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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

D. A. Troutman at Home, 1900.


On 1 June 1900, Daniel A. Troutman was 64 years old.[1] He had 18 more years to live. In photos, he sports a full white beard, a deeply receding hairline, and possibly a comb-over. His handsome face looks a little sad, yet serene. America at 55 (census says 53) was petite with thin hair drawn starkly back from her oval face, not particularly comely. She gazes steadily at the camera, her lips slightly parted as if about to say something. She would live another 28 years. 
Daniel Absolum Troutman, c. 1900.

America Ann Pratt Troutman, c. 1900.
At this time, they had seven living children and five grandchildren: Carl, age 7; Harvey Lee, age 4; and Dale Edward, age 1, children of Estelle and Tell Worley[2]; Hallie Mae, age 3, and Eula Lee, age one month, children of Bud and Jennie Troutman.[3] Daniel and America’s other children—James, age 19; Daniel, age 17; Daisy, age 16; Clint, age 13, and Lee Roy, age 11—still lived at home.[4]
America surrounded by three sons (l to r): James Henry, John William "Bud," and Clint, c. 1900-1903. Note two little girls in the background on right. Were they Bud's daughters, Hallie Mae and Eula Lee? If the picture was take in 1902 or '03, maybe so.
The census taker, Charles H. Pratt, nineteen-year-old son of America’s brother John Marion Pratt,[5] did a lousy job of recording names for his cousins’ family. America is “A. Alis,” Clint (Walter Clinton) is “Will C.” and Lee Roy is “L. Robert.” No wonder I had difficulty finding them in this census! He also recorded a few of their ages incorrectly. I wonder if Charles actually went to their house or if he just wrote what he thought.
Daniel owned his farm free of mortgage.  Was this the land that America’s parents deeded to her?
According to the Session minutes of The Rich Valley Presbyterian Church, recorded 12 May 1894, Daniel had been “examined as to [his] experimental acquaintance with religion—which examination proved satisfactory [he] on profession of faith in Christ, [was] admitted to the sealing ordinances of the Lords Supper.”[6] There is no such record for America’s church membership.[7] Interestingly, on a list of communicants accepted that day, an additional un-dated note beside Daniel’s name reads, “Joined the M. E. Church without letter of dismissal.”[8]
Riverside Methodist Church, Rich Valley, Virginia. Photo by Z. T. Noble, 16 June 2008. This church is on Long Hollow Road, not far from where the D. A. Troutman family lived before they moved to the mountain property deeded to America.
I have yet to examine the M. E. Church records; I’ve sent an inquiry but haven’t received a reply.


[1] 1900 U. S. census, Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 1-B, dwelling 13, family 13, Dan Troutman family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[2] 1900 U. S. census, Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 10-A, dwelling 166, family 167, Tell Worley family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[3] 1900 U. S. census, Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, page 2-B, dwelling 34, family 34, William Troutman family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[4] 1900 U. S. census, Rich Valley, Smyth Co., VA, pop. sch., ED 84, p. 1-B, Dan Troutman family.
[5] 1900 U. S. census, Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, page 4-A, dwelling 59, family 59, J. Marion Pratt family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728. For relationship to America Pratt, see 1860 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, 7 Mile Ford post office, population schedule, p. 68 (penned), dwelling 436, family 436, Nicholas Pratt family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M653, roll 1377.
[6] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church (Saltville, Virginia), “Minutes of Session, Vol. 3, 13 June 1836 – 31 March 1917,” page 61, entry 12 May 1894; photocopy in possession of author, from original at the church.
[7] Session Minutes were searched for all Troutman names, but America's was not found.
[8] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church (Saltville, Va.), “Minutes of Session, Vol. 3, 13 June 1836 – 31 March 1917,” page 207, entry 12 May 1894, Danl. A. Troutman.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Old Troutman Place in Rich Valley, Many Returns


On a visit to the Troutman home place in the early 1950s, this is my father Verne Troutman and three of his children, Vance, Verna, and Regina. The man on the far left was the home owner at the time. This probably was taken by my mother, and I was likely hiding behind her skirts.

