Posts Tagged With: Bowerston

October Birthdays & Anniversaries | Family Milestones this Month

Ley Fam Reunion 1984

Ley family reunion, 1984. Among other October family milestones, grandparents Bob and Sue Ley celebrated 63 years of marriage every October 16, from 1943 through 2006.

October Family Milestones

Well, there’s no time like October and Family History Month to get my typing fingers — and this blog — back in gear.

So here, in honor of the birth of the newest Foutz, Caden Harman, on October 4, 2012, to proud parents Dan and Laura (Hicks) Foutz, is a rundown of family milestones for the month.

Great-great-great-great Grandfather Henry Charles Powell

1 — Birthday of Henry Charles Powell

Great-great-great-great grandfather Henry Powell was born in 1814 in London, England, but set sail for America with his parents, four older siblings and one younger sibling when he was 3. After blowing through the family’s fortunes as they faced the deprivations of frontier life in Virginia, they soon settled in Bakersville, near Coshocton, Ohio. Henry thrived as a farmer, tripling the size of his original homestead to 300 acres. At 96 years, 7 months and 9 days, his is the longest confirmed lifespan of any of my ancestors.

1 — Birthday of cousin Liz (Ley) Creedon

May she who shares the birthday of fourth-great-grandfather Henry Charles Powell have four times the greater number of days. Gee, Liz, that would make me about 382 when you get to that point. I’d like to send you a postcard, but I’ll probably just have my 12th great-grandchild do that…. (I’ll be really damn old.)

Powell Henrietta Howells

Henrietta Howells Powell

4 — Birthday of Henrietta (Howells) Powell

In 1783, in Brecknock, Breconshire, Wales. Our fifth great-grandmother set sail from England for America with her husband and six young children at 37 years old. In America, she would raise another six more.

4 — Marriage of Jonathan and Rebecca (Caldwell) Foutz

In 1865, in Harrison County, Ohio. Foutz family legend has it — as recorded in a 1910 history book — that Rebecca was born on the same Foutz homestead as her eventual husband. Whether that was third-great-grandfather Gideon Pfouts’s place or even way back at Michael Pfouts’s spread a township over is unknown, but the two childhood playmates were eventually wed, and went on to raise seven children, first on a farm of their own, and later in a path that wound its way to Dover, Ohio, where our family would remain in a new century.

5 — Birthday of Charles Johnson Jr.

In 1922 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. One of 10 children born to my great-grandparents Charles and Viola Johnson, and closest in age to my grandmother Erma (Johnson) Foutz (see below), Charles was one of three brothers to die tragically in water-related accidents, succumbing, at 17, to a diving accident in 1939.

Ley Augustus mug 1896

Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Augustus Ley

11 — Birthday of Augustus Ley

Born in 1839 in Shanesville, Ohio, Great-Great-Great Grandpa Augustus Ley was the third child of Bavarian immigrants Karl and Susanna Ley. Though his father was a prominent saddler in Shanesville, Augustus set up shop down the road and river in Port Washington. He was merely one of several Leys to run a successful dry goods or grocery store, and for years his business was situated prominently on the canal in Port Washington.

16 — Marriage of Robert Earl Ley Jr. and Suzanne Abbott Weible

In 1943, in Oxford, Ohio. Grandma and Grandpa Ley were married 63 years.

Amanda Jane Cummings Palmer

Great-great Grandma Amanda Jane Cummings Palmer, about 1872


17 — Birthday of Amanda Jane Cummings

Born in 1852 in Harrison County, Ohio, Great-Great-Grandma Amanda Palmer made her life with husband George on their farm near Scio long after her parents and siblings lit out for Osage County, Kansas. She was mother to 10, the youngest of whom was daughter (and my great-grandmother) Viola Mae (Palmer) Johnson.

Fisher John William

Great-Great-Grandfather John William Fisher

21 — Birthday of John William Fisher

1856 in New Philadelphia. Great-Great-Grandfather J. W. Fisher farmed in Stone Creek, just outside New Phila city limits, where his father George had farmed for decades prior. After his daughter, my great-grandmother, Mary Zula Lucrece (Fisher) Ley, died tragically in 1920 at age 24, an infant Robert Earl Ley Jr. was sent to live with J.W. and wife Addie May (Smith) Fisher while his father Robert Ley Sr. grieved.


Foutz Erma, Roy, Louise, Laura TG 1949

Pictured on Thanksgiving Day, 1949: Great Uncle Roy Foutz, flanked by sisters-in-law Erma (Johnson) Foutz and Louise (Moore) Foutz. Reaching in is Great-Grandma Laura Foutz.

26 — Birthday of Adell Louise (Moore) Foutz

Great Aunt Louise, wife to my grandpa Don’s older brother, Carl Foutz, and mother to “Buzz” and Donna, kept up a close correspondence with family back in Dover decades after her family moved to Florida. Born in 1913 in West Virginia, she is buried with Great Uncle Carl in Maple Grove Cemetery in Dover.

