Weible

Five Enduring Foutz Family Mysteries


Jonathan Foutz

Great-Great Grandfather Jonathan Foutz would probably agree with Dory — looking for answers to genealogy questions? Just keep sleuthing!

Genealogy Never Rests

Just keep sleuthing, just keep sleuthing….

Dory from Finding Nemo (and her own eponymous sequel) was really a genealogist at heart. The motto that kept her moving — swimming — kept leading her to families, no matter the leagues between them. First, Nemo’s, then happily, her own.

Aside from occasional bursts of full-contact hereditary rummaging, my genealogical quest has been more of an occasional thing. Some early-a.m. flipping through old newspapers here, some peeks at the burgeoning pile of electronic detritus on Ancestry.com there. Day job, Dad duties, mindless TV — all conspire to slow my family-sleuthing from mad scramble to meandering marathon.

And that’s OK. This blog is a record of where we’ve been before, and an open lane to the depths we’ve yet to discover. And often, the way to latch on to new currents is to back-paddle to places we last left off. Dive around. Pick up the tidal pull again.

What do we do? We sleuth….

Questions to Keep Sleuthing By

My goal for this space the next six months is to share, at least once a week, some tidbit or tale that I’ve kept under glass the last few years, or lately untangled from the historical net. These discoveries spark conversations, which in turn spark connections — people with answers, and questions of their own. Keep ’em coming.

For now, here are five of the biggest, most-enduring mysteries I’d like one day to solve, bringing further clarity to the muddy waters of Foutz, Ley, Weible, Morgan, Fisher, Johnson, Palmer, Zeigler origins.

1. Where did Michael Pfouts come from?

Yeah, we think we know. Württemberg. Along the lower Neckar River region in Germany. Where Foutzes of old farmed, fought, made little Foutzes.

So says John Scott Davenport’s Foutz Newsletter of the 1980s: Michael Pfoutz emigrated to America in 1787, settled in Washington County, Maryland, and by 1810 or so was on his way to Harrison County, Ohio, where multiple records pretty definitively trace the Pfouts-Fouts-Foutz story through the succeeding two centuries.

But: Where exactly did Michael come from in Germany? Why did he cross the ocean, at 18? Did anyone come with him? Where else did those possible brothers and sisters, and father and mother, end up?

As the Davenport newsletters grow yellowed, and the originators of that work pass away, we’ve got to look for new answers, new connections. One I may have found, that I’ll reveal in a post soon (to echo Star Wars’ original trilogy): “a sister(rrrrrrrrr)?”

2. What happened to Rachel Foutz?

As traced in the years since an original summation of Foutz mysteries, we now know what became of every brother and sister of my great-grandfather, Vance Foutz, and even have a pretty good bead on their descendants, save for one sister, Rachel (Foutz) Coleman.

Rachel was one of three older sisters to my great-grandfather. We know what became of Lila and Ida. And it’s through Ida’s son Sherman’s diary — and the useful transcribing of distant cousin Dawn James — that we gain a little color around the facts we know, and a window on life in Dover, Ohio after Rachel and family followed younger brothers Charles, Vance and Mom Rebecca Foutz there in the first decade of the 1900s:

  • Born June 3, 1871 to Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz,in Harrison County, Ohio
  • In 1891, at age 20, Rachel married a war vet, William Coleman, more than 20 years her senior, and became stepmom to at least one living son, Berttie
  • They had at least four kids — Carl, who died of tuberculosis at my great-grandfather’s house in 1915 (same spring as Rebecca Foutz and her oldest son, Sherman); Blanche, Frank and Bessie.
  • Bessie, born in 1906 in Dover, disappears, along with mother Rachel, from the record. No other census, death or burial records have been found.

We later find William living in a veterans’ home in Canton, Ohio. And Frank lives until 1959 in Canton (he has a family I have not further explored – could be connections there). Meanwhile, sister Blanche lives until the ripe old age of 97, passing away in 1994 in Kent, Ohio. A few years back, I spoke to a family who knew her well, and shared photos. Story to come.

But what became of Rachel? There’s a mystery even more vexing for all we’ve assembled about our now-distant Foutz relatives.

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms. The Leys emigrated there from The Netherlands sometime in the 1600s.

3. What can we learn of the Netherlands Leys?

According to A Short History of the Ley Family, a pamphlet passed down from our Port Washington, Ohio Ley ancestors, the Ley family originated in the Netherlands and came to Kaiserslautern in Germany, probably in the late 1600s.

We can trace the family back through my fourth-great-grandfather, Karl Ley, coming to America in 1833 and settling first in Shanesville, Ohio, and later, Port Washington, making his career as a saddler. And then further back through his father, Frederick Charles Ley, a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pfalz, Bavaria; and then through his father, John Frederick Ley, also pastor at that parish (succeeding, in fact, his father-in-law, who succeeded his own father).

Neat trick, and probably an amazing place to visit someday for all that family mojo.

