Face to face with Sherman Foutz


Sherman S. Foutz

In the first Campfire blog post, I detailed the remarkable, but too-short life of my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz’s oldest brother, Sherman.

He was raised on great-great grandfather Jonathan Foutz’s farm, but enjoyed a thorough education for the late 1800s. After graduating from the New Hagerstown Academy, he began work as an insurance salesman. His membership in the Knights of the Maccabees helped Sherman make profitable connections. His appointment to the United States Treasury Department under President Grover Cleveland led his young family as well as his father’s almost-grown one to Washington D.C.

But soon after, tragedy caught the Sherman Foutzes in its grip. His father, Jonathan, died in 1900 at 55, when the family was still shown as residing in Washington, and when Jonathan’s youngest son, Vance, was just 13 years old. Sherman moved his family to the Pennsylvania capital in Harrisburg, where he furthered his stature in the Knights of the Maccabees as supervising deputy. The family had a prominent downtown address, near the river.

But Sherman was destined to die of tuberculosis at 47 — even younger than his father. He had the means to pursue a cure in faraway Denver. But his stay at the sanitorium there lasted just three months. His mother, Rebecca, would die little more than a month later after suffering a stroke. By then, she was living with Sherman’s youngest brother, Vance, and his wife, Laura, in Dover.

Following Sherman’s death, census records indicate his wife Elizabeth (Wilson) Foutz lived in a succession of residences in Harrisburg, taking on boarders and perhaps adopting a daughter (Catherine Rutt) along the way. The Moreland side of the family (Vance and Sherman’s sister Ida) has said that Lizzie may have written an account of her life before and after Sherman’s death. Daughter Grace married Fred Chaney and taught for several years in the Urichsville area. She died in 1970. Not much is known about the fate of her brother, Sherman’s son Oscar, who may have had a son, Ralph, while the family was living in Pennsylvania. Ralph appears on the 1910 and 1920 censuses, and Oscar is listed as married in 1910, but no wife ever appears on the census rolls.

And so, the mystery of the Sherman S. Foutz family remains.

These documents at least give us a good look at this generation of Foutzes. (Ida Foutz Moreland‘s picture gives us another.) The first picture, above, was found among my Grandma Foutz’s historical snapshots and docs, probably passed on to she and my grandmother from great-grandpa Vance. Certainly, Grandma Foutz would not have been around, five years before her birth, to cut out the obits for Sherman and mother Rebecca.

Vance and Laura Foutz had a history of relatives dying while in their care — which I don’t mean to sound ominous. I’ll get to it in an upcoming post.

1915 obituary for Sherman Foutz

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Categories: Foutz, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Face to face with Sherman Foutz

  1. Pingback: In Good Countenance #9 – Ralph Foutz | Whispering Across the Campfire

  2. Pingback: Jonathan Foutz Family – Sherman Foutz & Descendants « Whispering Across the Campfire

  3. Pingback: Foutz Ancestor of the Week: Oct. 18, 2010 « Whispering Across the Campfire

  4. Aunt Sal

    Colt –

    Wow – these are all so interesting and I don’t know where you find the time.

    It looks as though all the Foutz men were good looking back then as well. Good genes.

    By the way, you might want to change “further” to “father” in your story.

    Keep these coming.

    Aunt S.

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