John Cephas Foutz | 1877-1899
Chalk up one Foutz mystery solved.
In a series of posts earlier this year, I ran through what we knew about my great-grandfather Vance Foutz’s siblings and parents. Since, in life, according to uncles and aunts and cousins who were there, Vance was less than open-lipped about his origins (and is, not surprisingly, even less forthcoming in death), there were more than a few picnic baskets which not even the most diligent of bread-crumb-following could uncover.
You know, if you think of genealogy as crashing some big ancestral banquet. Sometimes decades or more after the dinner bell.
One such snack that needed an unusual amount of sleuthing — deciphering the circumstances around Great-great Uncle John Cephas Foutz’s 1899 death at 21. Among the avenues explored:
* the 1900 census, which shows parents Jonathan and Rebecca living in D.C. with John’s brothers (Sherman, Charles and Vance — his three sisters are married back home) and reports 6 of 7 children as still living
* his “short-form” death record (full Ohio obits aren’t available until 1908), which lists his occupation as clerk and his residence as Bowerston, Ohio — though no cause of death
* an item in the Twin City News four days after his death, which reports the day of the week (Sunday), his place of burial (the Lutheran Cemetery), and that the Maccabees, of which he and Sherman were both members, honored him graveside
* an obit in the Washington Post, which merely reports that he died at the home of his parents, and that his funeral was on Tuesday. But as to where that places Jonathan and Rebecca — in D.C. or Ohio — the account is unclear.
It took a trip home and time at the Puskarich Public Library in Cadiz to turn up an article rich in detail, and with a bit of poetry and philosophy thrown in to boot. The clipping was part of a compilation by some distant relative — though I know not which branch — and the source was not indicated (or I failed to record it). But the typeface appears to be from the Cadiz Republican, whose pages recording the death of my great-great-great grandfather Gideon (which I hunted down on microfiche).
The published account reads:
With sorrow we are called upon to chronicle the death of John Foutz, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Foutz, which occurred Jan. 22, 1899. Age 21 yrs., 3 mons. and 24 days. (He was born Sept. 29, 1877 — Colt)
He went to Washington D.C. nearly three years ago, where he has been engaged in business, but on account of contracting a disease, (quick consumption), he was compelled to give up his labor and return to his home to await his end, which occurred at the above date. (Quick consumpion is an earthy name for tuberculosis, a disease which seemed to “consume” the unfortunate from within; older brother Sherman and nephew Karl Coleman would die of it in 1915 — Colt)
John was a good boy, admired and loved b all his aquaintances, and, that he should thus early in life, with the future so bright and when the ambition of youth is at its highest, be called from among us, has caused sincere expressions of sympathy from everyone. But such is life. The good and bad must alike answer the call from earth. The father and mother, the brother and sister — no one can escape.
There are left to mourn their loss father,moher, brothers and sisters, who have the sympathy of the entire community.
The funeral services were held Tuesday at 11 o’clock at the Lutheran church, conducted by Rev. Kenturer (illegible — Colt) and the K.O.P. Ms. (Knights of the Maccabees — Colt) of which order he was a member in Washington D.C. Interment in the Lutheran cemetery.
“We will not call our loved one back.
For now he resteth wel;
No tear rests on his care-worn cheek,
No sighs his bosom swell. //
Oh, no, we would no call our loved one back,
To this dark world of woe.
But to lay him peacefully to rest,
No sorrow more to know.”
(Looks like Paul Pry is credited with the verse, but I’ve found no corroborating citations or sources.)
Still left to solve: We don’t know where John’s grave is. The “Lutheran cemtery” referenced in newspaper accounts could refer to Longview Cemetery, where Sherman is buried, but I’ve been there twice, and checked the records, and John is not listed there. And we still don’t know the identity of the Foutzes (???) in the above photo, found among my grandparents’ papers.
What else was going on in the world on Jan. 22, 1899? The Spanish-American War was winding down (a peace treaty would be signed in February), while in Cuba, Spanish rule came to an end Jan. 1. Opel Motors was founded Jan. 21. The leaders of six Australian colonies began discussing the confederation of the country as a whole on the day John died. And gangster Al Capone was born earlier that week in Brooklyn.