Ruslin Hills Church ext 2012

The church in the Ruslin Hills, Dover, Ohio where Vance and Laura Foutz were married in 1907. A portion of the property sat on Laura’s family farm.

26 — Marriage of Vance Cleveland Foutz and Christina Laurina Katherina Zeigler

In 1907 — 105 years ago this month — Great-Grandparents Vance and Laura Foutz were married at Ruslin Hills Church on the north end of Dover, Ohio. He was barely 20, only just employed in the steel mill where he’d work for the next five decades, and she was a farm girl with native German parents, both immigrants from Wuerttemberg. They both had lost fathers while still in their young teens; his, in 1900, and hers in 1897. Their marriage would last more than 49 years, until death took Laura, in 1956.

Johnson Erma 1920

Erma Johnson as a baby, about 1920 or ’21.

27 — Birthday of Erma Maxine (Johnson) Foutz Miller

In 1920 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Grandma Foutz was fifth of ten children born to Charles and Viola (Palmer) Johnson. She lived her whole life in the New Philadelphia and Dover, Ohio area, but wintered in Green Valley, Arizona and traveled the world with her second husband, Max. It’s been 13 years since we celebrated a birthday with you, grandma, and we all miss you.

Vance Cleveland Foutz Charles Ross Foutz

Brothers Vance (left) and Charles Foutz, about 1905-1907.

28 — Birthday of Charles Ross Foutz

In 1885, on the farm south of Bowerston. Charles was the sixth of seven children born between 1867 and 1887 to Great-Great-Grandparents Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz, and closest in age to my great-grandpa Vance Cleveland Foutz. Following the death at 55 of their father, the two youngest sons were just teenagers when they went to work coal mining to support their widowed mother. Eventually, their traveling took them to Dover, Ohio, where Vance settled, while Charles moved across the river to New Philadelphia. Father of four, he died tragically young, of pneumonia, at just 32.

30 — Birthday of cousin Doreen Ley

42 years young this year! Fine Buckeyes don’t age, Doreen, they just learn to make wine.

31 — Birthday of Florence Wilma (Jones) Ley

In 1901 in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Second wife to Robert Earl Ley Sr., she was, nonetheless, mother to Robert Earl Ley Jr., who lost his birth mother when he was not yet two years old. To the rest of us, she was “M.A. Ley.”


And that concludes our wrap-up of October milestones. Make it a memorable one, everybody!

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Ley, Milestones, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Grandson for Sherman Foutz (c. 1910)

Sherman S. Foutz

Second Great-Uncle Sherman S. Foutz

Harry Sherman Foutz | A New Find in PA Church Records

The family of my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz’s oldest brother Sherman S. Foutz has long held fascination for my family.

I’ll say “long held fascination,” because even though I’ve only been at this genealogy game for less than four years, among the possessions of Vance’s that were passed on to my grandfather, Don, and then on to my father, Fred, were clippings of his brother Sherman’s obituary and an old Knights of the Maccabees dinner invitation (shown above). Vance didn’t have so much as a shred of memento about the old Foutz farm in Harrison County — and never spoke of those origins — and descendants could only guess at his other family members. Sherman, he felt compelled to commemorate.

Sherman’s story is certainly noteworthy, and divulged in no fewer than a half dozen posts from this blog. The highlights:

* First of the farming Foutzes to attend college, back in the 1880s when that was quite something.

* Applied that background to establish his own fire insurance business.

* Bolstered by fraternal connections, particularly through the Knights of the Maccabees, Sherman expanded his business and earned an appointment to the Treasury Department in Washington D.C. during the Grover Cleveland presidential administration.

* First to leave Ohio in nearly 100 years, Sherman was soon joined by his parents, Colt’s second great-grandparents Jonathan and Rebecca. They appear with Sherman and his young family on the 1900 census in Washington D.C.

* At his appointment’s close — and following father Jonathan’s 1900 death — Sherman rose to further prominence as supervisor of Pennsylvania’s eastern district of Maccabees, growing their membership from 92 to more than several thousand over a few short years.

* The family made their home first in Reading, Pa., then later at a prominent downtown address in Harrisburg, the state capital.

But in 1915, Sherman’s life came to a tragic close as he succumbed to tuberculosis, despite a move to a Lutheran sanitorium in Wheat Ridge, Colo., in an attempt to restore his health.

He was buried back home in Bowerston, Ohio, in Longview Cemetery. His wife, Lizzie, outlived him by 30 years, maintaining a residence in Reading while raising at least one foster daughter, Catherine Rutt. Meanwhile, daughter Grace, also college educated, married shortly after Sherman’s death and returned to Ohio, where she taught school in Uhrichsville and lived a quiet, childless life no more than a dozen or so miles from my great-grandpa Vance, more a playmate than an uncle, since they were born a mere three years apart. And yet, my family knew nothing of Grace, or of Sherman’s family’s ends.

