The Changing of the Moon: A Slice of My Life

I tried a few weeks ago to explain to some young women (not children– but young enough not to remember the landing of men on the moon) what an incredibly mind-blowing event that was.

Like all the BIG THINGS that we look back on as life-altering, the landing on the moon was the latest in incremental steps that we had been watching all along. So at the time, we don’t fully realize how it would affect us.

But this was different. One month we were looking at the full moon and saying to our kids–there’s the man on the moon. We were thinking of the moon as a mystical and romantic symbol of lunacy and love. The next month we were looking at the moon and trying to grasp the reality that a human being had left footsteps across the surface. No matter how matter-of- fact and scientific and logical a person you were–a part of you still felt the gauzy charm of a full moon. An atavistic urge to howl–or swoon until 1969.

After July 20, 1969 you would never feel entirely the same when looking at the moon. That was the day three American men reached the moon, and two were privileged to walk on it. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took steps on the moon, while Mike Conrad made sure they’d have a ride home by manning the spacecraft.

That July, we were in San Diego on a summer jaunt to the beach, and our scheduled return was on July 20. We watched astronauts on the motel television set. On the way home, we had the car radio tuned to listen to reports, and when we got home, hurriedly unpacked the car and settled in front of the TV to watch the actual landing which happened at about 8:00 p.m. Arizona Time. (This picture of our boys watching TV is actually from a couple years earlier, but not much had changed in the mid-century modern house in Scottsdale, Arizona.)

Boys watch TV October 1966

We listened to Walter Cronkite breathlessly report each movement of the astronauts, the ship and the command center. We recorded the coverage of the moon landing for hours, including the historic phone call from President Nixon to the astronauts, but the tape ran out just before Neil Armstrong stepped out of the capsule to put take the first small step on the moon. We photographed the boys watching the TV, and the TV show itself. Those photos or Super Eight films are stored away in a box with hundreds of other old photos.

Here’s President Nixon’s conversation, now readily available on the Internet, as are all the other moments we had captured..or not.

 

How this event changed deep feelings inside us is hard to explain. The other thing that is hard to understand from the perspective of the 21st century is how we adored the astronauts. We did not have to have anything to do with the space program to feel a deep sense of pride. Those guys (and later we learned–gals, too) were part of our tribe. And they were the best of us. They were heroes. We knew their names, followed their lives the way people hang on the details of the romance of Harry and Meghan or the new Royal babies that pose on the steps of a palace.

Since we come from Ohio, we were particularly proud. Now Ohio was the home of not only eight Presidents, but also the First Man to Orbit the Earth–John Glenn. AND NOW, ladies and gentlemen–Ohio was also the home of the First Man to Step on the Moon–Neil Armstrong. The reflected glory was almost too much to bear.

Our kids played with miniature astronauts and Mattel’s Major Matt Mason and his miniature space stations and miniature moon rovers and wore t-shirts with astronaut pictures and drang Tang for breakfast and coveted astronaut ice cream. Stores sold astronaut pens that would write in any position, in case we became weightless while writing. The astronauts wore seatbelts, so we religiously buckled ours.

But all these effects of man’s landing on the moon pales beside the visceral change inside of us each time we look at the moon. The moon had changed. And so had we.

 

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New Look At Ohio History By David McCullough

The American history author, David McCullough hunkered down in Marietta Ohio, on the Ohio River, to write about the lesser-known pioneers who first settled the Northwest Territory.

Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

Pioneer Association of Washington County
Meeting of the Pioneer Association in Marietta in 1870. Augustus Stone, one of the sons of my pioneer family, would be here. Photo from Washington County Public Library

Anyone with ancestors in early Ohio will find this book helpful. In fact, it’s way of showing how national events affect individual families could be useful to anyone who wants to understand their ancestors’ lives between 1788 and the early 1800s.

McCullough has chosen to focus on one town–Marietta–and a handful of the leaders who made the settlement possible. General Rufus Putnam, who led fellow veterans of the Revolution westward and meticulously planned the “New England on the Ohio” town takes main stage, of course.

But McCullough also gives mini-biographies of lesser known figures who were essential to the founding of Marietta. Manasseh Cutler, a New England preacher who tirelessly campaigned for federal support of the Northwest settlement and against slavery; his son, Ephraim Cutler who settled in Ohio and held important positions; General Tupper, another Revolutionary War veteran; Joseph Barker, builder responsible for many of the homes on land and boats on the river; and Samuel Hildreth, Physician.

