Tag Archives: Wyoming

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Wife: 52 Ancestors #15 Mattie Worley

Mattie Worley (1855-1923)

In my prior 52 Ancestors entry about Thomas Albert Stout, I said that Tom married Minnie Vance and they had two sons.  But she was only the first of his wives.

Uncle Tom Stout, husband of Mattie

Uncle Tom Stout, the rancher, Photo taken in MIles City, MT Circa 1885

Although the History of Wyoming bio of Tom does not mention Minnie’s death, she disappeared from the records and in 1897 Tom married Mattie Worley who quickly produced another son, (Tom’s third) William Clarence Stout. *  And yet, the History of Wyoming totally ignores Mattie and says that Minnie and Tom had three sons. Now why would that be?

The Sheridan city directories for 1919 and 1921 and the 1920 census give hints as to why Mattie may not have been mentioned in the 1918 history book.

1919: T.A. Stout continues to live at his house behind the courthouse at 244 South Brooks. But although Mattie still has land holdings with the value listed, she does not appear in the alphabetical residential listing.

1920: The census for Sheridan, Wyoming lists T.A. Stout (64), rancher on a stock ranch with wife Mae Stout (63).  At first I thought this was just a name error, which census data is prone to, but then I noticed that this wife was born in Ohio, her father in Pennsylvania and her mother in Ohio–entirely different than Mattie.

1921: Mattie Stout (Along with John D. Stout and his wife Sadie, whose relationship I have not yet tracked down) live at 515 West Works in Sheridan.

[added information, 4/11/2014] The other possibility is a mental breakdown brought on by the tragic death of her son, Clarence. William Clarence Stout was killed in an automobile accident on a country road in 1919 at the age of 27.

Sometime between 1912, when she is listed in the city director and 1919, Mattie apparently stopped living with Tom. And it looks like Tom married again–for the third time– when he was about 60.  Although Mattie must have moved away from Sheridan, she is still listed as a property owner in Sheridan County as late as 1933.

Tom’s hard work and resulting prosperity set a good example for his sons, who all three (two of Minnie’s and one of Mattie’s) went into ranching, We are told that Frank and Harry are well-known ranchers in Sheridan County in 1918, and William Clarence “is also a rancher.”  At 21 years old, Mattie’s son gets no respect. But looking through city directories for Sheridan (city and county) from the early twentieth century shows that the property and personal property value owned by each of the sons upholds that statement. By 1918, when Tom is 63, he has retired from sheep ranching, while Harry and Frank carry on.

What happened to wife #1, Minnie? And what about the second wife? Was there some scandal so shocking that the official area history felt it prudent not to mention wife #2, Mattie?  And who is wife #3, Mae? This is one of those mysteries that I probably will never solve alone.  What I need here is to hear from a long-lost cousin–a descendant of Frank, Harry or Clarence Stout. Hello?  Are you out there?

It is no wonder that the Wyoming history book gushed about T. A. Stout, this noble citizen. And perhaps why they found it prudent to avoid mentioning the wife who disappeared from his life.

*I know there was a second wife because census records clearly show that Clarence’s mother is a different person than the mother of the other boys. I guessed the name Worley because in the 1910 census there is a Irena Worley (sister) listed.

UPDATE: A cousin did get in touch, and added a few family stories but not documentation about the wives of Tom.  According to her family stories, Tom was a gambler and won and lost property regularly. So perhaps the book about Sheridan gives him too much credit for being an upstanding citizen?

My relationship:

  • Vera Marie Badertscher
  • is the daughter of Harriette Anderson Kaser
  • who is the daughter of Vera May Stout Anderson
  • who is the daughter of William Cochran Stout
  • who is the brother of Thomas A. Stout
  • who is the husband of Mattie Worley Stout

Research Notes:

  • History of Wyoming, Vol. 3 (1918), edited by Ichabod Sargent Bartlett, pg. 245-6. Available on Google Books.
  • Sheridan Municipal Cemetery Records available at Find a Grave.
  • From Ancestry.com:
  • Marriage License application for Thomas Stout and Minnie Vance, 1887
  • Sheridan Wyoming Census for 1900, 1910 and 1920.
  • Sheridan City Directories, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1916,1919, 1920, 1927 and 1933.
  • BLM land transaction records for Wyoming.
  • Family photographs  with inscriptions, in the possession of the author.

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.

Into the Wild, Wild West:52 Ancestors #14 Tom Stout

Thomas Albert Stout, 1855-1926

Young Tom Stout was restless. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but his plans did not include more school, and now free of his father, his dreams did not include working on the Ohio family farm, either.

Thomas Albert Stout was the fifth son of Emeline Cochran Stout and Isaiah Stout–the third living son when he was born on the Stout farm in Guernsey County, Ohio.  He was ten years younger than my great-grandfather, William Cochran Stout and five years younger than the 2nd living son, George Stout. He had one older sister and would have three younger siblings who survived infancy.