Of particular curiosity to me was what happened to his eldest child, Oscar. Oscar, records show, was active in the military as a young man, serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Berks County records — apparently easier to access than others in the state — revealed Oscar’s marriage on New Year’s Day, 1908, to Florence Hartman.

Census records reveal Oscar and Florence’s son, Ralph, living with his grandmother, Lizzie, in 1910 and 1920. But there is no Oscar reported in 1920. And Sherman’s 1915 obituary — as well as Grace’s obit in 1970 — make no mention of Oscar.

A curious incident reported in the Sept. 17, 1910 Gettysburg Times relates how a Private Oscar Foutz, along with three other companions, traveled to Allentown for a night of fun that August and upon meeting a William Crogan of Delaware County, beat him with a club and took his money. Oscar was convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to nine months in jail. The article predicted he “may be drummed out of service.”

How did Oscar’s conviction change the family’s fortunes? He doesn’t appear on another census, and I have not been able to locate Florence, either. Soon after, the family would suffer Sherman’s tragic death, and though I have attempted — and had some success at — tracing Ralph Foutz and his possible descendants in Pennsylvania and elsewhere over the decades that followed, the connection to our Foutzes seems long lost.

This year, however, some new light has been shed on Oscar’s young family. In addition to further substantiation of his marriage to Florence, I’ve located two baptisms in Pennsylvania church records on

The first — no surprise — is for a Ralph Francis Foutz, born Dec. 19, 1908 and baptized March 6, 1909 at Alsace Lutheran Church in Reading, Pa. to parents Oscar Foutz and Florence M. Hartman. “His mother” was listed as sponsor.

The second — a big surprise, actually, since (tragically) this name appears nowhere in records I have seen after this date — is for a Harry Sherman Foutz, born March 28, 1910 and baptized April 22, 1910, again at Alsace Lutheran in Reading, to parents Oscar Foutz and Florence Hartman. Again, his mother is listed as sponsor.

At first, this confirmation of Ralph’s birth and baptism — and the discovery of a new brother, Harry Sherman — is heartening.

This further ties what we know of our Ohio family to the Ralph F. Foutz who grew up and remained in Harrsiburg, Pa. until his death, in 1964, at about age 58. We know about that Ralph’s wife, Virginia Clara Henson, and I’ve begun to trace his descendants, both in Pennsylvania and the larger United States.

It’s good to think that descendants of such a prominent Foutz as Sherman S. live on.

But existing records do not indicate the survival of his grandson namesake. He doesn’t appear on the 1910 census — taken on April 22 — in the household of his grandparents, where both his father and older brother reside. I haven’t found any Harrisburg or Pennsylvania city directory records — as I have with Ralph — that indicate his survival into adulthood.

And what of Florence? She, too, does not appear in the 1910 census along with her husband (listed there as married) or eldest son.

For awhile, I wondered if she had died in childbirth with Ralph, and the census taker had made a mistake listing M for married. At least the 1910 birth and baptism of Harry Sherman nixes that. But where, then, is Florence?

An article in the July 10, 1911 edition of the Reading Eagle seems to support Florence’s continued health as well as Oscar’s reinstatement into the National Guard. The story reports the happy visitation of families to the National Guard camp in Reading. Among those listed is a Florence Foutz.

And so, we are still left wondering, now about three Foutz relatives. What became of Oscar, Florence and Harry Sherman? Perhaps an exhaustive search of the Reading and Harrisburg papers of the period will reveal their fates.

Foutz Ralph F Woodlawn Memorial Gardens Harrisburg Pa

We think we know the resting place of one of Sherman and Lizzie Foutz's grandsons. Ralph F. Foutz, born 1908 and died 1964, is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Harrisburg, Pa. This is his half of his shared headstone with wife Virginia Clara (Henson) Foutz.

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How the Foutzes Came to Dover, Ohio | Foutz Family History

Sherman, Grace, and Rebecca Foutz; Rachel Caldwell 1910

In 1910, clockwise from left, Sherman Foutz, daughter Grace Foutz, mother Rebecca Foutz and grandmother Rachel Caldwell pose in happier times.

New Answers to Foutz Genealogy Questions | Part Four

Yesterday, I shared an excerpt from the journal of Sherman Earl Moreland, a first cousin twice removed. More clearly, he’s the third child of my great-grandfather Vance Foutz’s sister, Ida, and his written remembrance of his 99 years has proven a vital key to understanding what befell our ancestors 100 and more years ago.

For starters, Sherman’s memoirs — faithfully transcribed by great-granddaughter Dawn James — have answered the riddle of how my great-great (and Dawn’s great-great-great) grandfather, Jonathan Foutz, died.