These men are very interesting, however, rather than spend a chapter on the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, and another on a visit by John Quincy Adams, I wish that he had spent more time on the “ordinary” people rather than only on the leaders. Of course it is hard to see ANY of the pioneers who took the chances they took to settle this new land as “ordinary.” As intriguing as Aaron Burr is and as much as I admire John Quincy Adams, their connection to the Northwest Territory was tenuous.

The Challenges

A catalogue of problems faced by the pioneers, makes me wonder if I would have left civilized New England for that unknown territory. We are reminded, however, that after the Revolution, the new country’s economy took a dive and since few of the soldiers ever received pay, the heroes of the Revolution were in serious financial trouble after the war. They believed, with typical American optimism, that the wilderness of Ohio Country promised a rich new life. All they had to do was work hard and the land would reward them.

Although that was the case, first they had to get across the mountains of Pennsylvania on foot or in oxcart, and down the Ohio in flatboats that they built themselves. Then they had to clear forests of trees larger than they had ever seen before, build forts, houses, and stores and churches.

Picketts Point monument to recall the Indian Wars along the Ohio River.
Picketed Point, reminder of the Indian Wars along the Ohio River 1791-1796 Photo by Photo by Richie Diesterheft, Flickr.

Meanwhile, they would be fighting off clouds of gnats. Listening to the wolves and panthers every night in the “howling wilderness,” and waiting for an Indian attack. For the first couple of years, The Ohio Company were ignored by their government in Washington, until a particularly onerous massacre woke up the law makers and George Washington himself stepped in to assure adequate funding and troops to establish a peace with the Indians.

My Family Arrives

1789 brought a harsh winter that killed crops prematurely and a measles outbreak adding to starvation. Next small pox hit the settlement. But in the summer the famine ended and General Putnam went back to Ohio to collect his wife and children and bring them West, along with fifteen other settlers. My 8th cousin, once removed, Israel Stone and his family added a considerable portion of that fifteen.

Benjamin Franklin Stone
Benjamin Franklin Stone

Of course I was disappointed that “my” family didn’t make it into McCullough’s book, particularly since one of the sons, Benjamin Franklin Stone wrote a journal detailing their journey and settlement in Rainbow, up the river from Marietta. McCullough also does not mention Rainbow. Among many interesting tidbits, Benjamin tells with how the family made it through the starvation times–PUMPKINS. Since another son, Sardine Stone held elected office for many years,I thought the family might have warranted mention.

Note: You can read New England Magazine, Vol. 16 1897(starting on page 210) with most of Benjamin Franklin Stone’s Journal in a digital copy on Google Books (FREE).

At the least, it would have been helpful to have a list of the settlers that came in the original caravan and in the later caravans led by Putnam. I doubt anyone could complete a totally accurate list, since McCullough reports that there were new people arriving every day. Naturally some of those people moved farther west after a brief stay, and some gave up and returned to the East.

Basic Principles

The dedication of these early pioneers to certain American principles, makes me proud to be an Ohioan. From the beginning their compacts included wording insisting on fair treatment of the Indians (although they were not totally successful), a ban on slavery and inclusion of all religions. From the very first year, they established schools, even Ohio University at the idealistically named new town of Athens, Ohio got their early attention. And every family in the Ohio Company was required to plant fifty apple trees. Johnny Appleseed was not the alone in carrying the gospel of the apple throughout Ohio.

I came away thinking that these people had both a phenomenal ability to believe in the future, together with some failings to see how things would change. They somehow knew that the towns they established would become cities of great importance, but they overestimated the lasting importance of river trade. Even after the invention of the steam engine and railroads started crisscrossing the country, they were slow to see the change. They wisely built roads much wider than needed by their carts and pedestrians, but of course had no clue that those roads would one day carry motorized vehicles. And flying machines? A fantasy. .

But whatever advances civilization made, those Pioneers were right about one thing–education.

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Isaiah Stout 1773-1810, Isaiah’s Grandfather

I wanted to trace the Stout family (my maternal grandmother’s maiden name) back to its origins in America, which was very , very early. But it would be cheating just to skip all the generations in between my Grandmother’s grandfather, Isaiah Stout and that first hardy couple, wouldn’t it?

