division of the property after Mathias' grandson, Hezekiah Harman died. We pored over the plat sketch. The next day I went to the court house and got copies for myself.

Plat map showing the division of the property formerly owned by Hezekiah Harmon, Anna's brother and son of Henry, 1924. The Quarter Way Inn is located in the portion slightly above and right of middle along the curved road where it says "house." Tap to see larger image.
An additional treat at the Quarter Way Inn was that we were joined by two Harman cousins, 5th cousin, Kitt Slusser, and her mother Cathy Light, 4th cousin once removed.
Myron and I with Harman cousins, Cathy and Kitt. (Photo by Tina Keihn)
Tina became our tour guide around the property, which included a trip to the much overgrown Harman Cemetery. We really couldn't see much, but we hacked our way into it enough to find a few tombstones. A clean up crew needs to be organized. 
Tina opens the gate to the cemetery.
Tina hacks a path for us through the blackberries.
We found one!
This one we cleared enough to read.
And that was only the first day of our adventure.






Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Family Black Sheep (Part 2)


James Henry Troutman, though a philanderer, was my dad’s favorite uncle. Dad called him Uncle Jim. He was outspoken, short-tempered, short of stature, and stout. I think Dad liked the excitement that whirled around this man, from chasing men out of his store at gunpoint to hearing ghosts in his house, stories for later. His philandering, though difficult to document except through family lore, was not a trait that Dad admired much, however. In a previous blog, I wrote about Jim’s first extramarital affair that produced a child. The second one involved a young woman twenty years younger than he was. Her name was Edna Neal.

Edna was a daughter of Charles S. and Mary Neal, a couple of meager means living in the valley. In the summer of 1900, one month old Edna was living with her parents, Charlie, age 31 and Mary, age 32, in Smyth County, Virginia. She had two older sisters, Frankey, age 10, and Gertrude, age 3. Mary reported having given birth to eight children, but only these three were living. Charlie reported that he owned his farm and did not read or write.[1]

Apparently, between 1900 and 1910, Edna’s mother Mary died,[2] for in 1910, Charlie was widowed, boarding at the home of James C. Buchanan, working as a farm laborer,[3] and the children were scattered. Fourteen-year-old Gertrude was a “servant” in the home of James and Susie Troutman[4] (my dad’s Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie), and ten-year-old Edna was a “servant” in the home of Virginia Pratt,[5] widow of my great-grandmother America Troutman’s brother John Marion Pratt.[6] Virginia was Jim Troutman’s aunt by marriage. The Neal’s oldest daughter, Frankey, I have not been able to find. Being 20 by 1910, she may have married, or perhaps she had died.

Edna seems to have disappeared from censuses in 1920 and 1930.[7] On January 21, 1923, however, she and James H. Troutman were mentioned in the Session Minutes of the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church as being the subjects of a rumor that they were “guilty of the sin of fornication and adultery.” Action was postponed until another time.[8] On 7 April 1923, Edna gave birth in Richmond, Virginia to a baby girl she named Mary Frances Troutman.[9] She may have named the baby after her mother, Mary, and her sister Franky, or perhaps both their names were Mary Frances.  Did Jim send Edna to Richmond to a home for unwed mothers? Or perhaps to live with relatives? Why was she so far away from home?

Where were Edna and Mary Frances in 1930? So far I have not been able to find them. Frances was not yet living with Jim and Susie,[10] but perhaps she came to them soon after, for she is pictured with them in a photo in which she appears to be about 8 years old.

James H., Susie, and Frances Troutman, c. 1931. Does anyone know the make and year of the car?

By 1935, however, she definitely living with Jim and Susie.[11] The story goes that Edna brought Frances to Jim and asked him to take the child because she could not afford to give her the kind of life she wanted for her daughter. I wonder what was said between Jim and Susie when this child came into their home. Having no biological children of her own, Susie seems to have accepted Frances with open arms. In my book, she deserves a medal for raising Jim’s “love child” as her own.

Edna moved to West Virginia and became a nurse. She died on 19 January 1936 in Mullins, Wyoming County, West Virginia.[12]

On left, Edna Neal's tombstone in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church cemetery. On right is a half-brother's tombstone and in the background, you can see the tombstone of Charles Neal's second wife, Mattie Bise Neal.