Public documents failed to disclose the why and what-after of Jonathan and wife Rebecca’s late 1800s move from Harrison County, Ohio — where two previous generations of Foutzes had settled into farming life following patriarch Michael Pfouts’s emigration from Wuerttemburg, Germany — to Washington D.C.

Jonathan’s death in September 1900, as reported in a biographical sketch of eldest son, Sherman Foutz — led in-the-dark descendants to wonder: was he already ill when he moved wife Rebecca and youngest sons Charles and Vance into Sherman’s budding household? Had the farm been lost, due to poor health or financial straits? Was his illness chronic or sudden?

Sherman Moreland’s journal at least gives the impression the move was voluntary, a product of uncle Sherman Foutz’s fruitful appointment to a U.S. Treasury Post. Uncles John, Charles and Vance had been secured jobs by their big brother, and later in the 1890s  the family returned home to the farm south of Bowerston, Ohio, so the place was apparently secure. Enough so that Sherman Moreland remembers Jonathan continuing to work it, with his young grandson trailing behind, knife in hand, ready to help wherever he might be directed.

So, it’s likely that Jonathan’s illness was sudden Much in the way second son John succumbed to tuberculosis at age 21 in 1899. Just a year and a half later, Jonathan would fall ill with Bright’s Disease — a classification doctors of the day gave to kidney inflammation. He was dead, at 55, in September 1900.

But what became of the family next? How did they come to land in Dover, Ohio in 1910 — where my grandfather, Donald Dale Foutz, and my father, Frederick Charles Foutz were born (not to mention several generations on my mother’s side), and I was raised and graduated high school? How could two youngest sons — Charles at 15, and Vance at 13 — hope to support their widowed mother?

Moreland Sherman Earl 1893-1993

Sherman Earl Moreland, 1893-1993

A Wandering Life — with Family Reconvening

The path of the Foutzes from 1900 through 1910, when the federal census records my great-great grandmother Rebecca in the household of youngest son (my great-grandfather) Vance, is rendered, in part, by the pen of Sherman Earl Moreland, then growing from a 7-year-old into a late teenage factory laborer alongside his father, Thomas.

In his first 17 years, Sherman’s family has moved from south of Bowerston, where he was born in the log cabin of Grandpaw Jonathan and grandfather Thomas Sr. served as four-time mayor; to railroad town Dennison, where Ida acquires a lot in town for the then-relatively-princely sum of $1,000 (maybe due to an inheritance after Thomas Sr.’s death; but why was the lot acquired in her name?); to a farming life outside Carrollton.

The family’s journey takes them through the corners of three Ohio counties — Harrison, Tuscarawas and Carroll — but it is to other points that Sherman’s heart returns in his memoirs, as he takes up the winding course of his extended family following the death of grandfather Jonathan (paragraph breaks are my own):

Grandmaw, Charlie, and Vance then moved to her father’s old home about three miles from Sherrodsville (Robert Caldwell had died in 1890, but mother Rachel would live to 1918, dying at 91 — Colt).  The old Caldwell farm.

Her brother, John Caldwell, lived just across the road.  Another brother George just a short distance away.  Also another sister that married Maxwell Belnap at Sherrodsville.  A sister that married a man named Bartolmia.  Another that married Lonzo Easterdy.  Still another sister I can’t recall her name, she had a boyfriend by the name of Swinehart.

Charley and Vance although quite young secured jobs at the coal shafts.  To help support their widowed mother.  Sherrodsville at that time was quite a boom town.  Wild and rough, seventeen saloons.

They later moved to Phillipsburg, a company owned mining town.  On the banks of the big McGuire Creek.  East of Sherrodsville. (In the 1930s, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District would dam the creek, forming Leesville Lake and swallowing the site of the old town — Colt) Phillip Beamer’s wife was formerly a member of the Moreland clan.  Grandmaw Foutz lived there for some time.

Then they moved to Canal Dover.  Charley in the mean time married Rose Whilte.  Her folks also lived in Phillipsburgh.  The Whites were natives of West Virginia.  The whole White family also moved to Canal Dover.  The old man rigged up a wagon which he would park on street corners selling popcorn, candy, and what nots.

Uncle Bill and Aunt Rachel Coleman had moved from Levetsville (really, Leavittsville, another town closeby — Colt), to Phillipsburgh.  Uncle Bill, a stationary engineer, worked in one of the several large coal mines.  At that place.  Later the Colemans moved to Canal dover.

It was when these folks lived in Dover that we visited there.  I saw the first and only canal boat in my life on the canal.  The boat was pulled by a mule.  The mule travelled along a toe path beside the canal.  Uncle Bill was employed on the new river bridge that was under construction at that time.  We on that trip attended the first county fair in our lives.  The county fair at Dover.  Also about this time mother took us older children to Ringling Bro. Big Tent show at Urichsville.  We went by train.  And really had a wonderful time.

