Jonathan Foutz Family | Vance Cleveland Foutz & Descendants


Vance Foutz Family 1940s

Vance Foutz family, 1940s: Vance, Don, Doris, Laura, Carl, Roy

Vance Cleveland Foutz | 1887 – 1968

Our look at the family of my great-great grandparents Jonathan Foutz and Rebecca (Caldwell) Foutz concludes with the baby of the family, my great-grandfather, Vance Cleveland Foutz.

Throughout this week, we’ve delved into the lives of Vance’s parents and siblings — what we know or have heard from family legend, what I’ve pieced together from official documents and family keepsakes, and all the mysteries and missed connections that remain.

In addition to Jonathan and Rebecca, we’ve met oldest brother Sherman; sisters Lila, Rachel and Ida; and brothers John and Charles. And explored what might have become of their descendants.

Now, at least, we’re entering the territory of the mostly-known. Vance, unlike the rest of his family, lived a long life and in the same place as the next three generations of his family. Before Vance moved to Dover, Ohio, though, he was born in the next county over, near Bowerston, like two generations of Foutzes before him.

When he came into the world, on Sept. 7, 1887, he was already 20 years behind oldest brother Sherman, who was married the month before. Vance’s first nephew, Oscar, was born the following December; and before he entered school, Vance could count five nieces and nephews who were more playmates than kids of the next generation. They’d come to visit their grandma and grandpa Foutz from surrounding towns and farms, and run wild over the hills and through the woods with Charley and Vance, their uncles in name only.

As noted in previous blogs, Vance was separated from much of his extended family for the years he, Charles and their parents lived in Washington D.C. with Sherman’s family. Following Jonathan’s death, in September 1900, we lose track of where they called home. But sometime early in the new century, they moved to Dover.

Vance Foutz Roy Foutz Carl Foutz Don Foutz Dover Ohio 1945

Vance Foutz & sons Roy, Carl and Don at a popular place for family outings, Deis Hill Park in Dover, sometime in the 1940s.

All in the (German) Family – Zeiglers & Foutzes Unite

Vance next appears in the public record in 1907. His marriage to Laura Zeigler (Christina Laurina Katherina, in family lore) occurs Oct. 26, 1907.

Laura is the daughter of German immigrants John Jacob (or J.J.) Zeigler and Elizabeth Duerr. Both born in Baden-Wuerttemberg, their families emigrate to America separately between 1850 and 1860 and settle in the Russlin Hills outside Dover, near Zoar.

Laura’s household speaks nothing but German. Her father is murdered — the killer is never identified — when she is 11. Laura, like, Vance, is the youngest of a large family. Six brothers and two sisters settle into lives of farming or factory work in the Dover area. When she marries a 20-year-old Vance, Laura, 21, is already three months pregnant. Roy Vance Foutz will be born May 4, 1908.

At the time of the 1910 census, the young family — Vance, Laura and baby Roy — share their house at 113 W. 2nd St. in Dover with mother Rebecca, widowed brother-in-law William Coleman, and nephews Karl and Frank Coleman and Lloyd Moreland, who works with Vance at Dover Mfg. Co. (Brother Sherman Moreland’s journal had Lloyd first working at Sad Iron Co. in Dover.)

In the next decade the family grows: Roy is joined by brother Carl William Foutz, born May 6, 1911; my grandfather, Donald Dale Foutz, born March 4, 1914; and sister Doris Pauline Foutz, born May 29, 1917. Don’s eventual wife — my grandmother Erma (Johnson) Foutz — would make a curious comment to my mother in the 1970s about having her own children a perfect 4 years apart. For whatever reason that figure was important, Vance and Laura’s magic interval was 3.

The 1920 and ’30 censuses find the family at the house they own, at 515 Race Street — the southeast corner of Race and Sixth in Dover, a few blocks across busy Walnut Street and Wooster Avenue from the high school where Don will star as a halfback on the football team. Vance works as a boiler tender at the steel mill. By 1930, both Roy (as machinist) and Carl (as office help) will join him there.

Their life seems to be one of relative prosperity in a town booming with industrial jobs in the decades after the famous Ohio & Erie Canal dried up and the railroad ran through. As in 1910, and taking a cue from previous Foutz generations, they host a variety of relatives in their home. An ailing Elizabeth Duerr spends her remaining years in their care. The teenage Russell Everett family rents space there in 1920. And Laura’s niece, Stella Archinal, lives there in 1930. Vance will own at least two more homes in Dover in his remaining four decades, including the bungalow off Front Street my grandparents will buy from him as their first home.


Vance Foutz Dover Ohio 1963

Vance Foutz, on the steps of his apartment at 428 Race Street in Dover, in 1963. He is 75 years old.

Grandpa in the Backyard – Vance’s Later Years

For a man who didn’t get to share his own growing family with his father or mother or siblings, I imagine the 1940s were pretty sublime for Vance.

