Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are We Related?

Ike Tipton Family - 1948
My father Isaac Walter Tipton, my Mother Betty Hadfield Tipton
(bottom row left to right) my brothers
John Tipton, me (center) and my brother Isaac, Jr. (right)

Hello folks.  It's been a while since I posted on this blog.  I plan to post more often but before I do I need to clarify a few things for the readers of this blog.

I began researching my family tree twenty years ago.  Since that time I've accumulated quite a bit of information.  Most of the information I have acquired has been the result of my own hard work.  Frequent visits to the "homeland" (the mountains of western North Carolina where my father was born), and thousands of hours researching through documents at the National Archives in Philadelphia and now on my Ancestry.com account for which I subscribe to for $300.00 a year.  I mention the cost because I have also expended thousands of dollars in my research efforts.



Me (left) with my brothers Isaac (center) and John (right) 1979

The reason I mention all of this is that since I began this blog I often get requests that begin with "Are We Related?"  Well, the short answer is "Yes, all the Tiptons are related."  We Tiptons are fortunate in that the first Tipton to hit these shores was Jonathan Tipton who arrived from Jamaica in the late 1600's and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland.  That is where our American history of the Tipton family begins.  


Me at Old Time Photo in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

The next question is "Can you tell me how we're related?"  And my answer has always been that is you can supply me with the name and date and place of birth of your great grandfather, I can almost always tie you into the Tipton family tree I have created over the past twenty years.  However, I cannot tie you into my Tipton family tree if you do not know your immediate ancestry.  Sorry, but I'm not a magician.  


My brothers (from left me, Isaac, Jr. and John) with our mother - 2005

Just recently I had a guest at the hotel where I work, a James Tipton.  I told him my name was also Tipton and that we were related.  He said "No, I don't think we're related."  I asked him if he knew the name of his great grandfather and grandfather.  He did. After about two hours of research on Ancestry.com and my family tree I discovered we were fifth cousins.  And I had documented this proof with census records, death certificates, marriage records and compared with other Tipton family trees on Ancestry.com.  Needless to say he was very surprised.  Pleased? I couldn't tell but he was surprised.

Since I began this blog I have received many requests from Tipton descendants inquiring if I have information about their lineage.  For those who have supplied the sufficient information I have taken the time and researched my records and have almost always found the connection.  My success rate is about 95%.  For a very few I could find nothing and those are the ones who I suspect were probably adopted or had assumed the Tipton name but were not genetically Tiptons.  For those I suggested to submit their information to the Tipton DNA project

For those I was successful in finding their Tipton lineage I have noticed a disturbing and disappointing pattern.  Before I began researching their family history connection, I always make a small request.  I request an old photograph or two of their ancestors so I can add it to my family tree. I have also requested whatever lineage information they have.  I don't necessarily need information on their relatives who are alive now, I know some people value their privacy but I do request whatever information they have on their deceased Tipton relatives so I can continue to build our mutual Tipton family tree.  Almost without exception I have found once I provide the requestors with the information they have requested, they never keep their part of the bargain.  I don't think this is fair.  To ask me to research for them and yet they can't put forth a minimal effort to at least provide me with additional Tipton information in the form of names and dates and photos?  It isn't fair.

And that gets me to the purpose of this blog posting.  I'll be glad to help anyone reading this blog research their Tipton roots but only if you provide me first with information from your family tree and at least a few old photos.  If you are unwilling or just don't want to comply with my request then please don't ask me to help you.  I don't like to be this harsh but at my age (72) and health (I have prostate cancer), I just don't have that much time left to expend my time doing one sided favors.  I hope you all understand.

Me at a recent Tipton family reunion with my cousins Bob and Paul Tipton - the way Tiptons should act, accepting of one another regardless of their sexual orientation - we're all in this together folks. I'm not the enemy.

And one more thing, I know many of the readers of this Tipton blog are from the south and of the mindset that being gay is "against God's laws."  Well, here you go folks.  I'm gay so get over it.  I make no apologies for being who I am.  I understand you go to your church and have your beliefs.  I don't tell you how to conduct your life so don't tell me how to conduct my life.  My life is none of your business nor is who I love and choose to spend my life with.  Don't judge me.  Pay attention to your own life.  And please don't give me the old "I'll pray for you."   I don't need nor want your condescending attitude.  Pay attention to your own life and how you treat other human beings.  "Judge not lest ye be judged."  Practice what you preach.




