Posts Tagged With: Denver

Sherman Foutz: Contrasting Obits Still Yield Clues

Sherman S. Foutz

Second Great-Uncle Sherman S. Foutz

More than One Way to Relate Life and Death

When my wife and I encounter the inevitable errors in daily newspapers — or, beginning our career as reporters, lapse into them ourselves — we often trot out my teasing twist on a saying (from somewhere): “History went and got itself up in a great… big… damn… hur… ray.”

To put it more coarsely, in the course of reporting a story and turning it around on a daily news cycle: shit happens.

Bad enough when this is part of the fluid daily record, working up dispatches on city council meetings and business transactions and arrest warrants and base hits. Somehow, pathetically, worse still when publishing those items submitted by the public for posterity, for the milestone sections of births, graduations, weddings, funerals.

In my first gig as entertainment and features writer for the Sandusky Register, I also manned the Saturday obit desk. And it was impressed upon me — right away — to follow a template, type it up slowly and triple-check my work.

Oh, and when gathering the info yourself, never to trust a single-only, no matter how well-meant, source. “If your mother says she loves you, CHECK IT OUT.” In other words, verify all info.

Well, leave it to life to allow shit to keep happenin’.

And we encounter these maxims time and again in genealogy, too. The yeoman volunteers who pore over countless census pages of centuries-old script, deciphering names that do not belong to their family tree, and doing so… erratically. Over-zealous neophyte researchers who, in their breathless haste, mistakenly prune a branch here, graft an alien trunk there, yielding cascading crops of ill-gotten family fruit. Or those who trot out a sweet, but still quite often dead wrong reasoning: because grandma said.

Remember? “If your mother says she loves you, CHECK IT OUT.”

Newspapers are wonderful troves of info. And certainly, they have been indispensable in helping to decipher what it is our case study on genealogy in my family: untangling the life, death and descendants of my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz’s oldest brother, Sherman Foutz.

When I first looked into Sherman’s story, starting in 2008 and documenting for the first time in 2010 in this blog, we had far more questions than answers. Slowly, painstakingly, we made the necessary connections, in the public record and in person with distant relatives, to fill in many missing pieces. By last year, and a series of posts tracing the family’s life in Pennsylvania through several newspaper articles, we’d put the wraps on many a mystery.

One useful tool: not just settling for one clipping of a newspaper article, but combing through related editions in the dozens of active newspapers in the early part of the 20th century. Just like in the maxim for checking out what your darling, single source says, relying on multiple versions of a milestone event can assemble a full, richer composite of the life and times you’re researching. Once, of course, you weed out the red herrings.

On Sherman Foutz’s life, I started with the yellowed clipping reporting his death that my great-grandfather had kept for nearly 55 years before his own passing. Due to the hands which cut into the newspaper, there was no month, day or year, no attributed publication. That data was to be gained from other sources — the gravestone, the death record from Denver, Colo. Curiously, though, one mystery was brought about by a simple omission — this first obituary, which I later identified as from the Harrisburg Telegraph, listed his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Grace, but no mention of his son, Oscar; daughter-in-law, Florence; or local grandsons.

A few years and a paid subscription to later, I dug up a death announcement, published the day after Sherman’s death, also in the Telegraph, which yields additional clues: age at death, address in Harrisburg, a sketch of his career with the Knights of the Maccabees and recent job change, and — voila! — mention of Oscar and his son’s address… in Arizona!

The other day, not looking for any info on Sherman, but still trying to trace more on Oscar, who doesn’t pop up again for us until his mother’s death in 1945, I found a curious third obituary. This one published in the Harrisburg Daily Independent, also on the day after Sherman died. From that Tuesday, April 6, 1915 edition:

William (sic) S. Foutz Prominent Maccabee Succumbs From Long Illness

Word was received here of the death of William (sic) S. Foutz, 135 North Summit street, who died near Denver, Col., yesterday where he had been ill for some time. He was 47 years of age. For seventeen years he was deputy and organizer of the Maccabees of the World.

For the past year Mr. Foutz was unable to attend to any business and on January 1 he left for Colorado. He is survived by his wife and daughter, Grace, of this city, and a son, Oscar, of Arizona. No arrangements for the funeral have been made, but interment will be made at Bowerstown (sic), Ohio.