My dad, Verne Clinton Troutman, gets the credit for piquing my interest in family history. He loved to visit places historic to our family. One of those places was the home where his father, Clint Troutman, grew up, the home pictured in a previous post. When we made our annual trek from Nebraska to Virginia every summer to visit my mother’s parents in Saltville, Dad visited many of his relatives, as well. He also liked to take us to his father's childhood home in Rich Valley. One of the earliest pictures I have of Dad at the Troutman place was taken in about 1950.

Other memorable trips to the cabin included one in the 1970s with my cousin Judy and one a few years later in 1980 with cousin Ruth Ann, her husband Larry and daughters Laura, Melissa, and Michelle, and my husband Myron and children, Jay and Sarah. I wish I had photos of all those visits, non-blurry ones, anyway.

A few years after dad died in 1991, I began to wonder about the old place. Would I be able to find I find it without him? Years had passed since I had been there, by then at least 20. My mother was losing her eyesight and couldn't remember how to find it exactly, but one day, we set out to try. I remembered that Dad had driven east on the Valley Road past the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church. I remembered that the road we wanted was dirt or gravel, on the right, and dropped off the main road down a steep embankment, so I looked for that configuration. I remembered passing a spring and a big stately house with wrap around porch along the way. I remembered huge oak tree a stone fence.

View from the house of the big oak tree, 1980. I've been told there was at least one wedding beneath those branches.

 My mother and I soon spotted a familiar looking turn with a sharp drop. A sign said Crewey Rd. I turned. Everything looked right. We drove past a spring where water spread a wide circle over the ground and creasy greens grew fresh and abundant. We passed the big stately-looking house across a creek. Then I knew my mother and I were on the right road. 

We continued until we came to another house, a smaller one, which I thought at first was the Troutman home. Comparing it to my photos of the old house, I realized I was wrong. At this house, the road dead-ended at a gate. "No Hunting," a sign read. It didn't say no trespassing.

We were in the right place, but we would have to climb the gate and hike, we didn't know how far. Not wanting to leave my eighty-year-old mother alone in the car, however, I decided to come back later with my husband. At least, I knew how to find the place.

Later, my husband and I climbed over the gate and walked up the hill on a dirt path that used to be a road. Soon I saw the big oak and the tell-tale stone fence. We had found it! Now I would be able take cousins there, too.

The opportunity came in 2004. On their way from points west to the 100th reunion of the Troutman clan in Troutman, North Carolina, several cousins stopped in Saltville for a guided tour of Valley and the Troutman house. I was happy to oblige. We stopped at the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church cemetery to visit the graves of our great-grandparents and then drove on to the house. A steady, warm rain dampened our bodies that day but not our spirits. Dad would have loved it!
A little wet from the rain, Brent Troutman, great-great-grandson of D. A. and America Troutman stands on the crumbling porch of their home.

The old Troutman home place in 2004.

The stone fence.
 And and few years later, on a dry day,  I took my nephew. 
David C. Troutman, great-great-grandson of D. A. and America (Pratt) Troutman, about 2008.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Exciting Discovery: Andy and Martha Hays' Tombstone


Oh, what you can do with a little help from your friends!
Originally, I intended to write only one blog post about Andy Hays (or Hayes), but more information keeps popping up. The folks who contact me offering additional information on my subjects are part of the fun of blogging. My Find A Grave friend, Barry, searcher of nooks and crannies that don’t occur to me, alerted me to the gravesite of Andrew and Martha Hayes recently posted on Find A Grave. How cool is that?! I'm saving the best for last.
 On my own, I uncovered some long forgotten notes I took years ago, bits of information I had collected about Andy and Martha Hayes from various people, including my father, his sister Neville, and Rich Valley residents, Garland Lamie, and Ben Clark.
Lamie and Clark said that Andy delivered flour on his horse to a little country store in Rich Valley. According to Clark, Andy was "liked and respected by all. They [Andy and Martha] were plain people, good to everyone, never had a bad word to say about anyone."
Martha’s cooking was famous in the valley. She prepared the wedding supper for Clark's parents, he recalled. Aunt Neville remembered her father, Clint Troutman, telling about Martha giving him a delicious hot, buttered biscuit when he went to her house one day. His mouth was still watering at the thought of that biscuit.
Clark said that Andy and Martha attended the Presbyterian Church in Rich Valley, where, as was customary in those days, they sat in “a special pew” in the back. Indeed, I found an entry in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church session minutes of 12 December 1897: “A. J. Hayes (col.) appeared before the Session, and was examined as to his experimental acquaintance with religion, which examination proved satisfactory, and he having made a profession of his faith in Christ, was admitted into the church.”[1]
Andy had a reputation for being a fine Christian man, my dad said. Jacob Myers, a magistrate in the area and my mother’s maternal grandfather, told Dad that he believed in Andy's word as truth in any situation.
Finally, Barry alerted me to recent Find A Grave memorial to Andy and Martha Hayes with a picture of their gravestone.[2] This is a treasure I thought I would never find.
 