[1] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 4-B, dwelling 69, family 69, Charlie Neal family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jun 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[2] A search of Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, on Ancestry.com, reveals no record of Mary Neal’s death.
[3] 1910 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth Co., Va., pop. sch., ED 88, sheet 12-B, dwell. 210, fam. 212, James C. Buchanan, see Charles Neal; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 June 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[4] 1910 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth Co., Va., pop. sch., ED 88, sheet 7-A, dwell. 124, fam. 124, James Troutman, see Gertrude Neal; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 June 2013); NARA mic. pub. T624, roll 1649.
[5] 1910 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth Co., Va., pop. sch., ED 88, sheet 11-A, dwell. 185, fam. 186, Virginia Troutman, see Edna Neal; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 June 2013); NARA mic. pub. T624, roll 1649.
[6] 1850 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia population schedule, p. 351 (penned), dwelling 261, family 265, Nicholas Pratt family; NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 976.
[7] A search of the 1920 and 1930 censuses of Smyth County on Ancestry.com does not result in a hit. Since Edna died in Mullins, Wyoming County, West Virginia, I searched the 1930 census there, line by line, to see if she had been enumerated there, but did not find her name. Also searched the 1930 Smyth County census in that manner.
[8] Minutes of Session, Presbyterian Church, Rich Valley, Virginia, Vol. 4, pages not numbered; see entry at 21 Jan. 1923, third paragraph cites Edna Neel and James H. Troutman. A search of the book shows no further mention of their transgression.
[9] Virginia, Birth Records, 1864-2014, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com ; accessed 16 June 2015); entry for Mary Frances Troutman, 1923. This entry does not name the parents; Virginia birth records cannot be accessed for 100 years by researchers who are not specific family members. Still waiting for a reply from query sent to the Henrico County Historical Society.
[10] 1930 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Marion district, p. 99 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 87-15, sheet 20-A, dwelling 295, family 299, James H. Troutman household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 June 2015); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2461.
[11] 1940 U. S. census, Marion, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district 87-10, sheet 23-A, visit no. 379, James H. Trautman [Troutman]; digital image Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com ; accessed 16 June 2015), see Mary F. Trautman; NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll 4295.
[12] West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com ; accessed 16 June 2015); citing Edna Earle Neal, 1936.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Family Black Sheep (Part 1)


 Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep, the title of Judy Russells (The Legal Genealogist) lecture caught my attention at the April 25, 2015, Indiana Genealogical Society Conference in Terre Haute, Indiana. Among these miscreants, Judy included three types: lawbreakers, deadbeats, and philanderers. To Judy, theyre much more fun to research than the good guys. She would enjoy my dads Uncle Jim. He was a philanderer.

Uncle Jim was my paternal grandfather, Clint Troutmans brother, James Henry. Born 14 July 1880, during the summer following the deaths of three of his siblings, Jim was the sixth child of Daniel and America Troutman. Maybe he brought renewed hope to his parents. Yet, he seems to have inherited his mothers temper, which put him at odds with her often. According to family stories, he left home at about age 14 to live with his sister Stelle, ten years older, and her family because he could not get along with America. He must not have stayed away, though, for he was enumerated with his parents in 1900, at age 20.[1]

James Henry Troutman, c. 1905.

By 1905, Jim married Mary Sue Susie Olinger,[2] born November 1884 to William and Sarah J. Olinger of Smyth County.[3] Living with Jim and Susie in 1910 was a fourteen-year-old servant girl named Gertrude Neal.[4] Lets hope Jim kept his hands off this young woman; he did not keep them off Gertrudes sister.

Jim was a retail merchant.[5] In fact, he owned and operated a country store at the T where Long Hollow Road meets the Valley Road in Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia. It was one of those stores filled with mixed odors of oiled hardwood floors, pickle barrels, tobacco, and possibly cakes made by Martha Hays. In the summer, you could pull a bottle of iced Coka Cola out of a red cooler just inside the front screen door that banged shut behind you. Loafers sat on a bench in the shade of the porchs overhang, jawed about the folks in the valley, and spit brown streams of tobacco juice into the grass. 

Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie Troutman on the porch of Jim's store, c. 1930. The child is  Bernard Troutman, grandson of Jim's brother, John W. Troutman.
Uncle Jims home stood across road from the store; its still there, but not the store building. It was torn down about 10 years ago.
 
James H. Troutman home, across the Valley Road from his store, Rich Valley, Virginia, c. 1938.
Dad told me stories about happenings in the store and the house, but I'll save those for later. For now, Ill focus on Jims philandering. Ive already written in my previous post about Jims affair with his widowed sister-in-law, which occurred about 1915. He had at least one more affair that also produced a childits impossible to know whether there were others that didnt. The second affair was with a young woman named Edna Neal, the servant girls sister.


[1] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 1-B, dwelling 13, family 13, Dan Troutman family, see Jim; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1528.
[2] 1910 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford precinct, enumeration district [ED] 88, p. 7-A, dwelling 124, family 140, James H. Troutman; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[3] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 12-B, dwelling 204, family 205, William Olinger, see Susie; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[4] 1910 U. S. census, Smyth Co., Va., pop. Sch., Broadford pct., ED 88, p. 7-A, dwell. 124, fam. 140, James H. Troutman, see Gertrude Neal.
[5] 1910 U. S. census, Smyth Co., Va., pop. Sch., Broadford pct., ED 88, p. 7-A, dwell. 124, fam. 140, James H. Troutman.

© 2015, by Z. T. Noble 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Changes for D.A. Troutman Family


It's been too, too long time since my last blog post. Travels, computer crash, and such have interfered, mostly the computer crash. Most of my files were backed up, but I lost three years of photos. I'm hoping the data recovery will be successful. Coming soon, I'm told. Now to get on with the story of my great-grandparents, Daniel A. and America (Pratt) Troutman and their family. . .
1910 was a critical year for Daniel and America's family in other ways besides the absence of their daughter Stelle and their son Clint and their families, who had moved to Missouri (See previous blog). Much more devastating was the death of their oldest son, John William, affectionately known as Bud. Bud and Virginia Madora "Jennie" Totten, daughter of Samuel Taylor Totten and Virginia Madora Worley, had married 10 March 1897 when Jennie was 18 and Bud was 25.[1] In April of 1910, Bud and Jennie, and their five children were living on a farm he owned free of mortgage at Broadford (Smyth County, Virginia). The children included four daughters and one son: Hallie, age 12; Eula L., age 10; Ernest E., age 6; Glenna, age 4; and Hazel L., age 1 year and 10 months. [2]  
Owning their farm in a beautiful green valley and having five healthy children, Bud and Jennie must have felt that life was good so far for them in 1910. By December, however, Bud was stricken with illness (exact cause unknown) and died just three days before his 39th birthday.[3] At age, 32, Jennie was pregnant with a sixth child, Wilma Olivene, who was born seven months later in July 1911.[4] With six children to support on her own, life must have looked bleak for Jennie.
John W. "Bud" Troutman's tombstone, Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
Perhaps family members came to her aid. Not only was Jennie struggling to support her family, but a few short years later, one of her daughters, Glenna Virginia, died at age eight of unknown (to me) causes on 21 April 1915.[5] She was buried beside her father in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church cemetery. 
Glenna V. Troutman's tombstone, Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
Perhaps because her brother-in-law, James Henry "Jim" Troutman, came to her aid at a vulnerable time—we can never really know for sure the reason—Jennie and Jim had an affair, and Jennie became pregnant. The family story goes that to protect himself from embarrassment in the community, Jim sent Jennie to Nebraska where Clint lived at this time, ostensibly to help their sister-in-law, my grandmother Mary, who was pregnant with her fifth child. Jennie took her children, except Eula who probably didn't want to leave because she was smitten with a young man named Reese DeBord. Reese, age 18, and Eula, age 15, were married that year. 
Soon, however, Jennies pregnancy was obvious. Clint and Mary then sent Jennie to other relatives near West Plains, Missouri (poor Jennie, being shifted around like that!), where she gave birth to Harold Clifton, on 26 December 1915.[6]
My dad told me a poignant story of his father Clint’s account of what happened when Jennie returned to Nebraska with her baby. Clint went to the train station to get Jennie. He watched her step down from the train carrying her little bundle.
“What have you got there, Jennie?” Clint said, as she approached.
“Oh, just a little stray I picked up somewhere, Clint,” she replied.
A dapper young Clifton, photo taken at a Norfolk, NE studio, c. 1925.
 Jennie struggled to support her family by working as a housekeeper for various people, including a man named Albert M. Lehmkuhl, who eventually married Jennies daughter Hallie.[7] I remember Aunt Jennie, a sweet-faced, white-haired woman, sometimes living with my grandmother Mary after Clint died. My mother described "Aunt Jennie" as one of the gentlest persons she had ever known who never said an unkind word about anyone.
My grandparents, Mary and Clint, with Aunt Jennie, on right, 1936. This is the only photo of Jennie I have that shows her face fairly well. Would love to have a photo of Bud and Jennie and their family and/or other pictures of Jennie and her children, if anyone has any to share.
 Clifton grew up in Nebraska, often being reminded by his older half-siblings, that his birth father Jim in Virginia ought to be paying for his keep.  By 1935, Clifton had moved to Smyth County, Virginia near where Jim lived,[8] established a filial relationship with him and later married a young lady named Virginia Wassum. He became a barber and opened a shop in Chilhowie. 