So, some significant errors in the printed record here, most notably Sherman’s renaming and the misspelling of his hometown of Bowerston. But had I stumbled upon this article first, perhaps through some creative searching of the archives, I would have still gotten the tid bit on Oscar’s western location, and some additional details on how his work had suffered from his illness. No update on his change in career — for all we know, he still could have been working for the Maccabees, according to this record — and thus, I view with skepticism the specific “seventeen years” summation of his duties. But between the sources, we get a richer picture, provided we’ve done a bit more gathering of wool and smoothing out the rough parts.

“If your mother says she loves you, CHECK IT OUT.”

Sherman Foutz obit

April 1915 obituary for Sherman Foutz lists only his wife and daughter as survivors. From the Harrisburg Telegraph.

Foutz Sherman S death announce Harrisburg Telegraph April 1915

Son Oscar Foutz is listed as a survivor — and living in Arizona — in Sherman Foutz’s 1915 death announcement.



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In Good Countenance #9 – Ralph Foutz

Foutz Ralph Virginia

Virginia (Henson) Foutz and Ralph Francis Foutz, in an undated photo.

Ralph & Virginia Foutz | Deepening the Sherman Foutz Connection

Enough digital ink has been spilled in this blog on Sherman S. Foutz, oldest brother to my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz, that I’ll spare you the extended recap and cut to the news at hand.

The last breakthrough I blogged about was the discovery, through Pennsylvania church records on, of baptismal logs listing Ralph Francis Foutz and Harry Sherman Foutz as sons to Oscar W. Foutz and Florence Hartman Foutz.

Those documents firmed up a lot of information, including:

  • reaffirming Oscar and Florence as a couple and parents
  • confirming their residency in Reading, Pa. in the first decade of the 20th century
  • confirming their church affiliation, like most Foutzes, as Lutheran
  • confirming birth dates for Ralph and Harry
  • revealing the young couple had a second son, Harry, a problematic revelation, since neither he, nor parents Oscar and Florence, appear in any records I’ve uncovered since the time of patriarch Sherman Foutz’s death from tuberculosis in 1915

That was always the core mystery behind these Foutzes. Sherman was beloved as first-born, prominent, successful son of Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz, and certainly admired by his youngest sibling, my great-grandfather Vance, as evidenced by the clippings and photos that remained in his possession and were eventually passed down to my father, Fred. But his early death seemed to cut off the rest of that family from my own.

Oh, it seemed as if Sherman’s daughter, Grace, would show up from time to time, as evidenced by my great-aunt Doris (Foutz) Waddington’s memories, and Grace’s surprising signature in Vance’s 1968 funeral registry (Grace herself was just two years from death). But Grace (Foutz) Chaney died childless. Her 1970 obituary mentions a foster-sister, Catherine Rutt, of Lititz, Pa., and several nieces and nephews — what became of them? What became of her brother, Oscar, who isn’t mentioned in her 1970 obituary, and his own children and descendants?

Tracking Down Ralph Foutz

The pieces started to fill in, where Ralph Foutz is concerned, in connections I made through several Harrisburg, Pa. city directory entries of the 1930s and 1940s. Same name, same city as where he grew up in the care of grandma Lizzie Foutz (Sherman’s wife), according to the 1910 and 1920 censuses. Seems a likely connection.

Next, the 1987 Harrisburg Patriot-News obituary for Virginia Henson Foutz names Ralph F. Foutz as her husband, preceding her in death. The obit mentions Virginia as retired from the L. Wohl Children’s Dress Factory. In Lizzie Foutz’s 1930 census entry, foster daughter Catherine is listed as a dress-stitcher. Same employer? Again, a possible connection.

Through the website — ridiculously named, but deeper and deeper by day in its breadth: I cannot overstate how helpful this is as a primary source — I located entries for Ralph and Virginia Foutz in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens (named in Virginia’s obit) in Dauphin County. I submitted a photo request — another helpful feature of FindAGrave — and a man named Karl Fox was kind enough to photograph these relatives’ final resting places. From those photos, I could confirm birth and death years. Incalculably helpful.

So from the information in the obituary, backed up by the confirmation from documents listed above, I was able to start branching out in my search for what happened to Oscar and his descendants. This led me to connect with third cousins once removed Henry Foutz, Kathy Allen and Sandi (don’t know your last name yet, dear).

As often happens — it’s true of me, too, of course — Henry, Kathy and Sandi were curious about their family’s origins as well, and beginning to coax info from parents and aunts and uncles, Ralph’s and Virginia’s kids, Nick Sr., Charles, Catherine, Arthur, Grace, Agnes and Frances. I shared the info I had, on our connection through Sherman, Oscar and Ralph, as well as the Foutz/Pfouts family story all the way back to Michael and Wuerttemberg, Germany.