Marker for the grave of Martha and Andrew Hayes, Shannon Cemetery, Adwolfe, Virginia. It reads, "At Rest: Hayes, Martha, 1860-1927; Andrew, 1858-[?]."
The photo taken by Find A Grave volunteer, Shannon Rogers Simpson, was posted on February 5. The cemetery where she found the stone is located near Adwolfe, Virginia. She notes that she is going to keep searching for the broken piece that contains Andrew’s death date.
That’s about it, for now, but you never know what might surface next.


[1] Minutes of the Session of the Presbyterian Church of Rich Valley, Virginia, Vol. 3, 13 June 1836-31 March 1918, p. 94: 1897, Dec. 12; Rich Valley Presbyterian Church, Saltville.
[2] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 11 February 2015), photograph, memorial page for Andrew Hayes (1858-????), Find A Grave memorial no. # 142226635, citing Shannon Cemetery, Adwolfe, Virginia; photographs contributed by Shannon Simpson.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Making Amends: More on Andy Hays


Forgive me, Folks, for I have sinned. I must confess that I’ve committed a genealogy sin of omission. I’m guilty of failing to do a “reasonably exhaustive search” on Andy Hays. For those of you not absorbed in the world the Genealogical Proof Standard and its number one tenet, the reasonably exhaustive search, you can Google the term and find many voices to explain it. Click here for one. Thanks to my Find A Grave buddy, Barry L. Seitz, I’ve been enlightened to other sources that I could and should have used for my post about Andy Hays. I’ll try to make amends.

In February of 1866, the Freedman’s Bureau took a count of men and women of color, former slaves who had never been allowed to legally marry. It’s called the Cohabitation Schedule. This schedule is the first time you will see the full names of former slaves. Here you can find the name of the male head of household, his age, his place of birth, his residence, his occupation, his last owner’s name and residence, his wife’s name and all of the same information for her, plus the names and ages of children in their home and the year they started cohabiting. It’s a goldmine document for anyone who wants to find slave ancestors—and I missed it.

On the schedule for Smyth County is this important entry regarding Andy Hays:

Thomas Hays, age 70; born in Wythe County; lives in Rich Valley, Va.; last owner, Jackson McCarty, from Rich Valley, Va. His wife is “Marie (dead),” no other information for her. His children: Marion, 8; Becca, 30; Mary, 24; and Andy, 10. Unfortunately, no year is listed for the start of Thomas’ and Marie’s cohabiting.[1]

The schedule says children, but I wonder. Given Thomas’ age, were Marion and Andy his children or grandchildren? Knowing Marie’s age when she died might help, but the schedule doesn’t cooperate.

The 1860 slave schedule shows that Enoch J. McCarty owned four slaves:[2]

