Foutz-to-Foutz Pass a Familial Feat
In the yellowed newspaper clipping, Don Foutz wears a turtleneck and a smirk. He looks less formal than the man in the suit and tie standing next to him, a guy also named Foutz, but also less than thrilled to be reliving a shared moment on the football fields of their youth.
Maybe because the moment happened to be one of the few that didn’t go a teenage Don Foutz’s way, particularly against rival New Philadelphia.
Maybe, too, because aside from a fabled pass that went the wrong way for Dover’s Tornadoes (and the right for Phila’s Quakers), the two men appeared to share little else.
Well, a shared name, in Foutz. But as the article says, the two men “are not related.”
It’s what they thought that November day in 1929; it’s what they believed 45 Novembers later on the eve of another annual rivalry football game.
So I guess it’s OK that my first post here in seven months is so long in coming since it will undo more than 100 years of missed conceptions and forgotten connections. Because the article’s wrong. The Dover and New Phila Foutzes are related.
Don Foutz’s Errant Pass Gives Earl Foutz Glory
A series of Tornadoes Time Warp posts in 2010 thoroughly documented Don Foutz’s football glory days from 1929-31. Among his exploits against hated rival New Philadelphia:
- Scoring on an early run and throwing a 4th-quarter TD pass in a 13-7 Dover victory in 1930
- Piling up a school-record 220 rushing yards (it would stand for 64 years) and 2 TDs in a 27-6 Dover victory in 1931
Grandpa was a fixture in print that senior season, as Dover notched a best-ever 10-1 record and #5 state ranking, an opener for a stretch of football and basketball dominance under Coach Hermann Rearick and grandpa’s successor at halfback, Doc Kelker, that briefly made Dover Ohio’s city of champions.
But his legend faded quickly and he settled into the daily routine, raising three kids and working for a Ford dealership before following his father and two older brothers into the steel mill.
Occasionally, the Dover Daily Reporter would catch up with the old Crimson Flash, as in a 1961 article about son Donn’s rushing exploits for Dover. The 1974 article, however, focused on a rare miscue — a year before Don Foutz played the hero against New Philadelphia, he sealed Dover’s fate with an interception to opposing player Earl Foutz. Read all about it by clicking the thumbnails below.
In addition to sharing details of the 1929 contest as a preview to the rivalry’s 70th installment, the article states: “that game marked the first time Don and Earl — who are not related — ever met.” While I don’t dispute the truth of the football covered in the article, I thought I’d dig a little more deeply into the genealogy.
Sharing a Common Great-Great Grandfather
Earl and his brother, Dick Foutz, were well-known around Dover and Phila, and to my family, as the operators of Foutz Appliances on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Philadelphia. I even remember as a kid asking about the cross-town Foutzes, but being told we weren’t related.
As it turns out, grandpa Don was third cousin to Earl and his brothers Dick and Lloyd. The connection goes back to where our Foutz — originally, Pfouts — ancestors started in Ohio, a couple dozen miles east near Bowerston.
According to well-documented research, Michael Pfouts — Don’s and Earl’s second great-grandfather — emigrated from the lower Neckar River region of Wuertemberg, Germany in 1787. He first settled in Washington County, Maryland, where he probably farmed with other German immigrants. He married a woman named Catharine in Maryland in 1799, and over the next 26 years they had 8 children — about half in Maryland and, beginning with Jacob in 1811, the rest in Harrison County, Ohio.
The early Pfoutses owned several parcels of land throughout Monroe and North townships, on which they farmed for the better part of 150 years. Gideon Pfouts, my third-great-grandfather (grandpa Don’s great-grandfather), farmed 80 acres along what is now Grundy Ridge and Mill Hill roads south of Bowerston. John, a brother more than a decade Gideon’s senior, farmed an area in the southeast corner of Monroe Township with siblings Jonathan and Elizabeth Pfouts. Although his homesteading siblings would never marry, John wed relatively late in life, marrying Irish immigrant Margaret Sprowls in 1850, when he was 43 and she was 27.
John and Margaret Pfouts are Earl’s great-grandparents. They’d have four children. Their second, born July 3, 1854 on the farm, was named Andrew J. Pfouts. That’s Earl’s grandpa. I dipped into the spreadsheet I started keeping in 2010 to track all the many (related) Foutzes (Pfoutses) from census to census in 19th century Harrison County. There, in 1860, was five-year-old Andrew in the home of John and Margaret Pfouts.
Earl and brother Richard would take over the store their father, James Howard Foutz, began on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Phila in 1920. (A talented brother, Lloyd, would perform as a musician around the country before dying young in 1961.) The connection between our families is confirmed by J. Howard Foutz’s 1901 marriage certificate to Effie Leggett of Carroll County. The certificate names Andrew J. Foutz and Mary Ayers of Harrison County as Howard’s parents. A 20-year-old James H. Fouts appears in their household in the 1900 census, the only one between his 1880 birth and 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 censuses documenting his married life with Effie and the kids in New Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Gideon would marry Delilah Jones in 1843. Together, they’d raise six children. Their oldest, Jonathan Foutz, would marry Rebecca Caldwell and have seven children of their own. Their very youngest, born in 1887 in Bowerston, was Vance Cleveland Foutz, my grandpa Don Foutz’s dad.
The final resting places of our Foutz cousins mirror our own clan’s trek from the farms of Harrison to the city life of Tuscarawas county. John and Margaret Pfouts are buried with Michael and the rest of the original Pfoutses in Conotton Cemetery, while Andrew and Mary Pfouts are buried in Grandview Cemetery near Scio.
James Howard Foutz is buried, with Effie and infant daughter Mary, in East Avenue Cemetery, New Philadelphia. Son H. Earl and wife Isabel Marie Foutz are buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dover.
Earl outgained Dover by a crucial 85 yards in that 1929 contest; he outlived my grandfather by 13 years. I wonder what they’d chat about, today, if they’d lived to see the roots of their family history reconnected.