Posts Tagged With: obituary

For the Record | Elizabeth Zeigler, 1928 Obit


Duerr Siblings 1903

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler — seated in the front row, second from right — and her siblings and siblings-in-law, at a family reunion, circa 1903. From left, front row: Margaret Stallecker Duerr, Mary Duerr Welsch, Anna Duerr Arnold, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, Susan Myers Duerr. Back: Michael Duerr, John Krantz (husband of Catherine Duerr) and Sam Duerr. Courtesy of Thomas Bitticker.

Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, 1845-1928

From 87 years ago today, Great-Great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler passed away in the home of her daughter, Great-Grandmother Laura Foutz.

She was 83 and a native of Germany. Just where in Germany is pretty nailed down, and what’s more, that area lines up pretty neatly with her spouse, Jacob Zeigler’s, neck of Deutschland. But more interestingly, the place our Foutzes (over there, Pfoutses) are likely from, too.

How they all ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, is a story that bears digging into.

But for now, record transcriptions report the Zeiglers (sometimes Ziegler) came from Hohenacker and the Duerrs came from Schlaitdorf. Both are towns near the southwestern German city of Stuttgart, in the Neckar River region. Pfoutses are said to have come from the lower Neckar River region in what is now Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Well, the trouble with certain German towns from the 18th and 19th centuries is that they were small then — some aren’t even in existence today. And, to complicate things further, sometimes there are more than one of them.

In the case of Hohenacker, birthplace of the Zeiglers, you can find the village in Bretzfeld, Waiblingen and Esslingen. Record transcriptions for the baptisms of Great-Great Grandfather J.J. Zeigler, in 1827, and sister Barbara, in 1810, show that they were born in Hohenacker, Waiblingen — which also happens to be the district that eventual wife Elizabeth Duerr and family called home, in Schlaitdorf. But family records claim these Zeiglers were born in Hohenacker, Esslingen.

Which is correct? Both villages are found near Stuttgart, both near that famed Neckar River which also produced the Pfoutses.

Baptismal records are probably the most authoritative when pinpointing our German ancestors. But I have seen more errors in transcription — and interpretation, such as family records that mutate Wuerttemberg into Wittenberg, which, as the German eagle flies, is aaaaaaall the way up in northeast Germany toward Berlin, but maybe our cute little relative researchers were thinking of the college in Ohio? — than I have seen dead-on accuracy.

So finding the actual records and eyeballing them is key. Until then, we have the swirling mists and a general geographic idea of where our Germanic roots got growing.

From the Jan. 23, 1928 edition of the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times:

Mrs. Ziegler Dies Monday

DOVER TWP. RESIDENT 72 YEARS

Mrs. Elizabeth Ziegler, 83, widow of Jacob Ziegler, native of Germany, but a resident of Dover township since she was eleven years old, died at 10:20 p.m. yesterday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Vance Foutz, 515 Race street, Dover, where she had made her home for the past six months.

Mrs. Ziegler, who became bedfast seven months ago tomorrow, died of a complication of diseases and infirmities of old age. Prior to her removal to Dover, Mrs. Zeigler had resided for twelve years with her son, David Ziegler, Russlin Hills, Dover township, four miles north of Dover. Mr. Ziegler died June 1, 1897.

Surviving are eight children: John, Zoarville; Mrs. Samuel Lengler, Parrall; Mrs. Edward Archinal, 515 West High street, this city; Jacob, David, Edward, all of Route 4, Dover; and Mrs. Foutz, at whose home she died; one brother, Samuel Duerr, Zoar; and a sister, Mrs. Constantine, Michigan.

Mrs. Ziegler was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical church, Ruslin Hills.

Funeral services will be conducted at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Foutz home where she died, and at 10 a.m. at the St. Paul’s church. Rev. Paul Kaefer, Bolivar, will officiate. Burial will be made in the church cemetery by the Lewis Funeral Home, Dover, and Uhrichsville.

