Tag Archives: William Cochran Stout

When I wrote about my great-grandfather William Stout’s sisters, Lib, Sade and Mattie, I had not found this wonderful photograph, so I want to share it now. They must be at the family farm in Guernsey County Ohio. Their names are linked to the prior articles about them.

Stout Sisters

“Aunt Lib [Elizabeth Stout Cunningham], Aunt Sade [Sarah Stout Scott], Aunt Mattie [Martha Stout Hays],” labeled by Vera Anderson “Dad’s sisters” Taken in Guernsey County, early 20th century

Challenge: Match the sisters with these earlier pictures.

Martha Stout

Studio photograph of one of the Stout sisters–Mattie (Martha) or Sade (Sarah). Circa 1870

Stout daughters

(Circa late 1870s)

Photographs are property of the author.


Hattie, Doc and the Holmes County Loan

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

Holmes County Ribbon

Ribbon for the Holmes County centennial Loan Committee.

Dr. Stout

Doctor William Cochran Stout, my great-grandfather

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.

Holmes County Farmer article

Article from the Holmes County Farmer, 1888 about the Centennial Loan Committee.

My great-grandmother, Harriett Stout

Harriett E. Morgan Stout, my great-grandmother

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.”

1888 state centennial postcard

1888 state centennial postcard

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.”

Holmes County contributed to the Ohio State Centennial

The Centennial parade  in Columbus. From book, “Columbus 1860 to 1910,” by Richard E. Barrett, as posted by the Holmes County Library on Facebook.

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.

What’s an Eclectic Medicine Doctor? Ancestor Search: Dr. William Stout

William Cochran Stout (1845-1910)

Bananas. That’s what always make me think of Dr. William Stout. It always seemed to be something very special to have a great-grandfather who was a small town doctor.  And my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser remembered her grandfather with affection, even though he died when she was only four years old.

Stout Family Home in Killbuck, Ohio

Dr. William Stout and family in front of family home, circa 1885

You’ve met Grandfather William Stout before.  My grandmother Vera Stout Anderson was his favorite (standing beside him in the family portrait above). He quarreled with my great Uncle William Morgan Stout over questionable companions and drinking. “Doc” Stout was strongly religious. He built a beautiful house in Killbuck, Ohio for his family–a proud and powerful figure at the turn of the century, and a beloved doctor by people around Killbuck, and as far away as Coshocton and Mt. Vernon.

Dr. Stout

Doctor William Cochran Stout, Circa 1908

In the trunk of antique treasures that I inherited, I had seen the rolled up fancy scrolls of his medical college and associations and they were all very impressive. However I couldn’t stop wondering what and “electric” doctor was.  When I finally focused on the fact that it was not electric, it was eclectic, my curiosity grew.

William Stout's Mother, Emmeline Cochran

Emmeline Cochran Stout, Mother of Dr. Wm Stout.

As background, William Cochran Stout (his middle name was the family name of his mother) grew up the eldest of 12 children according to a pamphlet with the history of Guernsey County, published in 1882. Only eight of them survived in 1882. Perhaps losing so many family members influenced his interest in medicine.  I’ll talk about the family in a future article, but for now how did this son of a farmer become a medical doctor–and what the heck is an “eclectic” physician?

In 1869, age 24, William Stout paid $100 to the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania for tuition.

Wm. Stout Receipt for tuition

Wm. Stout Receipt for tuition at the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania. 1869

Presumably this was not the first tuition he had paid, because he graduated two years later, 1871, and even at an Eclectic Medicine college it took some years of study. The 1870 census listing his family members, lists him as a physician–perhaps his father was proudly jumping the gun?

William Stout diploma

William C. Stout’s diploma from the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, parchment stiff with age. 1871

The next year, when he was 27, he married Harriet Morgan of Killbuck, Ohio, population about 300*,  and set up his practice there. (See The Girl on the Bridge for more about Harriet and their marriage.

To give you an idea of how large these assorted certificates are, I tacked them on the wall beside a hall mirror that Doc William Stout bought for his wife , Harriett Morgan Stout later in their life. (The hall mirror is 6 1/2 feet tall.)

Doctor William Stout's Certificates

Doctor Wm Stout’s Certificates beside Hattie Stout’s Hall Stand

I pored over the signatures on the diploma, apparently every professor who taught at the school.  The most prominent bold signature is John Buchanan, M.D.  I headed for Google to see what I could find out about the college and John Buchanan.  In the archives of the University of Pennsylvania, I found this article about extinct medical schools.  Buchanan headed Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania and American University of Philadelphia, 1850-1880. Hmmmm, so it did not last much longer after Doc William Stout graduated?  Reading through the history of the school, chartered in 1850, I found this definition:

The curriculum of the school followed the eclectic model, which was a branch of medicine formed in the mid-Nineteenth Century which focused on botanical remedies.

Ah, so perhaps my grandfather was an early version of Dr. Andrew Weil. Actually, the practice was a forerunner of naturopathic medicine, but also accepted modern technical advances, so it was very similar to today’s more open minded physicians.  Nothing wrong with that. And in further poking around later I learned that in that intellectually exuberant age of the late 19th century a number of different philosophies of medicine emerged, eclectic medicine being one that did not survive into the 21st century.

I was feeling a little better about the odd name of the medicine my great grandfather practiced, and then I found this. After a split with the school’s dean, Dr. Pain (I’m not making this up!)…

“Animosity grew between the schools during the following decades of the Nineteenth Century.  By 1864 the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania began to exaggerate its funding and enrollment.  Following the schools relocation to 514 Pine Street in 1868 the reputation of the school began to seriously decline.  The previous year the school obtained a new charter as the American University of Philadelphia, and from that point on operating as a diploma mill under the leadership of Dr. John Buchanan.  In 1880 Dr. Buchanan was arrested and the school ceased operation.  Buchanan attempted to escape prosecution be faking his own suicide by jumping into the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Camden Ferry, but was later apprehended in Canada.”

How disappointed the new Dr. Stout must have been!  At least the school’s reputation seemed to deteriorate AFTER he graduated. It may be worth noting that his brother George, five years younger, graduated in Eclectic Medicine in 1879, but he attended the Institute in Cincinnati rather than Philadelphia. Dr. Stout continued loyal to eclectic medicine, attending conferences around the country and bring back certificates attesting to his membership in both the Ohio (1892) and the National organization of Eclectic Medicine .

And Dr. Stout’s credentials were solid.  In 1896 he was licensed to practice medicine in the state of Ohio.  Why so late in his career?  Apparently Ohio did not license physicians until the legislature passed a law in February 1896.

William Stout Ohio Medical license

Dr. William Stout’s Ohio medical license

My mother said the patients who came from far away would come by train to Killbuck and stay overnight at his house. He would say to his wife, Harriet M. Stout, “You’re the best looking woman and the best cook in town, so why wouldn’t I bring them here?” Sounds like Doc could turn on the charm.

Since eclectic medicine championed natural cures, herbal medicine learned from American Indians and healthy eating, I am surprised that more of Dr. Stout’s philosophy did not come down to me through my grandmother Vera. Chamomile tea is the only home remedy I recall. Mother remembered that her grandfather would give coins to the children to buy bananas which he believed were good for them. So I’m sure he would have approved of the Badertscher banana bread recipe that I have written about.

How about you? Do you prefer natural medicines? Would you have liked to know an eclectic medicine doctor?

*The Killbuck 1880 population estimate came from an interview in a Wooster Daily News  article about Killbuck history that was published in August, 1967.