Category Archives: Documents and Letters

cruise ship

Elisha Stout’s Traveling Daughters

One final contribution to women’s history month, as I look at the travels of four sisters, the traveling daughters of an adventurous man.

Elisha Pinkney Stout’s daughters, my 4th cousin, 3x removed, caught my eye because Ancestry showed me the passport of Edna Pinkney Stout. I thought I would write about Edna, but it turns out her sisters had stories to tell, also.

I have related the story of Elisha, as part of the story of his father Obadiah, a pioneer in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio. Elisha, born in Ohio, traveled West and played a role in founding both Omaha and Denver, as well as seeking gold on Pike’s Peak. In his later life, he returned to Cincinnati where he became rich and successful.

The four traveling daughters, Mecia, Edna, Blanche and Florence, had one brother, William Kirk Stout, called by his middle name– his mother’s maiden name. He died young. I know that three of them had adequate means to live well, attended by servants and free to cruise the world. I know less about the fourth.

When I thought I had unearthed all the surprises I could about Edna and her sister, I found the best story of all. So I definitely have to include Elisha’s grand daughter, Margaret Moore, but I will save her for a separate article.

To put these women in perspective with my closer relatives. The sisters fall in the same generation as my great-grandmother, Hattie Stout. That means that Elisha’s grand daughter, Margaret Moore Hvenor (1891-1968) fell close to my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson‘s age (1881-1964).

Margaret “Mecia” Stout Stearns

Present day Google Street View of 320 Reilly Road where Mecia Stout Stearns and her family lived.

Edna’s older sister Margaret “Mecia” Stout Stearns (1861-1931) married and lived next door to her father’s estate in the village of Wyoming all of her life with her husband and three children. Wyoming, a northern suburb of Cincinnati presently houses about 8500 people. The Stearns family always list their address as 320 Reilly Road/Avenue and Elisha’s address continued as 420 Reilly Road/Avenue. This stability of address led me to the faulty assumption that Mecia was a stay-at-home. Her husband, William S. Stearns belonged to a family that owned a cotton mill, and Mecia and William’s household always include two or three servants.

Her traveling may have been delayed, but when she was 62, she and her husband began taking cruises every year. Although his passport lists his wife and children, I did not see their children’s names on any of the ship’s manifests, so they may not have gone along.

  • 1922: In March, they returned from Alexandria Egypt
  • 1923: They returned from Yokohama Japan. Since Edna returned on the same ship, it is possible they both were on the same lengthy cruise of the Far East. (See Edna)
  • 1924: In March, they arrived back from Bermuda
  • 1925: In September, they arrived from Southampton, England
  • 1926: In March, they arrived in New York from Southampton again.
  • 1927: in April, they arrived in New York after two months on a cruise that departed from New York and circled back.
  • 1928: in September, they arrived in New York from Southampton, England.

Mecia surprised me one more time, when I learned that she died in 1931, not in Cincinnati, but while vacationing in Atlantic City. Traveler to the end.

Edna Pinkney Stout

The second of the traveling daughters, Edna Pinckney Stout ( 1862-1957) never married. For a time, I assumed that she was mentally or physically handicapped, since according to census reports, she lived with her parents until she was in her 50s.

Other than being listed as a postmistress at the Stout Post office–not far from Cincinnati–in 1899, census reports list no occupation for Edna. She lived with both her parents on their elaborate estate in Wyoming Village, until her mother died in 1909. Her younger sister, Florence, lived there until she married at the age of 32 in 1904. But Edna stayed on after their mother died. In the 1910 census, she is the only one still living with her father on the family estate.

Edna Leaves Ohio

Father Elisha died in 1913 in Los Angeles, where he was living with his youngest daughter Florence Stout Baker in Los Angeles. I learned that Edna was also in Los Angeles. In probate papers after Florence’s death in 1914, Florence’s husband listed Florence’s siblings. Edna Stout, living in the Hotel Pepper in Los Angeles.

Perhaps Edna had traveled to Los Angeles to help care for her father or for her sister when they were in a final illness. Edna must have returned to Ohio soon after her sister died because by 1920, she is back in Hamilton County, Ohio, living with her sister Mecia Stout Stearns and her husband. This part of her life is traditional. The unmarried sister, who lives with parents until they die, and then lives with various siblings.

