Category Archives: Stoutner

Youth job at the Altamont Fair #AtoZChallenge

Y is for Youth job at the Altamont Fair. Twenty-fifth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

The World’s Fair was a special event in 1964, but my regular summer stop was the Altamont Fair in Albany County, N.Y. — the highlight of annual trips to visit my maternal grandparents Boom and Gramps.

When I was younger, I just had fun at the fair. But in 1964, when I was 14, Boom got me my first youth job at the Altamont Fair — in the Arts and Crafts Building where she exhibited and won ribbons for her Early American Tole Painting.

Altamont Fair in 1955. The Altamont Fair had been part of my life since childhood. In my early teens, thanks to my grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence, I got my first payroll job there. Photo: Friends of Albany History

Fun at the fair in 1963

At 13, during my last hangout year at the Altamont Fair, I’d meet up with my childhood friend Kris — who lived near the fairgrounds.

Boom let us go to to the midway, where we basically lived on the Octopus ride — whirling, plunging and screaming our heads off, and buying so many tickets that the operator just left us on for multiple rides.

When we weren’t there — or watching the dare-devil car show from the grandstand — we were hanging out with Barry and Bob, two handsome brothers we met that year.

Aug. 16, 1963. Met two guys! Barry & Bob! They run a spin paints outside the Arts & Crafts building! I LOVE Barry, but I never saw him again after Tuesday! I’ll always love him a little in my heart! Barry was 16, Bob was 20…They may be at the Fair next year.

I had a crush on Barry, but I was self-conscious about smiling because I still had my braces. So of course, being guys, they kidded me about. How embarrassing!

My job at the fair in 1964

Arts and Crafts building at the Altamont Fair. At 14, I was thrilled to actually be working at the Altamont Fair — at least until it turned out I had a strict boss! Photo: AltamontFair.com

Yet as with so much during my teen years, life moved on and new experiences beckoned. So the following year, I was thrilled that I would actually be working at the Altamont Fair — at least until it turned out I had a strict boss!

July 3, 1964. I’m gonna work at the fair for $1.25 an hour. I can hardly WAIT!!

Aug. 16, 1964. Dull day. Worked like a horse at the fair!! Saw Kris for about 5 minutes! ‘Cause Mrs. T. [in charge of Arts and Crafts] kicked her out! Kris saw Barry and Bob at Rye Beach about 2 weeks ago! Hope they come to the fair!!

Altamont Fair, Gate 4 (2001). My sister Amy and I made a family history trip to Altamont and the fair in 2001. Here I am at Gate 4 where, at 13, I used to meet my teen friend Kris for fun at the fair in 1963. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

More long-distance friendships

Alas, Barry and Bob were no-shows — but there was a steady flow of other teen boys in and around the Arts and Crafts building. And after a hard days work, Boom let me go to the nightly dances in the tent across the fairgrounds.

There, I met DJs from WPTR radio, got to know even more teens and — of all things — ran into my old nemesis, the school bus bully!

Aug. 18, 1964. Met Dale “Bob” Lane (semi-pro D.J.) and Larry “Quack” Quackenbush. Dale (Bob) likes Martha (met her, too). She’s real nice. Craig, who used to pick on me on the bus in 1st grade, was at a dance. He’s a DOLL! Looks like Cliff Richards.

Altamont Fair Midway (2001). Here I am at the midway, where my friend Kris and I basically lived on the Octopus ride in the summer of 1963. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

Sadly, when the Altamont Fair ended, we teens had to go our separate ways — back to school and to our regular lives after our summer of fun, but promising to keep in touch.

Sept. 10, 1964. Guess who wrote me! Bob Lane. I kinda figured he would. He & Linda are goin’ steady and Sharon and Larry are nearly goin’ steady! I’m realll glad! He’s gonna write me again I HOPE (as soon as I get the [Dave Clark 5 Fan Club] cards to him!)

