Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More Photo Treasures!

In my previous post, I shared a few photos sent to me by cousins after I blogged about the folks in them. As a follow up, I'm sharing the photos. Now to add the others I promised. The ones here are more photos shared by cousin Lee Nelsen from his mother Virginia Troutman Nelsen's collection.

I'm not sure what happened to put Grandma Mary's brother, Jake Waggoner, into this wheelchair, but here he is. Looks as if he isn't the only invalid in the photo. Note the crutch and man on Leo's left. Read more about Jake here.
Jake Waggoner
Here's another photo of Grandma Mary's brother, Leo Waggoner, taken in Fresno, California, 7 May 1922. Leo is the man on the left. More of Leo's story can be found here.

Recently, I learned from Cousin Debbie Imus that she remembers visiting Leo in California. It's better in her words: "He lived with someone we called Aunt Ann. My father loved his Uncle Leo [his namesake].  I was probably 8 or 9. I remember we drove up back roads on a dirt road to get to his house. He gave all three of us kids a rattlesnake tail rattler. And Aunt Ann gave me a silver bracelet with a turquoise stone in it." What great memories! Thanks, Debbie, for sharing them.

More photos of Leo and friends. Too bad these photos are not dated and place identified also.

Leo is on the left.
Leo is the one standing beside another unknown friend.

Enough for now. More to come.

© 2015, Z. T. Noble

Friday, November 20, 2015

Old Photos, Found Treasures!

Thanks to my cousin Lee Nelsen who shared photos from his mother's collection, and to a recently found second cousin, Debbie Mitchell Imus, granddaughter of Ida Waggoner, my Grandma Mary's sister, I have a few photos to add, which I've linked to the stories about these folks.

A few months ago, I wrote about my paternal grandfather's brother, James Henry Troutman, known as Uncle Jim to my dad and his siblings. Maybe you've read the "black sheep" stories. Here are a few photos, fronts and backs, to add to the collection of photos of Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie:

Any car buffs out there? Do you know the year and make of the car?
Jim's wife Susie, on left, and her sister, Bessie.
Then way back, early in the first year of my blog, I wrote about my grandmother Mary's siblings. I was thrilled to receive more photos of them from Cousin Lee and Cousin Debbie.

I like this formal portrait of Emory Waggoner, Grandma Mary's oldest brother; it lends him a bit more dignity than some of his other photos. No matter how poor folks were, it seems that they could get gussied up for a formal portrait, at least once. Emery wrote on the photo, "This is your uncle & brother Emory. To Mr. & Mrs. Troutman and children." This message shows a certain restraint, yet underlying affection for his sister's family. It had been sent to Mary and Clint and their children, Neville, James, Carl, Verne, and Virginia. The year is uncertain, perhaps early to mid-1920s.

The back gives evidence as to the place he resided when he sent the photo.
Boyd, Minn. is a small town in Lac qui Parle County, which borders South Dakota.
Then there was handsome Gordon, Grandma's closest brother in age, one year older. This photo is similar to one posted earlier, but a slightly different pose.

Apparently, Gordon made a trip to California, too, at some point in time.
I wish the year had been included here.
The next photo is a treasure (not that the others aren't): Grandma Mary's sister, Alice and her husband, Herbert Ellington and daughter Hazel. Thanks to Debbie for this find. Alice remained in Missouri when the rest of the family moved to Nebraska, and I don't have as much information on her as Grandma's other siblings. That's why I treasure this photo. It's the only one I have of Alice's husband and daughter.
Herbert Ellington, Hazel Ellington, Alice Waggoner Ellington, c. 1914, Missouri.

Another photo from Debbie is this next one of Grandma Mary's sister Ida's grandson, Ernest Wendorf. I learned from Debbie that Ernest and his sister Alice died from Huntington's disease; their father also had it. In the blog post I wrote on Jan. 22, 2014, I did not know the cause of their early deaths. Now we know.
Ernest Wendorf (1939-1977)
 I have more photos to share, but this is enough for now.

(c) 2015, Z. T. Noble

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dan's Daughters: Lois

For fifteen years, Warrington was an only child, but she wanted a sister. Apparently not being able to have more children, her parents, Carrie and Dan Troutman finally went looking. They found eighteen-month-old Lois Marie Bethel in an orphanage somewhere in southwest Virginia, perhaps Dickenson County, her family’s last known residence.

