Tag Archives: Holmes County

Revisiting the Andersons of Holmes County Ohio

Among the things that getting a DNA test has done  to influence my research–I discover ancestors I skipped over when I wrote about members of their family. That has been the case with both my maternal line of Andersons and my paternal line of Kasers.

DNA strand

DNA strand from pixabay

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Last week I remedied an oversight in the Andersons by talking about my great-uncle William McCabe Anderson. (My attention had been drawn to Will because of a DNA match.) William, first son of the 2nd marriage of John Anderson to my grandmother Isabella McCabe, survived the experience of a P.O.W. during the Civil War.

As I looked at Will Anderson, I realized there were other Andersons that I had missed.

A Recap of the Andersons I Have Introduced

Caroline Anderson Bird

Family portrait Anderson and Stout, 1909

For identification of everyone in the Anderson and Stout family picture above, follow this link.

Leonard Guy Anderson, my maternal grandfather. You can see “Daddy Guy” in the photo at the top of the page–an ancestor in an apron. I have written about Guy’s second wife, Vera Stout Anderson many times. I was named for her and spent a great deal of time with her when I was young.

Bernard Franklin (Ben) Anderson, great-uncle, was Guy’s brother. I wrote about the tragic loss of his young wife and his family, which presented quite a tangle. His descendants included his nephew Telmar, Guy’s son by his first wife and brother to Rhema Anderson Fair (below); Estil Anderson Sr., Ben’s only son; and Estil Anderson Jr.

Mary V. Brink Anderson and Joseph J. Anderson, my grandfather’s parents. Joseph was the next to youngest son of Isabella McCabe  and John Anderson, and died young.

Isabella McCabe Anderson and her husband John Anderson, my great-great grandparents moved the Andersons from Ohio to Pennsylvania. Isabella lived a long time– long enough that my mother knew her great-grandmother, who sits in the center of the family picture above.

Great-Great Uncle Erasmus Anderson (actually a half-uncle of my grandfather), a soldier in the Civil War had a series of posts dedicated to his letters from the front and description of his service and death during the Civil War.

Margaret Anderson Lisle, great-great aunt. Margaret, the first child of John Anderson and his second wife, Isabella McCabe, played the role of family caretaker.  It was Margaret who wrote to Erasmus during the war. It was Margaret who kept a family scrapbook with locks of hair and obituaries. It was Margaret who raised her own family and the grandchildren who needed a parent.

Franklin Anderson, great-great uncle– my grandfather’s uncle who raised him when his father died. Franklin was the youngest of the Andersons family.

Caroline Anderson Bird, great-great aunt.

Amy Anderson Roof, great-great aunt.  Caroline and Amy were the two youngest children of Isabella and John Anderson, and close in every way for the rest of their lives.

I also wrote about the generations after my Grandfather–

Rhema Anderson Fair, my mother’s half sister.  The daughter of Guy Anderson and his first wife, Lillis Bird.

William J. Anderson. My Uncle Bill could be a rascal, as in the story I told about his running away, but my mother’s older brother held a place in my heart as a favorite relative.

Herbert Guy Anderson, son of Guy Anderson and his 2nd wife, Vera Stout Anderson. My uncle Herbert was my mother’s younger brother.

And I have written many times about my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser. (I’ll let you use the search function to find those articles and pictures.

Andersons in Waiting

Which Andersons still wait to have their stories told?  Well, I am currently working on Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell and her family.

I have not written about John Anderson, last child of John Anderson and his first wife, Emma Allison Anderson.  I have a puzzle to solve about John’s possible service in the Civil War before I can write about this man who died from a farm accident in his 30s.

The first child of John and Emma may have been a girl named Mary who married before the Andersons left Pennsylvania. But information on Mary is scarce.

And of course, each time I research a great-great aunt or uncle, I discover their children and grandchildren, new cousins galore.

Are You an Anderson?

Anderson is such a common name that even in the small county of Holmes in Ohio, I find Andersons that are not visibly related to my John Anderson line.  I keep hoping to meet someone who holds the key to where John Anderson (1795-1879) came from and who his parents were. Perhaps there is a family Bible. Perhaps an earlier Anderson wrote a family history. Until then, John Anderson is one of my brick walls, and I will continue to explore the families that came after him.

 

Willliam McCabe Anderson Home From War

William McCabe Anderson

William McCabe Anderson

William McCabe Anderson, born in Pennsylvania, knew Ohio as his home from the time he was a toddler. He probably expected nothing more from life than to grow crops and livestock and build a legacy for his own children as his father had done. Travel and adventure came to other people.

William Becomes a Soldier

But he  became a soldier fighting for the Union at the age of twenty when he joined the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  As I wrote earlier, (follow the link for the story) Will was luckier than so many of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. As a soldier, he saw more of the country and had more adventures than he could have dreamed of. But mostly, he was lucky because he survived.

