Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Troutman Side of the Family

Now that I’ve written nearly as much as I know at this point about my grandmother Mary Waggoner’s family, it’s time to move on to Grandpa Clint Troutman and his family.

Clint’s birth date is somewhat frustrating to establish for certain. The birth record at the Smyth County Court House in Marion, says he was born 16 December 1887,[1] but every other record says 1886.[2] If I had looked only at the transcribed record of Smyth County Births, 1885-96, database on, I might think the transcriber had made a mistake and recorded the wrong year, but I’ve stood in the Court House at Marion, Virginia, with the huge birth records book open before me and run my finger down a list of names of babies born in 1887, and there it is: Clinton Troutman. Did the family forget the year? Oh well, I give up. Despite the courthouse record, I’ll have to concede that Clint was born in 1886. Other glitches lurk in that courthouse record, as well, like thieves ready to steal the sanity of researchers, but I’ll get to them later.

Clint was the ninth of ten children born to Daniel Absolum and America Pratt Troutman. He was named Walter Clinton, but he preferred Clint, which is the only given name on his tombstone—plus he gave Clint as his first name on his WW1 draft registration.[3]
Several tragedies happened in his family before he was born, which he knew only as stories. One was the burning of their house, a story he told to his children. According to his son Verne, Clint told this story: Daniel was away from home when the house burned, but America managed to get the children out safely, and no one was hurt. She was the practical one in the family, and Daniel was more sentimental. He asked America whether she saved the photo albums. This didn’t set well with her, and she reportedly said, “There you stand with your behind as bare as a bird and you’re worried about photo albums!”

I’m not sure what year the house burned, but the family first lived in Long Hollow where at least one of the older siblings was born,[4] and I think it may have been that house.[5] When Clint was 16 months old (if you accept the 1886 date or before he was born if 1887), his grandfather, Nicholas Pratt, deeded to his daughter America the property on Walker Mountain where Clint grew up.[6]

The little anecdote about the fire reveals a lot about Clint’s parents’ personalities. Daniel seems to have been laid back, sentimental, and soft-spoken, while America was high strung, practical, and out-spoken. The story of Clint can hardly be told without the story of his parents first. Next week: Daniel’s story.

[1] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book 2, p. 19, Clinton Troutman, 16 December 1887.
[2] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 1-B, dwelling 13, family 13, Dan Troutman family; digital image ( : accessed 4 August 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728. Also “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 4 August 2014), card for Clint Walter Troutman, serial number 261-61-A, Local Draft Board, Brenna Precinct, Wayne County, Nebraska. Also, Pleasant View Cemetery (Wayne County, Nebraska); Troutman, Clint, marker; photographed August 2008 by the researcher.
[3] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” card for Clint Walter Troutman.
[4] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book 1: 158, entry for James H. Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Long Hollow appears as place of birth on this record.
[5] In April 2014, a Pratt third cousin of the author pointed out the location of the D. A. and America Troutman house in Long Hollow.
[6] Smyth County, Virginia, Deed Book 17: 202, Nicholas H. and Sarah Pratt to America Troutman, 25 April 1887; County Clerk’s Office, Marion.

© 2014, Z. T. Noble

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