Tag Archives: William Morgan Stout

“Remember Me”–Heirloom Autograph Books

Some heirlooms really bring to life their owners and their time.  I am thrilled to have three autogaph books from the 1880s and 90s that belonged to my Great-Aunt Mary Emmeline “Maude” Stout (Bartlett) 1875-1963 and to my Grandmother Vera Stout (Anderson) 1881-1964.  Every page is precious, but I only have space to share a few pages with you.

Autograph books

Vera’s large and Maude’s smaller autograph books. That is NOT Maude’s photograph on the bottom left book.

Paging through the autograph books, I notice that my grandmother Vera’s is packed full, while the two by Aunt Maude have many blank pages.  Also, there are more boy’s signatures in my grandmother’s book.  This confirms my impression that grandma was always more sociable and probably more popular than her more serious sister.  The inscriptions in both range from religious in nature to silly verses.

My grandmother’s book seems to have been a Christmas gift in 1890 when she was nine years old. The first signatures in the book are from New Year’s Eve, 1890. The book is nine inches wide and six inches high. There are 34 pages in all, with signatures on both sides of all pages except the title page. The pages have become very brittle and edges are disintegrating.  Most pages are tan (presumably originally more white) but a few are pastel shades. While some pages seem as clear as the day they were written, some have faded considerably and are difficult to read.

The first entry is Vera’s invitation to her friends. She always had beautiful hand writing, but I am amazed that this was written by a nine-year-old.

Vera's Autograph Book page one.

Invitation to sign my book, written by Vera Stout

To All

My Album open! Come and see!

What! Won’t you waste a line on me?

Write but a thought– a word or two

That Memory may reverse to you.

Note:  The words in italic are added in a different hand as though someone was improving her poem.

Some of the entries are very plain, but some are quite fancy. In this case, decorated by the friend, Carrie Wood, who wrote a plainer entry later in the book.

Autograph Book fancy page

Artwork by Vera’s friend, Carrie Wood, 1892

Carrie’s embellished words say

Feb. 16, 1892, Killbuck Ohio From your true friend (___?) Dear Vera Remember me in the days of thy youth. Strive and you will win Strive + Diligence leads to Victory. From your true friend and schoolmate. Carrie Wood

Some adults signed the book, too–church and school officials.  Here are signatures by two adults with more artwork.

Autograph book adult signature

Art work by the Superintendent, S. D. Lisle and wife 1891

Dear Vera:

“A man that can tell good advice from bad advice, does not need advice.”  Mrs. S. D. Lisle

To be content with little is already a step towards greatness.”  S. B. Lisle, Supt. Schools.  Killbuck, Ohio, Jan. 12, 1891.

For those not confident of their artistic talent, the book apparently came with stickers from which the signers could choose.

Autograph book with sticker

Autograph book page with sticker 1891

Killbuck, Ohio, Jan 10, 1891

Friend Vera, “Do good deeds And You will be rewarded.”  Your friend, Lillie Wilson.

Every autograph book has to have some of these silly sayings, and the same ones might have shown up in my own autograph book fifty years later.  Boys, particularly, did not want to say anything mushy or religious.

Autograph book silly verse

Charley Lowe, silly boy May 1892

Killbuck, Ohio, May 12, 1892. Vera.  Remember me when far away If only half awake, Remember me on your wedding day, and send me a piece of cake.  Charley Lowe. (Bottom corner; “Remember”)

Most precious to me in these autograph books are the signatures of Vera’s brother Will (William Morgan Stout) and her sister Maude and other relative and friends I know.

Unfortunately, Will’s page has faded very badly, but I am delighted to say that he signed as “Bro” which is the way that my brother signs notes to me as well.

Autograph Book-Brother's signature

William Stout signature 1893

I am not absolutely certain of the year, thinking at first it was 1899, but by then he would have been in New York in School, so 1893 is more likely. He would have been 19 years old.

Feb. 9, 1893

Compliments of your Bro, W. M. Stout

Short message, but I love the sweeping hand in which he writes, full of confidence.

Maude, the 16-year-old sister, had advice to impart from her advanced age. Interestingly, she signs these pages as Maud (with no “e” on the end), but as an adult, she signed with an “e”–Maude, so that is the spelling I use.