Lois, on right, with her foster father, Dan Troutman, and foster sister, Warrington.

 Lois’ mother Elsie Anne Salyers Bethel had succumbed to tuberculosis on 7 July 1922.[1] She was 22 years of age. Six days earlier, Lois had turned one year old. Born December 1899, Elsie Anne was the third daughter of eight children born to John Salyer and Mary Holbrook, probably in Dickenson County, Virginia, where the family were living in 1900.[2] The Holbrook and Salyer families were long time residents of the area.

Lois’ father, Walter O. Bethel died of a stroke a few months after his wife, but his exact death date is unknown.[3] In fact, little is known about his early life, at this time, including the names of his parents. He was born 19 May 1885 in Tennessee.[4] He was first married 22 October 1904 in Jefferson County, Tennessee to a woman named Mattie Howard.[5] They had at least one child, a boy named Dewey.[6] In 1912-13, Walter and Mattie Bethel were living in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and Walter was a fireman at the Middlesboro Electric Company.[7] The marriage apparently dissolved not long after that, for when Walter registered for the draft in 1918, he was living in Helier, Pike County, Kentucky, his occupation was recorded as “Elect. Engineer” for “Mfgs. C&C Co,” and his wife’s name was Elsie.[8]

In 1920 Mattie and Dewey lived with her parents in Jefferson City, Tennessee,[9] and Walter and Elsie were lived in Ervinton, Dickenson County, Virginia near Elsie’s family. They had two children, Ruth and Herbert, ages two and eleven months, respectively, and Walter was working in the coal mining industry.[10] Walter seems to have been on the move frequently.

When the parents of the Bethel children died, Rutha, Herbert, and Lois were placed in an orphanage and eventually raised separately in foster homes. Lois’ life with Dan and Carrie Troutman was good. She felt loved and cherished.[11] And she loved Dan and Carrie in return.

As valedictorian of her high school class, Lois received a scholarship to Montreat College, North Carolina from the Presbyterian Church of which she was a member.[12] She graduated from Montreat with a liberal arts degree in 1941 and married Gale L. Faris a few months later on 27 September. After her marriage, Lois worked for a few months as a secretary to the purchasing agent at Matheson Chemical Company in Saltville. When she was expecting her first child, she quit. She and Gale had three sons.[13] In 1942, Lois reunited with Ruth and Herbert and her biological, maternal aunts and uncles.[14]

Lois’ experiences with her foster father Dan Troutman and his mental illness influenced her, in later years, to become a psychiatric social worker at the very hospital where Dan had been a patient.[15] A loyal and loving daughter, indeed.

[1] Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2013, Elsie Bethel, digital image, ( : accessed 23 October 2015).

[2] 1900 U. S. census, Ervinton, Dickinson County, Virginia, population schedule, p. 142 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 15, sheet 5-B, dwelling 83, family 85, John Salyers family; digital image ( : accessed 23 October 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1706.
[3] A search of Virginia death records, Tennessee death records, Find A Grave records and others, have turned up nothing, thus far, on Walter O. Bethel’s death. Cause of death and approximate time of death were supplied in a letter from Lois Faris to Zola Noble dated 3 August 2009. Also included in the letter was a statement that Lois had visited her parents’ graves in a “family cemetery” in Dickinson County, Virginia.
[4] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 23 October 2015), card for Walter Orphaus Bethel, serial number 3947, Local Draft Board, Pike County, Kentucky. For birth place, both the 1910 and 1920 censuses (footnotes 5 and 7), cited below, record Tennessee as his birth place. A search for Walter Bethel in the 1900 census, with possible parents, resulted in no one with that name born in Tennessee at or about 1885.
[5] Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002, database ( : accessed 23 October 2015), entry for Walter Bethel and Mattie Howard, 22 Oct. 1904.
[6] 1910 U. S. census, Knox County, Tennessee, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 103, p. 3-B, dwelling 57, family 58, Walter Bethel family; digital image ( : accessed 23 October 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1508.
[7] U. S. City Directories, 1882-1989, Middlesboro, Kentucky, 1912-13, digital image ( : accessed 22 November 2015), entry for Walter Bethel (Mattie).
[8] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” card for Walter Orpheus Bethel, ser. Num. 3947, Loc. Dft. Bd., Pike Co., Ky.
[9] 1920 U. S. census, Jefferson City, Jefferson County, Tennessee, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 71, p. 12-B, dwelling 249, family 266, William N. Howard family; digital image ( : accessed 23 October 2015); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1748.
[10] 1920 U. S. census, Ervinton, Dickenson County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 23, p. 7-A, dwelling 105, family 107, Walter R. Bethel family; digital image ( : accessed 23 October 2015); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1887.
[11] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 15 August 2008, letter, information on life as a foster daughter in the Dan C. Troutman home; Lois Faris file, Troutman family; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 3 August 2009, letter, information on her birth family; Lois Faris file, Troutman family; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 15 August 2008, letter.