My theme is to explore what it was that moved Isaiah Stout (1800), my Grandmother’s grandfather, to walk the trek from New Jersey to Ohio in the early 1800s. And today I have gotten up to that Isaiah’s namesake, his grandfather, Isaiah Stout (1773). This Isaiah, unlike the later Isaiah, stayed in New Jersey. But what about his children and brothers and sisters? That’s what I am exploring.

As a side note, I would like to also explore the wives, but it is proving difficult. The wife of Isaac Stout (1800), Mary Ann Johnson is my direct ancestor, but he was also married a second time to Hester Bennett. Isaiah (1773) married Catharine (or Catherine) Kennedy, daughter of Henry Kennedy. I cannot locate either Mary Ann or Catharine with enough information to draw a clear picture. [Slight rant: I thought someone named Mary Ann Johnson would cause a problem by showing up multiple times, instead she seems invisible.]

On to Isaiah Stout (1773) my 4x great grandfather. As I mentioned in the profile of his son Isaac, this Isaiah had seven children. If you did the math with the numbers in the title, you already know, that Isaiah was not to live long.

Isaiah was born on March 1, 1773 in Clover Hill, Hunterdon, New Jersey to Isaac Stout and Mary Quinby. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Isaiah Quinby. The second oldest of five children, he was preceded by a sister, Rachel (1768), and followed by Josiah (1780) and Aaron (1781); Sarah (?-1790) and Mary(?-1810) were the babies in the family. Of the two great uncles to the Isaiah who went to Ohio, Josiah moved to Tazewell, Illinois when he was an old man, and he died there. Aaron moved to Butler County on the Eastern edge of Ohio in 1820. Would the fact that great-uncle Aaron was in Ohio and great-uncle Josiah in Illinois influence Isaiah (1822) to walk to Ohio in 1839? Possibly. I will talk more about Aaron and Josiah and their children, Isaiah’s cousins, next time. As for the three girls, Rachel and Sarah died before Isaiah was married, and Mary lived only to 1810.

Isaiah Stout (1773) lost his mother when he was twenty years old. Three years later, he married Catharine Kennedy. Married May 23, 1799, Isaiah and Catharine started their family immediately. Of Seven boys, six lived to adulthood

  • Isaac 1800-1877
  • Henry Kennedy 1802-1868
  • Elisha 1803-1880
  • Joseph 1806-1879
  • Moses, born in 1809 died as an infant
  • Isaiah 1810-1879

Then, apparently too suddenly to write a will, in 1810, at the age of 37, Isaiah died, leaving Catharine with children aged 10, 8, 7, 4, 2 and an infant. Aln abstract of the probate inventory shows his property valued at $3, 190. That figure was sworn to by Josiah Stout, his brother, and Archibald Kennedy (a relative of his wife). I found it interesting that the Court Surrogate [July 22, 1811] also split administration of Isaiah Stout’s property between his brother, Josiah, and Archibald Kennedy (Presumably Catharine’s brother). Although I learned long ago that wives had no legal rights in those days.

I would have expected that Catharine remarried, but it is difficult to track a woman named Catharine or Catherine at that time, and some evidence says she did not. For the next 14 years, she may have soldiered on taking care of her brood of six boys as a single mother.

I do know that she died in 1825, and court records refer to her as Catharine Stout, so she may not have remarried after all. When she died, The Orphans Court [May 30, 1825] administration of her property was given to Isaac Stout (oldest son. 25); Henry K Stout (next oldest son, 23) and William Kennedy (whom I am guessing is her brother). When she died, William Kennedy was also appointed guardian of two of her minor sons, Isaiah (then15) and Joseph (then 19). The bond was put up by Isaac Stout and Henry Kennedy (Her father-in-law and father).

I will continue to look for more information on my 4th great-grandmother.

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).

Notes on Research

Hunterdon County New Jersey Marriages 1795- 1895. Isaiah Stout and Catharine Kennedy, Viewed at Amazon.com

New Jersey Marriage Records 1670-1965, Isaiah Stout and Catharine Kennedy, 23 May 1799, viewed at Ancestry.com

New Jersey Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, 23 Jul 1811, Isaiah Stout, Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey

New Jersey Wills and Probate Record 1739-1991. New Jersey, Surrogate’s Court, (Hunterdon County) ; Probate Place, : Hunterdon, New Jersey. Viewed at Amazon.com, Isaiah Stout, 22 Jul 1811; Catharine Stout, 30 May, 1825 and 18 June, 1825.

History of Stout and Allied Families, Herald F. Stout, Captain, U. S. Navy, 1951, Eagle Press, Dover, Ohio.

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