It’s a cheering thing to read of Sherman’s fond remembrance of this times, since the 1910s would turn dark for the Foutz clan.

In 1915 alone, first Rachel’s son Karl, and then Uncle Sherman Foutz would succumb to the ravages of tuberculosis. “Grandmaw” Rebecca would suffer a stroke and die in May, 1915.

Ida, in 1911, was struck with typhoid fever and suffered as a result of it for many year after, likely succumbing in 1917 from complications due to the flu, as that epidemic began to sweep the country.

In 1918, Charles, by then moved to neighboring New Philadelphia and father of four, would die of pneumonia at just 32. Rosa would remarry and move her clan to Canton.

By the 1920s, just Vance and sister Lila remained. Vance would outlive his sister (who passed away in 1936, at 66), by another 32 years. And the families grew distant, with branches in my father’s and my own generation enough removed to be ignorant entirely of our farming roots in Harrison County, and our German patriarch, Michael.

But Vance was perhaps not so distant as his new life, working the steel mills in then-booming Dover, might suggest. His 1968 funeral registry, kept these many years, first by my grandfather, Don, then by his widow, Erma, and now in the possession of my father, Fred, records the names of these stalwarts, from the old Pfouts/Foutz circle, as in attendance that September day, and signing:

Besse M. Coleman (Ida’s oldest child — Colt)

Mr. and Mrs. Roy V. Moreland (another child of Ida)

S. E. Moreland (known to you and me as… )

Sherman Moreland & Family (who sent flowers)

Stay tuned for more from Sherman E. and that precocious great-granddaughter of his — and about the turn-of-the-century Foutzes.

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How Did Jonathan Foutz Die? | Foutz Family History

Jonathan Foutz

Colt's great-great grandfather, Jonathan Foutz, 1845-1900

New Answers to Foutz Genealogy Questions | Part Three

The search for clues about my great-great grandfather Jonathan Foutz’s young death, and what befell his family immediately afterward, has for three years been a mostly frustrating slog through old microfilm and crumbling courthouse records.

We’ve hit upon some solid leads, some tantalizing possibilities — but have been left with more questions than answers.

Until this week, when the rediscovery of writings decades old by a grandson of Jonathan nearly 20 years in his own grave has shed new light on the Foutz family more than 100 years ago.

In a post concluding a series on the siblings and parents of my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz, I posed seven remaining riddles about these Foutz ancestors that scores of records, official and private, had been unable to solve. Chief among these questions — how did great-great grandpa Jonathan Foutz die? And what became of the family afterward?

The journal of Sherman Earl Moreland (third child of Vance’s sister, Ida) — and the work of his great-granddaughter Dawn James to describe 340+ handwritten pages — has finally meant a break in this case.

Shedding Light on a Life — and Death

From a genealogical perspective, the lives of Jonathan’s parents — my great-great-great grandparents, Gideon and Delilah Pfouts — were relatively easy to trace, by comparison.

Gideon and Delilah were blessed with unique names in the family tree. They lived into ripe old age — 77 for Delilah; 89 for Gideon — and stayed put, farming the same land in Monroe Township, Harrison County, Ohio recorded on censuses from 1850 through 1910. Upon his passing, Gideon deeds the land and buildings to youngest sons Nathaniel and Nelson.

Jonathan began his life on the same course as his father, but found himself in quite different circumstances than clans of Foutzes back home.

He was born in May 1845, the oldest of six. He learned the farming trade and by 1865 he was married to Rebecca Caldwell, who as family legend has it was also born on the old Foutz homestead, and apprenticed to an uncle of the same name (as well as an aunt, Elizabeth, and uncle John and his wife Margaret) on a farm in the southeast corner of the township.

Son Sherman was born in 1867, and followed by Lila, Rachel, Ida, John and Charles, with the family brood complete some 20 years later, and with Jonathan 42 and Rebecca 40, with Vance.

And life might have continued as it had for Foutzes in the county the last 75 years, with all growing old and leaning into plows, if not for the precociousness of Sherman.

Unique among Foutzes of the era, Sherman completes a college education at the New Hagerstown Academy and, fortified by fraternal connections made in the Knights of the Maccabees, secures a presidential appointment to the U.S. Treasury department in the 1890s.

The last public record of Jonathan, the 1900 Federal Census, shows him, Rebecca, and their remaining dependents Charles and Vance (Lila, Rachel and Ida were already married) living in the same household alongside Sherman, daughter-in-law Elizabeth and grandchildren Oscar and Grace in a bustling neighborhood of Washington D.C.

And here our questions begin clamoring for resolution. Because an early 20th-century history of Berks County, Pa. reports, in a biographical sketch of a relocated Sherman, the death of Jonathan in September 1900.