The young man, no doubt hardy from working on his father’s Ohio farm, toughened up even more as his company marched for weeks and fought in two disastrous battles. His luck seemed to give out at the Battle of Chickasaw when he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for nearly a year.

His mother, Isabella McCabe Anderson named him for her brother William McCabe. Perhaps he inherited the toughness of his Scots-Irish McCabe forebears, along with the middle name of William McCabe Anderson. For whatever reason, Will survived when many of his fellow prisoners died from the harsh conditions in their unique prison in an old covered bridge.

The Soldier Comes Home

In November 1864, he returned to his mother and father, John and Isabella McCabe Anderson in Monroe Township, Holmes County Ohio. It would have been a joyful reunion, tinged with sadness. Will’s oldest half-brother, Erasmus, did not survive the war, and his next oldest half-brother, John, who may have joined on the same day as Will, if so, had not yet have returned, per Ohio Soldier Grave Registration. (I have a research mystery here because of a conflict between the Grave Registration information and other reference materials. And then there are the many John Andersons from Ohio in the Union Army)

Those waiting to greet Pvt. William McCabe Anderson, besides his parents John and Isabella Anderson, included his older sister Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell, and Margaret Anderson Lisle, both now married and living nearby. Younger sisters Amy and Caroline, close as two peas in a pod, were still living at home on the farm, as were young brothers 16-year-old Joseph (to become my 2x great-grandfather) and 12-year-old Frank.

Three and a half years later, Will married Eliza Armstrong (Elizabeth J.) who lived on a neighboring farm. Her father came from Ireland, as did William’s ancestors the Andersons and the McCabes.

William the Farmer

The Agriculture non-Population schedule of the 1870 Census of Monroe Township in Holmes County Ohio shows that Will wasted no time in establishing one of the outstanding farms of the area.  By that year, he and Eliza had two children, one-year-old Effie and two month old Olive.  William was farming a 117-acre farm, with more than half of that in “improved” fields.  The value of his farm stood at $3500.

It is clear from the schedule that he cultivated sheep rather than dairy cows, although he owned nine head of cattle and six “swine” (probably for family use).  He grew corn and winter wheat and some oats, but he sheared his sheep and sold 200 pounds of wool.  Forty bushels of potatoes and three tons of hay completed the output of the farm with an estimated value of sold products $703.

Ten years later (1880), the agricultural schedule asks slightly different questions, but we see that he estimates that his total value of the farm has risen by $2000, and total acreage reported decreased slightly, due to the loss of 27 acres of woodland and gaining ten acres of tilled land. Unlike 1870, when he appeared to do the work by himself, he now hired people over an eight week period at a cost of $100.  Will values total products sold at $400.

On the farm, he has added 100 pounds of butter to products sold, and his sheep birthed 40 lambs. He sold ten sheep and slaughtered one.  The sheep yield more than twice as much weight of wool as in 1870, and his herd of swine increased from six to twenty-one.  Poultry was not counted in 1870, but in 1880, he has 56, and has gathered 200 eggs.  His production of corn stays steady with ten acres being devoted to corn, six acres to oats, with the harvest increasing form 40 to 225 bushels and twelve acres to wheat.

Potatoes harvest stays about the same, and fruit, which wasn’t asked on the previous census seems to be an important crop. 100 apple trees and 25 peach trees take up five acres.

During this decade when farming takes most his time, life events occupy his attention as well. In 1972, his brother John, just 36 years old, dies from a fall from an apple tree on his nearby farm.

William Loses Family Members

The following year, Will and Eliza had a son, Gilmore. Son John Edward (called Edward) came in 1873. Another son, William,  born in April 1875, died five months later.  Then in February 1877, William’s wife, Eliza, died.

Eliza, just thirty-two when she died, left William with four young children from five to ten years old.  His mother Isabella, now a widow, moved in with him to help with the house and the children, and is listed as the housekeeper in the census taken on June 5, 1880. However Will is ready to have a second wife, and on June 24 he married Mary Jane Cox (called Jane).

Another terrible blow came to the family in 1881 when Will’s oldest daughter, Effie died at eleven.

In 1883, his brother Joseph (my  great grandfather, died (as the result of injuries suffered in a fall from a tree–like his older brother John). Despite the tragedies that struck the family, and despite his war-weakened health and hard work on the farm, William found time for civic duty. He  served both as a Township Trustee and as Treasurer of Monroe Township.

In 1890, the census Veteran’s report identified Will. (The 5th line down)  William Anderson; Private; Company B; Name of Regiment 166 [16th] O [Ohio] Inf [Infantry]; Date of Enrollment 12 Dec 1861; Date of Discharge 13 Oct 1864 Length of service 3 years 1 month and 19 days.