In 1922, her brother-in-law, William Stearns helped her get a passport. Apparently, Edna prepared to leave on an extensive tour of the East early in 1923. Her November 1922 passport application shows she planned to visit Madeira (?), Gibraltar, Algiers, Egypt, India, Ceylon, ________Settlements, Dutch East Indies, _________ , Indonesia, Indo-China, Hong Kong, Macau, China and Japan. Even as an organized tour, or cruise, this itinerary exceeds the first-time travel of an ordinary sixty-year-old woman in the 1920s. She returned to New York, in May, 1923, making this a trip around the world. However, she may not have been traveling alone.

The Stearns returned on the same ship from Japan to New York. However, since I do not have ship’s manifests that show either Edna or her sister and brother-in-law leaving on this tour, I cannot say for sure if they all took the extensive far Eastern tour.

If Edna traveled in the next seven years, I do not have a ship’s manifest to prove where she went. But in 1930, she apparently went on another cruise. In April, the census caught her living in a boarding house/hotel in Los Angeles. She left the port of Wilmington, California (Los Angeles Port) in May, 1930, and arrived in Honolulu seven days later. Her return trip in August, 1930, brought her back to Los Angeles. I rather doubt that she was lying on a beach in Hawaii for two and a half months. Perhaps this cruise took her to some exotic Pacific locations.

Although I did not find her father Elisha’s will, I know from the information in the probate of the estate of her sister Florence, that although unmarried and unemployed, Edna had no money worries. Her father’s estate, reported to be about $80,500 (which would be worth $1, 046,500 today), had been divided three ways–Edna, her sister Florence, and her sister Mecia. (The only son in the family, William “Kirk” Stout, had died in 1890 at the age of 14.)

Blanche Stout Moore

Blanche (1865-1937) provides a different story. In 1890, at the age of 24, she married Edward E. Moore, a cotton merchant, and moved to New York. Like Mecia’s family, this family always had multiple servants. Their residence changed from Hackensack, New Jersey to finally living in the tony Scarsdale area of New York.

But the thing that puzzles me–why did Florence’s husband say his father-in-law’s estate was divided between three daughters. When Elisha died, there were four daughters. So why was the estate not divided in four? Was Blanche shunned by the family for some reason? He knew Edna, whom he listed by name, but Mecia and Blanch were “two other sisters, who live, he believes in Ohio.” He got it right for Mecia, but not for Blanch.

Edna, who lived with both her other sisters, never lived with Blanche, her husband and children which also tends to make me think Blanche separated from the family.

In 1893, Edward Moore applied for a passport–one of those that included the wife, Blanche. (See section on Passports below).

Although we do not get a photograph, Blanche’s husband is described as 6′ tall. He has a high forehead, black eyes, a prominent nose, large mouth, long chin, black hair and dark skin.

16 Apr, 1910, Blanche sailed from London to New York without any other family members.

16 Sept, 1914, Blanche arrived from visiting England again. This time she was accompanied by her daughter Margaret and son Kirk and also Emma B. Moore and Perry E. Moore. (It is a good guess that these are a sister-in-law and nephew.)

Blanche’s travel seems modest, however, taking her daughter Margaret abroad apparently had an effect. (See separate article).

Florence Stout Baker

Florence Stout Baker (1872-1914), the youngest daughter, lived with her parents until she married at the ripe old age of 32. Then she and her husband, Henry A. Baker, a pharmacist, moved to Los Angeles.

I am speculating that not long after her mother died, Edna’s father sold the Cincinnati estate. He then moved to Los Angeles with Florence Stout Baker and her husband. But I cannot locate a records for Florence and her husband that will tell me when Florence moved to L. A. In fact every detail about Florence’s life after her marriage eludes me.

I thought she was not a traveler, until I found her probate record. I have not found any trace of Florence on ship’s manifests, and very little other information about her or her husband. However, like her sister Mecia, she did not die at home. Her probate papers and death certificate show that she died in Hammond Louisiana, north of New Orleans. Why Hammond? Who knows?


I learned a lot about passports while gathering information about the adventurous daughters. Did you know that in the mid-19th century, women traveling with their husbands did not have their own passport? The husband’s passport lists his name, hers, and if they are along–the children. A woman traveling alone, however, might have a passport listing herself and any children traveling with her.

Notice I said “might”, that’s because–surprise number two–laws did not require U. S. Citizens to have a passport until June 1941. Two exceptions–if they traveled abroad during the Civil War or during World War I, they must carry a passport.

