The Search for Stouts Begins

Isaac Stout ( 1800-1877)

When I wrote about my great-grandfather, “Doc” Stout’s brother Frank (John Franklin Stout), I discovered a tidbit about Isaac, their grandfather. According to a biography of Frank in a book about Omaha, where he settled, I read that Frank was of Dutch stock and his father, Isaiah walked from New Jersey to Ohio. However, their grandfather, Isaac lived all his life in New Jersey.

The Questions

Where does the idea come from that the English Stouts were Dutch? Well, that search uncovered the most interesting of my many fascinating female ancestors. But first–a few generations in between Doc Stout and that 8th great-grandmother.

Although my mother and her mother and her grandmother were in touch with the Stout family of Guernsey County, Ohio, they never regaled me with stories about the ancestors in the Stout line. Undertandably, they focused on our Pilgrim ancestor William Bassett and the builders of the How Tavern in Sudbury Massachusetts. I’m sorry that my mother missed out on some very interesting people. The Stouts have a rich history in New Jersey before they went West.

Isaiah, the father of “Doc” Stout and my 2x great-grand father, arrived in Guernsey County Ohio about 1839. He was only seventeen when, according to that history of Omaha, he walked all the way from New Jersey to Ohio. But surely he was walking alongside wagons carrying other families? If so, who were they and why did he head for Ohio?

Isaac Stout (1800) — His Beginning

To try to understand these questions, I needed to go look back at 2x great- grandfather Isaiah’s family–his father Isaac (my 3x great-grandfather) and Isaac’s brothers, uncles, and aunts.

4x great-grandparents Isaiah and Catherine Kennedy Stout had seven children, all born in New Jersey, and all boys. (I will tell their story in the future). They named Isaac, the first child, for his grandfather. And yes, you are seeing the beginning of a naming penchant that would make life difficult for family historians from then on. The numerous Stout families all seemed to name a son Isaac and another one Isaiah for many generations.

Isaiah Stout (1822) and His Siblings

At twenty-two, (December 19, 1822) Isaac Stout married Mary Ann Johnson, my 3x great grandparents . Their first child–you guessed it–named for his grandfather Isaiah— born in 1822, would later walk to Ohio, and among other accomplishments, become my 2x great-grandfather.

Ann Elizabeth (Eliza) Stout (1825)

The young couple, Isaac and Mary Ann, must have been devastated when they learned the condition of the second child, Ann Elizabeth, known as Ann Eliza in census records. Born in 1825, she continued to live at home until 1839, despite the fact that later census reports classify her as “idiotic.” By 1839, her mother had died when she was seven and her father had remarried the same year–1832.

It is very sad to contemplate the condition of care given to people in need. However, I can understand that with four other children, having a girl who was incapable of normal life would be beyond their abilities. Particularly when she reached her teens. We have to remember that developmental disabilities were not understood and there were no social workers or psychologists to help the parents.

I can’t help wonder if the first son, Isaiah’s, decision to leave home at seventeen might have been related to the family sending Ann Eliza away, since it was the same year.

From the time she was fourteen years old she lived on a “Poor farm” with others who had “defects.” She lived in the township of Hillsborough, within an hour’s buggy ride from her parents home in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

I’m guess that she was intellectually disabled, the more recent name–“retarded.” But since the catchall term of the time was “idiot”, that is how she is classed on census forms. In 1880 the schedule of “defectives” shows two “idiots”, two crippled and one “sunstroke and rheumatism” and one “insane.” Other Poor Houses or Institutions in the county housed paupers or insane.

Ann Eliza Stout, fourth on this 1880 Scedule of Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes.

Sadly, the first census with her name, 1850 when she was twenty-five years old also shows a two-month-old named Isaac Stout, most probably her child. I have been unable to find any further information about this Isaac Stout, who does not show up on subsequent census reports. If he survived childhood, he may have been adopted by someone who changed his name.

Ann Eliza lived until 1888, her entire life spent in these “poor farms” where various farmers and their families provided shelter for a dozen or more “defectives.”

George I Stout (1827)

The third child in the family, George I (sometimes transcribed as George J) was only five when his mother, Mary Ann, died, so spent most of his childhood with his step-mother.

He married about 1849, and he and his bride, Susan Davidson, moved in with his in-laws, where his first child, Mary, was born in 1850. They had two more children, George in 1855, and Sarah in 1852. George never left North Brunswick, New Jersey, where he died about 1856 when he was not quite thirty.