Autograph Book -Sister

Message from Sister Maud Stout 1891

Killbuck Ohio, January 21, 1891

Dear Sister, “When the name that I write here is dim on the page and leaves of your album are yellow with age, still think of me kindly and do not forget that where ever I am I remember you yet”  Your loving Sister Maud Stout

The following year, Maud wrote another entry with an interesting P.S. at the bottom.

Maude’s autograph

Killbuck Ohio    Sister Vera

Ever keep in mind that the virtues of modesty candor and truth in woman exceed all the beauty of youth. Your sister Maud

May 20, 1892 [Grandma’s 11th birthday was May 23] Your last day of school in the old tin shop.

I have no idea what exactly that means, but apparently the town was building a new school. And this was the school in 1893. Grandma is to the left of the teacher in the front row.

Killbuck School, Vera Anderson to left of teacher. 1893

Killbuck School, Vera Anderson to left of teacher. 1893

Finally, tucked away in the book is a piece of paper art with the initials of brother Will Stout, and a page from the man who made the art.

Autograph Book

Stencil W. S. (William Stout)

Autograph book Paper Art

Signed by makir of the paper art

 

J.R. Welker was a Floral Cut, Paper Artist. I imagine like penmanship teachers and photographers, Welker traveled from town to town, demonstrating and displaying his art for sale in a public place, and perhaps teaching the art while he was there.

Miss Vera  January 18th 1892/

Perhaps, some day on some far distant shore/like one bereft of friends, I’ll sadly roam,/Endearing charms of those I’ll see no more,/dictating thoughts of love, of joy, and home./Gay as the Butterfly that sips the morning dew/each graceful air shall be, my ____paints for you.

{In the white cut-out in the upper left corner} I love a little lady yes it is true/I think that little lady is one like you/ And I think no affection can ever love vain/For what one loses th eother will gain.}

Oh, my, I can just see little Vera begging her mother to buy all of Mr. Welker’s art work after reading that romantic message.

When I look at my autograph book from when I was about the same age, I can only remember a couple of those people pleading with me to remember them.  However, Killbuck, Ohio was a small town and people grew up together.  I recognize some of these names and know that they were life-long friends.

Oh, I cannot close without adding one more page–this one from Aunt Maud’s autograph book, where Vera, then 4 years old, added her signature.  The woman who would learn to write so beautifully, had not yet mastered the art. Fortunately someone, probably her mother Hattie Morgan Stout added the necessary information.

Maud's Autograph book--Vera

Vera at 4 years old New Year’s Day 1886 in Maud Stout’s book.

Family Heirloom: Gift Book for Christmas

This post is dedicated to those of us who are tempted to give an Amazon gift card for a present. Here is a hint on how to make a gift book into a family heirloom.

My Gift Book

Our family frequently gave gift books for Christmas presents.  My mother and father almost always wrote inscriptions in the front of the book and dated and signed them.  I treasure those gifts, particularly this one which probably accounted in large part for my life long fascination with Greece and the culture of the Golden age.  I read that book so much that the hard cover is long gone.  Here is the title page, and the very treasured inscription written by my father, Christmas 1947 when I was eight years and nine months old.

Grandma Vera’s Gift Book

What a nice surprise it was to discover that this tradition went back two generations before me. I found books that my great-grandmother, Harriet Morgan Stout gave to my grandmother and to my great-uncle–writing an inscription in each.  Even more fun, my Grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson) did what many young people do–she “wrote” on the pages. The inscription indicates that she would have been six years old when she received this book, but the book seems a bit young for a six-year-old, and she surely would have known better than to draw in a book by that age!

The book is beautifully illustrated and teaches us much about how children dressed and what they played with. Some things have not changed–skipping rope and blowing bubbles. Some toys have disappeared–whipping tops and hoops.

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Great-Uncle Will’s Gift Book

Vera’s older brother William Morgan Stout (Willy or Will), received a very different book for Christmas 1886 when he was 13.  The inscription is in the handwriting of my great-grandmother, but my mother added the “age 13”.

Review of Davy and the Goblin in American Magazine advertising section January 1888.

Review of Willy's Book

Review of Davy and the Goblin in January 1888 issue of The American Magazine.

This is a very odd book. The author, Charles Carryl, was known as the Lewis Carroll of America–writing humorous fantasy, perhaps as an escape from his day job as a stock broker.