Bidding adieu at the Altamont Fair (2001). When the 1964 fair ended, we teens who’d met there went our separate ways — back to school and to our regular lives after our summer of fun, but promising to keep in touch and meet up the following year. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

And thus, through letter writing during the year, we teens kept the Altamont Fair magic alive — hoping to meet up again at the fair when the following summer rolled around.

Final post, Zip code scares and Zap: power outage! Please leave a comment, then join me for Endwell: My Early Teen Years Recap and Reflection on May 3!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1875-1880: New additions to the Stoutner family

Sepia Saturday 560. Twelfth in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner (1844-1924). Scan by Molly Charboneau

When the 1875 New York State census was enumerated, there were two new additions to the blended family of my maternal great-great grandparents Andrew and Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner of Gloversville, Fulton County, New York.

Their first surviving child together — John H. Stoutner (b. 1869) — appeared in the 1870 U.S. census, along with the family’s two older children William and Mary E. Stoutner from Andrew’s second marriage.

By 1875, two more children had been born to the couple — a daughter Gertrude (b. 1871) and a son Andrew “Pete” Jr. (b. 1874). Pete is my great grandfather. And by 1880, the younger children were all in school, as shown in the table below.

Family of Andrew and Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner in the 1875 NYS[1]FamilySearch requires free login to view records. and 1880 U.S.[2]Ibid.censuses of Johnstown/Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. – Source: FamilySearch
Name Age in 1875 Job/Details 1875 Age in 1880 Job/Details 1880
Andrew Stoutner 42 Brick Mfg.; Born in Germany; Naturalized; Brick house worth $2,000 47 Brick Mfg.; Born in Germany
Christina Stoutner  30 Born in Germany 35 Keeping House; Born in Germany
William Stoutner 14 Works in brick yard; Unemployed for 6 mos. 18 Brick Maker
Mary E. Stoutner 11 16
John Stoutner 6 10 At school
Gertrude Stoutner 3 yrs. 11 mos. 8 At school
Andrew Stoutner Jr. 9 mos. 5 At school

A family of teens and toddlers

Andrew Stoutner Sr. (1832-1910). Scan by Molly Charboneau

During these years, the Stoutner household was a mix of teens and toddlers — with William and Mary becoming young adults while their younger siblings were at play and at school. Undoubtedly a busy and boisterous home with such a wide age spread among the children.

Andrew Sr. followed brick making tradition by bringing his oldest son William into the business during his teens — perhaps only on a part-time basis in 1875, since the census indicates that at age 14 he was unemployed for 6 months that year. By 1880, William, 18, had graduated to Brick Maker.

Nor was this uncommon in other upstate New York industries at the time — as I discovered while researching my dad’s Uncle Albert, who began work in an Adirondack saw mill at age 15. He went on to a career in lumber.

The dawn of photography

I dearly wish that photography had been widespread enough for there to be a group shot of the Stoutner family during this period. Yet despite advances during the U.S. Civil War, most photos were take in studios — or by traveling professionals who might photograph a family home for a fee.

My maternal great grandfather Andrew “Pete” Stoutner, Jr. c. 1880 at about age 5. Pete was the son of Andrew Stoutner and his third wife, my great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Fortunately, my Stoutner ancestors seem to have taken to photography — perhaps to send photos back home — because I have inherited a number of studio shots, including one of my great grandfather Pete (above) as a child and another of his older half-sister Mary (below) taken around the same time.

Mary E. Stoutner c. 1880 at about age 16. Mary was the daughter of Andrew Stoutner and his late second wife Elizabeth — and the older half-sister of my great-grandfather Pete. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Alas, I have no photos of the other Stoutner children in their youth. Nevertheless, these two studio portraits of Pete and Mary amply illustrate the age and maturity range among the Stoutner siblings toward the end of the 19th Century.

Up next: Some technical work on Molly’s Canopy will require a few weeks off, but blogging should resume by the end of March — or early April for the A to Z Challenge 2021. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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References

References
1 FamilySearch requires free login to view records.
2 Ibid.

