by David Parmer
The Free State
Upper right: Verna and Frank Sprouse
By the time of the 1870 census, twenty-one-old Rachel and nineteen-year-old Nicholas had left home. However, the family at home still consisted of four children because James and Martha had been born to Tippy and Eliza since the 1860 census.
Sometime between 1870 and 1876, Eliza died because in the latter year the forty-two-year-old Tippy married twenty-one-year-old Sarah E. Ratliff, daughter of the widow Rebecca Ratliff.
Right: Tipton and Sarah (Ratliff/Radcliff) Sprouse.
Frank Sprouse's Death Certificate. Click on it to enlarge it
When Frank Sprouse was killed by the falling tree on May 1, 1951, two daughters, Thelma (Sprouse) Prince and Frena (Sprouse) McCauley, had already married and had left home. Frena now lives in Weston and Thelma resides in Delaware. Both daughters recall vividly the day they received word of their father’s death. Frena was living at Goosepen and was doing the family laundry when word arrived of her father’s death. Thelma was living in Weston and was expecting birth at any time. Thelma, because of her condition, was unable to return home until the day of the funeral at the Finster U. B. Church.
Frank’s other two daughters, Icie and Bridget, now deceased, were also married but were living on Three Lick at the time of the accident.
Tipton Sprouse, an early Indian Fork settler, was the father of Frank Sprouse, as well as his brother Homer. The current member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from Lewis County, Margaret “Peggy” Donaldson, is the g-g-granddaughter of Tipton Sprouse and the g-granddaughter of Homer Sprouse.
Note 4 by Sonny Wymer
When Frank Sprouse was killed by the falling tree, he and his son Eugene were cutting trees for “Old Man Leach” in what we call the “Dark Hole” on the Free State property. The location was near the home of Edward Scott “Bud” Blake and was at the head of a hollow. This hollow is on the right side of the road going up Three Lick on the Lewis County side of the Free State.
What remains of the Free State property after all the outsales have been made is now owned by the Rosewood Lumber Company out of Buckhannon. The timber has been cut so many times over the past few years that there isn’t enough timber left for a “good toothpick.”
Sarah Ratliff Sprouse, widow of Tipton Sprouse, died at age 72 on June 29, 1926 at Bower in Braxton County. She was buried in the Boilon Cemetery in Gilmer County.