In the mid 19th century, men made 95% of trips abroad. However, by the late 19th century, women comprised 40% of passport applicants. I got all this information about passports from the very helpful National Archives site in their section on Passport Applications.

I hope this article on the traveling Stout sisters may encourage someone else to seek out ship’s manifests and passports to track the travels of the traveling daughters in their family tree.

Isaac Stout (1740): Two Children Go West

Isaac Stout (1740)-(1823)

As I track the movements of members of the Stout family before my 2x great grandfather, Isaiah, who settled in Ohio, I finally run into some fellow wanderers. Isaac Stout (1740), my 5th great-grandfather, was not a wanderer.

The Stouts Who Left New Jersey

  • To review, my 2x great Grandfather, Isaiah Stout (1822), trekked to Ohio in 1839.
  • His father, Isaac Stout (1800) remained in New Jersey. At least one of this Isaac’s brothers, Elisha, had moved to Butler County Ohio by 1830.
  • His grandfather, Isaiah Stout (1773) also remained in New Jersey. Of Isaiah’s brothers, however, one moved to Illinois as an old man to join one of his children; and one brother, Aaron, moved to Putnam County, Ohio in 1820. Aaron’s family deserves a separate post because six of his children scattered around the west.
  • Isaac Stout (1740) Isaiah’s (1822) great-grandfather, and my 5th great grandfather stayed in New Jersey all his life.
  • `However, Isaac (1740)’s brother Obadiah (1735) and Obadiah’s family were adventurers who settled early in Kentucky, Ohio and points west, from as early as 1780. He also warrants a separate post. As does his grandson, Elisha (1837), born in Ohio and wanderer throughout the west.
  • Equally early, Jedidiah (1757) a cousin of Obadiah and his sister Mary (Prall) went to Kentucky.

In other words, there were several related Stout families who had gone “west” from New Jersey by the time that Isaiah (1822) made his journey. None of the other ones, however, settled in the southeastern corner of Ohio as Isaiah (1822) did. Therefore, I will continue to trace, and write about members of the Stout family in hopes of answering my original question. Why did my 2x great grandfather choose to settle in Guernsey County, Ohio?

I have written about Isaiah (1822), his father, Isaac (1800), and his grandfather and namesake Isaiah (1773). It is now the turn of his great-grandfather, Isaac (1740).

The Life of Isaac Stout (1740)

Isaac Stout, my 5th great-grandfather, was born in what would later be known as Cloverhill, Hunterdon County, New Jersey to Freegift Stout (1693-1770) and Mary Higgins (1699-1773). I have not found the source of Isaac’s name, which later was a popular name for Stout sons. There were five children in the family already when Isaac was born: Jedidiah, Rebecca, Freegift Jr., Mary and Obadiah. The family grew by five more after Isaac: Rachel, Sarah, James, Joshua and Jane. Of these siblings of Isaac, by far the most fascinating is Obadiah, and we will be getting better acquainted with him later.

On September 30, 1765, when he was twenty-five years old, Isaac married Mary Quimby (1740-1793). Twenty-five year old Mary was the daughter of Isaiah Quimby and Elizabeth Hall according to a book called Stout and Allied Families. The surname appears as both Quimby and Quinby in records.

Four years after his marriage, Isaac inherited land from his father, and was given the responsibility of maintaining his mother after his father, Freegift, died. The land Isaac inherited occupied most of the home “plantation”, and the house his family had occupied after his marriage.

The Six Children of Isaac Stout (1740)

According to the book, Stout and Allied Families, all of his children were born in that same place, and all survived until adulthood, although the oldest daughter died at 19 years old.

  • Rachel (1768), named for Isaac’s sister Rachel Stout Rounsavell, died at 19.
  • Isaiah (1773), named for his maternal grandfather, Isaiah Quinby, became my 4th great-grandfather.
  • Josiah(1760), Died in Tazewell County, Illinois in 1862 when widowed. Apparently following the death of a child.
  • Aaron (1780), Moved to Ohio and named a son Isaac, which adds to the confusion of the names Isaiah Stout and Isaac Stout. Some of his children continued to wander.
  • Sarah (Birth date unknown, but Find a Grave says 1770)
  • Mary (Birth date unknown but Find a Grave says 1772)

Man Marries Two Sisters

Besides the absence of a birth record, Sarah and Mary have something else in common. They married the same man. Elisha Sharp, a friend of the family, first married Sarah, and when she died in 1790, he married her sister Mary. Her death date is not pinned down. Find a Grave shows Mary’s tombstone and says she died in 1810. However, she was still alive when her father wrote his will in 1823.

