George H. Stout (1851-1921)
George is the one who stayed home. When older brother William moved from Guernsey County, Ohio to Holmes County to marry and set up his medical practice, and younger brothers Frank and Tom struck out on adventures in the West, George stayed on the family farm near Cambridge.
The only picture I have that I’m sure shows George H. Stout is the picture of the four brothers, which I believe was taken in 1905. The fact I have no pictures testifies to his modesty, I believe. As unremarkable as his life seems, George Stout is the kind of fellow that is essential for the smooth functioning of a community–in this case the community of Pennyroyaldom.
Like brother William, George went to college (although I don’t know where) and he graduated from The School of Eclectic Medicine in Cincinnati in 1879. There are a lot of things I don’t know about George and I know even less about his wife. Thanks to cousins, I know that his house, where he lived all his life, unlike the brothers who wandered far from Guernsey, still stands.
I know that George married a woman named Nora in 1880, the year after he graduated from medical school, when he was twenty-nine years old and she was twenty-four. I know that the couple had no children. I suspect that George became a father-figure to his community.
I know that George continued to be a farmer even when he was a doctor, and he seemed to alternate between describing himself as a farmer or a doctor on the census forms.
Thanks to the online archives of a newspaper, the Cambridge Jeffersonian, I have a picture of George as the public-spirited, solid citizen, often volunteering to help out with community causes.
I have no doubt there are more examples of “Let George do it,” than those I found here, since the archives end in 1905. I combed through available issues until my eyes were crossed, skimming breaking news like “All the wheat is cut,” and “Miss X visited her many friends in the area,” .
The newspaper carries reports on George–committees he served on–sometimes as secretary or vice-president or temporary chairman, but never as the leader. He was a worker bee.
As I read these accounts, I noticed that even when a meeting was sparsely attended, George was present. And in at least one instance when the chairman didn’t show up, George was appointed temporary chairman. Can’t you just hear the voices saying, “Ask George. He’ll do it.” ?
- The Guernsey County Republican Central Committee, and frequent delegate to county conventions. (1883, 1884, 1899.)
- The Common Pleas Court Jury Commission (1902)
- The Guernsey County Agricultural Society, (1904)
- The Guernsey County Good Roads Association (1905)
- The Pennyroyal Reunion Committee (1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1892, 1901)
Pennyroyal Reunion? What the heck is that? There is no place named Pennyroyal, Ohio. But the people in an area centered on Oxford Township of Guernsey County were known as the citizens of Pennyroyaldom. Why? Because of a weed.
This pretty plant, a member of the mint family, has been used for medical purposes since Roman times. It grows profusely in plowed fields in Guernsey County, and enterprising farmers distilled it and sold the oil. The list of medical uses for the oil distilled from pennyroyal is long and varied–incuding chasing off mosquitos and causing abortions. But Web MD tells us Pennyroyal oil is UNSAFE–in bold capitals.
Did Dr. George Stout and other Eclectic Medicine followers recommend pennyroyal oil be taken internally? I don’t know. Here’s an article in an Eclectic Medicine Journal from 1906 that finds topical a use for it.
However, in Guernsey County the product faded in importance compared to the social event that evolved from the product. George Stout helped organize the Pennyroyal Reunion–a homecoming and opportunity to honor pioneers– year after year. The event, which started in 1880–just three years before we have a record of George participating– still continues to draw old timers and those interested in Guernsey County history.
George H. Stout (I don’t even know what the H stands for!) was a man who cared about the place he was born and lived in the same house until he died in 1921. He is buried in the Stout family graveyard on the old farm, not far from where he lived all his life, doing whatever he could do for his family and his community.
- Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
- Harriette Anderson Kaser who is the daughter of
- Vera Stout Anderson who is the daughter of
- William Cochran Stout who is the brother of
- George H. Stout.
- From Ancestry.com, I gathered information on birth, death, residence, family, etc. from Census and birth and death reports. George H. Stout is listed in the Director of Deceased Physicians, 1804-1929, and the Ohio Physician and Dentist Directory 1905.
- Also from Ancestry. com, I accessed newspaper archives of the Cambridge Jeffersonian for the years 1881-1905.
- Information about Pennyroyal is from the sites linked.
- Some information about the Pennyroyal Reunion comes from The History of Guernsey County by Cyrus C. B. Sarchet.(1911), available on line from Forgotten Books.com
- The burial information and photograph come from Find A Grave and personal knowledge shared by Larry and Judy Anderson.
- 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.