Tag Archives: pony.

Pets Are Family, Too

A Post for the OTHER Family Members

Bogie the dog

I’m a family member, too.

Today he had a suggestion. “Are you writing about your family?” “Yes.” “How come there’s no one with fur or feathers in there?”

Bogie wants to know if there are other dogs in the family history, and so do I.  Has our family always been animal lovers? Most of the pets I have stories about come from recent history.

“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The History of Animal Loves

The earliest ancestors on my tree were farmers and had a different attitude about animals. Animals worked just like everybody else. The Pilgrims, we know, included dogs on the Mayflower, although I don’t know about the Fortune, on which William Bassett sailed.

Jumping ahead to the 1800s, I know that my great-grandmother Isabella McCabe Anderson loved to ride her horse through the Ohio countryside, but of course although horses could become friends, they were a necessary adjunct to life.  My grandfather Doctor William Stout even had a barn behind his house in the center of Killbuck to keep the horses who pulled his wagon when he had to go on house calls in the countryside.

Speaking of Doc Stout, I have a picture of him and a matching one of his wife that would be absolutely wonderful had they not faded to unrecognizable blobs.  However, I can make out that there is a large dog sitting at the feet of Doc Stout.

And I have written about my mother’s pet Pony, Wrangles.

Vera Anderson’s Peggy, the Spitz

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers

From the time my mother was in college until  I was a baby, grandma owned her favorite dog ,  Peggy. A snow white Spitz, Peggy bridged four generations of humans. She frequently sat for portraits, including one that shows my great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout who died before I was born.

When I was in grade school, sometimes living at Grandma Vera’s house she no longer had dogs, but she did keep lovebirds in a cage. I indignantly thought that was cruelty. Birds should fly free. But they were beautiful and kept her from being lonely with their singing.

Mom and Dad in the 1930s with Banky and Wistful Lady

My mother and father adopted dogs before they were married, in anticipation of starting a family, but they apparently did not have much luck with the dogs. In July 1937, my dad adopted a Cocker Spaniel, complete with AKA papers. She was beautiful, and named Wistful Lady. Oddly, I never heard mother and dad talk about her, even when my husband and I later adopted a similar black Cocker Spaniel. We named the beautiful brunette after Elizabeth Taylor.

Cocker Spaniel, Wistful Lady

Paul Kaser’s dog Wistful Lady 1938

Back in 1938, in the letters exchanged during their courtship two months before they married my mother talks about a dog she had picked out, called Banky. I have no pictures, and no idea what breed it was, but it seems to be a sad story.

March 22, 1938
I went home last evening and I think Bankie is some better but still pretty sick. Mother saturated him with medicine then wrapped a towel around him and held him it seemed to help. Bob Cunningham sat and held him for a long time. He thinks it is a bad case of worms. Everybody has a new theory.

March 31, 1938
I really believe Banky is better, he was much stronger this morning and ate for me and ate some for mother today, but he surely does look sad.

April 7, 1938

I don’t think Banky is so good. He wants to eat all the time but gets weaker all the time. I am afraid he never will be a very swell dog. I guess I doomed him by picking him out for my dog.

Rabbits, Ducks and Chickens

My parents married just as World War II was starting, and took the war effort seriously.  In addition to planting a victory garden, they grew rabbits for food.  I vividly remember the raised rabbit cage that my father built in the garage, even though I could not have been more than three years old.  One time when he opened the cage to add feed, the tiny bunnies escaped and scattered around the neighborhood.  I thought it was great fun.  The raising of rabbits did not last long. I don’t know if my parents were too soft-hearted, or they didn’t want to traumatize me by killing what I saw as pets.

When my parents and brother and sister and I lived in Columbus, we did not have a dog, but I vividly remember the two ducklings that first swam around in a plastic dishpan in the back yard. They grew up, and learned to open the gate from the yard and neighbors discovered them waddling down our driveway and exploring the neighborhood.  Those were probably Easter ducklings.  I think they may have been released in a nearby park to live in the pond there.

Back then, around Easter time, you could buy colored chicks (and sometimes ducks) at the grocery store, hardware store, dime store, or just about anywhere. After we had moved to Killbuck, we had a clutch of those colored chicks.  It was not a good practice to sell chicks to people who didn’t know what to do with them, but my mom and dad had it all figured out.  There was a ramshackle chicken coup on our property, which Dad repaired, and the chicks grew to be great producers of eggs.  For a short while, I was the typical farm girl out collecting eggs in the morning.