The probate papers for George, filed in New Jersey, show that he was a partner in a business called Runyan and Stout. I could not find information about his partnership, so do not know what business he was in. By the time debts and claims were paid, the estate was insolvent and many creditors were paid on the basis of a few mills per dollar owed.

By 1860, Susan was remarried.

Isaac Stout (1830)

Next, in 1830, baby Isaac Stout arrived. Isaac, perhaps following in the footsteps of his brother, headed west. Since he would have been only 9 or 10 when Isaiah left for Ohio, I doubt that he went along on that trek. I also have some nagging doubts about whether the California Isaac Stout in the 1860 and 1870 census reports and Find a Grave are the same as the Isaac Stout from New Brunswick, New Jersey. There is another Isaac Stout born about the same time in Indiana. So this Isaac is still a bit of a mystery.

If I have the right Isaac, and he did go to Contra Costa California, he died at the age of forty-three and is buried there . Another young death in this small family.

Isaiah’s Father Remarries, Stays in New Jersey

Isaiah was ten when his mother died and his father remarried about 1832. Although the record is not crystal clear, I believe he married Esther/Hester Bennett. This assumption comes from a marriage license and census reports. I also believe she was probably a widow and Bennett was her first husband’s name. However, I cannot prove that yet.

According to census reports, Isaac had two children with Ester in 1836. Mary J. about 1834 and Julian about 1836. I have not found definitive information about Julian, who is marked as a female on the only census where I see the name. I did find a Julian occupied as seamstress in a city directory, and also searched for female names close to Julian with no results.

In 1880, Esther Stout, then 76 years old, was living with Mary J. and her husband Edwin Stewart. I have had to add this information after I originally published this post, partly because another Esther married another Stout in the same generation, and both of their names vary from Esther to Hester and back again. But chiefly because of a census report that gets the prize for most errors or one particular person. Beware, if you are studying an 1880 census report for New Brunswick New Jersey.

The census taker, James Price, who seems to have good hand writing, puts Edwin’s name as Edward; and makes a very funny mistake on occupation (which I have confirmed is actually Hatter). He also changed Edwin’s age from 52 to 32. Well done! Not.

And the prize for most errors on a single person in a census goes to…..

Isaiah’s father, Isaac, died at the age of 77, October 1, 1877 and is buried in New Jersey. He had done nothing in his life to draw the attention of the authors of various books about his region or books about the Stout family. I assumed he lived all his life as a farmer. However, an 1850 census does show an Isaac Stout, 51, cabinetmaker and his wife Esther in Brunswick, New Jersey. There is also an index of craftsmen that lists an Isaac Stout as cabinet maker but it has no dates. It was quite possible that he both had a farm and was a cabinetmaker, as I have seen with some of my other ancestors.

Coming Next

Next I will look at Isaac’s brothers and sisters to see if any of Isaiah’s uncles could have been responsible for the young Isaiah’s travel to Ohio.

How I Am Related to Isaac Stout and Isaiah Stout

  • 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)

Notes on Research

United States Census Reports, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, New Brunswick Middlesex, New Jersey; 1850, Somerset, Hillsborough, New Jersey.

U.S. Federal Census – 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes,

New Jersey State Census Report, 1905 Pasaaic, Patterson, New Jersey, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Nonpopulation Census Schedules for New Jersey, 1880: Supplemental Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes; Year: 1880; Publication Number: A3469 , Ann Eliza Stout, Accessed at Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1670-1965, Ancestry.com, Edwin Stewart and Mary J. Stout , Accessed at Ancestry

New Jersey Marriages, 1684-1895 , Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp , Somerset, N. J., Isaac Stout and Esther Bennett, 1832, Accessed at Ancestry

New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971, Hillsborough, Somerset, NJ, Ann E Stout , Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991, Probate Records, 1794-1945; Indexes, 1804-1972; Author: New Jersey. Surrogate’s Court (Somerset County); Probate Place: Somerset, New Jersey , George Stout, 1827, accessed at Ancestry.

U S Federal Census Report, 1860 and 1870, Contra Costa, California, Isaiah Stout.

California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898, California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 10; FHL Roll Number: 976458 , Isaac Stout. Accessed at Ancestry.com

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/103256455 , Isaac Stout, 1873, Contra Costa California

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Tacos Arrive in Mennonite Country: A Slice of My Life

Since it is Cinco de Mayo, I got to thinking about Mexican food. Today we take for granted that tacos and enchiladas and chimichangas and burritos show up in weekly menus as often as the German- and British-derived foods I grew up on. But there was that time in 1966 when I introduced an Ohio family to (American) Mexican food. There was that time when farmer Adam Bair, my husband’s uncle, could not get enough tacos.