The shortness of his life doesn’t gibe with Foutzes of his era. Not when grandfather Michael, first ancestor off the boat from Germany, left the world at 83. And youngest son Vance would go on to notch 80 years.

And so, what was the story? Was Jonathan already ill when the family relocated to Washington? Was the move one of necessity — perhaps the mark of an insolvent or forfeited farm, or to receive care beyond the abilities of country doctors?

And what fate finally befell my great-great grandfather, and of his family, immediately afterward? The next time a widowed Rebecca appears in the public record, it is in the home of my great-grandfather and his young family in 1910, in a town — Dover, Ohio — three future generations of Foutzes would call home. What brought them there?

All of the census records failed to yield further clues. The 1890 document was lost in a fire, and fails to reveal a bridge between Harrison County and our nation’s capital.

Newspapers of August through October, 1900 — microfilmed and electronically scanned — bear no trace of an account of Jonathan’s suffering or passing, even though his family was prominently followed, both at home and in greater D.C.

Cemeteries, canvassed on two occasions, in spring 2010 and 2011, failed to give up a final resting place. And the official caretakers — libraries, the gracious ladies of the historical society, the creaking volumes of the courthouse — yielded marriage certificates for Gideon and Jonathan, wills of Michael and Gideon, but nothing further.

Lucky for all, then, that for the last year, distant cousin Dawn James has been tirelessly transcribing her great-grandfather Sherman Earl Moreland’s memoirs. These four handwritten notebooks provide an important record of Sherman’s 99-year window on the world — and a vital link to what life was like for our ancestors.

Moreland Sherman Earl 1893-1993

Sherman Earl Moreland, 1893-1993

Modern-Day Revelations from the Pen of Sherman Moreland

Sherman was born in October, 1893, in one of the log cabins belonging to his grandfather Jonathan Pfouts, according to family legend.

He was the third child — and second son — of Ida Foutz Moreland, Jonathan’s youngest daughter. His grandfather, Thomas, was a four-time mayor of nearby Bowerston. His father, Thomas, worked as a railroad foreman and fireman in a pottery business, among other ventures. But Sherman would follow three generations of Foutzes into farming.

His writings adopt a narrative style, and tell of boyhood plunges into a Bowerston creek (under the watchful eye of the sheriff’s wife), visits to “Grandmaw Foutz’s” farm, where he raced along the hills with his not-much-older uncles, and the stories told him by his elders.

About 1900, Sherman would have been all of seven years old. Still, his memory places his grandfather’s family in Washington not because of any ill health, but because of Sherman securing a new opportunity for the previously Harrison-County-bound (the paragraph breaks are mine):

Prior to this time Grandpaw and Grandmaw Foutz had moved to Brightwood, Maryland.  Uncle Sherman Foutz had got them a place there to live.  He got John, Charley, and Vance jobs in the postal department.

Not long afterwards they moved back to the Old Log house.  Their former home where I was born. Grandpaw had set out a fine young orchard.  Grafted and budded young trees and plants.  My job was to tag along after him.  And hold his pruning knife while he worked on the young plants.  He always promised me the knife.  And after he died, later Grandmaw Foutz gave the knife to me.  I believe Lloyd has that large black handled knife.

The tool that was used to split out boards, shakes, and pickets.  Gideon Foutz brought with him from across the Allegheny Mountains the same tool that was used to build the four log cabins on the original 160 acre farm.  When Grandpaw would be splitting out pickets with the tool I would pick the pick off the ground and pile them.  A few years ago when I was visiting the old homestead I found the old tool at Gideon’s old log cabin.  I brought it home with me.  Later I gave the tool to my son Sherman Jr.  He still possesses the tool.  I would estimate it to be over 150 years old.

What a thing to be able to see that tool today! Should it still exist, and be in possession of the Morelands, it would be more than 200 years old, and responsible for forging the shelter in which branches of our family were nurtured and grown.

Sherman goes on to share the fate of an uncle and his beloved “Grandpaw”:

Soon after they returned from Maryland Uncle John got down sick with pneumonia that developed into quick consumption (tuberculosis, same disease that would kill his brother, Sherman, and nephew Karl Coleman, son of sister Rachel, both in 1915 — Colt).  And died a young man (in 1899, at 21 — Colt).  Grandpaw soon after died with bright disease.

And there it is, the ailment that ended Jonathan’s life. At the time, “Bright’s Disease” described a variety of kidney ailments doctors in the 19th century were only beginning to classify. According to various online definitions, Jonathan likely suffered from inflammation of the kidneys and protein (albumin) in his urine. The illness may have been brought on by exposure to wet and cold conditions, accidental consumption of turpentine, or developed from yellow fever, typhoid, malaria and other ailments.