1890 Census Veteran's Schedule.

1890 Veteran’s Schedule of the Federal Census for Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honored at the End of Life

Will and Jane had been married for twenty-two years when he died at the age of sixty-one.  He had survived the Civil War and his time as a Prisoner of War to become a respected member of the community. The county newspaper, The Holmes County Farmer, published his obituary on June 26, 1902 on page one.

William McCabe Anderson obituary

Holmes County Farmer, June 26, 1902. Front page obituary for William McCabe Anderson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1985, the editor of a history of Holmes County wrote about the effect of William McCabe Anderson’s wartime experience.

“Being housed in a damp barn so weakened his lungs that he was affected the remainder of his life, a contributing factor towards his death…..His widow collected $91 monthly in a government pension stemming from his Civil War service.”

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
  • Joseph Anderson, who is the son of
  • John Anderson and Isabelle McCabe Anderson, the parents  of
  • William McCabe Anderson

Notes on Research

United States Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township.

United States Federal Census Non-Population – Agriculture Schedule, 1870 and 1880, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township. Census Place: Monroe, Holmes, Ohio; Archive Collection Number: T1159

(1870)Roll: 38; Line: 25; Schedule Type: Agriculture.

(1880)Roll: 67; Line: 1; Schedule Type: Agriculture.  Both accessed at Ancestry.com

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, 1867 Marriage License of William  Anderson and Eliza J. Armstrong, Holmes County, Ohio. Image from Family History Library film number 000477145. Accessed at Ancestry.

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, 1880 Marriage License of William Anderson and Martha J. Cox, Holmes County, Ohio. Image from Family History Library film number 000477146. Accessed at Ancestry.

Obituary of William M Anderson: (Picture used came  from Margaret Anderson Lisle’s scrapbook containing family information.) Newspaper: Holmes County Farmer, Newspaper Date: 26 Jun 1902, Newspaper Page: 1 Column: ; Repository: WAYNE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY (WOOSTER, Ohio)

Find a Grave.com, William M. Anderson

United States Federal Census Non-Population – Veterans Schedule, 1890, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15 Accessed at Ancestry.

Holmes County (Ohio) Republican, series entitled Camp & Field, by Capt. Theodore David Wolbach. Published Feb 24, 1881 to August 17, 1882.  Accessed at the website dedicated to the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 

Holmes County Ohio to 1985, Holmes County History Book Committee, Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1985, Millersburg, Ohio.  page 7 William Anderson  Out of print.  (Accessed partial article from a family tree on Ancestry.)

Doctor’s Daughter and the Medicine Show, a Family Letter

Imagine This

Imagine that you are a 13-year-old girl living in a town of about 800 people in rural Ohio, Holmes County. It is February, 1895, so the dirt streets usually turn to mud in winter, but this winter has been mild, and a medicine show has come to town. You sit down to write a letter to your Grandma, Emeline Stout, who lives in Guernsey County.

The Letter

Vera and Emeline

(The photo of Emeline Stout below is undated, but since I have younger and older pictures, I believe this is roughly the right time period. I previously mis-identified it as being Hattie Stout because I misread a caption that said “Grandma Stout”.  Since it was my Grandmother Vera’s handwriting, it is Emeline, not my mother’s Grandma Stout–Hattie.  The photo of Vera is approximately the time she wrote the letter, but unfortunately I do not have one that is better quality.)

The Background

Your father is a doctor and, as usual, is out in the country helping a patient.  Not a lot happens in this small town except church on Sundays and other church meetings. A medicine show with a painless dentist has replaced the interest stirred by the Methodist Church revival, which has now ended. The revivals are almost as well attended as a traveling circus, and draw nearly everybody in town.  Some of those people, not already committed to your father’s chosen place of worship, the Church of Christ,will respond to the emotional sermon of the traveling minister and walk down the tent’s aisle to join the Methodist Church. After you report on the Methodist’s success, t occurs to you a that you had better also tell Grandma about the activities of the Church of Christ. (You are writing the letter on Monday, so your church yesterday occupies your mind ).

When you announced your intention to go to the medicine show, your mother, upholding the reputation of the good doctor, lets you know in no uncertain terms that you cannot go.  One can only guess how appalled she is to think that neighbors would see Doc Stout’s youngest daughter at this charlatan’s traveling show. Additionally, although you Vera might not have known, alcoholism ranks as the biggest social problem of the time. The traveling medicine man’s main income comes from selling “medicine” that is almost totally alcohol or morphine.  It would not occur to you that Grandma Stout might disapprove as much as your mother did  of the medicine show.  Emeline Cochran Stout took an active role in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

You let it slip later in the letter that you already went to the medicine show, because you were tempted to let the painless dentist pull your teeth.  But since you report honestly on both the good and the bad, you admit that you chickened out of having the teeth extracted.

