Joseph Pfouts (1836-1895)
Call him a Pfouts for all relations. Joseph happens to be Colt’s first cousin four times removed, his third great aunt’s father and his great-great-great-great grandfather’s nephew.
Now… how is that all possible?
If your Final Jeopardy answer was “What is intermarrying, Alex?” then DING-DING-DING, you’ve won the Greyhound bus getaway to scenic Newark and the assorted bag of cheeses.
But you don’t know the story.
Early Pfoutses in Harrison County
I keep promising the forthcoming, ahem, official Foutz-Johnson newsletter will focus on all the Pfoutses knocking around Ohio from the early 1800s on. I’m still doing research. A lot of it focuses on tracing all the various siblings of our ancestors and how the whole tree branches out, with an eye toward which Foutzes might be living in the county to this day.
I’ve made a lot of connections so far, and one of them is to Joseph Pfouts. But let’s backtrack for a moment.
Gideon Pfouts is someone I’ve devoted a lot of (electronic) ink to in the early going of this blog. As Colt’s great-great-great grandfather (father of Jonathan, who fathered Vance, who fathered Don, who fathered Fred, which brings us to Colt), he’s an extremely handy ancestor to have. It helps immeasurably in research that he lived so long (89 years) in one place (we even know the address today of the land he farmed from 1850 through the early 1900s, when census records seem to indicate his son Nathaniel took over – we’ll get to Nathaniel in a moment).
Gideon is traced through international ancestry records as being born to a Michael and Catherine Pfouts about 1821 in North Twp., Harrison County, OH. He’s one of the youngest — if not THE youngest children — of a brood that stretches back to 1800 in Maryland where his parents were married and oldest brother, also named Michael, was born. We know Gideon is the son of the senior Michael, and not the brother who was 22 years older than him, because Gideon’s death record lists his father’s birth in Germany, and there is an 1851 will for this elder Michael Pfouts that lists all his kids: Michael, Johnathan, Mary, John, Jacob, Catherine, Elizabeth and Gideon. Also, Michael Jr., born 1800 in Maryland, is definitively married to Mary Heaston, and set up with his own farm and kids in the 1850 census, which shows brother Gideon and his young family settled nearby in Monroe Township.
But these families would soon intertwine once more.
My first cousin… and son-in-law
Joseph Pfouts is one of Michael Jr.’s sons, born 1836 in Harrison County. In 1860, he marries Rachel Jeffers. Through various censuses, birth and death records, we see they have four children: Eliza, David, Mary and Jacob. Their kids usually go by Fouts, the name that appears on at least two of their death certificates.
Meanwhile, Michael Jr.’s youngest brother, Gideon, is caring for a growing brood of his own. To Gideon and wife Delilah are born Jonathan, Tabitha, John, David, Nathaniel and Nelson. By 1900, oldest son Jonathan’s family has adopted the Foutz spelling, which is handed down through Gideon’s grandson Vance through great-grandson Don and great-great grandson Fred. (Gideon, though, would be buried a Fouts.) Foutz is the spelling younger brother Nathaniel also adopts — as does his wife, Eliza Fouts, daughter of his cousin, Gideon’s brother Michael’s son, Joseph.
Before we get into the branch intertwining, let’s take a look at some birthdates, and ages.
Gideon’s oldest bro Michael, as we said above, was born in 1800, which makes him 22 years older than Gideon. Not all that unusual for farming families in the 1800s.
Joseph was Michael’s third or fourth child. Although he is listed as third oldest child in the household in 1850, that census was the first to list all family members, and by then Michael is 50. There could have been other kids who already left the home by then, including a 23-year-old Michael (the III?) on a nearby farm. Indeed, practically next door as far as the census record indicates (street addresses wouldn’t be added until 1900). Joseph was born in 1836, 14 years after his uncle, Gideon. Closer in age to his uncle than to his father. Again, not all that unusual, even today.
Nathaniel was born in 1856, fifth child of Gideon and Delilah. So, he’s about 20 years younger than his cousin, Joseph. And that’s beginning to stretch the age gap in a noticeable way.
Eliza was born to Joseph and Rachel in 1862, about two years after they were married. She’s their oldest child that we know about. So, she’s six years younger than her father’s cousin, and her eventual husband, Nathaniel.
Now, records indicate Nathaniel and Eliza’s first child, Annie, was born in 1883, when Nathaniel was 26 and Eliza was 20. They go on to have at least one other child, William, born in 1894. I haven’t found a marriage record for them. But they are clearly buried side by side in Longview Cemetery. Eliza’s death record in 1933 lists her husband as Nathaniel Foutz and her parents as Joseph Foutz and Rachel Jeffers. Nathaniel’s death record in 1939 lists him as widowed, formerly married to Eliza J. Foutz, son of Gideon Foutz and Delilah Ann Jones.
Further research can help fill in the blanks. Eliza shows up in Rachel and Joseph’s household in the 1870 census. What about 1880? Where, in relation to Gideon’s family and Nathaniel, did her father’s family live? What about in 1900? Records indicate her father passed away in 1895, but what about her mother? Where was she living in relation to Nathaniel and Eliza — and Gideon, whose land they seem to be farming — in 1900?
While we may never know the circumstances of this union — which proved to be a lasting one — we do know this:
Nathaniel married his cousin’s daughter. His cousin became his father-in-law.
Eliza married her father’s cousin. Her great uncle became her father-in-law.
They were first cousins once removed. And were married about 50 years, until death parted them.
And Joseph Pfouts? He’s Colt’s fourth cousin four times removed. And father to his third great aunt. The connection in this story of one family becoming two becoming one.