Uncle Adam Bair with Kenneth Paul, Brent and Mike Badertscher about 1966.

The success of tacos at a family reunion of Badertschers and Kohlers and Bairs in rural Wayne County, Ohio, provides a perfect illustration of the way that American food preferences change.

In the late spring of 1966, my husband Ken and I traveled back to our home state of Ohio to visit the relatives we had left behind when we moved to Arizona. We had married in 1960 and moved to Arizona in 1963. Ken’s mother’s family gathered at their home which was surrounded by farms and just down the road from a center of Mennonite culture, Kidron Ohio. All the women would bring a dish to share. They would perhaps make a noodle casserole with the obligatory mushroom soup. Or perhaps they made a J-ello salad with cabbage and carrots. Surely some melt-in-your mouth desserts like raisin pie or dump cake would appear. There would be a platter of ham slices and Swiss cheese and home made rolls.

noodle casserole

Noodle Casserole, photo from Flickr used with Creative Commons license.

My mother-in-law told me that there would be plenty of food. Since I came from so far away, I would not be expected to provide a dish. But that did not seem right to me. For one thing, I loved to cook. For another, I wanted to be a part of the family.

When we moved to Arizona I quickly began to explore the new-to-me everyday cuisine of Sonora, Mexico. Sonora was just down the road. From Scottsdale where we lived, we would drive south through Tucson and on to Nogales, the border town. And Mexican restaurants were popular in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. (We were later to move to Tucson, much closer to the border. As a town founded by the Spanish in 1776, Tucson was much more oriented culturally (and by cuisine) to Mexico.)

To put this in perspective, in the 1960s, ethnic foods and restaurants other than Italian and Americanized Chinese were just beginning to make inroads. Although there were plenty of Mexican restaurants in Arizona there were none in this county. No one at that family gathering had ever been to a Mexican restaurant. There were no Taco Bells in Ohio until 1970. There were no frozen Mexican dinners. There were no tortillas. And that explains why it was perhaps foolhardy of me to decide that I should make tacos for the family. [Note: My mother had been serving us “tamales” from a can in the 50s, but they bear little resemblance to real Mexican food.]

Tacos were simple to throw together, and a dish that I could make without recipes. All I needed was corn tortillas, some oil to cook them in, ground beef, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, and cheese for the filling. Salsa? Hot sauce? Not for these people who had never seen, let alone tasted tacos and enchiladas. [I may be wrong about that–my sister-in-law thinks that I did bring a bottle of salsa back from the store where I found the tortillas. Any cousins remember?]

Ken and I set out to get some tortillas. There were none in the grocery store in nearby Dalton. I don’t remember if we checked nearby Orrville, but they wouldn’t have had them either. So we went further afield–all the way to Mansfield, Ohio, nearly 50 miles away. We checked a couple of stores and they had no tortillas. Dejected, I tried one more store, perusing the freezer case–and there were frozen tortillas! Frankly, I don’t remember if I also found a can of Hatch green chiles to mix in with the meat, but I would have been cautious about using peppers, anyhow. Perhaps I diced a green bell pepper from my mother-in-law’s garden.

Back we went to my in-laws’ home, hoping the tortillas would thaw overnight. The next morning, I stirred the ground beef and diced onions in a hot skillet. I chopped tomatoes, and lettuce and grated cheese. (Plenty of cheese in Mennonite country, even if there was no queso blanco or Monterey Jack.) When the family members began to arrive, I fried tortillas in a inch of hot oil in a large skillet. I maneuvered them with tongs to form an envelope that could be stuffed with the ground beef. and vegetables.



Taco photo from Flickr with Creative Commons license.

Of course I had second thoughts once the familiar casserole dishes began to arrive. Would I alienate myself from these folks by bringing them alien food? Would they spurn the crispy taco shells spilling contents all over with every bite? Could I compete with J-ello salads?

As I watched anxiously, everyone cautiously took a taco from the warming pan I had put in a low oven. They said they liked them. But Uncle Adam, the German-Swiss farmer who defined the word “raw-boned” wrapped his big hand around one taco. And another and then another. I wound up back in the kitchen making more even more tacos. Ole’!

Of course by the mid 1980s, Mexican restaurants had spread to Ohio. One could find the ingredients to make them at home in every grocery store. But I am proud to say that in 1961. I introduced tacos to a bunch of people who lived in Wayne County, Ohio. They may even be celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Kidron, Ohio today.

HAPPY CINCO de MAYO!

[Note: I have made a couple of additions since receiving comments on this post. Keep the comments coming!]

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