Our Town Holmes County, where they share all sorts of information about Holmes County, Ohio, has printed a revised version of my article about Hattie and Doc Stout and their participation in the Holmes County Loan Committee. Check it out here.
Thomas Albert Stout, 1855-1926
Young Tom Stout was restless. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but his plans did not include more school, and now free of his father, his dreams did not include working on the Ohio family farm, either.
Thomas Albert Stout was the fifth son of Emeline Cochran Stout and Isaiah Stout–the third living son when he was born on the Stout farm in Guernsey County, Ohio. He was ten years younger than my great-grandfather, William Cochran Stout and five years younger than the 2nd living son, George Stout. He had one older sister and would have three younger siblings who survived infancy.
In 1872, when Tom was 17, his father Isaiah Stout died and was buried in the family graveyard on their farm. Tom’s brothers seemed focused on goals. His younger brother, Frank (John Franklin) wasn’t sure where he was heading, but he knew it involved more education after high school (or common school as they called it.) The oldest brother, Will, had graduated from medical school and George was attending medical school in Cincinnati and preparing to come back to Guernsey County to practice.
That left Tom to run the farm, which to this ambitious teenager must have sounded like a big bore.
Young men of his time were following Horace Greeley’s advice from 1865 to “Go West Young Men.” And coming from pioneer stock that had migrated either from Scotland to Ireland or from England to Holland and then to the Eastern United States and west to Ohio, he decided to keep the westward movement going. Tom took a train as far west as he could go– Colorado –where he got a job working in freighting. The first rail line reached Denver in 1870, but since it did not cross the Rockies, there was still plenty of freight going by mule and wagon.
After a year in Denver, Tom moved on to Idaho, “involved in railroading” according to the History of Wyoming, Vol. 3 (1918).
I would love to know what Tom did for the railroad. It was very early days for railroads in Idaho which was still a pretty wild place. At any rate, he heard about homesteads available in Wyoming. The railroad was headed that way, and with it would come growth. The Indian wars seemed to have been settled and the state was bursting with opportunity.
In the early 1880’s, he moved on to the town then called Mandell (population 281). After the railroad arrived and the town changed its name to Sheridan, it grew faster than prairie grass in a rainy spring. By 1900 nearly 10,000 people called Sheridan home.
Tom staked out a claim just a bit south of Sheridan and spent a couple of years building the first irrigation ditches in the town. By the Spring of 1884, two years after the railroad arrived, he became a landowner, farming and raising cattle on his own land. It seems he was working too hard to take time for a social life but around 1887, when he was 32, he met a young lady whose family had recently moved to Wyoming from Kansas. They were married in Johnson County, Wyoming, just before Johnson County was split and Sheridan County created in 1888. His bride, Minnie Vance, was only 18.
Wasting no time, the couple had a son, Frank Perry Stout, in 1888 and a second son, Harry Oscar Stout was born the following year (Minnie had brothers named Perry and Oscar). Wanting to ensure that his children would have good educations, Tom moved his family into Sheridan while continuing to run his ranch. There he bought (or more probably built) a house right in the center of town–behind the courthouse.
Tom, or T.A. as he was known in Wyoming, kept building his empire until it stretched over 7000 acres. And although the musical Oklahoma says “The cowman and the sheepman can’t be friends”, Tom was both, switching over from cattle to sheep about 1903.
In 1898, Emeline Stout, Tom’s mother, turned 70 in Ohio and the four Stout brothers and their three sisters gathered. They had a portrait made -the sons of an uneducated farmer who had all achieved respect in their communities through professional accomplishments–two doctors still in Ohio and a lawyer and a prosperous rancher who had gone West.
Tom was to marry again in 1891, and have another son, but that is another story…which you can read in “Tom Stout’s Second Wife.”
That 1918 Wyoming history book, in the flowery language common to those early 20th century history/biography books, said that Thomas A. Stout recently retired with an income that “not only supplies him with all the necessities but also with many of its luxuries.”