Number of slaves
Age
Sex
Color
1
66
M
B
1
24
F
B
1
5
M
B
1
3
M
B

Based on the cohabitation list, these four slaves were most likely, Thomas Hays, Becca, Andy, and Marion. Where was Mary? She may have been living with another owner. Also, if Marie had been a McCarty slave, she was apparently already deceased in 1860.
Furthermore (now for my "ah, ha!" moment), Enoch Jackson McCarty’s wife was Laura Pratt,[3] sister to my great-grandmother, America Pratt Troutman.[4]  Andy was owned by a Pratt family member, after all—by a Pratt family member’s husband, that is! There was some truth to Dad’s story, after all.
But why the name Hays? Enoch Jackson McCarty’s mother’s maiden name was Mary (Polly) Hays. Could it be that Thomas Hays’ family was owned by Mary’s parents before Jackson McCarty bought them? Maybe, maybe not. Poring over the list of cohabitants, I notice that very few former slaves’ names were the same as their last owner, probably less than 5%. Maybe a white Hays slave owner is irrelevant.
Finally, why were Andy and his brother Marion living in the home of Jerome and Amanda Hays in 1870? Had Thomas died? What was their relationship to Jerome and Amanda? One can only speculate. Amanda or Jerome may have been another of Thomas’ children. They were not included in the 1866 Smyth County Cohabitation Schedule. More evidence is needed before a conclusion can be made. The exhaustive search goes on.


[1] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Colored Persons Cohabiting Together as Husband and Wife, 1866, Feb 27; Virginia Cohabitation Registers, digital collections, Library of Virginia (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/ : accessed 26 January 2015).
[2] 1860 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, slave schedule, p. 6 (penned), number 16, Enoch J. McCarty owner, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :  accessed 26 January 2015); NARA, M432, no roll number.
[3] Kloski and McCarty Ancestors, Enoch Jackson McCarty; RootsWeb (http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=maribook&id=I886 : accessed 26 January 2015).
[4] 1850 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, district 60, p. 357 (penned), dwelling 261, family 265, Nicholas Pratt; NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 976.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Troutman Neighbor: Andy Hays



Of my dad’s many stories, one of his favorites focused on Andy Hayes and his wife Martha. Former slaves, “Uncle Andy” and “Aunt Martha,” as they were called, lived near the Daniel A. Troutman family. In fact, the story goes that Daniel gave Andy about 30 acres of land. As family stories often go, this one cannot be proved. No deed exists to confirm that Daniel deeded property to Andy Hays, free or otherwise.[1] However, when I bought my 1898 topographical map of Smyth County showing property owners, my eyes popped open when I saw the name A. Hays just a short distance up Walker Mountain from the name D. A. Troutman. So I wonder. Nonetheless, Andrew Hays did, indeed, purchase eleven acres in 1910 bordering his own property and that of James Clark, John Havens, and A. A. Troutman from Thomas Campbell,[2] another neighbor.
In Dad’s picture collection passed to him from his father, he had a photo of Andy Hays.
Andy and Martha seem to have been well liked by the people of Rich Valley. Andy farmed and Martha made cakes and sold them. She was famous for her cakes.
According to the story, Andy had belonged to the Pratt family before the Civil War, maybe to John Marion Pratt, America’s brother who served the Confederacy in the 50th Virginia.[3] However, I have found no evidence that any members of the Pratt family of Smyth County, Virginia, owned slaves.[4] I did, however, find a slave owner named Calvin M. Hays, and in 1860, one of his slaves was a male child, age 1.[5] The age does not match Andy’s birth date of 1856, but one or the other record could be incorrect, as they often are. Or Andy could have been located somewhere else.

Slave Schedule, 1860, Smyth County, Virginia, showing Calvin M. Hays and slaves.
 Slave Schedule, 1850 shows two Hays slave owners: James Hays was Calvin Hays’ father.[6]
Slave Schedule, 1850, Smyth County, Virginia, shows Hays slave owners and slaves.
In 1870, a young Andrew Hays, age 14, race B, lived in the vicinity of Broad Ford with Jerome Hays, age 28, and Amanda Hays, age 38. He is the oldest of four children including Marion, age 12; Jerome, age 9; and Louisa, age 3.[7] The 1870 census does not specify relationship to head of household, but Jerome and Amanda are likely Andy’s parents, or at least Amanda is Andy's mother. 