All three sons followed him into his chosen trade, working the steel mill in Dover. And each settled down with wives and children of their own. Family snapshots depict picnics at city parks like Deis Hill, Thanksgiving gatherings, shared road trips and backyard barbecues.

Roy married Dolores Beitner of Dover and had a daughter, Suzanne Jane, in 1934. Tragically, he would die at age 45 following a car accident caused after he suffered a heart attack behind the wheel. Dolores would remarry and die in Dover in March 1963. Suzanne would make her home in Dover and nearby Newark, Ohio. She had a daughter, Kim Fox, with her first husband, and later married John C. Rieger. She returned to her hometown in the 1990s. She died at age 63 in 1998. She and Roy are buried in Dover Burial Park.

Carl married Adell Louise Moore, a niece of his uncle David Wesley Zeigler’s wife Hazel Moore. They had two children: Donna and Buzz (Carl Jr). Donna married Lowell Wilson of Decatur, Ind. in June 1953. They had a daughter, Laura Louise. Buzz married Kimberly (unknown last name) and had two daughters, Lynne and Connie. Carl and his family made their home in Dover at 428 Race Street, where an older Vance kept an apartment in the rear.

Sometime in the late 1960s, or shortly afterward, Carl and Louise moved to Orange County, Florida, which is where Carl died in September, 1972. Louise kept up correspondence with relatives back in Dover, and helped answer the genealogy questions of Don and Erma Foutz, until her death in December 1997. Donna also moved to Orange County, Florida, perhaps after her mother died, and she passed away there in January 2003. She and her parents are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Dover.

Vance’s daughter Doris married a crosstown boy, Wayne Waddington of New Philadelphia. They made their home in Harrisville, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, where Wayne worked for the Social Security Administration (deep in a mountain storage facility). They had two daughters, Joy, born in 1943, and Wynn, born in 1949. Joy married John Drilling and had two children (that I know of): John Frederick (1969) and William Kurt (1971). Wynne had a son, Slade Spencer, in 1969, and married Dennis Hammond.

Doris died Sept. 21, 1995 in Harrisville. Wayne died Feb. 7, 2005 at age 88. By then, he was living in a retirement home not far from daughter Wynn’s home in New Jersey. His obituary noted three grandsons and four great-grandchildren.

As for Vance and life back in Dover… My father, Fred, arrived on the scene in 1952, as youngest son of Don and Erma’s three boys (which include Don, born in 1944, and Bob, born in 1948). And he barely remembers his grandmother at all. Laura died in August 1956 at age 70.

There were darker elements to his story. Stuff I don’t know a lot about, and so can’t go much into. Tales of his enduring good looks, and girlfriends he may have had on the side. Certain secret societies he may have belonged to, when they were more buddy-buddy than bite.

But Grandpa Vance was still around, living in the back of Uncle Carl’s place on Race Street. Vance was pressed into babysitting duties on numerous Friday nights, as Don and Erma would head to the stadium to watch Dad’s older brothers play Dover football. Dad remembered nights sentenced to Lawrence Welk, or caught on the periphery of some eternal card game Vance had going with his live-in buddy Jacob (pronounced Yakob) Lentz.

Whatever the man’s history, his friends and his flaws, Vance’s story came to an end in August 1968. The baby of the Jonathan Foutz family, at nearly 81, had outlived them all. He and my great-grandmother are buried in Dover Burial Park.

Vance Foutz Laura Foutz gravestone Dover Burial Park

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2 thoughts on “Jonathan Foutz Family | Vance Cleveland Foutz & Descendants

  1. Laura (Foutz) Sigrist

    Hi Colt,
    It’s me again…this is so cool to find these things out from you…the immediate family has been sort of in the dark, since as I said, the four children of James Earl were left on the doorstep of a foster home at a very early age. My father is the only sibling deceased (James William), he passed away from pancreatic cancer in February, 2001(at age 62)…but he has an older brother Richard, younger brother Raymond and sister, Dorothy. My Aunt Dorothy said that you contacted her through e-mail…she says she will help all she can, but again, we don’t know how much that will be.
    Your blog is a great resource and I’m so happy to have found a “long lost cousin”…or, maybe that’s me (lost, that is)…

    • Hi Laura,

      Of course! Glad to be connecting with you and glad the blog is proving a resource to facilitate that connection (and answer some of your own questions about your heritage). You’ve already helped me a great deal just by solving one of the mysteries of my great-great grandparents’ family — what happened to their son Charles’s kids? Sounds like the road was a bit bumpy — what family history isn’t? — but that James Sr. had a nice family of his own after those years when he lost his dad early and went through all those half-siblings and lost connections, etc.

      If you guys have any pictures of relatives to share, I’d love to see them. As I mentioned, I only just got to see pictures of my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents last summer. It’s always neat putting faces with (historic) names.

      Take care, and stay in touch,


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