Harriette Anderson (Kaser): 1906-2003
Many little girls pray for a pony. My mother had a pony that prayed.
It is the stories that Harriette Anderson Kaser left behind that help us visualize what life was like in her grandmother’s time, her mother’s time, and in the early 20th century when she was a girl, driving a pony cart.
Seeing a small town in Ohio today, it is sometimes hard to imagine barns in the back yard of houses in the middle of town and milk cows that were taken to pasture every day. But even though my mother eventually flew on an airplane, her life started in the age of transportation by horse (or pony) .
In that 1909 picture, my mother is nearly three years old, and is seated on her grandfather “Doc” Stout’s lap. She was born on August 15, 1906 and the picture was probably taken in May, 1909. Since she was a tiny tot in 1909, I will let her memoirs, recorded in 1980, speak for her. (To see the house she lived in when the family picture was taken, sitting on her grandfather’s lap, take a look at this article and the house in the background of the 1909 photograph.)
But another house, in Killbuck, Ohio, was the one that she thought of as home. Front Street with grocery stores and the post office and other essentials, ran between the Killbuck Creek bridge and her family’s church, the Church of Christ, on the east edge of the village. The Stout home stood on Main Street, just one block from the main shopping street. The main road to Millersburg, the county seat, ran down Main Street, and the nicest houses in town were built along Main Street.
Here’s an earlier image of that house in town, when her own mother (Vera Stout) was a small girl.
You can see the dirt street in front of this house in 1885. The streets were still dirt in the early 1900s, and there were far more horses than cars on the streets, so the streets were a play place for the children.
When Guy and Vera Anderson moved into the big old Stout house (about 1911) a barn stood behind the house, along with the original summer kitchen and other small outbuildings, including an outhouse. In other words, it was not any more “citified” than the farm house they had lived in since they were married in 1904. When they first moved in, the house did not have indoor plumbing, and Guy installed the first bathrooms.
The family kept a milk cow in the barn and little Harriette sometimes drove the cow out to pasture, over the bridge across Killbuck Creek and back home in the evening. But her prized possession was Wrangles, the pony.
Daddy Guy (my grandfather) was a big fan of Zane Grey, and they named the pony after a Zane Gray story that mother said was called “The Wrangler.” [I can’t find a book by that name, but Riders of the Purple Sage, Grey’s breakout book and very popular western was published in 1912, and like most of his books, it does have wranglers in it.]
The pony had been beaten by the man who owned him previously, so if you walked up behind the pony where he couldn’t see you, he’d spook and run away. Otherwise, he was gentle and obedient. The children (Harriette, Bill and baby brother Herbert) even taught him stunts, including “roll over,” and pray.
THEN AND NOW
I have fond memories of the Stout/Anderson house, also, as my mother and father and I lived there with Grandma Vera for short periods. The barn was gone by the time I can remember the house. After a piece of the barn’s roof fell down and hit one of my cousins, the barn was finally torn down.
The newspaper article tells about my grandmother’s sale of the house in 1960, when she was 79 years old. This is the way I remember the house in the 1940s and 50s. Grandma Vera had enclosed the porches on the first and second stories and some of the ornate trim was gone.
This is what the house would have looked like when it housed the Anderson Restaurant, which you see in the banner at the top of the page.
The Stout/Anderson home on Main Street in Killbuck, built in the early 1880’s was first moved around the corner in the 1960s to make room for a new grocery store parking lot. Decades later it was demolished.
The old Stout farm, which became the Anderson farm, and the home of Bill and Sarah Anderson, was located on the old Route 62 where there was a “dead-man’s curve” in the road as you left the Killbuck Valley. The Stouts never lived on the farm, but used it for income. However, there was a cabin where the family spent time. The land is now a wildlife preserve with a sportsman’s club on the property.
“Harriette Anderson Kaser’s Memories of Killbuck, Ohio in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s” were transcribed from an audiotape recorded in the home of P. W. Kaser, Fresno, California about 1980. Paul William Kaser, her son, made the transcription. Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher made slight edits.
Added material was taken from other notes of conversations with Harriette, and from a Holmes County Hub (undated) newspaper article about the Stout home and a Wooster Daily Record article dated Thursday, December 15, 1960.
Birth, wedding and death dates, locations and occupations come from family Bible records, personal knowledge, and census and other official data.
A recorded conversation with Herbert Guy Anderson made in his home in St. Petersburg Florida in 2008 added some details.
Family photographs are in the author’s possession.
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.