Isaac’s Sparse Record

In 1777, Isaac was made executor on the will of Richard Rounsavill, husband of his sister Rachel who describes him as “my beloved brother-in-law”.

Although he lived through the Revolutionary War as a grown man, I cannot prove whether Isaac Stout (1740) was a soldier. It is likely that he at least served in the militia, as that was mandatory, and I have no indication that he had physical impairments that would eliminate him as a soldier.

In 1793, Isaac appears on the tax rolls of Essex County. However, I believe he probably owned land there because I have no indication that he ever lived anywhere other than Hunterdon County.

Isaac’s Will

Nearly everything that I know about Isaac comes from his will. He outlived his wife, Mary Quimby Stout by twenty years and apparently did not remarry. Mary died in 1793 according to the book by Nathan Stout. She is buried in the Stout-Manners Cemetery in Ringoes, New Jersey. Isaac also outlived several of his children–Rachel, Isaiah, and Sarah.

Isaac clearly prospered as a farmer. Based on his will, we know that he raised at the least, grain and flax, and that he raised sheep and at least some hogs. He accumulated enough wealth to own a corner cupboard, Franklin Stove, and an eight-day clock. The first two willed to his daughter Mary Sharp and the clock to his grandson Isaac Stout (my 3rd great- grandfather), son of Isaiah Stout.

It is somewhat unusual that the homestead went to his youngest (and only surviving) daughter, rather than to a son. However, she is required to pay $6000 over three years, and that money presumably goes into the estate of the other surviving children. This is no doubt at least partially because Aaron had left for Ohio, and was not interested in New Jersey land. He therefore is given $4,000 dollars over three years. Aaron’s son Moses is also alloted $200, to be “put on interest” until Moses is 21.

The will also testifies that Isaac helped his children. He was co-signer on a loan with the State Bank of New Brunswick in the name of his son Josiah Stout as well holding a bond for $1000 pounds. His will forgives the bond, but requires payment of the bank loan if Josiah is to inherit full share. The remainder of the estate is divided equally between Aaron Stout and the children of the deceased Isaiah.

A Hint of Slavery

The most intriguing sections of Isaac’s will read:

Eleventh, I give to Sarah Ann Bodine sufficient clothing from a piece of cloth the wool for which is now preparing.

Twelfth, It is my will that my Executors shall permit my black man named Ben begin a search of a place a reasonable length of time at the expiration of three months after my decease or sooner if they choose.

Will of Isaac Stout, 1823

Who is Ben and who is Sarah Ann Bodine? I am assuming that Sarah Ann Bodine is a servant. Whether she is black or white remains a mystery. As for “Ben”, we know he is “a black man”–different terminology than “negro” used in most legal papers I have seen of that period. And if Ben is being given time to “search for a place” rather than being included as part of Isaac’s property, does that mean he was a free black man rather than an enslaved person?

Isaac Stout died some time between writing his will in July of 1823 and the probating of the will in October of that year. He was buried beside his wife Mary in the Stout-Manners cemetery in Ringoes, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The Stout and the Manners families were closely connected, and both were pioneers of that area.

Later, I will devote an entire post to the enslaved people connected to the Stout family of New Jersey. Since I do not have Southern ancestors, and black slavery was not as prevalent in New England or the frontier, I have not previously run into slavery, and was surprised to learn about the extent of very early black slavery in the Northeast and particularly among the Dutch settlers in New Jersey and New York.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • William Cochran (Doc) Stout, who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1822), who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1800), who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1773) who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1740).

