Tag Archives: Dr. William Stout

The Doctor and the Girl on the Bridge: A Love Story

William (Doc) Cochran Stout (1845- 1910), Harriett E. (Hattie) Morgan (1842–1928) Married (1872)

We are blessed to have so many memories handed down by our mother and father (Harriette Anderson Kaser and Paul Kaser) in taped interviews and written notes. Today I’m going to share my mother’s favorite Stout family love story.

But first, a peek behind the curtains of genealogical research. One of the most valuable resources for finding out about life in the 1800s comes from local histories and biographies that were being written during that time. Thus we have from the Biographical Record of Holmes County, 1889, this little biography of William C. Stout, (If you want to know more , I talked about William Stout’s education last week here.)

W. C. Stout, M.D., Killbuck, Ohio, was born in Guernsey County, Oho, March 20, 1845, a son of Isaiah and Emeline (Cochran) Stout, former a native of New Jersey, latter of Guernsey County, Ohio.  His father emigrated to Guernsey County when a young man, and followed the occupation of a farmer in that county until his death.  He reared a family of nine children, seven of whom are still living, viz: W. C.; Martha, wife of William Hays; C. H. [Actually George H.], a practicing physician; Thomas A., a ranchman of Wyoming Territory; Elizabeth, wife of Edward Cunningham; Sarah Ophelia, wife of Edward Scott; and John F., an attorney, of Hutchinson, Kas.  …

W.C. Stout was reared on the homestead farm, and obtained his classical education in Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio.  He began the study of medicine with Dr. G. L. Arnold, of Cambridge, Ohio, and graduated from the Eclectic Medical College at Philadelphia, Penn., in 1871.  The same year he located at Killbuck, where he has built up an extensive practice.  He owns a good farm, which he superintends, and is also engaged in shipping lumber, all in connection with attending to his practice.  In his political affiliations he is a Republican.  He is a member of the Disciples Church, in which he holds the office of deacon.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Spartan Lodge, No. 126.  Dr. Stout was married in 1872, to Miss Hattie [Harriett’s nickname], daughter of Mrs. Mary Morgan of Killbuck, and they have three children: William M., Maude and Verah May [Vera May, my grandmother].

The Stout Brothers

The Stout Brothers–Dr. W.C. Stout in front on the right.

Because the Stout family lived in Guernsey County, an earlier guide to that County (1882) talks about William Stout’s mother, Emmaline, and her father, Col. William Cochran who served in the war of 1812 and married three times. The Household Guide and Instructor with Biographies, History of Guernsey County, Ohio, by T. F. Williams, says that Emmaline and her husband Isaiah Stout (deceased before 1882) had 12 children, of whom eight are living.  It mentions that “Their sons Joseph and Jacob helped defend the country in the late ‘unpleasantness.'” I’m still trying to unravel how many children they actually had and what happened to Joseph and Jacob. [Note: I am now convinced they could not possibly have been the children of Emmaline and Isaiah, but instead were brothers of Emmaline. The confusion comes from the arrangement of the sentences in the History of Guenersey County.]

To set the stage for Harriette Kaser’s love story– the small town of Killbuck grew along Killbuck Creek. In the 1800’s people still pastured milk cows in the low lands along the creek, and brought them in to town across the bridge each day.

There are three long parallel streets through the town–Water Street (beside the creek), Main Street, and Railroad Street (beside the railroad track. The downtown district consists of Front Street, which enters town via a bridge over Killbuck Creek and runs perpendicular to the three main streets. Everyone coming into the town from the south crossed over a bridge over Killbuck Creek. Now, here’s Harriette Kaser:

His [Dr. Stout’s] brother practiced in Cambridge and they didn’t want two Dr. Stouts, so he was looking for another place to practice.

[The love story began]  When he first came into town with all his possessions in his buggy, the first thing he saw, crossing the bridge, he found a young lady who had fallen and hurt her leg.  Harriett Morgan was crying because she had fallen on the bridge and cut her leg open.  It was probably summer when school was out.  She was taking cows out to pasture.  She was teaching school in a small school on the road to Stillwell at the time.

