Category Archives: Photos

All In the Family Photogaphs – Grandmothers

While going through the hundreds of family photographs sometimes seems like a never-ending chore, some lovely little surprises lurk in those tan and white pieces of cardboard or mahogany and black squares of tin.

Emeline Cochran Stout, my great-great grandmother, for instance.

Emeline Stout Circa 1860

Emeline Stout Circa 1860

My great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout kept this photo in her album. While there are many family photographs of the Stout family, photographs of Emeline are rare.

Several clues help date the photo.

This Carte de Visite was made by a photographer called Courtney in Millersburg, Ohio.

Back of photo

Back of Emeline Stout 1889 with Courtney Photography imprint

I am not sure who printed “Emeline Stouts” or why there is an “s” on the end of Stout. The other pencil notations are mine.  My notes show how I used information on the photographer to help date the photo.

The photographer had a studio with the Courtney name from 1858 to 1871 in Millersburg, according to “Ohio Photographers 1839-1900”, which I found on Google Books. Because Emeline looks fairly young in the photograph, and because of the dress style, I am tentatively dating the photo at circa 1860 which would mean she was in her early thirties.

She is wearing what looks like a silk or taffeta dress with drop sleeves ending in a tight fit at the wrist and decorated with a strip of velvet.  The yoke of the dress is plain, and set off by a band of velvet around the bust line.  The full skirt, including an “apron” is decorated with ornate ruffles and bows, with a ruffle around the bottom of the skirt.  I am intrigued by the chain draped across her bosom and tucked into the waist band. It looks like a watch dangles from the top of the chain.  Anyone have any ideas on this?

I notice that she is wearing a dark band ring on her index finger, but no ring on what we consider the “ring finger.” Her elaborate sausage curls on the back of her head soften the more severe drawn-back flat style on the top. She is wearing hoop earrings.

I am puzzled as to why Emeline, who lived in Guernsey County, Ohio would have traveled to Millersburg to have her photograph taken. She may have been visiting relatives, but I have not been able to make a connection. Her oldest son, my great-grandfather William Cochran Stout, later known as “Doc”, would have been about 15. So although after he was married he lived in Killbuck, just south of Millersburg,  that would have been far in the future.

Was there a special occasion for this photograph? I have not followed the Cochran family in detail, but most of her siblings headed west.  Her husband had two siblings–Isaac, who moved from New Jersey to California and a sister whom I have no information on, so I can’t account for this photo being in Millersburg by a visit to her family.

Later in life, Emeline lost her eyesight. The failing eyesight shows up in the later family photographs like this one, where she seems to squint.  I find it interesting, that while she doesn’t have the sausage curls she wore some 30 years before, she still parts her hair in the middle and wears it flat on top.

I like the photographer’s frame on this photo, with a piece of braid glued on the cardboard to accent the oval opening that shows off the portrait.

Emeline Cochran Stout

Emeline Cochran Stout, mother of Dr. Wm Stout. 1890s.


It took me a while to realize that these next two family photographs were related–in more than one way.

First we talked about Emeline Cochran Morgan, now we move on to her daughter in law and her grand daughter.  Remember that letter that a fourteen-year-old Vera Stout wrote to her grandmother? In 1888, Hattie and Doc Stout had worked on the Ohio Centennial and the County Loan.  The ribbon they received shows up in a crazy quilt that Emeline helped Hattie sew.

Although it doesn’t show here, these pictures were framed with identical Tibbals, Millersburg O. photographer’s frame. The dress styles are similar, with modified leg of lamb sleeves and plaid patterns.  The women have similar hairdos–the flat on top, parted in the middle with spit curls that fortunately was a fad that did not last long. Both sport small pins and wear no earrings.

Unlike the Courtney photographer of Emeline Stout, I was not able to find a biography of this Tibbals, although I spotted him on lists of Ohio photographers from the 1880s to early 20th century.

However, the hair style and dress provide good evidence.  The best evidence, however, comes from other photographs of my grandmother, Vera Stout who left me numerous photos from school days onward.


Vera Stout, 16

Vera Stout,1897, when she was 16 years old.


Vera Stout, 17

Vera Stout, 17, top right on class trip to New York City in 1898


And here she is in 1900 after high school.

Vera May Stout 1900

Vera May Stout and Jean Stout, wife of Vera’s brother Will who sits in front. New York City 1900.