Last year during my research in Pigeon Roost, North Carolina (the Pisgah mountains of western North Carolina where my father was born), I was threatened by a distant cousin who "heard a rumor" that I was gay and confronted me with the "Do you practice the gay lifestyle?"  I responded "If you're asking me if I'm gay, I am."  Then he responded "Well you get this and get this good, if you ever step foot on my parent's property (I was scheduled to visit with his parents, his mother's grandmother was my grandfather's sister) you'll have me do deal with!  You got that bud?" At the time I received this threat I was with my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife who I was going to introduce to our mutual cousin.  Well, I know a threat when I hear one (as I have many times in my life since I came out openly as a gay man in 1963) so I decided not to challenge my homophobic cousin.  As a result of that hateful threat I have decided never again to visit the "homeland."  Again, I am just too old for this and I don't have that much time left.  


Me  in the beautiful but hate filled mountains of western North Carolina where my father was born - 2013
I will probably never return

I am going to spend my remaining years in productive activity for people who appreciate what I do for them.  I am also going to spend my remaining years with people who value me as a human being and who don't use the Bible as a cudgel to hate me.  

That's where I am today folks.  I hope you all understand I am here to help anyone who is willing to put forth an effort to also help me.  

Have a great day!


Where I live now, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where gay men like me are not threatened just for existing


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tipton Family Reunion 2013

Hey folks!  The biannual Tipton Family Reunion will be held at the East Brandywine Community Park in Guthriesville, Pennsylvania Sunday October 6th, from 12:00 pm to 5 pm.  Richard R.D. Tipton ("R.D. Catering) will be catering our event at $10 per adult (no charge for children). 

All are welcome, including friends of the family. 

Mark, our photographer will be there again taking family group photos as well as candid photos which I will make available on Facebook to on and all.  

And, as usual I guarantee perfect weather for the reunion.  So far (cross my fingers and toes) that's come true!

See you there!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tipton Same Sex Marriage

Our wedding announcement in the local newspaper - the first same sex wedding announcement in this newspaper -  bravo to the Cape Gazette for having the courage to print it

On July 3rd, 2013 I got married.  This is my first marriage.  I also believe this is the first same sex marriage of a Tipton.  If not, then someone please correct me.

I married my longtime partner, William Daniel Kelly.  July 3rd was a significant date for us.  We met on a July 3rd in 1964 at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia, PA.  Yes, we've been together 49 years.  It was about time we got married. 


Bill and Ron 1964
Bill and Ron 2013


I was privileged to ask to testify before both the Delaware state house and senate as to why I believe that Bill and I should be accorded the same dignity, rights and benefits that other Americans have received since the founding of this country.
Me in the back with other folks waiting to testify on behalf of marriage equality in the sate of Delaware
Me on the right - next up!



I'm happy to say that the marriage equality bill passed in both houses!  I'm also proud to say that this Tipton had a part in making history, nothing new for Tiptons.

Me testifying before the Delaware Sate Senate

I came out as a gay man in 1963, a way before it was fashionable or even safe for a gay man to come out.  I decided to come out after I got out of the Army.  Even though I knew I would lose many of my friends and relatives by living openly as a gay man, I decided that I could not live a lie.  And as expected I did lose many friends and relatives who became permanently estranged.  Even writing this blog about the Tipton family, some of the folks of my largely conservative southern base are put off by me living openly as a gay man.

The beautiful North Carolina mountains near Pigeon Roost this spring when we visited
Just this past spring while I was planning on visiting a distant cousin in Pigeon Roost, North Carolina "I have a question to ask you.  Do you practice the gay lifestyle?" At the time I was at a local restaurant with my first cousin Bob Tipton and his wife Marie.  I had made the phone call just to confirm that I would be stopping by his parent's home the next morning.  Of course I was somewhat taken aback by his question.  After a slight hesitation I answered "If you're asking if I'm gay, I am."  He then said "Now you listen to me,  if you step foot on my mom and dad's property you'll have to deal with me!  You got that bud?"  Well, I know a threat when I hear one.  This wasn't the first time I've been threatened just because of who I am (and probably won't be the last time either).  Of course I was hurt. I had probably lulled myself into thinking that even in those mountains and hollers a little bit of acceptance of the diversity of our modern American culture was true.