Kathy and Sandi kindly shared the photo of their grandparents that is featured in this blog. (BIG THANKS!)

As for their Foutzes, Henry was been instrumental in putting together a big Pennsylvania Foutz reunion the last few years. From the photos he’s shared on Facebook, looks like it was a lot of fun. Maybe we can see that expand to include Ohio and other far-flung Foutzes?

As for filling in the details on Ralph, Oscar and the rest, what we still don’t know:

  • What happened to Lizzie Foutz (Sherman’s wife) after the 1930 census? We know she dies in 1945 and is buried with Sherman in Longview Cemetery near Bowerston, Ohio. What was she doing in 1940? She wasn’t living with Ralph or foster daughter Catherine? Where then?
  • What happened to Catherine (Foutz) Rutt, husband John Roy Rutt and their descendants?
  • What became of Ralph’s parents, Oscar and Florence, and his brother, Harry Sherman Foutz? Again, the last record I have of them is from a 1911 Reading Eagle article reporting Florence’s visit to Oscar at National Guard Camp Thomas Potter Jr. in Mt. Gretna.

I’m looking forward to working with newfound extend family to discover these stories together.

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Jonathan Foutz Family – Sherman Foutz & Descendants

Sherman S. Foutz

Sherman S. Foutz

Sherman Foutz | A Tragic Life & Mysterious Descendants

Let’s see, where were we? Ah, yes. In October, in the middle of a multi-part series on my grandfather’s high school football stardom, I started another: about my great-great grandfather, Jonathan Foutz – his family and descendants.

The first post ran on Oct. 18. In it, you can read about Jonathan Foutz‘s birth, marriage and first fifty years or so in Harrison County, Ohio. He carried on with the family livelihood, farming, and raised a mess of kids before moving the youngest of them, along with wife Rebecca, to Washington D.C. with his oldest son, Sherman. In 1900, he died. Whether in Washington, or back in Ohio, and of what we don’t know.

The second post ran a day later, Oct. 19, and told of my great-great grandmother Rebecca Caldwell Foutz‘s birth, childhood and the years after her husband died, up until her own death in 1915. She was a resident of Dover, Ohio by then. Which is where my great-grandfather, Vance Cleveland Foutz, and three succeeding generations of his family called home.

But we’ll get to Vance eventually.

For now, we pick up the thread with the oldest child of Jonathan Foutz and Rebecca Caldwell Foutz. The whole lineup, remember, comprised Sherman, Lila, Rachel, Ida, John, Charles and Vance.

A Promising Life, Cut Short

Sherman has received a lot of ink in this blog’s short history.

The very first post detailed Sherman Foutz’s life and death.

A post last summer shared a picture of Sherman, as well as the obituary detailing his death from tuberculosis in 1915.

Gradually, we worked around to Sherman’s widow, Elizabeth (Wilson) Foutz and the mysterious fates of her children, Grace and Oscar, as well as the presence of a grandson and foster daughter.

The story of Sherman Foutz is so captivating because of its early promise, ultimate tragedy, and our severed connections to his descendants, distant in time and geography. Sherman was born, like other Foutzes in his generation, on the farm — probably at his granddad Gideon’s, on Sept. 3, 1867. He married a local girl, Elizabeth Wilson, and married young — he was 19 and she 21 when they were wed Aug. 11, 1887.

But Sherman went on to carve out a life of prominence none of his farming kin could match. He was probably the first of my ancestors to receive college-level training; in his case, the New Hagerstown Academy, in nearby Carroll County. He made a name for himself as a fire insurance salesman, and made important connections through the Knights of the Maccabees and other fraternal organizations.

Sherman rose to prominence with his appointment as a clerk to the U.S. Treasury Department during the second term of President Grover Cleveland. He was barely in his 30s. Following his father’s death in 1900, Sherman moved his wife and two children, Oscar and Grace, to Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he assumed ever greater duties with the Maccabees, rising to supervisor for Pennsylvania’s eastern district, growing its membership from 92 to several thousand.

The family lived at a prominent address blocks from the river in downtown Harrisburg. Daughter Grace was sent to the tony all-girls’ Irving College, in Mechanicsburg. And every visit Sherman made to Ohio in those days was accompanied by news reports of his homecoming. But that prominence was destined to be derailed by tragedy, leaving mysteries in its wake.