Rex, Mack and Suki, the German Shepherds

One of the great tragedies of my pre-teens was the short time that we had a lovely German Shepherd puppy that I named Rex.  I had spent a lot of time with Rex and taught him quite a few commands.  When my parents decided that Rex was going to be too large for a town lot and would enjoy life more in the country, they contacted a farmer to come pick him up.  I sat in an upstairs window and commanded Rex, who was hiding under the porch to STAY. And no matter what they used to try to lure him out, he stayed.  Finally my dad came upstairs and marched me into my back bedroom and commanded me to stay quiet. Which I did–except for the tears.

Just as Ken and I followed in the Kaser footsteps by adopting a Cocker Spaniel, we later had two German Shepherds, Mack and Suki for characters in Three Penny Opera. I am amazed to learn we have no photographs of these two wonderful family members who lived in our new Scottsdale house until they both became too ill to continue.

Kitchen the Cat and others

Soon after , Rex was wrenched away, The Kaser family adopted a calico cat that I named Kitchen, because we had just redecorated the kitchen in the colors she sported–yellow, black, brown and white.  Kitchen soon had kittens, a varied lot of four, whom I named Sugar, Spice, Salt and Pepper. (Suppose this was foretelling my early interest in cooking?)

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

VMB 1952 with kittens, Killbuck house

Me in 1952 with some of Kitchen’s kittens at our Killbuck house.

Later, when the Kasers moved to Hilliard Ohio and I was in college, cats started adopting mother and father, and there were always cats around from then on.  When my father went out to start his car on a cold winter morning he always had to check under the hood to see if there were any cats keeping warm.

So Bogie–those are the stories of some early pets in my family including those I grew up with. Now, if you want to know about those who joined our family after Ken and I were married, read on.

A fellow genealogy blogger decided to join me in this effort with her SECOND post on pets in her family. You can see her furry family members on her blog, Cow Hampshire

Read more quotes at http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/16344-25-famous-quotes-about-dogs#vuLpjS2xMDAL3b7t.99

and at http://goodreads.com/works/quotes/tag/pets/

Harriette Anderson Kaser: Wrangles the Praying Pony and Houses

Harriette Anderson (Kaser): 1906-2003

Many little girls pray for a pony. My mother had a pony that prayed.

Paul and Harriette Kaser 1983

Paul and Harriette Kaser 1983 (Around the time she recorded these memories.

It is the stories that Harriette Anderson Kaser left behind that help us visualize what life was like in her grandmother’s time, her mother’s time, and in the early 20th century when she was a girl, driving a pony cart.

Seeing a small town in Ohio today, it is sometimes hard to imagine barns in the back yard of houses in the middle of town and milk cows that were taken to pasture every day. But even though my mother eventually flew on an airplane, her life started in the age of transportation by horse (or pony) .


Doc Stout, Harriette and Bill

Doc Stout, Harriette and Bill Anderson

In that 1909 picture, my mother is nearly three years old, and is seated on her grandfather “Doc” Stout’s lap. She was born on August 15, 1906 and the picture was probably taken in May, 1909. Since she was a tiny tot in 1909, I will let her memoirs, recorded in 1980, speak for her. (To see the house she lived in when the family picture was taken, sitting on her grandfather’s lap, take a look at this article and  the house in the background of the 1909 photograph.)

But another house, in Killbuck, Ohio, was the one that she thought of as home. Front Street with grocery stores and the post office and other essentials, ran between the Killbuck Creek bridge and her family’s church, the Church of Christ, on the east edge of the village. The Stout home stood on Main Street, just one block from the main shopping street. The main road to Millersburg, the county seat, ran down Main Street, and the nicest houses in town were built along Main Street.

Here’s an earlier image of that house in town, when her own mother (Vera Stout) was a small girl.

Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

Dr. William Stout and family in front of family home, circa 1885. Doc Stout, Vera, Will, Maude, and Hattie.

Grandpa [Stout] had done quite well…so much so that he was able to accumulate enough to build his home and he was quite proud of that house.  This home became later our family home–I mean Guy and Vera Anderson’s family home.  We all still thought of this place as home, always.  The fact is, I was born in that place.

Mother [Vera Anderson] had come from their home in the country [ the house where the 1909 picture was taken] and so I was born at my grandfather and grandmother’s house in Killbuck, so the house is special to me.

You can see  the dirt street in front of this house in 1885. The streets were still dirt in the early 1900s, and there were far more horses than cars on the streets, so the streets were a play place for the children.