1870 Smyth County census showing the household of Jerome and Amanda Hays.
Jerome and Amanda had another child, Mary, born 15 April 1866 and died 28 May 1866.[8]
Amanda could possibly be the 28 year old female slave owned by Calvin M. Hays in the 1860 Slave Schedule, but if Jerome is her husband, there is no male slave, age 18, listed in the slave schedule who could be his counterpart. Always, the possibility exists that the age was incorrectly recorded in the census. I cannot find any members of this Hays family in the 1880 census of Smyth County.[9] Amanda Hays died in 1872[10] when Andy was just 16 years old, so her death may have contributed to the family’s absence from the 1880 census. The children could have been living with relatives, and Jerome may have gone elsewhere to find work.
In 1900 at age 43, Andy owned his farm free of mortgage. Andy and Martha had been married 24 years, yet Martha had never born children. A 17-year-old nephew named Edward Hays lived with them, apparently helping with the farm work. Andy could neither read nor write, but Martha and Edward could.[11]
1900 census excerpt showing Andy Hays, M. Alice Hays, and Edward Hays:
Excerpt from 1900 census of Smyth County, Virginia, showing Andy Hays' household.
In 1910, Andy and Martha lived in Ellendale, Smyth County, and Andy operated his own farm.[12] They lived next to Daniel A. Troutman’s farm.[13] After that year, I cannot find Andy and Martha in the Smyth County census, so I do not know their death dates.
1910 census showing Andrew and Martha Hays and their neighbors, Daniel Troutman and Thomas Campbell.
Why this man was important enough for my grandfather to keep a picture and tell his children about him has always intrigued me, so I have attempted to uncover the mystery. As always, the past cannot be completely fathomed, but every remembered relationship tells a little of the story.


© 2014, Z. T. Noble


[1] A search of Smyth County deed books reveals no exchange of property between Daniel A. Troutman and Andy Hays, nor between America Troutman and Andy Hays, for America was the owner of the Troutman land (see previous blog post).
[2] Smyth County, Virginia, Deed Book 35, p. 410, T. J. Campbell, Rilda Campbell, Eli Campbell, and Sallie Campbell to Andrew Hays, 4 March 1910, Smyth County Courthouse, Marion.
[3] “U. S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865,” John M. Pratt, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2014).
[4] A search of both the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules for Smyth County, Virginia, show no Pratt slaveholders.
[5] 1860 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, slave schedule, district 60, p. 363, Calvin M. Hays owner, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :  accessed 12 December 2014); NARA, M432.
[6] Smyth County, Viginia, Deed Book, 5, p. 102, estate of James Hays, 1857; Smyth County Courthouse, Marion.
[7] 1870 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broad Ford Post Office, p. 61 (penned), dwelling 404, family 404, Andrew Hays; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Dec. 2014) citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M593, roll 1679.
[8] Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, Mary Hays, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015), 28 May 1866.
[9] Just to make sure that the transcriber didn’t make a mistake, I scanned through the entire census of Smyth County, all districts, looking for any member of the Jerome Hays family. They are not to be found.
[10] Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, Amanda Hays, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015), 3 May 1872. This document names Jerome Hays as Amanda’s husband.
[11] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, p. 110 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 1-A, dwelling 9, family 9, Andy Hays; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 December 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728. In this census, the Dan Troutman family is enumerated on the next page as family number 13.
[12] 1910 U. S. census, Ellendale, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 89, p. 1-B, dwelling 15, family 15, Andrew Hays; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2014); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[13] The Daniel Troutman family was enumerated on the same page in this census as family number 14.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Making Connections in Southwest Virginia


One last blog post for 2014. This one is for my niece, Sonya, because she wanted to know.

Despite my absorption with researching ancestors—“the dead ones,” as my daughter once said—I cherish good times with the live ones. Sunday, December 21, 2014, a lovely day of sunshine and blue skies in Smyth County, Virginia, was a day of connecting with living family members.
In the morning, Myron and I drove to Rich Valley Presbyterian Church, one of my favorite places in Smyth County. Established in 1836, this red brick and white stucco church’s significance to my father’s side of the family goes back about 120 years. Usually when I go there, I wander through the cemetery, snap pictures of tombstones, and peer inside the sanctuary at its original dark oak woodwork and pews angled toward the pulpit front and center. 
Beautiful doors at RVPC.





Inside the sanctuary at RVPC.