Were the Kids All Right?

An enduring question about my Foutz ancestors is why death came for my great-great grandfather Jonathan so young, at 55, when his own father and grandfather — and many others in the family, had lived to 89 and 83, respectively. But Sherman was fated to greet death even younger. He contracted tuberculosis at 47, and even though he had the means to seek a cure at a Denver, Colo. sanitarium, he died that spring.

What happened to Sherman’s family? Son Oscar, born Dec. 17, 1888, was not listed as a survivor. And the 1910 census and at least one news report hint at some trouble for Sherman’s oldest. The September 17, 1910 edition of The Gettysburg Times reported that Oscar W. Foutz, of Harrisburg, after receiving his pay as a soldier in the National Guard, went to Allentown with three other men for a night on the town. While making the rounds, a man named William Croghan crossed their paths, was hit with a club and relieved of his valuables. One of the men in Oscar’s party plead guilty and was sentenced to 2 years. Oscar also confessed and got nine months in prison.

By 1910, according to the federal census, Oscar was also a father. Berks County records his marriage on Jan. 1, 1908 to either Florence Hartman or Annie Schollenberger. But the Sherman and Elizabeth Foutz household shows only Oscar and a grandson, Ralph, born in 1908. Ralph turns up again in a widowed Lizzie’s household in 1920 — but with no father or mother.

What became of Oscar? Did he ever serve his prison sentence? Did he pass away before his father? And how long did his apparently shotgun marriage last? Did it end with divorce? Or abandonment? Or perhaps, the death of Annie or Florence? (And which one was it — Annie or Florence?)

By 1920, Ralph Foutz isn’t the only youngster benefiting from Lizzie Foutz’s care. A foster-daughter, Catherine, is listed in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, which show Sherman’s widow working as a cook for the Elks Home and running a boardinghouse, at two addresses a far remove from their old residence. How did the Sherman Foutz family come to know Catherine? And when did they adopt her?

The 1920 census lists Catherine’s birth year as about 1906; the 1930 census about 1910. Survivors listed in Grace’s 1970 obituary include Catherine as a foster sister, with a married (or maiden?) name of Rutt, as well as several “nieces and nephews”. The obit lists Catherine’s residence as Lititz, Pa., and I’ve found a July 1985 death record for a Catherine Rutt, born Jan. 12, 1906 and living in Reading, Pa. But as for her husband, or any surviving children, I’ve come up empty.

However, we do have clues about what might have become of Sherman’s grandson, Ralph. He appears in several city directories in Harrisburg throughout the 1930s and 1940s. And in a bit of a leap forward, the Sept. 10, 1987 obituary of Virginia Clara (Henson) Foutz, appearing in The Harrisburg Patriot-News, lists her as the widow of Ralph F. Foutz, a former resident of Harrisburg, and a former employee of the L. Wohl Children’s Dress Factory. (In the 1930 census, Ralph’s foster sister, Catherine, is employed as a dress stitcher.) Their children include Agnes, Arthur, Catherine, Charles, Frances, Nicholas and… Grace, as well as 31 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, at the time of Virginia’s death.

Could abandoned Ralph have gone on to produce so many descendants? It’s a happy thought. But unconfirmed happiness, since Pennsylvania enforces a virtual lock-down on vital records available to the public.

As for Grace, she appears to have lived a long, but childless, life not 12 miles from where her father was born. By December of the year Sherman dies, she has eloped in West Virginia with Fred R. Chaney, a man who may be her age or several years her junior, as their marriage certificate and several censuses and even their gravestones in Longview Cemetery (where Sherman and Lizzie are also buried) fail to agree.

According to her 1970 obituary, Grace (born two days after her father’s birthday, Sept. 5, 1890) dies just six months shy of her 80th birthday. She teaches 17 years in the Feed Springs School, belongs to the Berea Nazarene Church, and is a member of many civic and women’s organizations in the Twin Cities (of Uhrichsville and Dennison).

Sadly, aside from letters between my grandma Erma Foutz and her sisters-in-law, which mention a niece of Vance’s from Uhrichsville “visiting often”, memory of those visits has now faded — if it remains in living memory at all. And evidence of Sherman Foutz’s living descendants is uncertain, at best.

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.