Notes on Research

New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1683-1802 , Isaac Stout and Mary Quimby, 30 Sep 1765, Accessed at

New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991, Probate Records, 1785-1919 ; General Index to Estates, 1804-1970; Author: New Jersey. Surrogate’s Court (Hunterdon County); Probate Place: Hunterdon, New Jersey , Isaac Stout, July 1823, Hunterdon, New Jersey. Accessed on

Will of Richard Rounsvell, accessed as image at

New Jersey, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1643-1890 , Isaac Stout, 1793, Kingwood, Essex County; Accessed at

Stout and Allied Families, Herald F. Stout, Capt. USN , Eagle Press: Dover Ohio, 1951. Entire book has been digitized at

The History of the Stout Family: First Settling in Middleton, Monmouth County, New Jersey; Nathan Stout, 1823 (Continued by Mrs. Sarah Wert) [Link to Family]

The History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey, James P. Snell, Philadelphia: Everts and Peck 1881. Accessed at

Find a Grave, Isaac Stout 1740

Mother’s Death Causes Family Conflict–A Letter from Will Stout

The Cast of Characters in a Family Conflict

William Morgan Stout (1873-1944)  intrigues me. He seemed to attract family conflict.

William Stout

Ancestor Great Uncle William Morgan Stout (1938) 65 years old.

I don’t believe I ever saw Will Stout. If I did meet him on one of his brief visits to Killbuck Ohio, I was too young to remember. My great-uncle, older brother of my grandmother Vera Stout Anderson, lived in New York City during the Gilded Age.

Recently I found a letter that he wrote to my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson in 1937. This one letter to my grandmother is the only thing that I have in his own handwriting. It nicely fills in the personality of my elusive great-uncle Will.

The People You Need to Know

Will Stout

Very little factual information about Will Stout survives, but you can read more about him in “Ancestor Tracking: Great Uncle Bill Stout. For instance, it took me years to discover that he died in Palm Beach Florida rather than New York or New Jersey.  I expected to find him still near his relatives in New Jersey in the 1940s.  I only recently was able to uncover Will and Jean’s marriage record. There I learned her last name and that she was a widow rather than a divorcee.

He did not quite have the distinguished career that my mother described as “a railroad attorney”. Nevertheless Will lived in magical Manhattan during the Gilded Age. Actually, he was one of many lawyers who worked for the New York  street car company, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company.

Will’s Early Life

Will was born June 25, 1873, the oldest of three children of “Doc” William Stout and “Hattie” Morgan Stout.

Will left Killbuck Ohio for school in upstate New York, and then law school in New York City after his father Dr. William Stout nearly disowned him for what Doc Stout saw as dissolute living. This may have been the first of his involvements in family conflict.  His life turned far away from small town Mid Western living and values.  He married a widow several years older than he was.  She had a daughter who he reportedly adopted, but the couple never had children of their own.

The Interborough Rapid Transit Company Letterhead

  The Interborough Rapid Transit Company opened the first New York subway line in October 1904. Previously, they owned the first elevated lines (The El).  The city bought the IRT in 1940, and the IRT originally ran the subway lines that today are the numbered lines in the subway system. In 1929, Will would have been working for the company when they took a fare increase appeal to the Supreme Court. They asked to raise their fares from the 1904 rate of five cents to seven cents. They lost, which probably played into the end of the company in 1940.

When he wrote the letter to his sister Vera in 1937, Will still struggled because of the Great Depression. His company had some serious problems, which probably kept their army of attorneys quite busy.

Maude Stout Bartlett

Maude Bartlett at Stout-Anderson house, Killbuck (c.1952)

Maude Bartlett at Stout-Anderson house, Killbuck (c.1952)

No one every used my great-aunt Maude’s real name, Mary Emeline Stout (1875-1963) (“See Aunt Maude Bartlett Entertains a Queen”).  From family letters and the family picture, I suspect that Hattie Stout favored Maude above her other children.  This made perfect sense because Maude was studious, well-behaved, musical–all the things that my rambunctious grandmother and rebellious great-uncle were not. In this picture you see Maude standing at Hattie’s shoulder and Vera beside her father, while Will sits alone.


Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

Dr. William Stout and family in front of family home, circa 1885

Maude married at the age of 23 to Carlos Bartlett, and not long after their marriage, the couple moved to Buffalo, New York. She lived a social life their, filled with books and music and entertaining.

Sadly, Carlos died in 1915 at the age of 42.  For the rest of her life, Maude mourned her “dear Carlos.”  She remained in Buffalo, took in a boarder and taught piano lessons, until in the 1950s she moved back to Killbuck, Ohio.  She and my grandmother Vera had a prickly relationship, (more family conflict).  Though as my mother said, they still cared for each other. They lived at opposite ends of the small town, about 1/2 mile apart. In their later years, they  called each other on the phone on days they could not visit.