He put her in the carriage and drove her home, and carried the young lady inside. But Mary Morgan [Harriet Morgan’s mother] ordered him to put her down and made him come in the back door and show her his certificate before he could treat the knee.

He always said he” had ever seen a prettier knee”.  In old age he would tease, “It’s still on my books.  I was never paid.”  And she would say, “You were paid many times over.”

[They married and] he set up business in his mother-in-law’s building on Front Street. At one time they went west thinking to practice there, but came back to Killbuck.

William Stout diploma

William C. Stout’s diploma from the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, parchment stiff with age. 1871 Fortunately he had it with him.

Mary Morgan owned a great deal of property in Killbuck at the time. I’ll be talking about her and her two husbands later. Mother told me that Doc Stout and Hattie went to Topeka Kansas for six months, so he may have been relocating near his brother who was a lawyer in Hutchinson Kansas.

A scant ten months after Hattie and William were married, they had their first child, William Morgan Stout. Soon the doctor built a small office next to the Mary Morgan home on Main Street. When they had two more children, the house that Mary Morgan had been living in was too small for them, and they added on to it, creating the large family home I have pictured here before.

Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

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

My mother told me many more stories about William and Hattie and their ongoing love story.  Two of my favorites have to do with gifts.  Once he went to a medical convention in Chicago and bought a hall mirror for her and had it shipped to Killbuck.  (It stands in my living room.) I can’t imagine what a nightmare it must have been to ship it. I know it has been a challenge to us whenever we move it.

He bought child-sized umbrellas for the children and fur coats for the adults

Another time, when his wife was out of town (perhaps visiting my great Aunt Maude in Buffalo), “Doc” missed her so much that he went out and bought a complete new set of china and crystal and new silverware to greet her on her return.

Their love story had a sweet beginning, and never ended.

What’s an Eclectic Medicine Doctor? Ancestor Search: Dr. William Stout

William Cochran Stout (1845-1910)

Bananas. That’s what always make me think of Dr. William Stout. It always seemed to be something very special to have a great-grandfather who was a small town doctor.  And my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser remembered her grandfather with affection, even though he died when she was only four years old.

Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

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

You’ve met Grandfather William Stout before.  My grandmother Vera Stout Anderson was his favorite (standing beside him in the family portrait above). He quarreled with my great Uncle William Morgan Stout over questionable companions and drinking. “Doc” Stout was strongly religious. He built a beautiful house in Killbuck, Ohio for his family–a proud and powerful figure at the turn of the century, and a beloved doctor by people around Killbuck, and as far away as Coshocton and Mt. Vernon.

Dr. Stout

Doctor William Cochran Stout, Circa 1908

In the trunk of antique treasures that I inherited, I had seen the rolled up fancy scrolls of his medical college and associations and they were all very impressive. However I couldn’t stop wondering what and “electric” doctor was.  When I finally focused on the fact that it was not electric, it was eclectic, my curiosity grew.

William Stout's Mother, Emmeline Cochran

Emmeline Cochran Stout, Mother of Dr. Wm Stout.

As background, William Cochran Stout (his middle name was the family name of his mother) grew up the eldest of 12 children according to a pamphlet with the history of Guernsey County, published in 1882. Only eight of them survived in 1882. Perhaps losing so many family members influenced his interest in medicine.  I’ll talk about the family in a future article, but for now how did this son of a farmer become a medical doctor–and what the heck is an “eclectic” physician?

In 1869, age 24, William Stout paid $100 to the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania for tuition.

Wm. Stout Receipt for tuition

Wm. Stout Receipt for tuition at the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania. 1869

Presumably this was not the first tuition he had paid, because he graduated two years later, 1871, and even at an Eclectic Medicine college it took some years of study. The 1870 census listing his family members, lists him as a physician–perhaps his father was proudly jumping the gun?