This book published in 1894, obviously aims to cash in on the popularity of Alice In Wonderland which was first published in 1865, and continued to be a best seller.  Carryl tells some original stories, like Davy’s confrontation with the giant Badorful, but he also riffs on familiar tales like Sinbad the Sailor, Jack and the Bean Stalk, and Robinson Crusoe.

The illustrations are black and white, but surely would appeal to an adventure-minded young man.  Thirteen year olds today might find this a bit young for them, but I can imagine my great-uncle “Willy” eating it up.

Willy's gift book.

Willy Stout’s gift book, Davy and the Goblin meet Giant Badorful, 1887

I post this in the hope that it will influence you not only to give books to family members, but always, ALWAYS, write the date, their name, an inscription and your name. It will enhance the value of the book in the century or two to come.  Amazon gift certificates may disappear in the cloud, but books will stick around for a long, long time.

Ancestor Tracking: Great-Uncle Will, Willie or Bill Stout

William Stout

Ancestor Great Uncle William Morgan Stout (1938) 65 years old, according to family notes.

 

It is time to move on to some other members of the family in my ancestor tracking. Since I have talked quite a bit about Vera Stout Anderson, I’ll start with her older brother, William Morgan Stout (1873-1944), known as Bill Stout or Will Stout.

My great-uncle carried the name of his father Doctor William Stout and his maternal grandfather, Jessie Morgan. One of these days I’ll tell you why it has always seemed very odd to me that Uncle Bill’s mother decided to give him the name Morgan.

 

 

The Gay Nineties in Manhattan

My favorite of all my ancestor pictures is this one from 1909 of Uncle Bill Stout and his wife Jean at a dinner party.

1909 Diner in New York City

Great-Uncle Bill Stout and wife Jean at dinner party with friends.

“”””‘”Taken Jan 21-09 about 10:30 p.m. In dining Room of the Brown’s apartment 545 W 138 St.”  These notes were made on the back by Jean, bless her heart. She introduces the people from right to left as Brown, Yarnell, Bill, Benedict, Brown, Yarnell, Jean and Benedict.

So Jean is the pretty lady with her chin in her hand, and Bill is the guy with the heavy black mustache. I have great fun trying to figure out what they had for dinner, served up in all those lovely china and crystal dishes. Isn’t that a sherry decanter I see? And they are having after dinner coffee.Looks like someone on this end of the table didn’t eat his/her vegetables. What’s the guy on the right have in his hand? Is that a remote switch for the camera, or more likely a very fat cigar?

Uncle Bill Stout was born in Killbuck, Ohio, but lived in New York. Since he is the only member of the family who wound up in the big city, it is interesting to see how and why that happened.

Bill Stout at School

Ancestor William Stout

William Stout, a college swell (circa 1892)

Here he is as a college student, at 18 years old. (And I’m NOT the one who drew a circle around his picture!) I’m sure that the family had high hopes for their only son, since papa was the town doctor and came from a family loaded with ambitious men. They included his uncle Frank Stout, an attorney in Omaha.

However, Bill Stout, it seems, liked to party. His father, a strict church goer and teetotaler, finally had enough and turned his back on Bill.

There is a family legend that a woman living in a nearby town, who was a bit of a Bohemian–an artist– took a fancy to the much younger man and decided to finance his law school education in New York. So off went Bill to law school.

Note:  UPDATE May 2017.  I have learned that Will apparently didn’t spend much time at Mt. Union, but instead in October 1895, he enrolled for four years of college at St. Lawrence University in the town of Canton in upstate New York.  In his freshman year (he was already twenty-two years old) he was selected as captain of the baseball team. In May 1899, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in the College of Letters and Science.

Although he was listed with his parents in the 1900 Census in Killbuck, Ohio, under occupation, the entry was “at school.”  He must have enrolled in law school after graduating from St. Lawrence College because he graduated in 1900 from New York Law School.

William Stout college days

Wm Morgan Stout in back of carriage riding in Central Park perhaps

New York Law School

If his obituary, which says he graduated in 1891, is correct he was part of an exciting academic rebellion. Given the other things I have learned about Bill Stout, that would not surprise me in the least.

Since New York Law School was officially founded in June 1891, it is possible that Bill Stout started school at Columbia College School of Law and joined the group of students and professors who rebelled against controls imposed by the board of that school.  They founded the new New York Law School which quickly became (and remains) one of the outstanding law schools in the nation. This story would also explain why my mother always said that Bill Stout attended Columbia. Updated May 2017

Bill Stout Makes a Life in New York

At some point around the time he was in law school, he met and married his wife Jean.  She had been married before and had one daughter, according to my mother’s oral history. Uncle Bill Stout adopted the daughter, who mother remembered was named Margaret and owned an antique store as an adult. I have no idea if she took the name Stout, but it would be interesting to find out more about that relationship.