19th Century Brick Manufacturer Andrew Stoutner

Sepia Saturday 559. Eleventh in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Andrew Stoutner (1832-1910). Scan by Molly Charboneau

While my great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner tended to the domestic side of the household, my great-great grandfather Andrew was earning a living as a brick manufacturer on the outskirts of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Although he appears to have worked as a laborer when he arrived in the U.S. in 1855, within five years Andrew had established brick making as his primary career — only turning to farming and commerce in his senior years as his working life wound down.

Andrew Stoutner’s Occupation in US and NYS Censuses of Johnstown-Gloversvillle, Fulton Co., N.Y. —  Source: FamiliySearch
Census Name Age/Details Occupation
1855 NYS census Andrew Stoutner 22; In town 2 months on 30 June 1855 Laborer
1860 US census Andrew Stoutner 26 Mechanic – Brick Maker
1865 NYS and 1870 US censuses Andrew Stoutner 36/38 Brick Maker
1875 NYS and 1880 & 1900 US censuses Andrew Stoutner 42/47/67 Brick Manufacturer
1905 NYS census Andrew Stoutner 72 Farmer
1910 US census Andrew Stoutner 77 Commerce

Brick making in the 1800s

Brick making has a long history in the U.S., but really took off in the 1800s as a reliable, fireproof medium for building and home construction. An article titled “Brickmaking and Brickmakers” in the Encyclopedia of Philadelphia describes nineteenth century brick making:

“Brickmaking was a poor man’s game, as it required no capital to start with,” noted New York brickmaker James Wood  in 1830. This was especially true early on, when firing bricks required only enough bricks to build a kiln and, most importantly, an abundance of clay.

The process of making bricks changed little from its origins through the mid-nineteenth century. Brickmakers dug the clay, allowed it to weather, tempered it, molded it, let it dry, then burned the bricks in a kiln….They then sorted the bricks by firmness and color.

Nineteenth century brick making practices

A brick from Andrew Stoutner’s brick works in Gloversville, N.Y. (c. 1870-1900). My mom got a set of these Stoutner bricks from her cousin Stephanie — and now my siblings and I each have one. Mine, shown above, resides in special display case on a bookshelf. Photo: Molly Charboneau

So my ancestor Andrew could have begun his brick manufacturing career as a modest enterprise, then expanded as business picked up — a common practice in the brick industry. Also, according to the article:

Brickmaking was frequently a family business, spanning generations. Mechanics who worked in the trade became brickyard owners, often in partnership with family members.

In fact, Andrew worked as a Mechanic in 1860, and by 1865 was a Brick Maker — and he later brought his oldest son William into the business once he was of age. So my great-great grandfather appears to have followed the standard practice of the time.

The building of Gloversville, N.Y.

Fortunately for Andrew, he arrived in the Gloversville, N.Y., area just as the need for bricks was ramping up. In the 1850s, with its proximity to hemlock forests, the Mohawk Valley town was a center for tanning and leather production — and there were already scores of glove making shops.

https://goo.gl/maps/HZ4tvuVbtkuXSCqj8
Contemporary photo of the once-bustling Four Corners intersection of E. Fulton and Main Street, Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. No doubt some  of the bricks used to construct these buildings came from the Stoutner Brick Works. Photo: Google Maps

As the 1800s progressed, the glove industry grew and the bulk of those shops were brick structures — as were the stores, workshops and hotels near the bustling Four Corners intersection of E. Fulton and Main streets. No doubt some of the brick for those structures came from the Stoutner Brick Works.

No place like home

And there is perhaps no greater tribute to my great-great grandfather’s skill as a brick manufacturer than the family home Andrew built circa 1882 at 4 Wells Street, Gloversville, N.Y.

Contemporary photo of 4 Wells St. The bricks have been painted green, the original front porch has been removed, and a second story was added to the side room. But the basic brick structure erected by my German great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner has stood the test of time. Photo: Zillow

The bricks have been painted green, the original front porch has been removed, and a second story was added to the side room. But the basic brick structure erected by my German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner has stood the test of time — and is still going strong 131 years later!

More on the Stoutners and other ancestors in March. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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