Tom Stout died in Wyoming in 1926. Thanks to that Wyoming history, I have a sketch of Thomas Albert Stout. Well, okay, it is a bit flowery, and every person described in the book seems to be a paragon of virtue, but here’s Tom/T.A.
After telling us that he is a member of the Methodist Church, Lodge 520 BPOE, and the Sheridan Commerce Club, and that he “votes with the Republican Party and strongly endorses its principles,”, the history closes with a description.
“(Mr. Stout) stands for those things which are most worthwhile in community life and is actuated by a spirit of progress and advancement in all things that he undertakes whether for the upbuilding of his own fortunes or the advancement of community interests.”
Not bad for a mixed-up teen from Guernsey County, Ohio.
Vera Marie Badertscher
Daughter of Harriette Anderson Kaser
Daughter of Vera Stout Anderson
Niece of Thomas Albert Stout
Notes on Research
- History of Wyoming, Vol. 3 (1918), edited by Ichabod Sargent Bartlett, pg. 245-6. Available on Google Books.
- Family photographs with inscriptions, in the possession of the author.
- BLM land transaction records for Wyoming.
- Eureka Herald and Greenwood County Republican, (Kansas), 23 Jan. 1891. Marriage license: Thomas A Stout and Mattie Worley. Greenwood County. (From newspapers.com)
- From Ancestry.com:
- Kansas, County Marriage Records, 1811-1911. Marriage License application for Thomas Stout and Minnie Vance, 1887
- Montana, County Marriage Records, 1865-1993. Marriage license for Frank P. Stout, child of Thomas Stout and Minnie Vance.
- United States Census, 1860, Oxford, Guernsey, Ohio; 1870, Wills, Guernsey, Ohio; 1880, Wayne, LaPorte, Nebraska; 1900, 1910 and 1920, Sheridan, Wyoming .
- Sheridan City Directories, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1916,1919, 1920, 1927 and 1933.
- Sheridan Municipal Cemetery Records available at Find a Grave.
Harriett (Hattie) Morgan Stout (1842-1928)
William Cochran Stout (1845-1910) Married 1871
The bright lemony yellow strips stand out in a sea of burgundy brocade, chocolate velvet, pale sheer lawn, moss-green taffeta and the other muted shades– geometric scraps arranged to save and show off a family history.
Showing the family heirloom to my husband, I pointed to this ribbon, one of two used by my great-great-grandmother Emeline Cochran Stout in her crazy quilt.
My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, had told me that the ribbons belonged to my great-grandfather “Doc” Stout (1845-1910). I thought I was going to be writing about one person in this week’s 52 Ancestors entry, but instead there are two.
Since I knew that “Doc” Stout had helped raise money to build his church (the Church of Christ in Killbuck, Ohio) I jumped to the conclusion that he was on some kind of fund raising committee for Holmes County. But the date didn’t seem right. The ribbon says 1888. Holmes County was founded in 1825, not 1788, There was not even a state of Ohio until 1803. So what was this committee all about?
I went to one of my favorite places on Facebook, the page staffed by the Holmes County Library, called Our Town: A Holmes County, Ohio Local History Project. They had recently announced that they were compiling a list of events that took place in Holmes County, using the local newspapers from as far back as the 1800’s. I posted the ribbon and asked if they had information.
Within hours, they had supplied photos, articles and some surprises.
Ah-ha! This was a woman‘s committee, and men were an afterthought. So perhaps the reason there are TWO ribbons in the Emeline crazy quilt, is that my great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout (1842-1928) was on the original committee, and great-grandfather Doc Stout was a johnny-come-lately.
Furthermore, we learn from the newspaper article that the Holmes County exhibit was part of a State Exposition. But what was being exhibited? Another newspaper article made that clearer.
The second article, again from the Holmes County Farmer, says that the Centennial Loan would open on July 25 and continue for a week. All articles had to be in Columbus by August 8. Then we learn that “by Monday evening” people had loaned more than 50 items, including a Bible over 200 years old. The committee wanted “modern, new , pretty and interesting” things as well as antiques. The committee also needed potted ferns. Because heaven knows you could not do anything fancy in the 1880’s without a bunch of potted ferns!