But this day was the first time I had attended a worship service there.
Being the Sunday before Christmas, we sang old favorite carols—“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” the best. Two little girls sang a duet, lost their place and giggled, gathered their composure and sang on. A young mom told the children a story about Mary. The pastor preached that being favored (or chosen), as Mary was, results not because we are worthy, but we are worthy because we are favored, the same theme as my morning Advent reading.

After church, we stayed for a pitch-in dinner. The best part was meeting Pratt descendants: Greg Pratt and his daughter, Lauren Grace, named for Grayson Pratt; Champ Clark and his mother, a Pratt: Hal and Lynn Campbell and their sons, Will and Patrick. Hal is a mover and shaker at that church, not to mention Southern States cooperative in Marion, where my nephew-in-law, Andy, is the manager. The Pratt descendants compared notes on which Pratt we called 3rd great-grandfather or grandmother.
In the afternoon, we visited with my aunt Noby, who is recovering from a fall, and her son Garry. My brother from Connecticut and my sister and her husband from Missouri joined us. We have all commenced upon the area for the wedding of my brother’s granddaughter.
In the evening, the wedding of my grandniece, Brandi McCall and her groom, Allen Fry, took place at Emory & Henry College Chapel. Warm hugs for a frazzled but lovely mother of the bride, my niece Teri, and her ever calm and wryly smiling husband, Andy. I spotted sister of the bride, Cassie, at the end of a hallway sitting on the floor in her maid-of-honor dress, her high-heeled feet stretched out in front of her—typically Cassie. “These heels hurt my feet; I had to sit,” she said. Entering the sanctuary, we took seats with another niece and her family and my brother’s wife.
The groom stood tall in his Navy uniform, the bride smiled on the arm of her father, who handed her over to the groom. There were candle-lighting and vows; they kissed and strolled down the aisle, husband and wife. The bride came back for her paternal grandmother and pushed her in her wheelchair out of the sanctuary. It was all over in a hummingbird sighting! All that preparation and anxiety became history. The reception was a brief and sweet family reunion.
Wedding of Brandi and Allen.

Monday, December 22, 2014
I’m back on the trail of the “dead ones.” By mid-morning, the sun broke though the December sky laced with angel hair clouds. My husband and I drove through the valley on highway 42 snaking alongside the North Fork Holston, passing familiar cites: Tate Moore’s store (boarded up and empty), my parents’ first home after they married in 1940 (still occupied), the location of my dad’s service station, all in Broadford; Ralph Spencer’s store at Chatham Hill, now closed. Our destination: Ceres, Bethany Rd., and the Bethany United Methodist Church and cemetery. We found it! No problems!
Standing on the grounds of the church my great-great-grandfather, Jacob Waggoner, helped found in 1867,[1] I felt awestruck. It’s a plain building, erected in 1880, lacking the beauty and grace of Rich Valley Presbyterian, but nonetheless historically significant. The original church, Doak’s Chapel, built by Jacob Waggoner, Elias Repass, and Felix Buck, trustees, was replaced by this building. Stark white, two front doors, an evergreen tree next to one corner, an outhouse at the back, his and hers. 


Pulling my coat tightly around me against a cold, brisk wind, I ambled among tombstones in the cemetery. I was hoping to find the grave of Anna F. Harman Waggoner, but it was not to be. “Anna, are you here?” I whispered. Tears filled my eyes. (Why? I wonder.) Anna died so young, in 1871 at age 37 after giving birth to her ninth child. The earliest death date I could find on a tombstone was 1880. If she is there, her marker is unreadable or her grave is unmarked. I felt sure she was there, but where?
This seems to be the oldest section of the cemetery. Several unreadable tombstones dot this corner.

Later, in Marion inside the courthouse, I found a deed that helped answer a question, but also raised another one. Such was my on site research day!