 

Zeigler Elizabeth Duerr grave Ruslin Hills Cemetery Dover Ohio

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler is buried in Ruslin Hills Cemetery north of Dover.

 

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Categories: Foutz, General Genealogy, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charles Johnson First Marriage Tragedy


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Life & Death of Leona Miller Johnson

 

The thing that fascinates — and at times, frustrates — me about good, honest, thorough genealogy is that it doesn’t take one interview with a relative, or a hectic week of research, but years, many of them, to continually deepen and fill in, untangle and add detail to the family record.

This sustained bit of exercise runs counter to my usual sprinter impulses, the hustling act of “getting ‘er done” after first encountering the vision of what it could be, what it should be, hot and inspiring.

Maybe not the way most people think about genealogy, but there we are.

When I first began digging into my grandma Erma Johnson Foutz’s side of the family in 2008, I’d encountered a bit of a legend about great-grandpa Charles Arthur Johnson’s first wife, who’d died the same year he married her.

A few years later, visiting with great aunt Nellie Johnson Fitzgerald in 2011, I put a face with the name, since Nellie had, of all relics, a portrait of her father’s first wife hanging in her bedroom, along with other actual blood relatives.

It was a sign that this tale had legs, but probably a beating, even anguished heart to it. Nellie related the story in this way:

Leona Miller and Charles married shortly after Valentine’s Day, 1907. She was 23; he was 20.

Charles, a coal miner, came home one day, perhaps as early as the week they were married, and found Leona on her hands and knees, scarlet-faced, scrubbing the floor.

As he knelt down to tend to her, Leona collapsed. She died shortly after.

Charles returned to the home of his parents (as noted in the 1910 census), and wouldn’t remarry until 1911, when he wed a girl from nearby Dennison, my great-grandmother, Viola Palmer.

We didn’t know much more about Leona than that. But in the idle hours over Christmas break, nearly four years after hearing Nellie’s version of things, I turned up the printed record, researching on newspapers.com.

In the Monday, Feb. 18, 1907 edition of the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times:

JOHNSON — MILLER

A quiet wedding occurred at the home of the United Brethren pastor, Rev. H. H. Davis, 146 East Front street, this city, Sunday evening, February 17 at 6 o’clock, the contracting parties being Miss Leona Miller and Charles Johnson, both of this place.

The bride is a daughter of Mrs. Mary Nixon formerly of Pennsylvania, who for the past seven or eight years has lived with Albert Kensler, corner of Fair and Seventh streets. The bride is a young woman highly spoken of and commanding the respect of a large circle of friends. Mr. Johnson is the son of  Clement Johnson living at 397 East avenue. He is an energetic young man and is employed by the Goshen Hill Coal Co. He is held in high esteem by all who know him. They will reside on East Avenue.

Just over three months later, the young couple were separated by death, according to the Wednesday, May 22, 1907 edition of the Times:

HOME EARLY BROKEN.

Leone (sic) Miller Johnson, 24 years of age, married to Charles Johnson only three months ago, died at 11 o’clock Wednesday forenoon of quick consumption following an attack of the measles. Mrs. Johnson was born in Belmont county. The funeral will be held from the residence on East avenue Friday afternoon at 1 o’clock followed by an interment in East Avenue cemetery.

As far back as 2010-11, I’d learned that a Leona Miller Johnson was supposed to be buried with Charles, great-grandmother Viola (Palmer) Johnson and sons Carl, Joseph and Charles Jr. in the family plot at East Avenue Cemetery in New Phila. But I could find no marker during trips back home.

Interestingly, though I have yet to confirm the significance of this, Charles and Viola named their first son Thomas Leonard, perhaps in homage to Charles’s first wife. Something, perhaps, we’ll uncover in the coming years.