So there you have it.  Great-great grandmother Stout going to Millersburg Ohio to have a portrait made.  Great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout and her daughter Vera May Stout on an expedition to Millersburg to have their portraits made on the same day.  Vera was the last child at home, as her sister Maude had married in 1898 and her brother Will was attending school in New York state.


This Old House: Where Ancestors Lived

Among the treasures that showed up in our recent move, was this picture of my great-great grandmother’s old house.  I decided to put this picture together with other old house pictures, most of which I have already shown to you.

Great-Great Grandmother Mary Morgan’s Old House

Mary Morgan's old house

Mary Morgan’s Killbuck house with Doc Stout office on right. Circa 1880


Mary Bassett Morgan (1810-1890),  (wife of the infamous Jesse Morgan) lived in this Killbuck, Ohio house.  When Hattie married Dr. William Stout in 1872, the newlyweds moved into an apartment in Mary’s house and Dr. Stout set up his office in the lower front part of the house, facing Main Street.

I have not researched land records–if they exist for those early days of the community–so I don’t know if Mary first lived in that old house with her first husband, Asahel Platt.  Since Mr. Platt apparently owned a general store, this would have been a perfect location. And those big windows on the left side, look like a store front to me. Mary did not live in one place consistently.  After Mr. Platt died, she lived in another county, where she met and married Jessie Morgan. Later census records indicate she joined her daughter in a household that probably provided a room for the school teacher, Hattie Morgan.

In 1870, Mary’s census address includes a variety of people, making it look as though she runs a rooming house. That could be the big house above. Next to her on the census list, we see a physician, so possibly that doctor left and Doc Stout took over his office.

The little town of Killbuck (then called Oxford) has two main streets–Main and Front.  This building stands on a corner of the intersection of Main and Front Streets, facing Front Street where most of the businesses developed.  Hattie and “Doc’s” three children, William (1873), Maude (1875) and Vera (1881), my grandmother, were all born in that house at the corner of Main and Front.

When I was in high school, a restaurant called Hale’s occupied that corner–and possibly the same building, much remodeled.  But the restaurant building burned down in the 19  s and the rebuilt building on the corner bears no resemblance to Grandma Morgan’s old house.

Great Grandfather Doc and Great Grandmother Hattie Stout’s New House on Main Street

By the time my grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson) was about four or five years  old( circa 1885) , Doc Stout build a grand new house for his family, around the corner on Main Street.

I can see echoes of Hattie’s mother’s house in the new house and office Doc Stout built on Main Street.  She obviously wanted to have the same kind of porch she had in her mother’s house.

Stout Family old house in Killbuck, Ohio

Dr. William Stout and family in front of family home, circa 1885

Grandma and Grandpa Anderson’s Farm House

When my grandmother married, she and her husband Guy Anderson lived for a time on this house on a farm near Killbuck.  The first picture below–a gathering of their extended family in 1909–gives a hint of the grandeur of this house, which had been built by Guy’s uncle.  The next picture shows how the house looked a few years ago.

Anderson family photograph

Vera and Guy Anderson and families 1909

Old House on former Anderson Farm

Old Anderson Farm, Photo courtesy of Herb Anderson

Grandma and Grandpa Anderson’s House in Town

However, farm life did not agree with Vera and Guy, and they moved in to town.  I wish I had a better picture of the little house they lived in on a side street in Killbuck. In this one, Grandma is sitting on the porch with the three children–Bill (1905), Harriette(1906), and Herbert (1908).

Anderson old House in Town

Vera Anderson and children at small house in Killbuck, about 1910

Not long after the picture of this old house, the house burned to the ground.  Mother tells how her father, who had a hardware store at the time, came running calling for her because he was so afraid that she had been caught inside in the fire.  It was a traumatic experience that none of them would ever forget.  Mother said that for years, Grandma Vera would look for things and then realize they were destroyed in the fire.

Great Grandmother Hattie Stout’s Small House

Doc Stout died in 1910, and Hattie Stout decided to move to a smaller house.  She lived in this little place when my mother went off to college.  This picture shows Mother’s brothers, Herbert and Bill Anderson, and her friend Sarah, who later married Bill Anderson. A cousin from Guernsey County gazes off to the right.  Hattie Stout sits In the center and her daughter Vera Stout Anderson, in an apron, pets her dog Peggy. The picture dates to about 1925. (The family had moved to Columbus, Ohio when Harriette started college at Ohio State University, but returned to Killbuck when Guy and their sons could not find work.)