© 2015, Z. T. Noble

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dan's Daughters: Warrington

My paternal grandfather’s brother Dan Troutman and his wife Carrie had two daughters, Warrington and Lois. Warrington was born to them, and Lois was “adopted.” That’s what everyone thought, anyway, but truth be told, Lois was never legally adopted. One of her maternal aunts objected, so her legal status remained foster child.[1]

I don't remember ever meeting Warrington, but she lived well into my lifetime. I remember my dad talking about her affectionately. He liked to tell that she outlived four husbands. Warrington Catlett Troutman was born 27 December 1907.[2] At the time, her mother was 27 and her father was 24. Why she was given such unusual names is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Carrie’s three years of college had given her out-of-the-ordinary ideas about naming children.

Warrington with her parents, Dan and Carrie Troutman, c. 1920.
A high school graduate, Warrington was employed by the WPA as a seamstress throughout the depression years.[3] Later, she worked as a legal secretary.[4] She remained single until her mother died. Perhaps, because of her father’s illness, she felt a responsibility to stay with her mother.
Warrington, on left, with her cousin Verne Troutman (my dad) and an unknown friend. c. 1938, on a Virginia mountain road.
Carrie’s death at age 74 on 1 August 1954[5] seems to have freed Warrington to marry. The first was a 48-year-old, twice divorced farmer, Floyd J. Reynolds. Just two weeks after Carrie died, on 14 August 1954, they were married by a Presbyterian minister in Washington County, Virginia. Warrington was 47.[6] The marriage ended on 3 March 1958 when Floyd died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage.[7]
The second time, Warrington chose a widowed laborer named Fred R. Barker, or maybe they chose each other. They married at the Glade Spring Baptist Church on 2 May 1959. Fred was 58, and she was 51.[8] The couple lived on a farm near Damascus, Virginia. This marriage lasted until Fred died at age 66 on 2 April 1967, one month short of celebrating their 8th anniversary.
Warrington’s third marriage was to Marion L. Davis, a farmer living at Mouth of Wilson, Grayson County, Virginia. They married in the early 1970s.[9] Marion died suddenly of a heart attack at age 89 on 24 June 1978.[10] Warrington was 71.
For a couple of years or so, Warrington remained single and lived on the Davis farm at Mouth of Wilson. She was persuaded to marry a fourth time by widower Charles G. Miller, a retired carpenter in the building construction business from Damascus.[11] At ages 91 and 73 respectively, Charles and Warrington surely had a spark of romance left in them when they married in view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Whitetop in Grayson County on 11 February 1981.[12] About 20 months later on 23 October 1982, Charles died of pneumonia.[13]Warrington continued to live at their home in Damascus until she died two years later on 30 October 1984 at age 77. She is buried next to her first husband, Floyd J. Reynolds in Glade Spring Baptist Church Cemetery.[14]
Warrington's grave marker.
Troutman cemetery plot at Glade Spring Baptist Church Cemetery (New). Those buried here are Dan and Carrie Troutman, Warrington Troutman Miller, and Floyd J. Reynolds. Photo by Barry L. Seitz, Find A Grave contributor.