The Holmes County Exhibit would include a demonstration of spinning, for which the committee needed certain items, and someone would demonstrate making silk. Entertainment and activities for children were all part of what you would get for your admission price of five cents. I was thrilled to think that my great-grandmother was right there helping make those decisions, and then visiting with friends to solicit “loans.”
But if it is not the centennial of Holmes County, and not the centennial of Ohio, whose birthday was it? Another reference from the Holmes County library reveals that Holmes County was part of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first community in Ohio, Marietta, a town on the Ohio River.
This was fascinating, and since my family was involved on the committee, I assume that they contributed something. I wonder if it was an antique, or something modern and interesting? Fortunately, I found out at least part of that answer. Read on.
In August, 1888, The Holmes County Farmer ran a sort of review of the event held at the County Court House in Millersburg. “…one might well imagine that Cinderella’s godmother had been there with her fairy wand, so great had been the transformation wrought in the last week.” Don’t you love the understated way newspaper reporters wrote in the late 1800’s?
- On the north you could see items as old as 500 years old, “old, quaint, dainty, pretty, beautiful”.
- A large room had been divided into a hall, bedroom and parlor, each furnished with all sorts of beautiful household items.
- The next room featured a dinning (sic) room with complete table setting.
- Across from that modern dining room another was set up as it would have been 100 years previously, and a horticulture exhibit.
- To the left of the dining room was an exhibit of old fashioned costumes.
- Ahead in the newspaper’s tour, another room representing art and industry was so overwhelming the reporter gives up “…there is so much and so great a variety, we cannot hope to describe it. It must be seen to be appreciated.”
- Then there was a pioneer room with old-time things.
- In Agriculture Hall, the large stage was “most tastefully draped with American flags and buckeye branches.” This stage held entertainment in the evening by musical groups and “the broom brigade”–synchronized marchers.
- During the day ladies demonstrated “shutch, hackle, card and spin” flax and wool.
In fact, the layout and the items on display make me think of the Smithsonian Institution’s original building (built just thirty years earlier).
I have gone into some detail here to impress upon you what a BIG DEAL the Holmes County Loan was. The County’s population at that time was just shy of 21,000, so a huge percentage of families must have contributed hundreds of items to “the Loan.”
The enormous Ohio Centennial Exposition in Columbus included a Civil War encampment of 100,000 veterans and 150,000 of their wives, children and friends, all camped out in the state capitol, which at that time had a population of only 120,000.
The bright yellow ribbons, beside the green pieces of great-grandma Hattie’s wedding dress, must have brought a flood of memories to the Killbuck couple– former school teacher Hattie Morgan Stout and her husband Doctor William Cochran Stout.
The dates on the ribbons in the crazy quilt told me exactly what my great-grandmother and great-grandfather were doing in the summer of 1888. From the newspaper articles and history book, I can see what a large undertaking they were part of. And what a thrilling project it was.
Like all research, it brought new information and understanding, but also raised more questions. What items did my family loan? Did they get them back? [NOTE: I later learned about at least one set of items that Hattie Stout specified were “not to go to Columbus. See the beautiful heirlooms here.]
Did Hattie and Doc, and maybe even Emeline and my 7-year old grandmother and her siblings travel to Columbus for the state exhibition? And by the way,I learned that hackle is a kind of comb, but what is the meaning of “schutch” in spinning? Or is it a typo? If you know, please leave a comment below.
Information about the Holmes County Loan Committee and the Ohio Centennial Exposition celebrating the founding of Marietta Ohio, came from the Holmes County Library’s Facebook page, referenced and linked above.
The Holmes County Farmer newspaper articles and the postcard both came from that same Facebook page. Other information came from “Columbus 1860 to 1910,” by Richard E. Barrett
The ribbon pictured at the top is part of a crazy quilt and the photographs of the Stouts 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.