After the trauma of losing three children during 1879 and 1880, my great-grandparents Daniel and America Troutman’s next eleven years seem to have been somewhat better—in terms of more children to fill the house, anyway. About six weeks after the census taker visited their house on 2 June 1880, America, or “Merky,” as she was called, gave birth on 14 July to her sixth child, a boy they named James Henry after Daniel’s father—the Henry part, anyway. This was the first of five more children that filled the emptiness left by the deaths of Clifton, Bessie, and Mary Ellen.
Two years later, on 27 September 1882, along came another boy they named Daniel Clark. In January 1884, a tiny girl named Daisy Virginia was born, and on 16 December 1886, my grandfather, blue-eyed Walter Clinton arrived—better know as Clint. About four years later on 8 July 1891, just one month and two days before her 46th birthday, Merky gave birth to her last child a dark-haired boy named Lee Roy. With all those children, I’m sure Merky’s life was beyond hectic.
Until 1887, Daniel seems to have farmed rented land, perhaps never having enough money to buy his own farm. During this time, they lived in Long Hollow, a section of Rich Valley. Their Long Hollow house is probably the one that burned. The family story goes that when the house caught fire, Merky got herself and all the children out before flames engulfed everything. Apparently, Daniel was not home at the time. He quizzed Merky later about whether she had saved the photos, which she did not appreciate. Their lives were more important, she let him know in no uncertain terms: “There you stand with your behind as bare as a bird, and you want to know about picture albums!” Never one to mince words, Merky's temper was legendary. Daniel’s and Merky’s children told their children that their father sometimes sighed during her tirades and said, “If only I’d never crossed those mountains!”
America's parents, Nicholas and Sarah Pratt, perhaps because of the fire, decided to help. On 25 April 1887, they deeded 116 acres of land on the north side of Walker Mountain to America Troutman for the sum of $1.00. On this land, Daniel and America built a new house and finished raising their children. Despite the deed being in America’s name, a 1998 topographical map of Smyth County showing the names of landowners, credits the land to D. A. Troutman. The husband, too often, gets the credit.
 Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book 1: 158; entry for James H. Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion.
 “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Daniel Clark Troutman, serial number 3142, Local Draft Board, Washington County, Virginia.
 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, sheet 1-B, enumeration district [ED] 84, dwelling 13, family 13, Daisy Troutman; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec. 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
 Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book D1: 19; entry for Clinton Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Note: This book records the year of Clint’s birth as 1887, but all other records for him record the year as 1886. See also, “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Clint Walter Troutman, serial number 261-61-A, Local Draft Board, Wayne County, Nebraska.
 Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book D1: 47; entry for Lee Roy Troutman; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Note: Other records place Lee Roy’s birth in August instead of July of 1891: “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www. Ancestry.com, accessed 2 December 2014), card for Lee Roy Troutman, serial number 1426, Local Draft Board, Smyth County, Virginia.
 1880 U.S. census, 84th District, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 84, p. 2 (penned), dwelling 32, family 32, D. A. Troutman; digital image, Ancesrty.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T9, roll 1390. This census says occupation is “Tenant.”
 A search of Smyth County deeds at the courthouse in Marion, Virginia, revealed no records for him.
 James Henry’s 1880 birth record states that he was born in Long Hollow.
 Smyth County, Virginia, Deed Book 17, p. 202, Nicholas H. Pratt and Sarah Pratt to America A. Troutman, Smyth County Courthouse, Marion, Virginia.
© 2014, Z. T. Noble.