Surname Saturday is one of the popular “Daily Blogging Series” going on at GeneaBloggers.com! This series is intended to give genealogy bloggers a chance to discuss a surname and mention its origin, its geographical location(s), and how it fits into their family research. So I’ve joined the foray and plan to share information regularly about the surnames I’m researching in hopes that others who are researching those surnames will connect with me!
With regards to origin, in Ancestry.com’s THE ROUTT NAME IN HISTORY, Routt is English and “probably a topographic name for someone who lived by a patch of rough ground.” According to the 1920 US Federal Census, majority of the Routt immigrants that came to America were from England.
One of the challenges I’ve faced with my Routt research has been with the various spelling of the surname (Rault, Rout, Routt, Routte, Route, Roult, Rowte, Rote) in birth, census, death, and marriage records. I believe the reason why there are so many variations of this surname is due to my ancestors, who were slaves, not being able to read or write. Therefore, they could not tell the person recording their information how to accurately and consistently spell their name all the time. So if the person recording their information wasn’t familiar with how the surname was spelled, or wasn’t a good speller in general, then variations of the surname was bound to happen. But from what I have been able to glean from records, most of my ancestors spelled Routt with two t’s at the end — which was the same way their slave owner, William Routt, spelled his name.
Routt immigrants came to the United States from the Eastern region of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire). Once in the US, by the 1840’s there were Routt households in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. By the 1920 census, majority of Routt households resided in Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio. With farming being the leading occupation among most Routt immigrants, and with the rise of plantation agriculture in colonial America, many Routt immigrants owned slaves and operated medium to large plantations.
In an email I received from Genealogist, Virginia Hill in 1998 who shared with me information from ALL OUR YESTERDAYS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHAPPELL HILL compiled by Mr. & Mrs. Nath Winfield (very knowledgeable local historians), cotton merchants observed that certain Texas counties — Brazoria, Washington, Ward, and Matagorda – “were superior to regions in the United States for cotton production. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Carolina then produced an average of 3 bales ‘to the hand’ while the average production of cotton in these Texas counties were 7 bales.” I’m sure the prospect of producing 7 versus 3 bales ‘to the hand’ of cotton was what prompted cotton merchant, William Routt, to move to the Washington County Texas area from Huntsville, Alabama bringing with him one of the 1st generation of ancestors on my father’s father side – Osborn & Sallie Routt
MY FIRST GENERATION OF ROUTTS
According to the 1870 US Federal Census (see below):
Osborn was 28 yrs old, born about 1842 in the state of Virginia.
Sallie was 23 yrs old, born about 1847 in Alabama.
Children of Osborn & Sallie:
Buchanon 10 yrs old, born about 1860 in TX
Jefferson Routt 7 yrs old, born about 1863 in TX
Mary F Routt 5 yrs old, born about 1865 in TX
Louisa Routt 9 months old, born about 1869 in TX
According to the Washington County Marriage Records (Certificate No. 12680, Vol. 3, Pg 488) Osborn and Sallie were joined in marriage as husband and wife on 9 July 1871. Considering the date of their marriage and the birth of their children, one can only conclude that even though the institution of slavery did not officially allow slaves to marry, Osborn and Sallie obviously stayed together. Once slavery ended in Texas, they made their union legal!
By the 1880 US Federal Census, Osborn is 45 and Sallie is 30, which is a major discrepancy with how old they should be by this time. This also tells me that they literally had no idea as to how old they were, or when they were born (which is not unusual when you consider they could not read or write). But if I believe the 1880 Census information with regards to their ages, then Osborn would have been born around 1835 and Sallie around 1850.
Another change in this census is regarding their son Buchanon, who would be 20 yrs old by this time. He is no longer living with the family. Some possible reasons for him not being with them:
1) he is grown living and working on his own,
2) he’s married with a family of his own nearby or in another town or state,
3) he died between 1870-1880 from an illness or accident.
4) he is not the actual son of Osborn and Sallie, but a family member (brother, nephew, cousin) living with them with the same surname
But, three more children are now listed with this family:
Charlotte Routt 8 yrs old, born about 1872 in TX
William Routt 6 yrs old, born about 1874 in TX
John Routt 4 yrs old, born about 1876 in TX