When Will wrote the letter to Vera in 1937, Maude was still living in Buffalo with an Englishman boarding in her upstairs to supplement Carlos’ Railroad Stocks pension.

Vera Stout Anderson

I have written extensively about my namesake grandmother.  In 1937 when she received Will’s letter, she and my grandfather Guy were running a restaurant in their home.  The picture at the head of Ancestors in Aprons is the Anderson Restaurant.  A short time before the restaurant opened, they had been running a boarding house.

Vera Had Her Own Troubles

When Vera received Will’s letter, Guy may have already been showing signs of the heart trouble that forced them to close the restaurant in the early 1940s.

In 1937, Vera and Guy’s youngest son Herbert had married ten years earlier when he was 19, and  already had four children.  Her oldest child, William J. Anderson had one child. Her daughter, Harriette, was dating a man she did not entirely approve of.  In other words she had troubles of her own.

Harriette (Hattie) Morgan Stout, the Mother

Hattie Stout in Buffalo

Hattie Stout and Maude Bartlett in Buffalo Circa 1910

I have written about Hattie Stout (1842-1928) who was a school teacher during the Civil War. She was a woman who was widely read and curious about everything.  She explored life to the fullest. My mother said that she even smoked a cigarette in the teens when women were expressing new-found freedoms, just to see what it was like. Her desire was to live long enough to vote, and she did indeed live to see Woman’s Suffrage.

Hattie served as her husband Doc Stout’s assistant, keeping the house and his instruments spotless. She even took care of patients who had to stay in the Stout home in Killbuck for a brief time while they recovered from some illness.  The couple loved to travel, and Hattie accompanied her husband to medical conventions, went to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893  and also visited her son in Manhattan and rode on a double-decker bus.

When Doc Stout died in 1910, Hattie had Vera’s husband take over managing the farms she inherited. She moved into a small house so that they could occupy the large house Doc Stout had built in the center of town.

The End of Hattie’s Life

Hattie visited Maude in Buffalo after Carlos died. By 1920, her health failing at age 78, she had moved to Buffalo to live with Maude. She died in Maude’s home in 1928 at the age of 85.

Cause of Death

Hattie Stout Death Certificate Cause of Death, 1928

The family story ran that Hattie had turned away from the medicine practiced by her late husband Dr. William Stout and her belief in some alternative treatment contributed to her death. When her son Will Stout wrote a letter to her daughter Vera in 1937, Hattie had been dead ten years, but he was still angry.

I was curious about her cause of death. Because she was in New York State, I had to pay $18 and then wait about 9 months before I received the copy of the death certificate.  I have more to say about the cause of death, shown above, in a little bit.

The 1937 Letter from Will Stout to His Sister Vera

Here’s an image of the first page of the four-page letter that Will sent to his sister on April 22, 1937, revealing another family conflict involving Will. As you can see, it is not the easiest handwriting to transcribe, but I have transcribed pertinent parts of the letter below.  Here you can see the name of the company he worked for.

family letter

Letter from Will Stout to Vera Anderson, 1937, page one

…she is impossible it seems to me, & the six weeks or so that I indured (sic) during Mother’s Illness, was sufficient for a lifetime.

Dear Vera & Family,

[ He opens with a response to a recent letter and the fact Vera had not written frequently, which worried his wife. He goes on to complain about his financial circumstances. That may have seemed a bit strange to his much poorer relatives. After all, they did not live in a big city and have a job as lawyer with a large corporation!]

Fortunately for my peace of mind we have been very busy here in the office and have had little time to worry about being the under dog.

It will not be long now when we will be completing our plans for our vacation which as usual I hope to take in August. So far our idea is to drive to Ohio for a day or so & then skip back to a little cottage on a nice little lake upstate where we were for 3 wks last year. It is very unpretentious, very quiet, & cheap & the best place for complete relaxation & rest that we have found yet, so if nothing happens to disrupt our programme (sic) We will start the last Friday or Saturday in July & ought to be in Killbuck the following Monday & Tuesday Aug. 2nd or 3rd, but don’t make extra plans for us we can not stay long for which you should be thankful,

[Here Will mentions possible visits to relatives along the way]

…  the time will be short enough, in fact too short so that we will get ourselves disliked all along the line, but that seems to be the best we can do for I have engaged our cottage starting the 10th of Aug. & so what we are thinking of doing before that date means that we will have to hustle.