William Stout diploma

William C. Stout’s diploma from the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, parchment stiff with age. 1871

The next year, when he was 27, he married Harriett Morgan of Killbuck, Ohio, population about 300*,  and set up his practice there.

To give you an idea of how large these assorted certificates are, I tacked them on the wall beside a hall mirror that Doc William Stout bought for his wife , Harriett Morgan Stout later in their life. (The hall mirror is 6 1/2 feet tall.)

Doctor William Stout's Certificates

Doctor Wm Stout’s Certificates beside Hattie Stout’s Hall Stand

I pored over the signatures on the diploma, apparently every professor who taught at the school.  The most prominent bold signature is John Buchanan, M.D.  I headed for Google to see what I could find out about the college and John Buchanan.  In the archives of the University of Pennsylvania, I found this article, headed Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania and American University of Philadelphia, 1850-1880. Hmmmm, so it did not last much longer after Doc William Stout graduated?  Reading through the history of the school, chartered in 1850, I found this definition:

The curriculum of the school followed the eclectic model, which was a branch of medicine formed in the mid-Nineteenth Century which focused on botanical remedies.

Ah, so perhaps my grandfather was an early version of Dr. Andrew Weil. Actually, the practice was a forerunner of naturopathic medicine, but also accepted modern technical advances, so it was very similar to today’s more open minded physicians.  Nothing wrong with that. And in further poking around later I learned that in that intellectually exuberant age of the late 19th century a number of different philosophies of medicine emerged, eclectic medicine being one that did not survive into the 21st century.

I was feeling a little better about the odd name of the medicine my great grandfather practiced, and then I found this. After a split with the school’s dean, Dr. Pain (I’m not making this up!)…

Animosity grew between the schools during the following decades of the Nineteenth Century.  By 1864 the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania began to exaggerate its funding and enrollment.  Following the schools relocation to 514 Pine Street in 1868 the reputation of the school began to seriously decline.  The previous year the school obtained a new charter as the American University of Philadelphia, and from that point on operating as a diploma mill under the leadership of Dr. John Buchanan.  In 1880 Dr. Buchanan was arrested and the school ceased operation.  Buchanan attempted to escape prosecution be faking his own suicide by jumping into the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Camden Ferry, but was later apprehended in Canada.

How disappointed the new Dr. Stout must have been!  At least the school’s reputation seemed to deteriorate AFTER he graduated. It may be worth noting that his brother George, five years younger, graduated in Eclectic Medicine in 1879, but he attended the Institute in Cincinnati rather than Philadelphia. Dr. Stout continued loyal to eclectic medicine, attending conferences around the country and bring back certificates attesting to his membership in both the Ohio (1892) and the National organization of Eclectic Medicine .

And Dr. Stout’s credentials were solid.  In 1896 he was licensed to practice medicine in the state of Ohio.  Why so late in his career?  Apparently Ohio did not license physicians until the legislature passed a law in February 1896.

William Stout Ohio Medical license

Dr. William Stout’s Ohio medical license

My mother said the patients who came from far away would come by train to Killbuck and stay overnight at his house. He would say to his wife, Harriett M. Stout, “You’re the best looking woman and the best cook in town, so why wouldn’t I bring them here?” Sounds like Doc could turn on the charm.

Since eclectic medicine championed natural cures, herbal medicine learned from American Indians and healthy eating, I am surprised that more of Dr. Stout’s philosophy did not come down to me through my grandmother Vera. Camomile tea is the only home remedy I recall. Mother remembered that her grandfather would give coins to the children to buy bananas which he believed were good for them. So I’m sure he would have approved of the Badertscher banana bread recipe.

How about you? Do you prefer natural medicines? Would you have liked to know an eclectic medicine doctor?

*The Killbuck 1880 population estimate came from an interview in a Wooster Daily News  article about Killbuck history that was published in August, 1967.