 Bob and Marie Tipton, my cousin
Bill and me, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina

Hearing the venom and hate in that question and the threat brought me back to the homophobia that still exists in many parts of this country.  Of course he has a right to who "steps foot on his property" but still I was surprised.  My cousin Bob refused to be intimidated and the next day we still took a ride up Pigeon Roost Road.  We didn't stop in at our cousin's home though.  And I probably will never be back in that area of the country in my lifetime. I've dealt with this kind of hate and ignorance for most of my 71 years, I'm making every attempt to make my remaining years on this earth as peaceful as possible.  However, I will never deny who I am just to make someone else feel comfortable.
(where my father was born and grew up until he left home at ten years of age), I was challenged with the question from my distant cousin the day before I was to meet with his parents:  He said

I had the chance to personally thank Delaware governor Markell for his bold and courageous support of marriage equality in Delaware.

Me thanking Governor Markell for his support

Tiptons throughout American history have stepped up to the line and fought for freedom and equality.  Just count me as one more Tipton who is doing the right thing.

Me at the Freedom Plaza in Wilmington, Delaware when Governor Markell announced the Marriage Equality Bill

Shortly after the above photo was taken Bill and I left for our annual trip south.  We had a wonderful time except for the visit to Pigeon Roost, North Carolina where I receive the "No Welcome" from my cousin.  

After we returned from our trip both houses of the Delaware state government had passed the Marriage Equality bills.  
Same sex marriages would be legal on July 1st.  Below is a photo taken of my (by Bill) of me filling out the marriage application form at the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown.  By the way, have you ever seen so many happy people in one place.  This wasn't Pigeon Roost, North Carolina.



Two happy fellas!





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dan Tipton (1844 - February 25, 1896)

Dan Tipton (1844-1898)
Member of Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse

Good morning folks.  Here I go again with my vow to make more frequent and regular postings to this Tipton family history blog.  I have another personal blog which I update almost daily.  Plus, since I've retired I've been busier than ever.  I'm sure you've heard retirees make this statement after they retired:  "I don't know how I had time to do everything when I worked because now that I'm retired I'm busier than ever!"  That's me folks, so much to do and so little time.  Especially now that when I woke up this morning I realized I was an old man at 71 years of age and time seems to be flying by.  

I do have a lot of Tipton information to write about.  However, let me start with Dan Tipton, one of the few Tiptons that I cannot tie into my family tree.  

Dan Tipton was a very interesting man as all Tiptons are.  We all have our story.  Dan's story caught my eye because for a time he was in the famous American western lawman Wyatt Earp's

Wyatt Earp
posse.  Here is Dan Tipton story that I took from Wikipedia:


Dan Tipton (1844-February 25, 1896) was a sailor minor, gambler, and member of a federal posse led by American Old West lawman Wyatt Earp.  He participated in Earp's

Wyatt Earp
vendetta during which four outlaw Cowboys


Ike Clanton - member of the outlaw gang the Cowboys
were killed.


Life in Arizona:

Tipton served aboard the USS Malvern during the American Civil War and drifted west afterward.  He showed up in Tombstone in March 1881.  When Morgan Earp was assassinated on March 19. 1881, Tipton was present in the billiard parlor where Morgan was killed.  Tipton joined Earp's posses after it returned from Prescott.  While escorting Virgil Earp and his wife Allie to the train bound for California, Wyatt killed Frank Stilwell

Frank Stillwell
who had been named as a suspect in Morgan's murder.


Tipton rode with Wyatt, Warren Earp,

Warren Baxter Earp
Doc Holliday, Texas Jack Vermillion,



Doc Holliday

Texas Jack Vermillion
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Sherman McMaster as they searched for the other Cowboys thought responsible for attacking the Earps.  He was with the Earp posse when it rode out to Pete Spence's


Pete Spence

wood camp where they found Florentino Cruz, a.k.a. Indian Charlie, who had been implicated in trying to kill the Earps.  He returned to Tombstone to obtain more funds for the Earps and was arrested on trumped up charges by Cochise County Sheriff and Earp enemy Johnny Behan.