Thus, Jonathan departed this world in September, 1900. What became of his family next remained a mystery until Sherman’s writings lifted the clouds. I’ll share that story in tomorrow’s post.

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Was Rachel Foutz Coleman a Casualty of Childbirth?

Five Generations Caldwell Foutz Moreland Coleman

Five generations, about 1913. Clockwise, from left: Bessie (Moreland) Coleman, Ida (Foutz) Moreland, Rachel (Cramblett) Caldwell, Robert Coleman, Rebecca (Caldwell) Foutz.

New Answers to Foutz Genealogy Questions | Part Two

I don’t want to deceive you with the title — or header photo — of this post.

There are still more questions than answers surrounding the life and death of my second great aunt, Rachel Foutz Coleman. So call this post an examination of new evidence, inching us a bit closer, let’s hope, to the answers we seek.

In the last year, some key pieces have fallen into place, concerning our understanding of my great grandfather Vance Foutz’s family. In a series on Second Great Grandparents Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz and their children, I was able to sketch what we know of their lives, and to list some remaining questions about those turn-of-the-century Foutzes.

Of all the members of my great-grandfather’s family — Jonathan and Rebecca, and his six older siblings — Rachel’s life is the most shrouded in mystery. Now, we reexamine what we know about Rachel Foutz Coleman, aided by information from two new sources: the obituary of a son, and the remembrances of a nephew.

The information we’ve gathered concerning our Foutz ancestors, Rachel included, is culled from census records; birth, marriage and death certificates; newspaper articles and obituaries; military service documents; regional histories; cemetery maps and photographs; candid snapshots and portraits from life; and other public and private documents.

For the last year, distant cousin Dawn James (great-great granddaughter of Vance’s sister, Ida Foutz Moreland) has been tirelessly transcribing her great-grandfather Sherman Earl Moreland’s (Ida’s son’s) memoirs. These four handwritten notebooks provide an important record of Sherman’s 99-year window on the world — and a vital link to what life was like for our ancestors 100 years ago.

Today, I’ll quote some of the dispatches Dawn has graciously shared with me from Sherman’s journals that concern his remembrances of his Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bill Coleman. I’ll also share the obituary of her son, Karl.

Carl Coleman

The back of this picture is transcribed "Mrs. Thomas Moreland / Carl Coleman". So, was this Coleman a brother of Ida's son-in-law, Frank, as her grandson, Carl Coleman supposes? Or, was it her nephew, Karl Coleman, son of Ida Foutz Moreland's sister, Rachel?

The Short Life of Karl Coleman

The title of this post is deceptive, since the info I’m about to share doesn’t answer our key question about Rachel Foutz; namely, when, and of what, did she die?

We also have yet to discover any photographs of Rachel. But the two pictures above are interesting for a couple reasons.

Although we don’t have any multi-generational portraits of Rachel and her children and grandchildren and her mother and grandmother, as we do for sister Ida above, we can imagine the resemblance between Rachel and her sister Ida, mother Rebecca, grandmother Rachel and even her niece, Bessie, who also married a Coleman.

Now we don’t know whether or not Bessie’s husband, Harry Coleman, was in any way related to Rachel’s husband, William. But we may have an answer for the question posed by Ida’s great-grandson Carl Moreland (son of our diarist, Sherman). When Carl shared the above picture of a Carl Coleman at last summer’s Moreland Family Reunion, he asked, “possible brother of Harry”? To which I wondered, could this be Rachel’s son Carl instead?

By the process of elmination, I think there is more evidence supporting my notion. Consider:

Rachel married William Coleman in July 1891, when she was 20 years old. By census records, we find them in Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1900. William works as a stationary engineer, and Rachel raises her three young children, Karl, 6, Blanche, 3, and newborn Frank, while also keeping house for two stepchildren, Bert, 18, and Charles, 15, William’s sons from a previous marriage.

Back in Ohio, sister Ida started her family a bit earlier, marrying Thomas Moreland in 1889, at age 16. Their first child, a daughter, was born the following year. They named her Bessie. Now, Bessie marries a Harry Baxter Coleman in 1909, at age 19. They make their home at that time in Carrol County. Their first — and only — child, according to my records and those of extended family, is born about a year after their wedding. They name him Robert Coleman. He’s the young boy pictured with four generations of mothers, above.

Now, we don’t know much about Harry Coleman’s family. And I suppose it would be possible for Ida’s son-in-law’s brother to want to send her a portrait of himself, if indeed his name happens to also be Carl Coleman. But wouldn’t it be more likely — and doesn’t the evidence we’ve gathered so far suggest — that Ida’s nephew Karl Coleman, son of Rachel, would share this portrait? So far, I’ve turned up no other Karl Colemans in the immediate — or extended — family tree.