[1] Bland County, Virginia, Deed Book 1: 296-97, Robert and Margaret Doak to Elias Repass, Felix Buck, and Jacob Waggoner, Trustees, 4 November 1867; County Clerk’s Office, Bland. Though the deed shows Jacob Waggoner among the original trustees of Doak’s Chapel, the history published by the Bethany UMC omits his name: “Bethany United Methodist Church, Ceres, Virginia, 1880-1980,” 100th Anniversary celebration pamphlet published by the church; digital copy sent to the author by the Bland County Historical Society, 2 July 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

D. A. and America Troutman: More Children, 1880-1891


After the trauma of losing three children during 1879 and 1880, my great-grandparents Daniel and America Troutman’s next eleven years seem to have been somewhat better—in terms of more children to fill the house, anyway. About six weeks after the census taker visited their house on 2 June 1880,[1] America, or “Merky,” as she was called, gave birth on 14 July to her sixth child, a boy they named James Henry after Daniel’s father—the Henry part, anyway. This was the first of five more children that filled the emptiness left by the deaths of Clifton, Bessie, and Mary Ellen.
Two years later, on 27 September 1882, along came another boy they named Daniel Clark.[2] In January 1884, a tiny girl named Daisy Virginia was born,[3] and on 16 December 1886, my grandfather, blue-eyed Walter Clinton arrived—better know as Clint.[4] About four years later on 8 July 1891, just one month and two days before her 46th birthday, Merky gave birth to her last child a dark-haired boy named Lee Roy.[5] With all those children, I’m sure Merky’s life was beyond hectic.
Until 1887, Daniel seems to have farmed rented land,[6] perhaps never having enough money to buy his own farm.[7] During this time, they lived in Long Hollow, a section of Rich Valley.[8] Their Long Hollow house is probably the one that burned. The family story goes that when the house caught fire, Merky got herself and all the children out before flames engulfed everything. Apparently, Daniel was not home at the time. He quizzed Merky later about whether she had saved the photos, which she did not appreciate. Their lives were more important, she let him know in no uncertain terms: “There you stand with your behind as bare as a bird, and you want to know about picture albums!” Never one to mince words, Merky's temper was legendary. Daniel’s and Merky’s children told their children that their father sometimes sighed during her tirades and said, “If only I’d never crossed those mountains!”
America's parents, Nicholas and Sarah Pratt, perhaps because of the fire, decided to help. On 25 April 1887, they deeded 116 acres of land on the north side of Walker Mountain to America Troutman for the sum of $1.00.[9] On this land, Daniel and America built a new house and finished raising their children. Despite the deed being in America’s name, a 1998 topographical map of Smyth County showing the names of landowners, credits the land to D. A. Troutman. The husband, too often, gets the credit.
This is my map of Smyth County showing locations significant to the Daniel A. Troutman Family. As for distance, it's about 6 miles from Saltville to Broadford; 10 miles from Broadford to Chatham Hill; 12 miles from Chatham Hill to Ceres in Bland Co. (remember, that's where Jacob and Ann Waggoner lived); 9 miles from Chatham Hill to Marion. The Valley Rd. (610) was the road off which the Troutman's lived. Grandma Mary's family lived somewhere along the river in the vicinity of Broadford.



[1] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book 1: 158; entry for James H. Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion.

[2] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Daniel Clark Troutman, serial number 3142, Local Draft Board, Washington County, Virginia.

[3] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, sheet 1-B, enumeration district [ED] 84, dwelling 13, family 13, Daisy Troutman; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec. 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.

[4] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book D1: 19; entry for Clinton Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Note: This book records the year of Clint’s birth as 1887, but all other records for him record the year as 1886. See also, “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Clint Walter Troutman, serial number 261-61-A, Local Draft Board, Wayne County, Nebraska.

[5] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book D1: 47; entry for Lee Roy Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Note: Other records place Lee Roy’s birth in August instead of July of 1891: “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Lee Roy Troutman, serial number 1426, Local Draft Board, Smyth County, Virginia.

[6] 1880 U.S. census, 84th District, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 84, p. 2 (penned), dwelling 32, family 32, D. A. Troutman; digital image, Ancesrty.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T9, roll 1390. This census says occupation is “Tenant.”

[7] A search of Smyth County deeds at the courthouse in Marion, Virginia, revealed no records for him.

[8] James Henry’s 1880 birth record states that he was born in Long Hollow.


[9] Smyth County, Virginia, Deed Book 17, p. 202, Nicholas H. Pratt and Sarah Pratt to America A. Troutman, Smyth County Courthouse, Marion, Virginia.

© 2014, Z. T. Noble.