UPDATE: May 2017 He never returned to Ohio to live. About 1906, he was hired by the Interboro Railroad (streetcar line) and according to his obituary he worked there for 34 years, until he retired in 1940.

The family reconciled very quickly. Or at least his mother visited him in New York and I have a picture of her on a double-decker bus.  Not only that, but his mother and father sent my grandmother Vera to live with Bill in New York for a short time — and that’s another story.

Bill and Jean were big travelers, my mother said, and they would go through Killbuck, Ohio and visit from time to time, but if I ever met them, I was too young to remember. Since he and Jean had no children of their own, and the adopted daughter did not stay in touch with our family, I know very little about them, but from the sparkle in his eyes in his photographs, and the stories about his independent nature, I think I would have liked him very much.

I have not made a great effort to track William Morgan Stout’s life, but I do have a note in family archives that his address was 537 W. 149th Street in New York. (I don’t know at what time period, but suspect it may be when my grandmother stayed with him in 1899-1900.[NOTE: Details, details. I have discovered the source for that address was the back of a photo of his mother taken in the late 1920’s. Looks like the photographers note to send him a copy, so he lived on 149th Street in the 1920’s.]) I did a cursory search for on-line city directories and found W. Morgan Stout, lawyer, listed at 21 Park (that would be office) and in the same entry: home 461 W. 155th Street in 1907. I did find some more information and a picture. Read about it in 3 Historic Houses and a Kidnapping.

Retirement

UPDATE: May 12, 2017  When Will retired in 1938, he and Jean moved from Manhattan to Farmingdale, New Jersey.  Since the Stout family’s first settlements were in New Jersey, there are still many, many Stout families there, and no doubt Will was in touch with some of his Stout relatives.  I’m happy that he had family around, but frustrated because I now have to wade through numerous William Stouts in order to find my great-uncle!

For a long time, I was frustrated that I could find no record of his death in New York or New Jersey. However, I finally discovered an obituary–in Palm Beach, Florida.  After three years in New Jersey, Will and Jean had moved to Palm Beach, a fashionable retreat for Easterners, and he died there in March 1944.  I also learned that he had been cremated, which explains the lack of tombstone.  I have yet to find a will (which I believe a lawyer would have had) or a death certificate. But I’m working on it.  The obituary says that his ashes were returned to Farmingdale. However, Jean, his wife, disappears from view, just as she is invisible before their marriage. 

Can you help with my ancestor tracking? I would love to know more about Jean and her daughter.

Since I don’t have first names for any of those people in the dinner picture, I’m hoping someone will see the picture and recognize someone. There’s a good chance that at least one of those men is a lawyer.

Do you have any ancestors who might have been acquainted with lawyer William Morgan Stout or the people he dined with in New York City, 1909?

Notes on Research (Added May 2017)

Oral History from Harriette Anderson Kaser, Bill Stout’s neice, from 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Family photographs in the author’s possession.

U. S. Federal Census, 1880, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio; 1900, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio; 1910, Manhattan, Ward 12, New York, New York; 1920, Manhattan, Assembly Dist. 22, New York, New York; 1930, Manhattan, Kings, New York, New York; 1940, Farmingdale, Monmouth, New Jersey

New York State Census, 1905 Manhattan, New York, New York ; 1915, New York, New York, New York

Florida Death Index 1877-1998, Ancestry.com, William M. Stout, 1944, Palm Beach

Ohio Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973, Ancestry.com,  Willie M. Stout

U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,
William Morgan Stout, SSN 063098893 Life Claim, 17 Aug. 1938.

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,  William Morgan Stout, Sep 1918, : New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786805; Draft Board: 146

The Post Standard, Syracuse, New York, “Will Graduate from College of Arts and Science”, May 21, 1899. Source: fultonhistory.com, Repository: New York Public Library.

The St. Lawrence Plain Dealer, “St. Lawrence College Entrance Class”, 2 Oct. 1899, Source: fultonhistory.com. Repository: New York Public Library

Unknown Newspaper, Obituary with dateline “Killbuck, March 31”. Possession of Paul William Kaser.