Grandmother [Harriette Morgan Stout] would rush to close our windows at daybreak. The windows were always open at night in the summertime, but she would have to close them during the day when the horses and buggies would go down through town and the dust would start flying.

When Guy and Vera Anderson moved into the big old Stout house (about 1911) a barn stood behind the house, along with the original summer kitchen and other small outbuildings, including an outhouse. In other words, it was not any more “citified” than the farm house they had lived in since they were married in 1904. When they first moved in, the house did not have indoor plumbing, and Guy installed the first bathrooms. 

The family kept a milk cow in the barn and little Harriette sometimes drove the cow out to pasture, over the bridge across Killbuck Creek and back home in the evening. But her prized possession was Wrangles, the pony.

Zane Grey filming

Zane Grey filming Riders of the Purple Sage

Daddy Guy (my grandfather) was a big fan of Zane Grey, and they named the pony after a Zane Gray story that mother said was called “The Wrangler.” [I can’t find a book by that name, but Riders of the Purple Sage, Grey’s breakout book and very popular western was published in 1912, and like most of his books, it does have wranglers in it.]

The pony had been beaten by the man who owned him previously, so if you walked up behind the pony where he couldn’t see you, he’d spook and run away.  Otherwise, he was gentle and obedient. The children (Harriette, Bill and baby brother Herbert) even taught him stunts, including “roll over,” and pray.

He’d get down on his knees like he was saying his prayers and put his head down.  We just had him doing everything, but if you ever walked up back of him, look out.  HIs heels went up in the air and he took off.

One time, Mother [Vera Anderson] bought a new rug and gave Grandma [Hattie Morgan] the old rug for her porch.  They rolled it up and put it in back of the pony buggy, and I was going to drive the pony down to Grandma’s which was just a block from where we lived.  Well, they must have put the rug across the seat and instead of going around and petting Wrangles and getting in the buggy, which would have been all right, I jumped up on top of the rug, and Wrangles took off.

Across the street was a row of trees beside a big porch, and a car parked next to the trees. Wrangles took off between a row of trees and the car, and when he went in there the buggy was wider than the space between the trees and the car.

You could not hold him, he just went right straight out of his harness and left me and the buggy sitting right in there between the tree and the car.  Well, Dad came over to find out if I was hurt.  I was scared to death, but I wasn’t hurt, and he said, “Now what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to get right on Wrangles and ride.”

Well, Wrangles just went trotting on down to the barn and went right in his stall and there he was, waiting for us.  Dad and I went down to the barn and I immediately got on his back and rode him.  He never ran off with me afterwards.

Finally our Dad decided we were too big for ponies and he sold him to another Lowe family in town that had some children.  We all cried.  Everyone was crying.  We were great big grown up kids, but we cried when we lost the pony Wrangles.  He was beautiful.


I have fond memories of the Stout/Anderson house, also, as my mother and father and I lived there with Grandma Vera for short periods. The barn was gone by the time I can remember the house. After a piece of the barn’s roof fell down and hit one of my cousins,  the barn was finally torn down.

The newspaper article tells about my grandmother’s sale of the house in 1960, when she was 79 years old. This is the way I remember the house in the 1940s and 50s. Grandma Vera had enclosed the porches on the first and second stories and some of the ornate trim was gone.

This is what the house would have looked like when it housed the Anderson Restaurant, which you see in the banner at the top of the page.


 Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

Stout-Anderson house newspaper article

The Stout/Anderson home on Main Street in Killbuck, built in the early 1880’s was first moved around the corner in the 1960s to make room for a new grocery store parking lot. Decades later it was demolished. 

The old Stout farm, which became the Anderson farm, and the home of Bill and Sarah Anderson, was located on the old Route 62 where there was a “dead-man’s curve” in the road as you left the Killbuck Valley. The Stouts never lived on the farm, but used it for income. However, there was a cabin where the family spent time. The land is now a wildlife preserve with a sportsman’s club on the property.


“Harriette Anderson Kaser’s Memories of Killbuck, Ohio in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s” were transcribed from an audiotape recorded in the home of P. W. Kaser, Fresno, California about 1980.  Paul William Kaser, her son, made the transcription.  Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher made slight edits.

Added material was taken from other notes of conversations with Harriette, and from a Holmes County Hub (undated) newspaper article about the Stout home and a Wooster Daily Record article dated Thursday, December 15, 1960.

Birth, wedding and death dates, locations and occupations come from family Bible records, personal knowledge, and census and other official data.

A recorded conversation with Herbert Guy Anderson made in his home in St. Petersburg Florida in 2008 added some details.

Family photographs 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.