Well, that ends my long tangent on another unknown. Here’s what we do know of Rachel’s son Karl’s life, reported in his obituary, from the Dover (Ohio) Daily Reporter:


Popular Young Man Dies After Illness of One Year —

Dies at Home of Vance Foutz

Carl Coleman, 21, died at 12:30… this afternoon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Vance Foutz… of tuberculosis after an illness of a year, during the last six weeks of which he had been bedfast.

Mr. Coleman worked for two years prior to his illness at the Woolworth Store in this city. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and of the Lutheran Brotherhood and was a popular young man with a wide circle of friends.

He was born in Pennsylvania and was a resident here for a number of years. He is survived by his father, William Coleman… this city; and by one brother, Frank Coleman, this city; and one sister, Blanche Coleman, of Sherrodsville; and one half-brother, Clifford Coleman, of Homestead, Pa.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

This death came March 23, 1915. As I’ve noted previously, this was in a spring where Vance’s oldest brother, Sherman, also would die of tuberculosis, in April, and his mother, Rebecca would die following a stroke in May.

What the obituary confirms is Carl’s birth in Pennsylvania, his father and the names of two siblings and one half-sibling.

What it lacks in detail — and frustratingly so — is news of his mother and one other sister, Bessie (yes, another Bessie Coleman), born 1906 in Dover.

The main conclusion I can draw, since the obituary only lists survivors, and does not note those who “preceded him in death”, is that Rachel, and Karl’s sister, Bessie, are dead by 1915. Neither sister — Blanche nor Bessie — appears on the 1910 census which lists William, Karl and Frank among Vance Foutz’s Dover household. That Blanche lives in Sherrodsville by 1915 could mean that after Rachel died (if she died prior to 1915), she could have been sent to live with relatives there, or elsewhere. By 1915 Blanche would be 18, and could be on her own. We have only possibilities, no certainties. And Sherman Moreland’s journal suggests still other possibilities.

Moreland Sherman Earl 1893-1993

Sherman Earl Moreland, 1893-1993

The Remembrances of Sherman Moreland

According to distant cousin Dawn, Sherman Moreland’s journals total about 340 pages of script, and will likely comprise 100 or so typed pages when her transcription is complete.

From the excerpts I’ve seen, Sherman writes in a narrative style — not in any strict date-by-date diarist’s form. So what we lack in a daily record, we reap in anecdotal richness: stories of visits to Grandmaw Foutz’s farm, and bare-naked plunges into a Bowerston creek, church commutes on a buckboard wagon, and tales of ancestors as he knew or was told them.

Sherman’s record fills in the blanks for certain mysteries the official documents couldn’t solve, including the deaths of my second great uncle John Cephas Foutz and the passing of Great-Great Grandpa Jonathan — and what became of his family in the years afterward. I’ll share that information in the next post.

What we already knew of Great-Great Grandma Rebecca’s fate following Jonathan’s death is that her family eventually settled in Dover, Ohio, a then-bustling canal town where three subsequent generations of Foutzes (including me) were born and raised. Sherman picks up the tale of Rachel and William Coleman a bit before then, as the family reconvenes in Phillipsburg, a short-lived company-owned mining town east of Rebecca Caldwell Foutz’s ancestral farm in Sherrodsville, Ohio (certainly there is no record of Phillipsburg today — Sherman reports its location along the banks of the big McGuire Creek — probably the whole town (and creek) were swallowed by the man-made Leesville Lake):

Uncle Bill and Aunt Rachel Coleman had moved from Levetsville (most likely Leavittsville, northeast of Sherrodsville — Colt), to Phillipsburgh.  Uncle Bill, a stationary engineer, worked in one of the several large coal mines.  At that place.

Later the Colemans moved to Canal dover.  It was when these folks lived in Dover that we visited there.  I saw the first and only canal boat in my life on the canal.  The boat was pulled by a mule.  The mule travelled along a toe path beside the canal.

Uncle Bill was employed on the new river bridge that was under construction at that time.  We on that trip attended the first county fair in our lives.  The county fair at Dover.  Also about this time mother took us older children to Ringling Bro. Big Tent show at Urichsville.  We went by train.  And really had a wonderful time.

And that ends the excerpt (paragraph breaks were added by me). That Sherman refers to an Aunt Rachel is a good sign. And that the families remained close — settling and resettling in the same places and visiting throughout the early 1900s is also an indication that we may yet put together the whole puzzle.

The last and latest record that bears Rachel Foutz’s name is the birth certificate of her youngest child, Bessie, born in Dover on Jan. 31, 1906. There is no record of Bessie, either, after that. So, could this be the date when both mother and daughter depart the world? I have not found a grave for Rachel, Bessie or Karl.

Actually, there is one last trace of evidence for Rachel. The 1994 death record of Rachel and William’s daugther, Blanche Escott, records Foutz as the maiden name of the 97-year-old’s mother. Would that we could have interviewed Blanche about her childhood, and what became of that mother.

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