Tuesday, September 8, 2015

D. A. Troutman's Final Years, 1910-1918 (and one more).

A few blog posts ago, I left my paternal great-grandparents Daniel Absolum and America Ann (Pratt) Troutman in 1910 and wandered off on tangents with a couple of their children. Their firstborn son, John William “Bub” Troutman had died that year at age 37 leaving a pregnant widow and five children. What happened to Bud’s widow, Jennie, involved another son, James Henry “Jim” Troutman. And of course I had to write about Jim’s life.

No doubt, Daniel and America grieved over the sudden loss of their son Bud, who had come home from work on a Thursday, feeling well, ate a good meal his wife Jennie had prepared, and laughed with his children. About 11:00 p.m., he began to feel ill. During the next five days, the best efforts of the doctor and Bud’s wife came to no avail, and Bud succumbed to pneumonia on Tuesday, 20 December 1910.[1]

No doubt, they were none too happy about their son Jim’s affair with Jennie and his attempted cover up.

As the drama in the lives of their busy adult children was unfolding, life went on in Daniel and America’s little home tucked away down a long, narrow, dirt lane winding through the valley and up the mountain. Daniel continued farming as much has his age would allow and with the aid of his son Roy. America continued housekeeping, quilt making, and caring for ailing neighbors. Soon she would be caring for her own son, Roy.

Daniel A. Troutman and his horse, c. 1910.
No doubt, during the next few years of the decade between 1910 and 1920, Daniel and America helped Jennie and her children as best they could. During that time, their granddaughter, Glenna, Bud’s nine-year-old daughter, was suddenly stricken with spinal meningitis and died on 21 April 1915.[2]

Three years later, on 21 March 1918, Daniel succumbed to apparent heart failure at the age of 82 at his home.[3] His obituary called him “one of Smyth Counties oldest and most respected citizens,” and noted his service “in defense of the Southland.” Both the pastor of the Methodist Church, of which he was a member, and the pastor of the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church preached his funeral.[4]

According to John Orr, current owner of the former Troutman property, his mother remembered D. A. Troutman’s death. She was a little girl, and she recalled going to the wake with her parents. In her limited experience, she had seen dead horses being dragged to a burying place, so she told a friend she had come to see “Old Man Troutman dragged to the cemetery.”[5] Apparently, she had not had much experience with human deaths.

Portrait of Daniel Absolum Troutman, c. 1905.

Daniel Troutman's funeral card.
Daniel’s granddaughter, Neville Troutman, who was about eight years old at the time of her grandfather’s death, remembered taking the news to her father Clint, who was working in the field on their farm in Nebraska. “It was the first time I saw my father cry,” she said.[6]

The next year, on 18 October, Daniel and America’s youngest son, Lee Roy, a slender, handsome young man with grey eyes and black hair,[7] succumbed to consumption at age 28.[8] Until his illness, Roy had been farming with his father and his brother Jim.[9] He had been ill for at least two and a half years.[10] On 1 September 1918, Roy had been accepted into the Presbyterian Church in absentia, as “his infirmities preclude his attendance upon the services of the sanctuary.” The pastor had gone to the Troutman home and baptized Roy there.[11]
Lee Roy Troutman's WWI draft registration card, side 1.

Lee Roy Troutman's WWI draft registration card, side 2.

Lee Roy Troutman, c. 1905.
Great-grandmother, America, faced the next decade with five living children out of ten she had birthed. Estelle, Clint, and Daisy and their families had moved to Nebraska. Only Jim and Dan still lived in Virginia. [12]  She chose to live her final years with Dan.

[1] Smyth-Bland Regional Library, digital collections ( : accessed 26 August 2015); Smyth-Bland Regional Library > S-B Digital Collections > Newspapers > Smyth County Newspapers > Search term: Troutman; Marion News, 20 Jan. 1911, p. 1, col. 5, “In Memoriam, William H. Troutman.” Note that the name as published is incorrect; it should be John William Troutman. Although no other family members are named in the obituary, other details identify this as the obituary of John William Troutman: nickname “Bud,” survived by wife and five children, location of home, date of death, etc.
[2] Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014, database, ( : accessed 25 August 2015), entry for Glenna Virginia Troutman, 21 April 1915.
[3] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery (Smyth County, Virginia); Daniel A. Troutman, marker; photographed August 2004 by the researcher.
[4] “Obituary,” clipped from an unknown Wayne County, Nebraska newspaper, which quotes an obituary from an unknown Smyth County, Virginia newspaper. Handwritten copy made by Mary Troutman, daughter-in-law of the deceased, which is in the author’s possession.
[5] Conversation between John Orr and the author at his home, Rich Valley, Virginia, 6 April 2014.
[6] Letter from Neville Lamson, Pierce, Nebraska, to Zola Noble, Anderson, Indiana, not dated.
[7] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 8 September 2015), card for Lee Roy Troutman, serial number 1426, Local Draft Board, Smyth County, Virginia.
[8] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery (Smyth County, Virginia); Lee Roy Troutman, marker; photographed August 2004 by the researcher.
[9] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” Lee Roy Troutman, serial no. 1426, Local Draft Board, Smyth Co., Va.
[10] Ibid. On his draft registration dated April 1917, he claims exemption because of “ill health.”
[11] Rich Valley Presbyterian Church (Saltville, Virginia), “Minutes of Session, Vol. 4,” 1 April 1918 - unspecified, page 6, entry 1 September 1918; photocopy in possession of author, from original stored at the church.
[12] “Obituary,” names the surviving children and the places they lived.

© 2015, Z. T. Noble

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