 

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Milestones, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fat, Happy Farm Life for Gideon Pfouts


1800s Farmhouse Kitchen

This pic isn’t from the inside of the legendary Foutz homestead, but gives an idea of what an 1800s farmhouse kitchen looked like.

Gideon Pfouts: ‘Never Missed Meal at Home’

Uncovered an interesting morsel from the life of third-great-grandfather Gideon Pfouts in a second obituary.

It’s been a few years since a research trip to Puskarich Library in Cadiz. Thumbing through the microfilm records, I found a plain, practical tribute to what I imagine was a plain, practical man.

As youngest son of German immigrant and Ohio pioneer Michael, Gideon Pfouts lived his whole life on farms in Harrison County, especially the 80 acres he’d tended for some 70 years south of Bowerston.

When he died in February 1911, at 89, the nearby Cadiz Republican printed this dispatch, noting his status as “an aged and respected citizen.”

But combing through online records at newspapers.com, I found a nice alternative news item, from one county over. In the New Philadelphia Daily Times, we get a less formal look at great-great-great-Grandpa Gideon:

86, NEVER MISSED A MEAL AT HOME

Bowerston, Feb. 20: — Gideon Fouts, aged 89, who died here last week of pneumonia never missed eating a meal at home during his entire life. He leaves four sons.

I’d like to think that meant many, many years of meals with family, likely after a long day of chores and tasks around the homestead.

The four sons mentioned as survivors, of course, were his youngest: John, David, Nathaniel and Nelson, at least two of whom continued to tend the farm, as indicated by Gideon’s will, which we haven’t yet detailed in this space but… will.

His oldest children, daughter Tabitha and my great-great-grandfather Jonathan, had passed away in 1874 and 1900, respectively.

Check out the original clipping from the Daily Times here.

Categories: Foutz, Milestones, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tusc. Dentists Honor Dr. Ley in Death | February 1959


Ley RE Sr Jr Dentists 1950s

Robert Earl Ley Jr. (right) returned home from Navy service in World War II to rejoin his father, Robert Earl Ley Sr. (left) in their dental practice in Dover, Ohio.

Dental Society Mourns R.E. Ley Sr.

The death of my great-grandfather, Robert Earl Ley Sr., caught his family and colleagues by surprise. None more so than my grandfather, his son and dental partner, Robert Earl Ley Jr.

The father and son were working alongside each other, as usual, the morning of Saturday, Feb. 7, 1959, when, according to family legend, great-grandpa Ley complained about a strange feeling in his hands while washing up.

He collapsed, and died of a heart attack shortly after 11 a.m. He was 65 years old.

Oddly, Robert Ley Sr. was the second Ley to die while at work. His grandfather, Augustus Ley, died of a stroke while working in his Port Washington, Ohio, dry goods store. He was just 61.

And R.E. Ley Sr.’s father, Charles Henry Ley, former county treasurer, had also died of a heart attack 34 years earlier, at just 59 years old, while gardening at his home. Great-great grandfather Charles had been warned by doctors to retire and commit himself to less strenuous activity.

On the day following R. E. Ley Sr.’s death, his son and fellow Tuscarawas County dentists gathered and issued a proclamation in his honor.

From the Feb. 10, 1959, edition of the Dover Daily Reporter, 65 years ago this month:

A Resolution

Unanimously adopted by the Tuscarawas Dental Society in special meeting assembled, Feb. 8, 1959.

WHEREAS, on Feb. 7th, 1959, God in His wisdom suddenly claimed to his eternal rest our colleague and friend, Dr. Robert Earl Ley Sr., and

WHEREAS, during the more than 40 years of his professional practice among us he was a most valued member of the Tuscarawas County Dental Society, having served as its President as well as in many other capacities, and

WHEREAS, in these services he gave so willingly of his time and talents toward the good of our profession and our Society, and

WHEREAS, through military service and a natural active interest in his fellow man, he took his place and did his part that his neighborhood, his community, our state and nation might be a better place in which to live, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, we do mourn our loss; we bring to his widow and to his son, Dr. Robert E. Ley Jr., who is our esteemed colleague and was his father’s associate, our sincere sympathies in their even greater loss; and finally, direct this resolution be made a part of the records of this Society, a copy thereof be delivered to his bereaved widow, Mrs. Florence A. Ley, and this resolution be printed in the daily press.

