The romance of my paternal grandparents, Clint and Mary, is legendary in our family: their parents’ objections, Mary’s family moving to Missouri, Clint’s walk over the mountain to board a train to follow his love to Missouri, his stop to take one last look over the valley of his home, the lump in his throat. Months ago, I wrote about it. To review, click here. Clint and Mary have also entered the picture as their stories have intersected with Clint’s sisters, Estelle and Daisy in the December and January blog posts.
But there’s more.
After their marriage in Audrain County on 27 October 1909,1 Clint and Mary lived in Missouri for three years or so.
|Mary, Clint and baby Neville, c. 1910.|
They must not have prospered as well as they would have liked, for about 1913, they moved on to the rolling hills of northeast Nebraska, both families traveling on a train together, the women and children in passenger cars and the men in the boxcars with their horses and cattle.5 Clint and Mary first rented a farm near Pilger in Stanton County where their fourth child, Verne Clinton (my dad), was born on 13 April 1914.6 By the time their fifth child, Virginia Ovella was born 5 March 1916, they had rented a farm in Brenna Precinct, Wayne County and moved again.7
|Verne, James, Neville, Carl, and Virginia, c. 1917.|
The family lived in four different farm homes in Nebraska. They had outdoor toilets and no refrigeration, no indoor water, except a small pump in a corner of one of the kitchens. They had a base-burner heating stove and a kitchen stove in which they burned wood and coal. Conditions improved when they moved to a farm with indoor plumbing north of Winside in 1926.8
Neville remembered, "When we lived on a farm north of Pilger, Mother and Dad took cream and eggs to Albert Pilger's store for groceries. Mr. Pilger looked like Santa Claus and always put in a sack of candy for us kids!"9
The Brenna Precinct farm must have been idyllic (except for lack of plumbing in the house). Virginia remembered fruit trees, and bee hives, and a big garden, and so on: “It was just about 10 miles from Winside and about 10 miles from Wayne. Southeast from Winside and southwest from Wayne. . . . That was Mother’s favorite house. We only lived there five years when Dad lost the farm. He couldn’t make the payments. He bought it right after World War I when the prices were high, so he lost the farm. Mother wanted us to move close to a town so we kids could go to high school. And so we did. We lived a mile and a half north of Winside.”10
Virginia shared lots of stories about life on the farm: “When I was probably two and Verne was probably four, he climbed up on a ladder and fell and almost cut his tongue off, so Mother and dad [took] him to a doctor in Tilden, and I cried so hard that they took me along, and the doctor stitched up his tongue, probably without medication to relieve the pain, and I just felt so sorry for him.”11
And another: “When we lived on the farm that Dad lost, when I was about five and Verne was about seven, the boys left to go fishing in the creek. And they went about a mile south of our house, and they had taken the horse and buggy and they went fishing. One night they came home late from fishing, and we said, ‘Where’s your fish?’ And they said, ‘We didn’t catch any fish, but we caught crawdads’—that’s what we called crayfish—‘and . . . we built a fire and we cooked them in the ashes and ate them.’ I said, ‘Didn’t you take out the insides?’ and they said, ‘No! They were good!’”12
That's just the start of Aunt Virginia's stories.
1 Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-1902, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 January 2016), entry for Clint Troutman and Mary Waggoner, 27 October 1909.
2 Troutman, Mary, Family Bible Records, 1909-1979, The Holy Bible. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1913. Privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016. Bible contains only the date. For birthplace: Neville Troutman, “Neville’s Memory Book with Virginia’s Memories of Country School,” compiled by Sharon Lamson, Troutman Family Letter, 1998. Privately held by Z. T. Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana. 2016.
3 Ibid. Also, Funeral leaflet, Wiltse Mortuaries, Winside, Nebraska, Services for James G. Troutman; Troutman, James (Ruth Schindler) binder, privately held by Z. T. Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana. 2016.
4 Troutman, Mary, Family Bible Records, “Births.” For birth place: Carl Troutman, obituary, transcribed by Darrell Troutman from unknown newspaper, unknown date. Privately held by Z. T. Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana. 2016.
5 Neville Lamson, Omaha, Nebraska, to Zola T. Noble, Anderson, Indiana, letter, 25 August 1989, information on her father's family; Troutman, Neville (Max Lamson) binder, privately held by Z. T. Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana. 2016.
6 Troutman, Mary, Family Bible Records, “Births.” For birthplace: Neville Troutman, “Neville’s Memory Book with Virginia’s Memories of Country School,” 1998.
8 Neville Troutman, “Neville’s Memory Book with Virginia’s Memories of Country School,” 1998. Also, Virginia Nelsen, Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Zola Noble, Anderson, Indiana, letter, 2 March 1990, information on her life as a child; Troutman, Virginia (Leo Nelsen) binder; privately held, Z. T. Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana. Neville dates the move at 1925, but Virginia dates it 1 March 1926. She says she remembers specifically because she turned 10 years old just four days after the move.