[1] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 15 August 2008, letter, information on life as a foster daughter in the Dan C. Troutman home; Lois Faris file, Troutman family; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[2] Virginia, Birth Records, 1864-2014, Warrington Catlett Troutman, digital image, ( : accessed 23 October 2015).
[3] 1940 U. S. census, Glade Spring, Washington County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district 96-6, sheet 8-B, visit no. 158, Carrie Troutman, see Warrington; digital image ( ; accessed 28 October 2015); NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll 4300.
[4] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Va., to Zola Noble, 15 August 2008, letter.
[5] Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2013, Floyd Jefferson Reynolds, digital image, ( : accessed 28 October 2015).
[6] Va., Marriage Records, 1946-2014, Floyd J. Reynolds and Warrington Troutman, digital image ( : accessed 30 October 2015).
[7] Va., Dth. Rcds., 1912-2013, Mrs. Carrie Sexton Troutman, digital image, ( : accessed 28 October 2015).
[8] Va., Marr. Rcds., 1946-2014, Fred R. Barker and Warrington T. Reynolds; digital image ( : accessed 28 October 2015).
[9] Va., Marr. Rcds., 1912-2013, does not include this marriage, and I have not looked elsewhere for the marriage information.
[10] Va., Dth. Rcds., 1912-2013, Marion Lonzo Davis, digital image, ( : accessed 28 October 2015). Warrington was the informant for the death certificate.
[11] Va., Dth. Rcds., 1912-2013, Charles Gilham Miller, digital image, ( : accessed 28 October 2015).
[12] Va., Marr. Rcds., 1946-2014, Charles Gilham Miller and Warrington Catlett Davis, digital image ( : accessed 28 October 2015).
[13] Va., Dth. Rcds., 1912-2013, Charles Gilham Miller, digital image,
[14]  Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 04 October 2015), photograph, memorial page for Warrington Troutman Miller (1907-1984), Find A Grave memorial no. # 95736549, citing Glade Spring Baptist Cemetery (New), Glade Spring, Virginia; photographs contributed by Barry L. Seitz.

© 2015, Z. T. Noble

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mental Illness in the Family, Part 3

Unfortunately, the Library of Virginia reports that no records among the Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute files can be found for my grandfather’s brother, Dan C. Troutman.[1] At least, SVMHI still has his admission and release records. He was first admitted 12 January 1929 and released 30 June 1930, reportedly “improved.” He was second admitted 6 July 1934 and died there almost fourteen years later on 2 July 1948, cause of death “Chronic Myocardial Degeneration.”[2] He was 65.

His illness never went into remission, his foster daughter Lois said. She lamented that the only treatment available for mental health patients at the time of Dan’s illness was phenobarbital, a sedative.[3] However, other treatments were being administered. One was hydrotherapy:

“Hydrotherapy was a popular method of treatment for mental illness at the beginning of the twentieth century, and was used at many institutions. . . . Water was thought to be an effective treatment because it could be heated or cooled to different temperatures, which, when applied to the skin, could produce various reactions throughout the rest of the body. One of the main benefits of hydrotherapy treatment was its ability to take effect quickly. Hydrotherapy could be accomplished with baths, packs, or sprays. . . . A patient could expect a continuous bath treatment to last from several hours to several days, or sometimes even over night. Continuous baths were the most effective when held in a quiet room with little light and audio stimulation, thus allowing the patient to relax and possibly even fall asleep. Bath temperatures typically ranged from 92°F to 97°F, so as not to cause injury to the patients. Packs consisted of sheets dipped in varying temperatures of water, which were then wrapped around the patient for several hours depending on the case. Sprays functioned like showers, and used either warm or cold water. Cold water was used to treat patients diagnosed with manic-depressive psychoses, [italics mine] and those showing signs of ‘[e]xcitement and increased motor activity.’ Application of cold water slowed down blood flow to the brain, decreasing mental and physical activity. The temperature for a cold pack ranged between 48°F and 70°F.”[4]

Was Dan treated with cold water packs? It seems likely since they were used at SVHMI, at the time he was there.