THE TUSCARAWAS COUNTY DENTAL SOCIETY

Following his father’s death, my grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr. would continue to practice dentistry in their office at 2nd and Walnut Streets for another 32 years. His stepmother, great-grandpa Ley’s widow, Florence (Jones) Ley, would reside in the apartment above the office until her death in 1984.

Breaking the cycle of three generations of Ley men dying before their mid-60s, grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr. would live to age 89, equaling the lifespan of his great-great grandfather and first Ley in America, Karl Ley.

Ley RE Sr Dental Ofc 1942

Great-grandfather Robert Earl Ley Sr. in his dental office about 1942. In 1940, he still kept his Dover home on Iron Avenue, south of the Tuscarawas River, while maintaining his dental office downtown.

Categories: Ley, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lizzie Foutz’s Lonely Life


135 N Summit St Harrisburg Pa

The home where Sherman Foutz lived out his last years, at 135 N. Summit St. in Harrisburg, Pa. His widow, Elizabeth, would relocate through a succession of residences in her final 30 years without Sherman.

Sherman Foutz Widow Stays in Harrisburg

The life of my great-great aunt Lizzie Foutz is one I’ve puzzled over for some time, and probably more than that of her well-known husband, Sherman Foutz.

Great-great Uncle Sherman’s life — and early death — after all, is more easily navigable for its documented rise and development and the decisive, tragic final chapter.

But the family left in the wake of Sherman’s losing fight with tuberculosis, at just 47, is harder to trace and understand. Cast out of the spotlight trained upon Sherman for his U.S. Treasury Department appointment, then leadership of the Knights of the Maccabees, then prominent fire insurance business in first Reading then Harrisburg, Pa., the family splits up in the decade after his death.

Earlier posts in this series, gathering new insights from a recent research binge on newspapers.com, have shed light on a few longstanding mysteries about Sherman’s descendants, including:

  • the business circumstances that brought Sherman Foutz from Reading to Harrisburg, Pa. about 1909, even after his family had acquired history-book status in Berks County
  • the omission in Sherman’s 1915 obituary and other circumstantial evidence that seemed to indicate his oldest child, Oscar, preceded him in death, when in fact, as revealed by Sherman’s death announcement (and other documentation we’ll get to), Oscar survived him, though he lived in faraway Arizona as one of his two sons — what happened to the other, and to Oscar’s wife? — lived for a time in Lizzie’s care.
  • the most complete tracing of what happened to Sherman’s family following his death can be found in the 1970 obituary of daughter Grace Foutz Chaney, and a 1969 feature on her life and teaching career in Ohio, though some of the facts are wrong, and mysteries still surround Grace’s childlessness, her choice to live 300 miles from her widowed mother and nieces and nephews, her sporadic but forgotten visits to my great-grandfather Vance (her uncle just 3 years her senior), and her habit of fudging her age, which ended up etched into her tombstone’s incorrect birthdate.

But it is the fate of Sherman’s widow, Elizabeth Wilson Foutz — Lizzie in census records and on personal possessions — that holds even greater intrigue than what we’ve picked through so far.

From Harrison County to Harrisburg, Pa.

According to a history of Berks County published in the first decade of the 1900s, Elizabeth Wilson was the daughter of John Wilson and grew up, like Sherman Foutz, in Harrison County, Ohio.

Born in October 1866, according to census records, Elizabeth Wilson grew up in a family of a dozen or so children. Unlike eldest child Sherman, born in September 1867 on a nearby farm to Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz, Elizabeth was second-youngest of that big brood.