[Then he gets to the matter of avoiding his sister Maude. I have bolded the significant statements.]

I don’t suppose you know what Maud is going to do this summer as yet. So when you find out let me know. I have not heard from her in year and I don’t intend to have any Part of my vacation disturbed by a possible scrap, so if she is going to be at Killbuck the 1st week—Aug that will change our plans Of course if she is in Buffalo when we drive thru I will stop & say hello. But that will be all as I recall it she was not at Home the last time we stopped and I suspect she was just as pleased as we were. The last time we did see her she never asked us in the House. But that is all right by me, I am not mad about it & Jean [his wife] is very sorry for her & about the whole thing & gave me fits for not trying to placate her but she is impossible it seems to me, & the six weeks or so that I indured (sic) during Mother’s Illness, was sufficient for a lifetime. That is enough of that, So don’t fail to let me know when she will be if you learn.

Aside from a few colds & minor bellyaches we have faired (sic) very well physically, & I can think of nothing else by way of news. We are looking forward to seeing you & those wonderful kids that a doting Grandmother is crazy about.

Don’t wait so long in finding time to write again.

Love to all

Jean & Will

What Happened in 1928?

Particularly, what happened in Buffalo during that “six weeks or so” that Will refers to? Of course we will never know for sure. But thanks to the doctor who signed the death certificate on January 24, 1928, we know that Hattie died of Diabetes Mellitus (commonly called just diabetes). According to the certificate, she had suffered from Diabetes for twelve years. That was not a particular surprise, as diabetes crops up in several generations in my family. My grandmother (Hattie’s daughter), my sister and one of my sons all have been diagnosed and treated for diabetes.

The most common modern treatment for diabetes, insulin, began to be used in the early 1920s, so would have been available to Hattie.  Read History of treatment of diabetes here. (U. S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health)  Did she feel that insulin injections were unnatural?  Did she prefer to use some alternative treatment, like the treatment with high fat diet,(article from Journal of Diabetes and Metabolism) which had some supporters at that time? Was she afraid of needles? Or did she, as my family suspected, join a religion that forbade medical treatment?

When I saw on this death certificate “Contributory” [cause of death] as gangrene of the foot I thought of another possibility.  The most common recommendation to deal with the gangrene would be amputation of the foot. She might, understandably, be reluctant to lose her foot, and refused treatment. So perhaps it was the infection that killed her.

The Death Certificate

A minor point: her birth date is given as August 4, 1842 on the death certificate, and date of death is January 24, 1928.  The calculation that she was 85 year, 4 months and 20 days old therefore is slightly off.

One more mystery popped up when I read the death certificate.  I mentioned earlier that Hattie had been living with Maude in 1920.  However, he death certificate says that she has only lived at that address for four months.  Either she had changed her address back and forth from Buffalo to Killbuck, or the census had caught her just visiting in 1920. In that case, she didn’t actually live with Maude until later.  So why would she go to Buffalo in October of 1927?

Presumably Hattie was quite ill by that time. Travel away from home would be difficult, even though she was fleeing to be with her favorite daughter. The only logical reason I can think of for the trip would be to receive some kind of alternative treatment not available in Ohio.

Whatever reason she had, it is clear from Will Stout’s letter that he was present in Buffalo when his mother died. He argued with Maude (and presumably his mother) about Hattie’s treatment.  I can picture the New York attorney descending upon the two ladies at 16 Robie Avenue, ready to take charge.  He was, after all, an attorney–used to arguing.  However, from what I know of Maude, she could be very determined. She may have decided to go along with their mother’s decision about her illness. If so, she would dig her heels in and her older brother would hold no sway. And as we can clearly see, Will lost the argument. His mother lost her life. However, William M. Stout signed the death certificate, listing his address as 537 West 149th Street, NY City. (According to current real estate site, built in 1910, in an area near Riverside Drive and Broadway called Hamilton Heights, a northern portion of Harlem. Many of the buildings still show the decorative touches of the Gilded Age.)

I am glad to have this glimpse into the personality of William Morgan Stout. However, I am sorry that it is a letter that reveals a family conflict. Despite his wife’s gentle admonitions, Will did not seem to be one to easily forgive.  On the other hand, judging from her refusing to  invite him into her house, neither was his sister Maude.