But we don’t know much about Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Ley — not his name, date of birth, city of residence, or death — save that he had a large, rural estate and was mayor, for a time, of his unknown city. And that his dad, Great Ley x 8, was first to move from the Netherlands and settle in Kaiserslautern, where he set up a cloth “manufactory.”

What can we learn from detailed German records, which seem to have been maintained through the tenuous political jigsaw puzzle of those centuries, and through war, etc., but weren’t so far recorded by our relatives?

Who were Thomas Johnson’s parents?

We’ve got names, known to my grandma, Erma (Johnson) Foutz, and her sisters. Just not much else. Maybe because his name was so common?

George Johnson was probably born in England, so says family legend, and he married a, well, Mary, and they settled in Guernsey County, Ohio. That’s the sum total of our knowledge about fourth-great-grandfather Johnson.

Admittedly, it doesn’t get too much clearer with Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas, who died at 42 in the Civil War. Though just where in Mississippi, and of what, is a matter of some debate. (Possibly also due to his fairly common name?)

We hear he was a mule skinner in the army — something to do with nabbing available meat from local farms the army passed through and butchering it for the fighting boys. But we don’t even know that much about the wife he left behind, Nancy Valentine, back home in Guernsey, at first, and then, by 1910 in Jackson, Ohio. There’s a tid bit about her maybe not getting his pension — why? We also don’t know her death.

This is odd, because we know all their descendants, and their paths through Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, Ohio. Time to start sleuthing….

5. Where, in Wales, were the Morgans?

Also in the common name department are my second-great-grandparents, Thomas and Jannett (Rees) Morgan. We know their lives after they emigrated from Wales quite well — from their marriage in Philadelphia in 1872, to their settling in western Pennsylvania, and eventually, in Carnegie, where Thomas ran the Hotel Morgan before he died, in 1897.

What is a continued vexation — a problem not cleared up by the terse obituaries of the 19th century — is just who their parents were. When Thomas first came over; when Janet did. What happened to their sisters and brothers (if they had any) and parents. Even how “Reese/Rhys/Rees” is spelled.

We have theories about where they were from in Wales, and family stories of Jannett and her children going back to visit. We’ve gained their photos, and a hunch about Jannett’s Dad’s name, Daniel.

Everything else? Time to get sleuthing.

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s to the Mothers….


Foutz Dan Colt Mom Jake 1981

Mom Janet Ley Foutz and sons Dan, Colt and Jake, circa 1981. (Robin Williams as Mork, though admired, is not family.)

Family Moms through the Ages

One measly day?

For all the diapers and dandified prom pictures and PSAT prep and running-long recitals. The backyard football blood and the spring Saturday track meet sweat. The night-before science fair reports and the needlessly verbose detention polemics.

The strep throat and fevers and incidental vomiting.

The kisses and flowers and poems. And the blue-ribbon daughters-in-law, too.

The grandchildren.

One measly day? HA. Mothers made us, and hence, for now and for all time, we declare every day, perhaps not tailor-made for them, but still, mothers’ days.

Where would we be without them?

A Family Mothers Slideshow

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Arry Weible Hurt Cleaning Gun


Weible Robert Colt

Great-Uncle Robert Colt Weible, known in our family as Arry, proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy through three wars — World War II, Korea and Vietnam. An Ohio native, he made his home in Hawaii, where was stationed. He is buried in the “Punchbowl” — National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

 

Robert Colt Weible: “Didn’t Know Gun was Loaded”

From this week, 65 years ago, as told by the Dover, Ohio Daily Reporter of Jan. 7, 1950:

HURT CLEANING GUN

Robert Weible of 1115 N Wooster-ave was treated by a physician yesterday afternoon for a serious thumb wound received when a gun he was cleaning in his home was accidentally discharged. The bullet from a .45 calibre gun hit his right thumb. The weapon is part of a collection owned by his late father, Robert O. Weible. The injured man said he did not know any of the guns in the collection were loaded.

 

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Josephine Wible, Well-Traveled Teacher


Weible Josephine dhs yearbook 1931

Josephine Wible, daughter of Edwin Frederick and Minnie Mae (Ley) Wible, about 1931, as a popular Dover High School teacher.

Josephine Wible, a Cousin Twice Over

Headlines in the Dover Daily Reporter 60 years ago this August announced, “Josephine Wible Feted.” The occasion? Marriage, at age 48, that September 1954, for one of Dover’s most-beloved and ambitious, teachers.

Rewind a half-century. Josephine, born 1905, was eldest of Edwin Frederick Wible and Minnie Mae (Ley) Wible’s four children.

Edwin, remember, was a son of David Wible, and grandson of Frederick Weible, which made him nephew to my great-great grandfather, Franklin Eli Weible.

Minnie Mae Ley was the only daughter of Augustus Ley and Harriet (Powell) Ley, brother to my great-great grandfather Charles Henry Ley.

Edwin and Minnie’s marriage, in December 1904, was the first union of the Weible and Ley families. My grandparents, Sue Weible, granddaughter of Franklin Eli, and Robert Earl Ley Jr., grandson of Charles Henry Ley, would marry nearly 40 years later.