Her parents, John and Mary, were Irish immigrants. They were married in Pittsburgh, Pa. about 1839, and their first children were born in Pennsylvania. By the time Jane “Jennie” Wilson was born in 1843, they were living and farming in Harrison County, Ohio.

The 1880 census is the last to catch Elizabeth Wilson and Sherman Foutz before their marriage, kids and move to Washington D.C. (The 1890 federal census was almost entirely destroyed in a fire.) At the time, Elizabeth is 16 and attending school; Sherman, at 13, also goes to school and his household includes sisters Lila, Rachel and Ida, and younger brother John. The family spells their name Pfoutz.

After graduating from the Harrison County public schools, Sherman attends New Hagerstown Academy in nearby Carroll County, an unprecedented level of education not only for the farming Foutzes as a clan, but for Sherman’s younger siblings as well.

On August 11, 1887, Sherman and Elizabeth are married. He is 19; she is two months shy of 21. Son Oscar will be born 15 months later in December 1888. Daughter Grace follows on Sept. 5, 1890, her birthday two days after her father’s. The family makes their home in Bowerston, where Sherman works in the fire insurance business. Sometime in the 1890s, he is appointed to a clerkship with the U.S. Treasury, during the second presidency of Grover Cleveland.

The 1900 census finds Sherman and Elizabeth and family sharing a house at 732 Flint St. in Washington D.C. with Jonathan, Rebecca and their youngest sons Charles and (Colt’s great-grandfather) Vance. The census catches them in June, just months before Jonathan and Rebecca would return home to Harrison County, where Jonathan would die of Bright’s Disease, a kidney ailment, in September at age 55.

According to the Berks County history, in April 1902 Sherman accepts a role as supervising deputy for the Knights of the Maccabees’ eastern Pennsylvania district. The family moves to Reading, where Sherman succeeds in growing the membership base from 92 to more than 3,500 over the course of the decade.

Property sales records show the Foutzes selling their Reading home in 1909 and moving 60-some miles west to the capital city of Harrisburg, where Sherman continues his Maccabees leadership for a few more years before taking charge of the Protective Home Circle, an insurance collective, in 1913.

About that time, the family moves into a brand new house at 135 N. Summit St. in Harrisburg. Not far from Sherman’s insurance offices on 2nd Street, the red brick home abuts North Terrace Park and boasts 4 bedrooms and 1,900 square feet, according to Trulia stats. A pretty piece of real estate at the time, the family would not stay there long during a tumultuous conclusion to the 1910s.

Foutz Lizzie Glass 1910

A ruby glass uncovered in 2013 at an Ohio auction bears the name of Great-Great Aunt Lizzie Foutz and seems to date from a Modern Woodmen of America benefit in 1910.

Rare Foutz Find: Glass an Artifact of Happier Times

In the years I’ve researched Sherman Foutz’s family and descendants, I’ve turned up numerous photos of Sherman, in portraits and official Maccabees invitations, even newspaper caricatures. Thanks to the Morelands (family of sister Ida), we’ve got a four generations portrait of Grace and her father about 1910 with grandma Rebecca Foutz and great-grandma Rachel Caldwell.

No portrait or picture of mom Lizzie B. (Wilson) Foutz exists, that I’ve found. Same for son Oscar.

We’ve got obituaries to bracket the lives and lend order to the stories of Sherman and Grace. But Oscar comes up missing ink. And until recently, Lizzie did, too. The only clues were census records, and even those were incomplete.

We know that, following Sherman’s death in 1915, Lizzie turns up in 1920 and 1930 still living in Harrisburg.

In 1920, grandson Ralph, 11, is the only carryover from her 1910 household. Sherman, Grace and Oscar are gone. A new addition is 14-year-old foster daughter Catherine, whose birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania and whose parents are listed as born in the United States. Not listed in their house in 1910, and not mentioned in Sherman’s death announcement or obituary, interestingly, Catherine was probably adopted after Lizzie was widowed, when she was as old as 9 or 10.

