The following article by Charles Hartley originally appeared in The Courier-Journal on 10 July 2013. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.
The Troutman and Maraman names have been associated with retail trade in Shepherdsville for much of the last 140 years. Over the next three weeks, we will focus first on the Troutmans who once operated Troutman Bros Mammoth Store; then on the Maraman family business, followed by the Roy Troutman family whose descendants still do business in Shepherdsville today.
Family tradition is that John Michael Troutman came to Pennsylvania with immigrant parents when young. He then settled in Frederick County, Maryland where he married twice and had a total of at least 18 children, eight by his first wife Rebecca Beard, and ten by Elizabeth Schroeder whom he married in 1784 following Rebecca's death.
While still living in Maryland, Michael ventured into Kentucky in 1780, serving in the Lincoln County militia in George Rogers Clark's expedition against the Shawnee Indians. He returned to Maryland, but twelve years later returned to Kentucky for good, establishing his home about four miles from the future site of Shepherdsville. The next year he was one of seven trustees for the new town.
Using the money he had received from the sale of his Maryland property, Troutman quickly became a large landowner in Kentucky. The 1793 tax list listed 700 acres under his name. A year later he had 2,500 acres. he continued to obtain land, and by the time of his death in 1814 he owned 3,743 acres of land scattered about in eleven counties, but especially in Bullitt, Nelson, and Hardin Counties.
Much more may be learned about this family in Evelyn Crady Adams' essay titled "The Troutman Families of Kentucky" which was published in The Filson Club History Quarterly (Vol. 24, No. 3, July 1950), but we will focus today on his grandson Michael's family.
Michael was the son of Abraham and Eleanor "Nellie" (Magruder) Troutman. He married Sophia Hoagland in June 1841, and they had eight children including three brothers who, in 1873, established what became the Troutman Bros Mammoth Store. Along the way, they also established the Bullitt County Bank.
By 1920 Troutman Bros included not only the large Mammoth Store, but a large furniture store across Second Street. The north half of the lower story of the furniture store was at one time the Circuit and County Court Clerk's offices and was erected perhaps as early as 1809. The decision to tear down the furniture store and build a new bank building on the site meant the loss of one more landmark.
Of the three brothers, the elder was Henry Franklin Troutman. Frank, as he was known, went into the Union army when he was sixteen. He was senior partner in the Troutman Bros store, and by the time of his death in 1910 he was president of the Bullitt County Bank. He never married.
Robert Levi Troutman, the second partner, worked as a lineman for Western Union as a young man before joining his brothers in the mercantile business. After devoting himself to the business for many years, he married Emma Lee Murray in April 1900. They had no children. At his death in 1923, the newspaper described him as "a very plain, unassuming man [who] will be greatly missed at the store where he has been on duty for fifty years." He was the last of his generation to be associated with the business.
Charles Fillmore "Phil" Troutman was for many years the junior member of Troutman Bros, and for many years was the cashier of the Bullitt County Bank. He married Ada Bates in 1892 and they were the parents of three sons. The elder son, Millard Troutman lost his life in France during World War I. A few months after the news of his son's death, "Phil" suffered a paralytic stroke and was a helpless man until his death in 1920.
Phil and Ada's second son was Woodford Bates Troutman. Dr. "Woody" Troutman has often been cited as a pioneer in the specialty of cardiology. In the early 1930's, he was one of only two cardiologists in the state. In the 1950's Dr. Ralph Denham and Dr. Henry Post joined with Dr. Troutman to form the nucleus of what is now CardioVascular Associates.
The third son was Charles Fillmore Troutman, Jr. On the death of his father he took over a half interest in the store and bought the remaining interest following his uncle's death in 1923.
He continued to carry a well-selected line of general merchandise and commanded a large trade. He also served as a funeral director, and had a well-equipped undertaking department.
The business continued to prosper during the twenties. Then just before Christmas in 1927, the big department store burned to the ground. It started at the still hour of night and no wind blowing; and with the morning dew falling, the fire did not spread, but the loss was estimated at $150,000, only partly covered by insurance.
Young Charles Troutman tried his hand at other business opportunities. He had a filling station constructed on the corner lot, and signed a lease with Standard Oil in 1930, and also contracted with Henry Buckman to run the business. Many of us remember that Leland Cundiff had a station there for many years.
But, with the onset of the Great Depression, the competition for customers made it impossible for the big Mammoth Store to rise from the ashes, and Troutman Bros would be no more.
Next we will focus on one of Troutman Bros' main competitors: the George W. Maraman family.
Copyright 2013 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.