When I found my Grandma Vera and my Great Aunt Maude Stout’s autograph books, I did not realize that I would also discover a family of relatives that I was unaware of–the Stone sisters.
I talked last week about Grandma Vera’s autograph book, and showed a picture of her book along with two that belonged to her older sister Maude. Since the types of inscriptions, drawings, stickers, verses, are similar in both, I won’t share as many of the pages from Aunt Maude’s. The thing that seemed most obvious to me came in comparing the empty pages–one or two in Vera’s book and many in Maude’s book. Maude seems to have a higher percentage of older people signing her book–along with the “signature” of her little sister Vera. You can see the effort of the 4-year-old Vera in the previous post. By the way, Maude spelled her name without the final “e” when she was younger, but came to use the “e” in adulthood.
Maude’s smaller book (cover pictured above) measures 3 1/4 ” by 5 1/4″ and has 38 pages (76 writing surfaces). On those page, Maude collected just 18 signatures in 1886 and 1888. (none in 1887).
The larger book measures 4 1/2″ x 7″ and contains 45 pages plus a printed cover page. In that book, Maude collected signatures in the years 1885, 1886, 1888, 1889, 1890 and 1892, and one in 1895, so from the time she was thirteen years old until she was twenty-three, she would get out her autograph book from time to time.
The pages are intact with very little wear showing, which indicates to me that she used the book less, and perhaps went back to it less frequently than Vera’s book. In that book the pages are fragile and edges are torn.
Maude and Vera are the two Stout sisters of the title. In Aunt Maude Stout’s book, I spotted signatures of two Stone sisters from Guernsey County–Mary A. Stone and Hattie (Harriette Stone). That sent me on an interesting search, because although there are many Stone relatives in my line, I was not aware that the Stout sisters were in touch with the Stone sisters of Guernsey County. Huge thanks to a cousin, descendant of the family of Mary and Hattie for his shared research and many, many photographs.
These children were orphaned when Mary was 14, Hattie was 13, and their brother just eleven when their father died. Their mother had died three years earlier. This picture of the Stone sisters and their brother could very well be from the day of their father’s funeral.
The Stone sisters were older than their cousins the Stout sisters. I find it interesting that Mary Augusta Stone, the older sister would have been 23 years old when she signed 14-year-old Maude’s book.
This is interesting because I remember Aunt Maude playing the piano in the 1940s and 1950s after she had moved back to Killbuck Ohio from Buffalo. According to the census, she taught piano in Buffalo after her husband died in the early 20th century.
Mary signed the book twice on the same day..
Hattie Stone, just a year younger than Mary Stone, signed the book at age 22.
In Maude’s second book, Hattie signed again the following day:
The Stone sisters were not the only relatives to sign Maude’s books. Another cousin from Guernsey County, May Hays, also signed Maude’s book. The Stout girls were related to Lillie May Hays through her mother, the sister of their father Dr. William Stout. I was not surprised to see May Hays signature in Maude’s autograph book, since I have written about the Stout family’s road trips to Guernsey County to visit their Stout relatives. I also wrote about May (Lillie May) and her mother here. You may want to go back to read what I have found of the somewhat unusual story of May’s life. May was 17 when she signed Maude’s book, and Maude was 14.
Since the women were all older than Maude, herself nine years older than Vera, it makes sense that Vera did not have these cousins’ signatures in her book several years later.
Although Vera’s signatures almost all come from Killbuck, Ohio, several of Maude’s come from other places. I am at a loss to explain that, because I don’t have information about her school years. She may have spent some of those years in a private academy away from home, rather than the public school. These missing years particularly annoyed me when I read in one of the signatures, “Remember the winter of 91-92. Remember May 19 and the sights we seen.” The entry is dated May 20, 1892. And the signer, Lizzie Henderson is from Fredericksburg. (a town in a county neighboring Killbuck). Who is Lizzie? What were those marvelous ‘sights we seen’? What was special about that winter? I will never know.
But the page that mystifies me the most is this one.
Who is this mystery cousin? I presently have no Webbs in my family tree, and so far have not been able to locate this Sula Webb. There is a Sula Webb who is a physician in Iowa. Since she is an eclectic medicine doctor, the same as Maude’s father and her uncle George Stout, that hints at a possible connection. A preliminary search has not turned up very much information. That is how it goes in research. Every new discovery opens up many new questions.
I am excited to learn about the Stone sisters, but so many new questions now face me in my research.