“In 1939, wet sheet packs were thought to be a more effective and humane treatment for the acutely disturbed than the previous practice of administering large quantities of narcotic drugs. Several attendants were trained in the application of the wet sheet pack and this treatment was used daily.”[5]

Unfortunately, SVMHI was understaffed in the late 1930s, and nurses lacked training in psychology and mental health treatments. Attendants were required to have two years of high school, to pass a physical exam, to be under age 40, and to undergo a probationary period of three months. Some were taught how to apply the wet pack treatments and a few were taught a Red Cross course in first aid. “They were encouraged to read certain text books on psychiatric nursing and some were given several weeks’ training on the insulin treatment ward. The attendant to patient ratio at the time [1939] was 1 to 15, which barely permitted more than custodial care.”[6] This gives me concern for Uncle Dan. Fortunately, the staff numbers increased over the years he lived there.
Another treatment commonly used at this time was metrazol convulsive therapy.[7] Patients were injected with metrazol, a powerful stimulant that caused convulsions and coma.[8] This treatment fell into disuse because severe convulsions too often resulted in fractured bones, and patients greatly feared the treatment[9]; it was discontinued at SVMHI in 1940.[10] Another treatment was insulin shock therapy.[11] This type of therapy involved large doses of insulin to keep patients in a coma. Electric shock was combined with both therapies, thus they were known as shock therapies.[12]
These controversial electroshock therapies reached a peak of popular use during WWII.[13]

These treatments seem the most likely candidates to have been applied to Dan Troutman. Fortunately, patients who were able were still being employed on the farm. I would like to think of Uncle Dan  outside and working in the fresh air more so than comatose from shock treatment. Perhaps, he even had opportunities to sing and play his guitar.

[1] Karen Arnold, Health Information Technician, Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Marion, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 22 October 2015, letter, informs that records for Dan C. Troutman cannot be located among SVMHI records at the Library of Virginia; Dan Troutman foler, hanging files; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[2] Arnold, Karen, Health Info. Tech., SVMHI, Marion, Va., to Zola Noble, letter, 23 Sept. 2015, includes info. from the Admission Register of SWVMHI; Dan Troutman folder, hanging files; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[3] Lois Faris, Glade Spring, Virginia, to Zola Noble, 15 August 2008, letter, information on life as a foster daughter in the Dan C. Troutman home; Lois Faris file, Troutman family; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana. Also, Treatment of the Mentally Ill > 20th Century > Treatment Therapies, 7th bullet point ( : accessed 30 October 2015).
[4] Restoring Perspective: Life and Treatment at the London Asylum > Medical Treatments > Hydrotherapy (
hydrotherapy.html : accessed 29 October 2015).
[5] A Brief History of Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, compiled by Phyllis Miller, (Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Richmond, Virginia, 2012.), p. 15; ( : accessed 29 October 2015).
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8]  “What is Metrazol Shock Treatment?” Psychology Dictionary ( : accessed 29 October 2015). 
[9] Leopold N. Judah and Oddist D. Murphree, “Metrazol Convulsive Therapy Modified by Succinylcholine,” The Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease, Aug. 1959, Vol. 129, Issue 2, p. 198 ( : accessed 29 October 2015).
[10] A Brief History of Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, compiled by Phyllis Miller, (Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Richmond, Virginia, 2012.), p. 16.
[11] Ibid., p. 15.
[12] “Insulin Shock Therapy,” Wikipedia (
Insulin_shock_therapy : accessed 29 October 2015).
[13] Treatment of the Mentally Ill > 20th Century > Treatment Therapies, 7th bullet point ( : accessed 30 October 2015).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Quilt Making Great-Grandmother

While I wait for records of my grand-uncle Dan Troutman to arrive from the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, I'll write a few lines about his mother America Pratt Troutman.

The two most prominent traits of hers that I heard growing up were her hot temper and her pipe-smoking. But she was more that that. She was the wife of a Confederate veteran who may have suffered throughout his life from the trauma of battle, of seeing his brother shot and killed, of a wound that took months to heal, of six months imprisonment in an over-crowded, hell-hole of a Yankee prison. She was a mother of ten children, five of whom died before she did. She was a caregiver of sick neighbors. She sat by their bedsides, washed and fed them, nursed them back to health or watched them take their last breath.[1]  One woman she cared for had her light her pipe; thus America developed a taste for tobacco and the habit of pipe smoking, she said.

