Mystery Foutzes … Revealed | Foutz Family History


Foutz Vance Zeigler Laura c. 1907

Vance Foutz and Laura Zeigler, about the time of their marriage in Canal Dover, 1907.

New Answers to Foutz Genealogy Questions | Part One

It’s been a long while since last we gathered ’round the campfire. And my apologies. But consider my absence a scavenging one — to stock up on fuel for the fire, culled from forests both familiar and strange.

Our most recent cycle of stories whispered concerned Foutzes of Harrison County vintage. We shared details of their lives, their loves, their passing — out of the county, onto careers and kids and a kind of familial fame, and then out of the world as we know it.

Much of this material was mined during a March trip home, during which I scoured old newspapers and tromped around the old homesteads, with newfound cousin — and fast friend — Dawn James helping to divine the hidden clues and hail new discoveries.

Most recently, my path wound through home again, with a too brief stopover at Dawn’s place that nonetheless rekindled my ardour for genealogical sleuthing. In the next few days, and over the usual course of weeks, I’ll unveil the latest shimmering threads which, as they knit together, form the fabric of a family tapestry still beckoning us to uncover the richness of its color and texture.

Dampening the Flames of Burning Foutz Mysteries

Heading into my March trip, at the conclusion of a series on the family of my great-great grandparents, Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz, I posed a series of “burning questions” yet to be answered concerning these ancestors:

1. How did great-great grandpa Jonathan Foutz die?

2. Where are our oldest ancestors’ plots located in Conotton Cemetery?

3. What happened to Sherman Foutz’s son Oscar, grandson Ralph, and foster daughter Catherine?

4. What became of Charles Foutz’s children and descendants?

5. When and where and how did Rachel Foutz die?

6. Just what did some of our oldest relatives look like?

7. And ultimately, where did our Pfoutses come from in Germany? Who were they there?

Thanks to on-site research, and some diligent transcribing by Dawn of her great-grandfather’s journal, which I’ll share in snippets in the coming days (fast as you can get it to me, Dawn… ;-D), we have answers to several of these questions. Though not all are definitive, or complete, the picture is sharpening, and tantalizing in its promises of greater discovery.

Today we focus on question 6, and more specifically, a photo found among my grandma Erma (Johnson) Foutz’s things, that I’ve shared several times, though not with any luck in identifying those pictured. That is, until now.

During my most recent visit home, in June, I decided to dig into the several Rubbermaid boxes of photos and family lore accumulated and, in some cases, inherited by my parents.

The photo depicts two young men, and was probably among my great-grandfather Vance Foutz’s possessions, passed on to his son, Donald Foutz, and in turn bequethed my parents. By my best guesses, the men in the photo could be Foutz siblings — perhaps oldest brother Sherman and second brother John, or perhaps John and brother Charles. At first glance, none of us connected either young man to Great-Grandpa Vance.

And if not Foutz brothers, I wondered, could these be Coleman cousins? Sons of mysterious sister Rachel and Uncle William Coleman, those visitors and, for awhile, sharers of the young Vance Foutz home in 1910, shortly after he and my great-grandmother Laura Zeigler Foutz were married, and they counted among the household mother Rebecca, infant son Roy, nephew Lloyd Moreland (son of Vance’s sister, Ida) and the aforementioned Uncle Bill (brother-in-law to Vance) and his sons Karl and Frank Coleman (but no Rachel).

Really, absent any helpful scribbles on the back of the photograph in question, those pictured could be any of the men listed above.

But another found photograph narrows the field considerably.

Two Foutz Brothers Face the New Century

The photograph heading this blog, as the caption has by now informed you, is of my great-grandparents Foutz about the time of their marriage in October 1907. Vance would be barely 20 years old; Laura almost 22, and already pregnant with Roy (born March 1908).

Vance is strikingly handsome, and the young Laura’s hairdo matches the curly puff she adopted her entire life. More importantly, Vance matches the man on the left in the mysterious photograph, and helps us date it to about the same time, at least the same decade.

Which makes it unlikely the other man pictured is second brother John Foutz, who died of tuberculosis in 1899. (Another Foutz mystery solved last March.) At the time, Vance was just 11, and Charles 13. Which makes it more likely this photograph is from about 1907, or perhaps slightly before, and that the men pictured are brothers Vance and Charles Foutz.

We know, for instance, that Vance’s oldest nephews by sister Ida, Lloyd and Sherman and Clyde, looked different than the other man in this photo, and were at least 4 years younger than Vance besides. Though we can rely on the active Moreland genealogy network to give yea or nay to this theory: that the other man in this photo was not a Moreland nephew or cousin.

Furthermore, sister Rachel’s husband William Coleman was at least 25 years older than Vance, and the man in this photo looks about the same age. And their sons, Vance’s nephews, were much younger than my great-grandfather (by about 7 to 10 years). So, a likely no on the Coleman angle as well.

Which leaves great-great uncle Charles, Vance’s closest sibling in a lineup of 7, and a resident of neighboring New Philadelphia who — as journal excerpts later this week will reveal — likely bonded ever more tightly with his younger sibling in the decade following their father’s untimely death, during which they moved frequently and worked to support their widowed mother.

So… best supposition is that you are looking at brothers Vance and Charles Foutz in their early 20s as they begin life in Canal Dover.

Unknown Foutzes - Sherman, Vance, Charles or John?

Research now reveals these men to be brothers Vance (left) and Charles Foutz, pictured about 1905-1907.

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