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Jonathan Foutz Family | Rebecca Caldwell Foutz


Rebecca Jane Caldwell: Foutz Family Ancestry

Rebecca Jane (Caldwell) Foutz, 1847-1915


Rebecca Caldwell Foutz | 1847-1915

This Foutz Genealogy Newsletter series explores the parents and siblings of my great-grandfather, Vance Charles Foutz. As detailed in the intro to the first post, about great-great grandpa Jonathan Foutz, by “tracing forward” the families and descendants of my ancestors’ siblings, we hopefully make connections that can yield photographs, records and other family heirlooms we would not have access to otherwise.

The last post left off with the surprising move between 1880 and 1900 of Jonathan and Rebecca from Harrison County, Ohio, an area their respective families had settled and farmed for nearly a century, and where several relatives still remained (and distant relations live to this day).

The 1900 census records Jonathan, Rebecca and their youngest sons Charles and Vance in the Washington D.C. household of their eldest, Sherman Foutz, a prominent insurance salesman and appointee to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The loss, through fire, of much of the 1890 census leaves a hole in our understanding of when Jonathan and Rebecca moved to D.C. And Jonathan’s death, at a young 55, in September 1900 (according to a profile of Sherman 10 years later) begs the question: did they move there because he was ill and needed Sherman’s support? Did a tragic accident or illness befall him as a result of that journey to D.C.? In any case, I’ve been unable to locate newspaper or death records that shed further light on Jonathan’s death.

The next time Rebecca pops up, it is in the 1910 federal census, in the Dover home of her youngest son, Vance. We’ll rejoin her there.

A Young Life in Sherrodsville; Ties to Bowerston

The 1910 Berks County, Pa. history that profiles Sherman Foutz and records the death of his father also details his parents’ births. According to the bio sketch, Jonathan and Rebecca were both born on the old Foutz homestead in Harrison County within a couple years of each other.

A blog post this summer introduced Rebecca’s parents, Robert and Rachel (Cramblett) Caldwell. At least two generations of Caldwells called Virginia home, which is where Robert was born in April 1822 before the family moved to Ohio. Two prior generations of Crambletts called Harrison County home before Rachel was born to John and Margaret (Gladwell) Cramblett in February 1827. The elder John Cramblett, born about 1775 in Maryland, platted the land on which Deersville, Ohio is situated in November 1815. John Cramblett would die in that village some 30 years later.

Whether or not Rebecca’s birth on the same acreage as her husband is merely a family legend, her parents settled soon after in Sherrodsville, about 7 miles to the northwest, in Carroll County. They raised a tremendously large family, even by rural 19th century standards — probably a dozen children were born to Robert and Rachel between 1846 and 1870. Rebecca was second, born July 13, 1847.

Robert and Rachel would reside in Sherrodsville the rest of their lives. An undated portrait card stamped Sherrodsville Art Galley shows the elderly couple, and Rachel pops up in several family photographs throughout the early 1900’s. Robert either died in 1890 or 1900, by which time they’d been married 45 or 55 years, respectively — and Rachel would come to outlive her second daughter.

Foutz Deaths – a Tragic Spring 1915

Many censuses throughout the 1800’s and 1900’s display a recurring pattern of Foutz hospitality — distant relatives are often shown living with Gideon, Jonathan, Vance, sometimes for decades at a time, working the farm, or otherwise helping each other make ends meet.

In 1910, no fewer than 5 relatives of Vance call 113 W. Second St. in Dover home. The house seems to belong to my great-grandparents, principally. Vance Cleveland Foutz is recorded as head, and the members of his young immediate family are listed first: wife (of not yet three years) Laura, and infant son Roy, born 1908.

Next up is mother Rebecca, now 63 and widowed, with 5 of her 7 grown children recorded as still living. (Son John Cephas Foutz died in 1899. See below for daughter Rachel.)

A boarder in the house is Rebecca’s daughter Ida’s oldest son, Lloyd Moreland. The 18-year-old has caught on as a laborer for the same company as his uncle Vance. It could be a steel mill in Dover, but the writing is illegible.

Also in the house, and reported as widowed, is Rebecca’s daughter Rachel’s husband, William Coleman. His occupation is stationary engineer, and he is caring for at least two of his children, sons Karl, 16, and Frank, 10. (We’ll get to the mystery of what became of Rachel in a future post.)

Five years later, Vance and Laura are living at 415 E. Fifth St. in Dover. Their family now includes sons Roy, 7, Carl, 4 and my grandpa Don, 1. Rebecca has been a fixture of the household for at least five years, probably longer. One imagines her getting the chance to rock each of her new grandsons as infants, as well as enjoy visits from her other grandchildren by way of Sherman, Lila, Ida, Rachel and Charles, who makes his home in New Philadelphia, the next town over.