Merky, as she was called, lived her last decade after her husband died mostly in Smyth County Virginia where she had lived all her life, but she spent a year in Nebraska with her son Clint's family. The story goes that Clint went to Virginia on a train and brought her back with him. She was quiet, the children recalled, often sitting in a chair reading her Bible and smoking her pipe when they came home from school. The year must have been about 1925 or '26. My dad remembered that he and his siblings were a little embarrassed about their grandmother's pipe-smoking. Once when they went to town, Merky's son Clint would not let her take the pipe with her. Then when Clint was smoking his cigarette, his mother asked for a drag. "It tastes good," she said.

America Troutman in Nebraska with three of her grandchildren: James, Virginia, and Neville, children of Clint Troutman. c. 1926. Photo from the Troutman family scrapbook in the possession of a cousin in Nebraska.

After her trip to Nebraska, she lived at Glade Spring with her son Dan and his family.  When she died, 14 January 1929,[2] she left a will naming Dan as her sole heir “for his kind care and attention to me.” She said she had already “given the others all I can give."[3]

Merky and a neighbor child at the Glade Spring home of Dan and Carrie Troutman, c. 1928.

But there's more to this feisty, pipe-smoking great-grandmother. She also made fabulous quilts. To my good fortune, I have one, the only one in existence, as far as I know. It’s a crazy quilt.

I received the quilt via my father’s cousin, Lois Faris, the foster daughter of my grandfather’s brother, Dan Troutman. Growing up, Lois was known as Lois Troutman. When she became an adult, she reconnected with her birth family and began using her birth name, Bethel. Then she married Gale L. Faris.

Though she dearly loved the Troutman family who raised her, she recognized that the blood ties were not there. That’s one reason she gave the quilt to me. The other reason was my interest in quilt making. At the time she brought it to me, about 1980, I owned a quilt shop in Chilhowie, Virginia, called The Quilt Corner. I made quilts and gave lessons on quilt-making and other types of needlework, a life-long passion all mine. One day, Lois walked into my shop carrying a folded quilt. Unfolding it on my worktable, she said, “This was made by your great-grandmother, and I want you to have it.” I'm sure I gasped! Based on my work in the shop, she thought I would appreciate it. What an understatement! I felt stunned, thrilled, awed, and humbled—all at the same time.

As I looked at this quilt, my great-grandmother’s creative nature spoke to me. Using wool and other fabrics, probably cut from suits and dresses, some dark and some bright, the maker’s practical side prevailed, but it was also a quilt of impeccable detail and artful whimsy. Perhaps, the contrast of dark and bright fabrics also revealed her moods. Perhaps, the irregular shapes echoed the mountains and valleys of her home.

Close-up sections of America Troutman's crazy quilt, c. 1900.

Many of the pieces were torn or threadbare, but it was the stitches that caught my breath. Intricate webbing connected each piece with threads in subtle colors of the sand in a mountain stream, the pink of a baby’s skin and the blue of a heron. Chain stitches formed circles interwoven like the Olympic games symbol, four on one patch and five on another. A row of six linked circles joined a triangle of brick-red wool with a tiny navy stripe to a tan and brown striped shape; some stripes in the fabrics were set at right angles to each other. Two chain stitch hearts intertwined on a navy background; a chain stitch formed the base for a wreath of daisy-like flowers on red; chain stitches formed the stem of a figure that looked like a lollypop. There were chevron stitches that looked like a split rail fence, fishbone stitches arranged like a row of tiny pine trees; feather stitches and fly stitches; blanket stitches that flipped direction every fifth stitch with star stitches inserted in the spaces; herringbone stitches and flat stitches. More star stitches were splashed here and there, one in the center of a patch. Some stitches, I could not find in my catalog of embroidery stitches. 

America Pratt Troutman's great-great-great-granddaughter studies the crazy quilt, 2013.
The quilt reminds me that our personalities are many faceted. Spunky America refuses to be labeled one way or another without all things considered.

[1] Faris, Lois, Glade Spring, Virginia. Interview by Zola Troutman Noble. Notes. Privately held by Z. T. Noble, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana. 29 April 2010.
[2] Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014, database ( : accessed 20 Oct. 2015), America Ann Troutman, 1929.
[3]  Washington County, Virginia, Wills and Inventories, Book 33, p. 458, America Troutman; County Clerk’s office, Abingdon.