Clifton in Nebraska, c. early 1930s.

Clifton enlisted 7 Feb. 1942 at Camp Lee in Virginia, which may be the place this photo was taken. His WWII enlistment record says he was a Warrant Officer and that he was 5'3" tall and weighed 115 pounds.

Clifton and Virginia never had children. Interestingly, on their marriage license, Clifton named his father as John W. Troutman, although J. W. died five years before Clifton was born.[9] Admitting out-of-wedlock birth at that time was difficult.

Marriage Record: Harold Clifton Troutman and Virginia Elizabeth Wassum.
 Jennie died at age 84 on 17 November 1962, and is buried at Ridgedale Methodist Church Cemetery, Smyth County, Virginia.


Virginia "Aunt Jennie" Totten Troutman tombstone. Photo by Gary Ratcliff.
Clifton died at age 75 on 8 April 1991 and Virginia died at age 81 on 8 January 2003. They are buried next to James Henry Troutman and his wife Susie in Rose Lawn Cemetery, north of Marion on Highway 11.[10]
Harold Clifton and Virginia W. Troutman marker.
 


[1] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Marriage, Book 1: 98, John W. Troutman and Virginia M. Totten,1897; County Clerks Office, Marion. 
[2] 1910 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 88, p. 7-B, dwelling 127, family 127, John W. Troutman family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04 April 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[3] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery (Smyth County, Virginia); John W. Troutman, marker; photographed August 2004 by the researcher.
[4] Thomas L. Troutman, ed.. Descending Jacob’s Ladder: The Descendants of Johann Jacob Troutman of Iredell County, NC (1767-1846), no place, no publisher, 1992: 188.
[5] Ibid., Glenna V. Troutman, marker.
[6] U. S. Public Records Index, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2015), Harold C. Troutman. Also, Social Security Death Index, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2015), Harold C. Troutman.
[7] 1920 U. S. census, Cuming County, Nebraska, population schedule, Blaine Township, enumeration district [ED] 64, sheet 2-B, dwelling 34, family 37, Virginia Trautman [Troutman] family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04 April 2015); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 984. Also, 1920 U. S. census, Cuming Co., Neb., pop. sch., Blaine twp., ED 64, sheet 2-B, dwelling 34, family 36, Albert Lehmkuhl, see Hallie Lehmkuhl.
[8] U. S. Public Records Index, Vol. 2, Marion, Virginia, 1935 (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04 April 2015); citing Clifton Troutman. 
[9] Smyth County Marriage Book 3, From 1939-Oct. 1956, p. 403, Harold Clifton Troutman and Virginia Elizabeth Wassum, 1953.
[10] Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 May 2015), memorial 98719189, Harold Clifton Troutman, photo by ztnoble, Rose Lawn Cemetery (Marion, Virginia).


© 2015, Z. T. Noble