It is on just such a visit that William and Rachel (Foutz) Coleman’s oldest son, Karl, becomes gravely ill. Later censuses show members of that family living in Canton, and he is perhaps overnighting in his uncle’s home from there when he falls ill with tuberculosis and dies March 23, 1915. He is just 21.

By then, Uncle Sherman Foutz has already been a resident of Wheatbridge Sanitarium in Denver about two months. He, too, had contracted tuberculosis and had traveled to Colorado from his home in Harrisburg, Pa. in January, hoping for a cure. But he succumbs to the disease April 5, 1915. He is 47.

Both Sherman and his nephew Karl were buried in Longview Cemetery, Bowerston, barely two weeks apart. It is unknown the effect these dual tragedies may have had on Rebecca. But she suffers a stroke that May, which leaves her paralyzed, and dies a week later, May 25, 1915. Her obituary reports four survivors: sons Charles and Vance, daughters Lila and Ida. Her husband, the article notes, died 15 years prior.

Rebecca was 67 at the time of her death. I assume she is buried in Conotton Cemetery with her husband, Jonathan, but their markers are destroyed or defaced. Her mother, Rachel Caldwell, lives another 3 years before succumbing to pneumonia at age 91.

Part Three

The next installment of this newsletter series will recap the successful, but abbreviated, life of Sherman Foutz, as detailed in earlier posts, and detail new information about the lives of his wife, children and foster daughter, and possible descendants, after his early death.



Foutz genealogy: Sherman, Grace Chaney, Rebecca Caldwell, Rachel Cramblett

Sherman Foutz and, clockwise, daughter Grace Foutz, mother Rebecca Foutz, and grandmother Rachel Caldwell sit for a portrait about 1910.


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Face to face with Sherman Foutz

Sherman S. Foutz

In the first Campfire blog post, I detailed the remarkable, but too-short life of my great-grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz’s oldest brother, Sherman.

He was raised on great-great grandfather Jonathan Foutz’s farm, but enjoyed a thorough education for the late 1800s. After graduating from the New Hagerstown Academy, he began work as an insurance salesman. His membership in the Knights of the Maccabees helped Sherman make profitable connections. His appointment to the United States Treasury Department under President Grover Cleveland led his young family as well as his father’s almost-grown one to Washington D.C.

But soon after, tragedy caught the Sherman Foutzes in its grip. His father, Jonathan, died in 1900 at 55, when the family was still shown as residing in Washington, and when Jonathan’s youngest son, Vance, was just 13 years old. Sherman moved his family to the Pennsylvania capital in Harrisburg, where he furthered his stature in the Knights of the Maccabees as supervising deputy. The family had a prominent downtown address, near the river.

But Sherman was destined to die of tuberculosis at 47 — even younger than his father. He had the means to pursue a cure in faraway Denver. But his stay at the sanitorium there lasted just three months. His mother, Rebecca, would die little more than a month later after suffering a stroke. By then, she was living with Sherman’s youngest brother, Vance, and his wife, Laura, in Dover.

Following Sherman’s death, census records indicate his wife Elizabeth (Wilson) Foutz lived in a succession of residences in Harrisburg, taking on boarders and perhaps adopting a daughter (Catherine Rutt) along the way. The Moreland side of the family (Vance and Sherman’s sister Ida) has said that Lizzie may have written an account of her life before and after Sherman’s death. Daughter Grace married Fred Chaney and taught for several years in the Urichsville area. She died in 1970. Not much is known about the fate of her brother, Sherman’s son Oscar, who may have had a son, Ralph, while the family was living in Pennsylvania. Ralph appears on the 1910 and 1920 censuses, and Oscar is listed as married in 1910, but no wife ever appears on the census rolls.

And so, the mystery of the Sherman S. Foutz family remains.

These documents at least give us a good look at this generation of Foutzes. (Ida Foutz Moreland‘s picture gives us another.) The first picture, above, was found among my Grandma Foutz’s historical snapshots and docs, probably passed on to she and my grandmother from great-grandpa Vance. Certainly, Grandma Foutz would not have been around, five years before her birth, to cut out the obits for Sherman and mother Rebecca.

Vance and Laura Foutz had a history of relatives dying while in their care — which I don’t mean to sound ominous. I’ll get to it in an upcoming post.

1915 obituary for Sherman Foutz

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