Gideon Pfouts | 1822-1911
We’ve never been short of information, concerning my great-great-great grandfather. At least where the public record is concerned.
As detailed in earlier blogs, Gideon appears by name in six federal censuses from 1850 to 1910; his 80 acres is recorded by name in a detailed 1875 map of Harrison County’s townships; his scanned death certificate is readily available online, and points to his burial site — Conotton Cemetery, same as his parents, Michael and Catherine Pfouts, several siblings and a child or two.
Distant cousin Dawn James (his fourth great granddaughter, even though she’s a year younger than me) has trolled the courthouse to dig up Gideon’s marriage certificate (the particulars are also recorded in a History of Harrison County, also available in full text online), will, and the marriage certificate of his oldest son (my second great grandpa, her third great) and will of his father as well.
So, we’re pretty tightly rooted to Gideon, even with the change in spelling from Pfouts to Foutz, which is also well documented in his lifetime.
What we were missing — a tombstone, a chance to tromp around his old homestead, a chance to read what others thoughts of him through his obituary — we had the chance to check off the list this March.
Tromping ’round Gideon’s Farm
“Full contact genealogy” means occasionally getting wet. In this case, even though a cold March rain was steadily falling as Dawn and I wound through Harrison County (snow would fall that night), we just had to get out of the car and walk the 80 acres Gideon and family farmed for more than 70 years.
It sure didn’t look like prime pasture, some 160 years after he raised a young Jonathan Foutz there. Parts of the land had obviously been strip-mined in the past and allowed to grow back. Deer blinds were tacked a short climb into the trees (and an equal portion of deer shit decorated the ground). A (working?) derrick of some sort was stationed to the southeast.
And don’t get us started on the modern cabin a short drive up the road we took to calling Bufflo Bill’s place (after the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs).
In short, we were stumped. Archaeologically and spiritually, the land was giving us merely residual ancestral chills.
But we walked it, damn it. Brought back a rock, which I intend to keep. And several photos like the one above, in which one can only imagine the old cabin pictured above, or the heydey the farm once enjoyed.
Gideon Pfouts, RIP — A Short Ode to a Fruitful Life
When we weren’t muddying up the interior of Dawn’s dream machine (Mustang with big ol’ racing stripe, anyone; cue organ music and angelic choir) and my more — ahem — utilitarian Hyundai, we were juggling books in the genealogy section of Puskarich Public Library in Cadiz.
There, we confirmed Gideon’s burial place in Conotton Cemetery (and more importantly, located the plot), and pulled his obituary from the Feb. 23, 1911 edition of the Cadiz Republican. It’s a plain, practical paragraph, as I imagine the man was:
Mr. Gideon Pfouts, an aged and respected citizen, died at his home near Bowerston Friday night. He was 89 years of age.
His funeral services were held Monday, conducted by the Lutheran minister of Carrollton, after which his remains were laid to rest in the Conotton Cemetery.
Funeral director Mr. Arbaugh of Carrollton.
Although we located his grave in Conotton Cemetery, 100 years had played havoc on the surface of the stone. We’ll return, armed with chalk, and try to illuminate the etchings beneath, but rest assured, you’re looking (below) at the marker for my great-great-great grandparents Foutz (or Pfouts).
What else was going on in the world in Feb. 1911? January marked the first time an airplane landed on a marine vessel, and the first automobile races in Monte Carlo, France. On Feb. 6, eventual Hollywood leading man and U.S. President Ronald Reagan was born, in Tampico, Ill.