It's been too, too long time since my last blog post. Travels, computer crash, and such have interfered, mostly the computer crash. Most of my files were backed up, but I lost three years of photos. I'm hoping the data recovery will be successful. Coming soon, I'm told. Now to get on with the story of my great-grandparents, Daniel A. and America (Pratt) Troutman and their family. . .
1910 was a critical year for Daniel and America's family in other ways besides the absence of their daughter Stelle and their son Clint and their families, who had moved to Missouri (See previous blog). Much more devastating was the death of their oldest son, John William, affectionately known as Bud. Bud and Virginia Madora "Jennie" Totten, daughter of Samuel Taylor Totten and Virginia Madora Worley, had married 10 March 1897 when Jennie was 18 and Bud was 25. In April of 1910, Bud and Jennie, and their five children were living on a farm he owned free of mortgage at Broadford (Smyth County, Virginia). The children included four daughters and one son: Hallie, age 12; Eula L., age 10; Ernest E., age 6; Glenna, age 4; and Hazel L., age 1 year and 10 months.
Owning their farm in a beautiful green valley and having five healthy children, Bud and Jennie must have felt that life was good so far for them in 1910. By December, however, Bud was stricken with illness (exact cause unknown) and died just three days before his 39th birthday. At age, 32, Jennie was pregnant with a sixth child, Wilma Olivene, who was born seven months later in July 1911. With six children to support on her own, life must have looked bleak for Jennie.
|John W. "Bud" Troutman's tombstone, Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Photo by Z. T. Noble.|
Perhaps family members came to her aid. Not only was Jennie struggling to support her family, but a few short years later, one of her daughters, Glenna Virginia, died at age eight of unknown (to me) causes on 21 April 1915. She was buried beside her father in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church cemetery.
|Glenna V. Troutman's tombstone, Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Photo by Z. T. Noble.|
Perhaps because her brother-in-law, James Henry "Jim" Troutman, came to her aid at a vulnerable time—we can never really know for sure the reason—Jennie and Jim had an affair, and Jennie became pregnant. The family story goes that to protect himself from embarrassment in the community, Jim sent Jennie to Nebraska where Clint lived at this time, ostensibly to help their sister-in-law, my grandmother Mary, who was pregnant with her fifth child. Jennie took her children, except Eula who probably didn't want to leave because she was smitten with a young man named Reese DeBord. Reese, age 18, and Eula, age 15, were married that year.
Soon, however, Jennie’s pregnancy was obvious. Clint and Mary then sent Jennie to other relatives near West Plains, Missouri (poor Jennie, being shifted around like that!), where she gave birth to Harold Clifton, on 26 December 1915.
My dad told me a poignant story of his father Clint’s account of what happened when Jennie returned to Nebraska with her baby. Clint went to the train station to get Jennie. He watched her step down from the train carrying her little bundle.
“What have you got there, Jennie?” Clint said, as she approached.
“Oh, just a little stray I picked up somewhere, Clint,” she replied.
Jennie struggled to support her family by working as a
housekeeper for various people, including a man named Albert M. Lehmkuhl, who
eventually married Jennie’s
I remember Aunt Jennie, a sweet-faced, white-haired woman, sometimes living with my
grandmother Mary after Clint died. My mother described "Aunt Jennie" as one of the gentlest
persons she had ever known who never said an unkind word about anyone.
|A dapper young Clifton, photo taken at a Norfolk, NE studio, c. 1925.|
Clifton grew up in Nebraska, often being reminded by his older half-siblings, that his birth father Jim in Virginia ought to be paying for his keep. By 1935, Clifton had moved to Smyth County, Virginia near where Jim lived, established a filial relationship with him and later married a young lady named Virginia Wassum. He became a barber and opened a shop in Chilhowie.
|Clifton in Nebraska, c. early 1930s.|
|Clifton enlisted 7 Feb. 1942 at Camp Lee in Virginia, which may be the place this photo was taken. His WWII enlistment record says he was a Warrant Officer and that he was 5'3" tall and weighed 115 pounds.|
Clifton and Virginia never had children. Interestingly, on their marriage license, Clifton named his father as John W. Troutman, although J. W. died five years before Clifton was born. Admitting out-of-wedlock birth at that time was difficult.
|Marriage Record: Harold Clifton Troutman and Virginia Elizabeth Wassum.|
|Virginia "Aunt Jennie" Totten Troutman tombstone. Photo by Gary Ratcliff.|
|Harold Clifton and Virginia W. Troutman marker.|
1920 U. S. census, Cuming County, Nebraska, population schedule, Blaine Township, enumeration district [ED] 64, sheet 2-B, dwelling 34, family 37, Virginia Trautman [Troutman] family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04 April 2015); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 984. Also, 1920 U. S. census, Cuming Co., Neb., pop. sch., Blaine twp., ED 64, sheet 2-B, dwelling 34, family 36, Albert Lehmkuhl, see Hallie Lehmkuhl.
 U. S. Public Records Index, Vol. 2, Marion, Virginia, 1935 (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04 April 2015); citing Clifton Troutman.