Dog Peggy

My grandmother Vera pets Peggy. In the center of the picture is my great-grandmother Hattie Stout, Vera’s mother. About 1925 when my mother was in college.

The End of Doc Stout’s Grand Old House on Main Street

Guy and Vera by this time had moved into the family homestead–the house that Doc Stout had built when Vera was very young.  Vera continued to live there until she was in her 80s. Through the years part of it served as the doctor’s office, it became a boarding house, then a restaurant, and later Vera offered rooms or apartments for rent. When she sold it, she moved to a small house on Water Street near Front Street in Killbuck, and the grand old house on Main Street was dismantled to pave a parking lot for the grocery store.

Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

So of the five old houses shown here, only one survives that I know of. It is possible that the small house of Hattie Stout might still exist in a different form in Killbuck.  But meanwhile, I am glad to have a collection of pictures of houses of my grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandmother.


Grandma Vera, the Woman Athlete

While visiting my brother this summer, I saw a photograph of my namesake grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson, that I did not have. The photo reminded me that our ancestors were not always the stiff formal people in their “official” portraits. Vera was a woman athlete.

Baseball Player

Vera Stout Anderson, athlete

Vera Stout (Anderson) and a friend Leita Anderson in their baseball gear, early 1900s.

Grandma was definitely an “early adapter”.  Internet articles I have found indicate that as early as the 1890’s women played on baseball teams in colleges and traveling teams known as the Bloomer League.  But in a small town in Ohio, it surely would have been unusual to have women invading this male realm. And how shocking that these two women are brazenly wearing PANTS!

My mother dated this picture 1909, but I wonder if that is correct.  Vera married in October 1904 and had children in September 1905,  August 1906 and April 1908.  In 1909 she was not only chasing three little kids, but she was a farm wife. Am I underestimating her when I wonder if she also was playing baseball in 1909?


Instead of playing the typical girly role of pianist or seamstress, Vera was a woman athlete. This rather prim, faded picture of her on her bike, shows that she liked action at a younger age.

Vera Stout Anderson, young woman athlete on her bike.

Vera Stout (Anderson) on her bicycle in front of the family home.

This fascinating article explains the popularity of bicycles in the 1890s, and the development of the bike shown here, the “safety bike”, which made it easier for women to ride.  The article also tells of the tie between bicycles and women’s emancipation, which I was not aware of.

As cycling’s popularity exploded, a new breed of woman was making her mark in the 1890s. “The New Woman” was the term used to describe the modern woman who broke with convention by working outside the home, or eschewed the traditional role of wife and mother, or became politically active in the woman’s suffrage movement or other social issues. The New Woman saw herself as the equal of men and the bicycle helped her assert herself as such.

Now that makes total sense.  Hattie Stout, Vera’s mother, was dedicated to the concepts of women’s equality.  My mother was to inherit both that dedication and the love of sports of her mother.  While I didn’t inherit their passion for active sports, I did follow their lead in women’s rights.  My sister was the one who took both activities to heart as a woman athlete and political activist.

My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, talked about Grandma Vera riding her bicycle down the center hall of the Stout’s big house and crashing into her mother’s china cabinet.

Ice Skater

Mother also talked about the fact that Vera excelled at ice skating, and could not wait for the creek to freeze every winter, so she could swirl around on the ice, out skating everyone else in town–male and female.

I found verification for Vera’s love of ice skating when I discovered a letter she wrote to my mother about 1943. In that letter she says that ice has formed on the creek, and those young people better watch out. She just might grab her skates and show them how it is done. Still yearning to be the woman athlete.

Sports Fan

By 1943, at 62, and Grandma’s hair had turned entirely white. Her hard work running a boarding house and then a restaurant, and in the 1940s doing factory work, had ruined her legs–swollen with varicose veins.  By the time I was old enough to remember Grandma, her ice skating and baseball days were behind her, although she was an avid fan of the Killbuck high school teams and the  Cleveland Indians. This is how I remember Vera Anderson–the picture taken in the summer of 1944,  weeks before her husband died.

Vera Anderson

Vera Anderson, July,1944

I’m glad that through photographs, I can also glimpse the  athlete that she was in her youth.