Harriette Anderson Kaser: Wrangles the Praying Pony and Houses

Harriette Anderson (Kaser): 1906-2003

Many little girls pray for a pony. My mother had a pony that prayed.

Paul and Harriette Kaser 1983

Paul and Harriette Kaser 1983 (Around the time she recorded these memories.

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) .

 

Doc Stout, Harriette and Bill

Doc Stout, Harriette and Bill Anderson

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.

Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

Dr. William Stout and family in front of family home, circa 1885. Doc Stout, Vera, Will, Maude, and Hattie.

Grandpa [Stout] had done quite well…so much so that he was able to accumulate enough to build his home and he was quite proud of that house.  This home became later our family home–I mean Guy and Vera Anderson’s family home.  We all still thought of this place as home, always.  The fact is, I was born in that place.

Mother [Vera Anderson] had come from their home in the country [ the house where the 1909 picture was taken] and so I was born at my grandfather and grandmother’s house in Killbuck, so the house is special to me.

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.

Grandmother [Harriette Morgan Stout] would rush to close our windows at daybreak. The windows were always open at night in the summertime, but she would have to close them during the day when the horses and buggies would go down through town and the dust would start flying.

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.

Zane Grey filming

Zane Grey filming Riders of the Purple Sage

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.

He’d get down on his knees like he was saying his prayers and put his head down.  We just had him doing everything, but if you ever walked up back of him, look out.  HIs heels went up in the air and he took off.

One time, Mother [Vera Anderson] bought a new rug and gave Grandma [Hattie Morgan] the old rug for her porch.  They rolled it up and put it in back of the pony buggy, and I was going to drive the pony down to Grandma’s which was just a block from where we lived.  Well, they must have put the rug across the seat and instead of going around and petting Wrangles and getting in the buggy, which would have been all right, I jumped up on top of the rug, and Wrangles took off.

Across the street was a row of trees beside a big porch, and a car parked next to the trees. Wrangles took off between a row of trees and the car, and when he went in there the buggy was wider than the space between the trees and the car.

You could not hold him, he just went right straight out of his harness and left me and the buggy sitting right in there between the tree and the car.  Well, Dad came over to find out if I was hurt.  I was scared to death, but I wasn’t hurt, and he said, “Now what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to get right on Wrangles and ride.”

Well, Wrangles just went trotting on down to the barn and went right in his stall and there he was, waiting for us.  Dad and I went down to the barn and I immediately got on his back and rode him.  He never ran off with me afterwards.

Finally our Dad decided we were too big for ponies and he sold him to another Lowe family in town that had some children.  We all cried.  Everyone was crying.  We were great big grown up kids, but we cried when we lost the pony Wrangles.  He was beautiful.

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.

 

 Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

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.

NOTES:

“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.

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3 thoughts on “Harriette Anderson Kaser: Wrangles the Praying Pony and Houses

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 12 Recap

  2. Paul H. Smith

    Bunny, I loved your piece on your Aunt Harriette’s memories, which Herb sent to me. She was my sixth (I think) grade teacher (with Romona, Larry Neal, etc.) Esp. pony Wrangler, her Grandpa Stout, and info on the Stout House & Killbuck in the 1880s. Herb & Romona lived diagonally behind our Parsonage, where I lived from 1938 to 1949 (the period of Dad’s pastorate at the Killbuck Church of Christ). I always called Herb, Sonny. We were constant playmates from 1938 until they moved back out to the Anderson farm, and shoolmates until he graduated in 1946. We took Algebra & Gleeclub together despite the age disparities. I worked for him when he owned the Dairy in 1947, and part of that time Herb Sr. also worked for Sonny, so we had many good times together. I also remember rides with Sonny in Grandma Vera’s Essex. She was also generous with snacks for us at her & Grandpa Guy’s Restaurant. By the way, I think I last saw Harriette in 1988 when she attended our 40th (Class of ’48) Reunion at the Inn at Honey Run. Too many memories keep tumbling out. At any rate, thanks again for your genealogical work, etc. Regards, Paul

    Reply
    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Paul: So nice of you to reply. Yes, we all called Herb Sonny too, until he shed the nickname when he bought his own company! I saw a video of his retirement party and it was so funny how uproarious his employees found it when they learned he had once been called Sonny. He has passed on to me some of your memories from time to time, and I’m always glad to hear them.
      Thanks for sharing your memories. As far as I know, mother always taught high school (with the possible exception of when she started teaching in a two-room school). I wish I could remember all the kinds of cars that family had. Mother listed them once for me, but I don’t think I wrote them down.
      Drop by any time, and if you poke around a bit you may find some other things to stir up more memories.

      Reply

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