The Families Behind Witherspoons' Nizhoni Herefords

 Ellsworth Jay (1916-) and Anna Stoughton Witherspoon (1906-1999)

    Anna Leona Stoughton was born in 1906 in Sugar Grove, Ohio on the farm of her parents, Clayton and  Emma Stoughton.

Emma and Clayton Stoughton at their farm home outside Baltimore, Ohio

Clayton and Emma had five children of which Anna was the oldest.  Anna went to a one room school and eventually graduated from high school at Thurston High School in Fairfeld County.

Ellswoth Jay Witherspoon was the eldest son of John and Mrytle Witherspoon.  He had three younger brothers who are all now deceased.

Mrtyle Witherspoon at her home around 1970

    Ellsworth's father died when his brothers and he were very young.   The four brothers were raised  thereafter in a Masonic Home in Springfield,  Ohio.  Ellsworth left the Masonic Home and school when he was 15 years old, and he never completed his high school education, though he has read extensively all of his life.

Anna with her baby, Gary, in 1943

    Ellsworth and Anna were married in 1933, and lived in Baltimore, Ohio all of their married life.  They have four children of which Gary is the youngest.  Gary's older sister is Naomi and his older brothers are Paul and Larry.  Ellsworth and  Anna Witherspoon have four children, 13 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Anna, Naomi, & Ellsworth (back row); Sons Larry, Gary & Paul (front)

The photo above was taken about 1948 on the farm of Anna's parents, Clayton and Emma Stoughton. Notice the hand water pump in the backgroud.  This was not an antique on display.  This was their source of water.  They did not have indoor plumbing or electricity until much later.

Ellsworth and Anna on their 60th Wedding Anniversary in 1993

Ellsworth and Anna were married for 66 years in earth life until Anna's death in 1999.  In 1962, however, they were married in the Manti Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that marriage was for time and all eternity.  In the early 1940s, Ellsworth and Anna converted to the Mormon Church, and Gary, born in 1943, was raised in that faith.

    Although Gary lived in a small town as a youth, he often visited and worked on farms in the surrounding rural community.  He joined 4H as a younster and was in Future Farmers of America in high school.  Nevertheless, no one in his high school, especially his Vo Ag teacher, ever thought he would wind up a farmer or a rancher.  Gary was very active in sports, playing on his high school football, baseball and basketball teams.  He was a member of the undefeated Ohio High School State Championship Baseball team in 1960, driving in two runs with a bases loaded single in the state championship game.

1959-60 LU HS Basketball Team (Gary is #00) in Lancaster Paper

    Gary was not very academic in high school, graduating with a 2.6 GPA and getting into college on probation.  The only academic subject that interested Gary in high school was English composition.  English composition was taught by Madge Spitler, a teacher he greatly admired.  As a high school senior, Gary won the Ohio State Essay Contest sponsored by the VFW on the title "I speak for Democracy".  His essay was judged 6th best in the nation.  In the last 30 years, Gary has published six books, over thirty articles in professional journals and more than ten chapters in scholarly books.  One of his books, Language and Art in the Navajo Universe, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, won the University of Michigan Book of the Year Award in 1978 (given to the best book published by a UM faculty member during the year), and was named by the New York Review of Books as one of the top 100 books published in the field of cultural anthropology and linguistics during the 20th century.

Gary and Parents in the summer of 1991