In 1872, when Tom was 17, his father Isaiah Stout died and was buried in the family graveyard on their farm. Tom’s brothers seemed focused on goals. His younger brother, Frank (John Franklin) wasn’t sure where he was heading, but he knew it involved more education after high school (or common school as they called it.) The oldest brother, Will, had graduated from medical school and George was attending medical school in Cincinnati and preparing to come back to Guernsey County to practice.

That left Tom to run the farm, which to this ambitious teenager must have sounded like a big bore.

 

Tom Stout

Tom Stout, Charles Bohm Photographer, Denver CO. 1872

Young men of his time were following Horace Greeley’s advice from 1865 to “Go West Young Men.” And coming from pioneer stock that had migrated either from Scotland to Ireland or from England to Holland and then to the Eastern United States and west to Ohio, he decided to keep the westward movement going. Tom took a train as far west as he could go– Colorado –where he got a job working in freighting. The first rail line reached Denver in 1870, but since it did not cross the Rockies, there was still plenty of freight going by mule and wagon.

After a year in Denver, Tom moved on to Idaho, “involved in railroading” according to the History of Wyoming, Vol. 3 (1918).

I would love to know what Tom did for the railroad. It was very early days for railroads in Idaho which was still a pretty wild place.  At any rate, he heard about homesteads available in Wyoming. The railroad was headed that way, and with it would come growth. The Indian wars seemed to have been settled and the state was bursting with opportunity.

In the early 1880’s, he moved on to the town then called Mandell (population 281).  After the railroad arrived and the town changed its name to Sheridan, it grew faster than prairie grass in a rainy spring. By 1900 nearly 10,000 people called Sheridan home.

Tom staked out a claim just a bit south of Sheridan and spent a couple of years building the first irrigation ditches in the town. By the Spring of 1884, two years after the railroad arrived,  he became a landowner, farming and raising cattle on his own land.  It seems he was working too hard to take time for a social life but around 1887, when he was 32, he met a young lady whose family had recently moved to Wyoming from Kansas. They were married in Johnson County, Wyoming, just before Johnson County was split and Sheridan County created in 1888. His bride, Minnie Vance, was only 18.

Wasting no time, the couple had a son, Frank Perry Stout, in 1888 and a second son, Harry Oscar Stout was born the following year (Minnie had brothers named Perry and Oscar). Wanting to ensure that his children would have good educations, Tom moved his family into Sheridan while continuing to run his ranch. There he bought (or more probably built) a house right in the center of town–behind the courthouse.

 

Uncle Tom Stout, the rancher, Photo taken in MIles City, MT

Uncle Tom Stout, the rancher, Photo taken in MIles City, MT Circa 1885

Tom, or T.A. as he was known in Wyoming, kept building his empire until it stretched over 7000 acres.  And although the musical Oklahoma says “The cowman and the sheepman can’t be friends”, Tom was both, switching over from cattle to sheep about 1903.

In 1905, Emeline Stout, Tom’s mother, died in Ohio and the four Stout brothers gathered for the funeral. They had a portrait made -the sons of an uneducated farmer who had all achieved respect in their communities through professional accomplishments–two doctors still in Ohio and a lawyer and a prosperous rancher who had gone West.

Tom Stout and HIs Brothers

The Stout Brothers. Back: Tom and Frank, Front: Doctors George and William

He was to marry again and have another son, but that is another story

That Wyoming history book, in the flowery language common to those early 20th century history/biography books, said in 1918, that Thomas A. Stout recently retired with an income that “not only supplies him with all the necessities but also with many of its luxuries.

[revised 4/11]Tom Stout died in Wyoming in 1926. Thanks to that Wyoming history, I have a sketch of Thomas Albert Stout. Well, okay, it is a bit flowery, and every person described in the book seems to be a paragon of virtue, but here’s Tom/T.A.

After telling us that he is a member of the Methodist Church, Lodge 520 BPOE, and the Sheridan Commerce Club, and that he “votes with the Republican Party and strongly endorses its principles,”, the history closes with a description.

“(Mr. Stout) stands for those things which are most worthwhile in community life and is actuated by a spirit of progress and advancement in all things that he undertakes whether for the upbuilding of his own fortunes or the advancement of community interests.”

Not bad for a mixed-up teen from Guernsey County, Ohio.

Relationship

Vera Marie Badertscher

Daughter of Harriette Anderson Kaser

Daughter of Vera Stout Anderson

Niece of Thomas Albert Stout

Research Notes:

  • History of Wyoming, Vol. 3 (1918), edited by Ichabod Sargent Bartlett, pg. 245-6. Available on Google Books.
  • Family photographs  with inscriptions, in the possession of the author.
  • BLM land transaction records for Wyoming.
  • From Ancestry.com:
    • Marriage License application for Thomas Stout and Minnie Vance, 1887
    • Sheridan Wyoming Census for 1900, 1910 and 1920.
    • Sheridan City Directories, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1916,1919, 1920, 1927 and 1933.
  • Sheridan Municipal Cemetery Records available at Find a Grave.

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.