Perhaps your mother did not realize you had attended before, and when she learns about your plans to go again, you see your mother’s refusal as being contrary, and you pitch a fit.  You get so angry that you even refuse to write a thank you letter to your Grandmother Stout even though your obedient older sister, Maude, has written her letter.

But when you calm down, you write the letter to Grandma and in plain terms, confess to your contrariness.

Transcription and Notes

The 13-year-old was my Grandmother Vera Stout (Anderson). She wrote the letter on her father’s stationary and filled in the date February 25 1895. In three months she would celebrate her 14th birthday. The portion in italics is what Grandmother wrote. I have left her spelling, but for clarity I added periods at the end of sentences. My notes are in brackets. I will include additional notes at the end of the letter explaining things that might not be clear.    

Printed letterhead, with fancy frame around name (see picture above):

W. C. Stout, M.D.

Office days, TUESDAYS and SATURDAYS (from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.)

Killbuck, Ohio, Feb. 25 189 5

Dear Grandma,

I will answer your letter this evening. I was to contrary to ans when Maud {Vera’s sister} did because I was mad. I received your mittens you sent me and thank you ever so much. think they are very nice.

There is a show in town & has been here for wk and is going to stay all this week. ma got a contrary spell & would not let me go & I have been crying about it for a long time. Pa is up to Stagers. Mr. Stager was down after him to go to see his wife. she has the grip. {grippe–flu}

The Methodist church broke up last night I do not know how many members they got. I think about 30 I am not sure. Are school will be out in about 2 months & Mr. Searles is going to teach a Normal school {school for teachers} this summer. I will not attend.(1) We had church last night & two came out and three were taken in.(2) Bertie Knavel and Mrs. Williams joined and the Fox girl was taken into the church. We got Uncle Tom’s little boy’s picture & he is awful sweet. they named him after Pa. William Clarence Stout. & it make it W. C. Stout like Pa name. He is awful sweet. I expect you have one of them. he is standing by the hobby horse.(3)

Well grandma I got two teeth filled the other day . Mr. Mackey from Millersburg {County Seat, and biggest town in the county}. I only have two more to have filled & 4 to have pulled & will have good teeth. will be glad of it. The show that is here is a medicine show and the Doctor pulls teeth without pain & I am to big a coward to get my pulled. I started to and set back down. backed out.

This was a lovely day. the sun shone all day & the roads are nice.(4)

When are you coming out{?}

This is all I have to say this time so good bye. From your grand daughter Vera

Tell the girls I will write to them to. {Vera’s cousins, who were close to her in age– the nieces of her father, Doc Stout. Mary (b. 1883) and Myrl ( b. 1885), daughters of “Lib” Elizabeth Stout Cunningham.}

 

(1) If May seems early for school to be out, remember that in an agricultural society, parents needed their children on the farm during planting season.

I don’t know why Vera felt it necessary to say she would not be going to the Normal School conducted by Mr. Searles, since Normal schools were for high school graduates, not pre-high school.

(2) “two came out and three were taken in”  In Evangelical churches like the Church of Christ people “come out” and confess their  belief generally at the end of a service.  After some time passes, the minister baptizes them and they are “taken in” to membership in the church.  “Taken in” could also mean people who moved from another congregation.

(3) Uncle Tom is Tom Stout who ranched near Sheridan Wyoming.  The little boy named after Doc Stout, born in 1891, grew up, married and had a child, but was killed in an automobile accident in 1919.  Unfortunately, I have not found a copy of the picture of the child with his hobby horse.

(4) “the sun shone all day and the roads are nice”  This is the most evocative line of this letter, taking us back to a town when the condition of the roads could not be counted on to be passable, particularly in winter.

What Did I Learn About Grandma’s Life?

Now if your imagination is still in tact, and you are transported back to small town Ohio in 1895, imagine what happened after Vera wrote this letter.

My first reaction focused on how wonderful it was to have such a revealing letter from my grandmother.  I can see the plain-spoken, no-nonsense woman I knew in her later years. It brought back to me that  small town life really did include things like medicine shows and painless dentists, and the westerns that I saw in the movie theater where Grandma worked in later years were not just making things up. Did you ever see Bob Hope as a painless dentist in The Paleface?  (Remember, also, that in 1891, Ohio was still considered the West.)  Excellent description of the American phenomenon of traveling medicine show in this article.

But my second reaction was to ask, “If this letter went to Emeline Stout, why was it among my great-grandmother’s papers?”  Was Vera’s Ma, Hattie Stout still being ‘contrary?; Was Vera drop the letter in the slot at the post office, or did her mother make her recopy it and leave out some offensive lines? Perhaps I am over thinking this, because when people wrote letters by hand  in an era that prized beautiful writing, it they frequently recopied a letter and mailed the “clean” copy.

Now that you know Vera as a 13-year-old, and her mother Hattie, what do you think happened? And what do you think of my grandmother?