But back to Josephine. Of her childhood, W.D. Shirk, in his history of the Powell families, writes of a 1917 visit to her parents’ household, “theirs is truly a model family….

“They are … the proud parents of four as bright children as can be found in the Buckeye state; Josephine Elizabeth, b. Sept. 26, 1905; James Frederick, b. Sept. 30, 1908; (Ruth) Eleanor, b. July 21, 1910, and David Augustus, b. Apr. 4, 1916.”

After graduating from Dover High School in 1923, Josephine attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1927. She then spent 13 years racking up classes and specialized training in theater, radio and dramatic production, studying at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa, which granted her a master’s degree in 1940.

Throughout her studies, Josephine taught. She held a teaching fellowship in the summer theater at Westford, Mass.; taught high school in Dover and Delaware, Ohio and in Rochelle, Illinois; and taught at the post-secondary level at Stevens College (Missouri), Salem College (North Carolina) and Centenary Junior College (Hackettstown, N.J.).

Returning home to Dover was an early stop on her teaching itinerary. Throughout the 1930s, she led the drama and speech groups at Dover High School, and appeared to warm the hearts of everyone, as evidenced in the 1931 yearbook dedication below. The signature, on my grandpa Don Foutz’s junior yearbook, is hers.

Weible Josephine dhs ybook full dedication 1931

Beloved Teacher Summers in Dover

Later editions of the Dover Daily Reporter are only a partial guide to Josephine’s many achievements and their impact on the life of her community. Josephine is featured regularly in “Echoes of Yesteryear”….

The paper always seemed proud of the town’s prodigal daughter for returning to Dover every summer, no matter where her teaching career took her.

It was during a visit home in August 1954 that Josephine was treated to her bridal shower. She likely met John Milliken of Stockton, New Jersey, while teaching at Centenary College. Their marriage — his second, her first — was performed by the Rev. Richard Michel at the Moravian Church.

After marrying, Josephine and John moved to Acton, Mass., where she continued her teaching career and active involvement in the community.

By the time of her death, in May 1974, the Millikens called Los Gatos, Calif., just south of Santa Clara, home. Josephine died one day after my great-grandmother, Beatrice Ethel Weible — her first cousin once removed. John would follow her in death in 1982.

Interestingly, Josephine Wible Milliken chose to be buried at home, near the Weible family plot in Maple Grove Cemetery. John is buried in New Jersey.

Categories: Ley, quickie post, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Weible Named Newspaper Promotion Director


Weible Bill TR1973

A 1973 Times-Reporter staff pic of Great Uncle Bill Weible. Following his service in World War II, Bill joined the Dover Daily Reporter in May 1948 and worked at the Times-Reporter for several decades, managing various advertising departments, among other duties.

Times-Reporter Promotes Great Uncle Bill Weible

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Great Aunt Ann Weible on January 21, a day before her 89th birthday. I’m writing this post a day after her burial in Maple Grove Cemetery, back home in Dover, Ohio, and I find myself longing to be there, with extended family, aunts and uncles and my mom’s cousins, whose names I know well, but company I haven’t enjoyed for awhile.

After nearly 14 years apart, I like to think Ann is again with her husband, Great Uncle Bill Weible, who died during a July in 2000 that also saw the passing of my grandma Erma Foutz Miller. Knowing and remembering Uncle Bill, and the stories I’ve been told, I imagine Ann and Bill and Uncle Arry and Grandma and Grandpa Ley are enjoying a blissful — and knowing them, likely entertaining — reunion.

We’re left with our memories until we all see what there is to discover in life’s mysterious, inevitable next chapter.

From 1973, then, a bit of news in the newspaper career of Great Uncle Bill, and a glimpse back then of the Dover, Ohio, Weibles.

Uncle Bill worked at the Dover Daily Reporter for many years after returning from World War II service and college. He was on hand for the merger of the New Philadelphia Times and Dover Daily Reporter in 1968, and retained his post as advertising manager, as reported by the Mansfield News Journal.

Five years later saw Uncle Bill’s ascent to the role of promotion director of the Times-Reporter. From the Dec. 17, 1973 edition:

Three Times-Reporter advertising men have been given new positions….

William Weible, 50, 1515 N. Wooster av., Dover, has been named promotion director.

Weible, who began his newspaper advertising career with the former Daily Reporter in May 1948, will assume his duties Jan. 2 when he returns from sick leave. He suffered a severe heart attack last Sept. 11.

Weible will be responsible for all Times-Reporter and commercial printing department promotion. The Dover native has served in various capacities on the advertising staff and was named display advertising manager when the Daily Reporter and Daily Times merged in 1968.

He and his wife, Ann, have two children, Beth, who graduated last June from Moravian College at Bethlehem, Pa., and Rob, a student at Wittenberg University.

Read the full article by clicking the thumbnail below.

Weible William production manager Times-Reporter 1973

Categories: Milestones, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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