Author Archives: Chatham Area Public Library

About Chatham Area Public Library

The Chatham Area Public Library District provides materials, services, programs, and access to technology to help library users meet their lifelong learning, literacy and recreational needs. The library emphasizes stimulating and fostering children's interest and appreciation for reading and learning. The library serves as a community meeting place for people of all ages.

The Stout Family

The Stout family can trace their roots in the North America to the late 1600’s. They first came to Sangamon County with the arrival of Philemon Stout and his family in 1836. They settled in Ball Township and became successful farmers and prominent businessmen.

Philemon Stout’s great grandson, John Sprague Stout, married Jane Halstead in 1943. A World War II Veteran and University of Illinois Graduate, he farmed the family land for over fifty years. Jane Stout was a teacher in the Ball-Chatham school district for twenty-six years and was a good friend to the Chatham Area Public Library District, contributing heavily to preservation of local history.

Jane passed away in March, 2012. Her family has been gracious enough to loan the Library a number of family artifacts for this digital exhibit. Here you will find the history of the family, photo albums, documents, and more.


Stout Family History

Here you will find the fascinating history of the Stout family in America. The accounts come from The History of Sangamon County, Illinois from 1881, the History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois: Centennial Record from 1876, and a link to the Penelope Stout story on compiled on Roots Web at

Stout Family in History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois

Stout Family in History of Sangamon County, Illinois, 1881

Philemon Stout, Sr., 1785-1846

Philemon Stout Sr. Brought his family to Sangamon County from Kentucky in 1836 and engaged in farming three hundred and fifty acres. He and his wife, Penelope (Anderson), passed in 1846 and 1860 respectively, leaving their children well placed for success. The original farm was located near and around what is now Stout Cemetery across Highway 55 just northeast of Chatham in Ball Township. Click below to see the original house they lived in when it still stood in the early 1900’s, and a photo of Penelope.

Elihu Stout Grave

Jackson Stout Grave

Melissa Shoup Stout Grave

Penelope Anderson Stout Grave

Philemon Stout, Jr., 1842-1910

Philemon Stout Jr. was the fourth of Philemon Sr. and Penelope’s seven children. He owned at least eighteen hundred acres of land at one time. He represented Ball Township on the Sangamon County Board of Supervisors, and served on the building committee for the original town hall. In 1898 he held a picnic that catered to over four thousand invited guests. Here you will find an account of that picnic, receipts for the food and refreshments, photos of Philemon and his second wife Louisa (Brasfield), family photo albums, an account book, and more.

Account Book of Joab Philemon Stout 1885-1886-1887

Louisa P Brasfield Stout Grave

Philemon Stout Jr. Grave


Stout Picnic

John Philemon Stout, 1887-1952

John Philemon Stout was the great grandson of Philemon Stout Sr. He purchased his own farm, the Maplehurst Farm, in August of 1915 near Chatham. He helped organize the Sangamon County Farm Bureau, was an influential member of many agricultural associations, and at the time of his death was Assistant Director of the State Department of Agriculture. Here are some photos of the farm equipment he used, some family photos, and his obituaries listing his accomplishments.

John P Stout – Elevator – Department of Agriculture

John Philemon Stout Grave

Villa Mae Stout Grave

John P. Stout Obituary

John Sprague Stout, 1919-2000

John Sprague Stout was the son of John Philemon Stout and Villa Mae Sprague. He married Nancy (Jane) Halstead in 1943. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in agriculture and was a member of the Chi Beta Fraternity. Like his father, he was very active in agricultural associations. As a World War II veteran, he was also active in veterans associations and an influential member of the Chatham community.

As It Happened

John Sprague Stout Grave

Jane Halstead Stout, 1919-2012

Jane Stout was a teacher in the Ball-Chatham School District for over twenty-five years. One of her favorite exercises was to get her students to research and write about some aspect of local history, many of which survive in the Chatham Library’s local history collection. In 1977, she took a delegation of students from Chatham Junior High School to Washington D.C. where they met Representative Paul Findley. There a U.S. Flag was flown over the capital in recognition of Chatham Junior High. The flag survives, as well as the certificates of authentication.

Copies of her published works available in the library include Chatham, Prairie Village: 1836-1986 which she prepared for the 150th anniversary of Chatham, Philemon Stout Cemetery (1839-1992) which provides a brief history of the family in Sangamon County and a record of burials in the cemetery, and The Tale of the Shoebox Birdhouse, a fictional account of many months once spent on jury duty in caricature and poetry.

She conducted several oral interviews of people’s experiences in one room schools from early in the twentieth century that are held by other institutions, was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and is survived by four daughters. Their generosity made this project possible.

Chatham Prairie Village

Nancy (Jane) Halstead Stout Grave