“Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep,” the title of Judy Russell’s () lecture caught my attention at the April 25, 2015, Indiana Genealogical Society Conference in Terre Haute, Indiana. Among these miscreants, Judy included three types: lawbreakers, deadbeats, and philanderers. To Judy, “they’re much more fun to research than the good guys.” She would enjoy my dad’s Uncle Jim. He was a philanderer.
Uncle Jim was my paternal grandfather, Clint Troutman’s brother, James Henry. Born 14 July 1880, during the summer following the deaths of three of his siblings, Jim was the sixth child of Daniel and America Troutman. Maybe he brought renewed hope to his parents. Yet, he seems to have inherited his mother’s temper, which put him at odds with her often. According to family stories, he left home at about age 14 to live with his sister Stelle, ten years older, and her family because he could not get along with America. He must not have stayed away, though, for he was enumerated with his parents in 1900, at age 20.
|James Henry Troutman, c. 1905.|
Jim was a “retail merchant.” In fact, he owned and operated a country store at the T where Long Hollow Road meets the Valley Road in Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia. It was one of those stores filled with mixed odors of oiled hardwood floors, pickle barrels, tobacco, and possibly cakes made by Martha Hays. In the summer, you could pull a bottle of iced Coka Cola out of a red cooler just inside the front screen door that banged shut behind you. Loafers sat on a bench in the shade of the porch’s overhang, jawed about the folks in the valley, and spit brown streams of tobacco juice into the grass.
|Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie Troutman on the porch of Jim's store, c. 1930. The child is Bernard Troutman, grandson of Jim's brother, John W. Troutman.|
Uncle Jim’s home stood across road from the store; it’s still there, but not the store building. It was torn down about 10 years ago.
|James H. Troutman home, across the Valley Road from his store, Rich Valley, Virginia, c. 1938.|
Dad told me stories about happenings in the store and the house, but I'll save those for later. For now, I’ll focus on Jim’s philandering. I’ve already written in my previous post about Jim’s affair with his widowed sister-in-law, which occurred about 1915. He had at least one more affair that also produced a child—it’s impossible to know whether there were others that didn’t. The second affair was with a young woman named Edna Neal, the servant girl’s sister.
1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 12-B, dwelling 204, family 205, William Olinger, see Susie; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.