Never having been listed as employed before, through her 20s and 30s, Lizzie, at 45, now works as a cook in the Elks home. She also hosts two roomers at the family’s rented house at 59 N. Tenth St. — 44-year-old widow Lydia Farber, a cook at a factory restaurant, and her 14-year-old daughter Helen Farber.

By 1930, Lizzie and Catherine Foutz are the sole members of their household, renting an apartment with dozens of other families (in the building, I’m presuming) at 412 Briggs St., about where the State Museum of Pennsylvania stands today, though their address is also listed in a 1930 city directory as 910 N. Third, right around the corner. Their ages are reported, erroneously, as 52 and 20. They should be 55 and 24.

Elizabeth doesn’t work according to the 1930 census, while Catherine is employed as a stitcher in a shoe factory. (The city directory says she is a folder.)

We know from the 1940 census that Catherine is living in Lititz, Pa., about halfway between Harrisburg and Reading. She is married to John Roy Rutt, a cutter in an asbestos factory. Catherine is not employed.

Lizzie vanishes from the public record at this point. Though I have scoured census records in Harrisburg, going neighborhood by neighborhood, I can’t find her. She doesn’t live with Grace in Ohio or Catherine in Lititz, or grandson Ralph in Harrisburg; nor does she show up in the residences of her two surviving siblings. And aside from knowing her death year — 1945 — for a time, I had no inkling of where she was after 1930.

But there, in the newspaper archives of the Harrisburg Telegraph, was her obituary. I try not to take such sudden revelations as a personal judgment on all the hours I’d sunk in prior to that moment. I’ll take it as a stroke of luck instead.

From Dec. 13, 1945:

Foutz Lizzie death Harrisburg Telegraph Dec 1945

From this snippet, we learn that Lizzie was still living in Harrisburg up until her hospitalization in Lancaster (down the river from Harrisburg and south of Lititz). The place is a grassy lot today.

We learn that Oscar may be still alive — and living in Charlotte, N.C. Her obit also confirms just two grandsons  (from Oscar and Florence) — and that Ralph and Sherman are still living. The five great-grandchildren are probably all from Ralph and wife Virginia (Henson) Foutz: Nicholas, Charles, Catherine, Arthur and newborn Grace, not yet a month old when her great-grandmother Elizabeth died.

Lizzie’s body would be returned to Bowerston for burial. She is laid to rest in Longview Cemetery, across from Sherman.

And that’s her story, as much as we can piece together. Still, there are sudden connections that surprise.

Late last spring, around the time of my son Caleb’s birth (a busy time, and part of the reason for the delay in sharing), I was emailed by Nancy Dionne. She was hunting auctions in Zanesville, Ohio and came across a ruby shot glass with a crystal bottom, inscribed “Lizzie Foutz” and “M.W. of A.” with the date 1910.

The glass was thrown in as an “add-on” to a piece of pottery Nancy wanted. Curious about its origins, though, Nancy and fellow treasure hunters chatting in collectors weekly’s forums searched online and found this blog. M.W. of A, Nancy and company found out, was likely Modern Woodmen of America (one of Sherman Foutz’s many affiliations), and the 1910 event may have been a function at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1910.

Nancy was kind enough to mail the glass to me. Now this relic of my great-great aunt Lizzie Foutz’s mysterious life sits atop a bookshelf on the right side of our fireplace and mantle full of family photographs. Here’s hoping that continued piecing together of our family’s past, and sharing in this space, can lead to even more illuminating connections.

Foutz Lizzie Glass 2

Another view of the Lizzie Foutz glass uncovered by Nancy Dionne in a Zanesville, Ohio auction. M.W. of A. likely stands for Modern Woodmen of America, one of Sherman Foutz’s many affiliations.

Categories: Foutz, newsletter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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