Johnny Behan


 While in jail he missed the shootout at Iron Springs on March 24 during which Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill Brocius

Curly Bill Brocius

because he was bringing money to the Earp posse.


After Tipton was released on March 25, he brought $1,000 donated by E.B. Gage, who was part owner of the Tombstone-based Grand Central Mining Company

Tombstone, Arizona

and superintendent of the Grand Central Mine.  He was also a prominent Republican and a member of the Citizens Safety Committee.  He took the money to the Earp part at Henry Hooker's Sierra Bonita Ranch north of Wilcox.  The posse members looked for more members of the outlaw Cowboys for a few more days before leaving Arizona on April 15 to avoid arrest warrants.  Tipton remained with the group through New Mexico and into Colorado, where most of the posse stayed to avoid arrest warrants from Cochise County.



Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona


Later life:

In 1897, Tipton ran afoul of the law.  Customs agents arrested him for smuggling forged Chinese immigrant labor certificates.  He was convicted in October and sentenced to 20 months in the Ohio Federal Penitentiary.

Ohio Penitentiary where Dan Tipton died


I have a current Tipton connection to Arizona.  My first cousin Shirley Tipton Patterson lives in Arizona.  Shirley's dad Rich Tipton was the brother of my dad Isaac Tipton.  The last time I saw Shirley was when the photo below was taken in 1951 during a Tipton Gathering at Uncle Ed and Aunt Mabel Tiptons' house in the country for a Sunday dinner.


Cousin Shirley is the tall girl standing behind her sister Sandy Tipton. They are both standing in front of the baby (whose name I don't know) with her thumb in her mouth.  I am standing in the front row, fourth from the right with my two younger brothers John and Isaac.  I have my arms folded.  This photo was taken in 1951 when both Shirley and I were ten years old.  I haven't seen her since.
Shirley now lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband Bob Patterson.  They are pictured below.


Bob Patterson and Shirley Tipton Patterson
These days I play a faux cowboy once a year at an old time photo shop at Rehoboth Beach.  Here was my photo as a gunslinger from last year:


Ron Tipton - Faux Cowboy 2012

Monday, March 11, 2013

Donald Shane Tipton



A. L. and Donald Shane Tipton

It's been a while since I last posted folks.  For that I apologize.  I would like to post more often but life keeps interfering.  I'll try to make a good faith effort to be more current in my future postings.

One positive aspect that I receive from this blog about my Tipton ancestry is that I occasionally receive requests from another Tipton inquiring about their ancestry.  I am very sympathetic to these requests.  Until 1994 I knew nothing about my Tipton ancestry.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, my father didn't even know the name of his grandfather.  Nor did he care.  This was so frustrating to me because I had always wondered about my ancestry.  I knew it was there, because I came from somewhere.  My father came from somewhere.  He didn't just emerge from those mountains of western North Carolina and emigrate to south eastern Pennsylvania with eight of his brothers and mother and father to work on his uncle Don Byrd's farm picking vegetables and fruits. He had a father, who had a father, who had a father.  

Charles Siever Tipton 1822-1907
4xgrandfather to Shane Tipton

Charles Pinkerton Tipton 1856-1928
3x grandfather to Shane Tipton

It wasn't until I found out from my Uncle Ed Tipton his grandfather's name (my great grandfather) was "Hiram Tipton."  That information broke open the logjam that was my paternal Tipton family history.  

Thus I understand when another Tipton reads my blog and sends me an e-mail inquiring about is family history, of which he knows nothing.  My previous blog post told of Randall Tipton's inquiry and my success in finding his family history.  

Since then I have received several requests for family histories.  I always state that if the person requesting my help can provide me with the name of their grandfather and great grandfather (and dates of birth and death if possible), I can almost always find the link.  Such was the case with the latest person who requested my help.  His name is Donald Shane Tipton (pictured at the top of this posting with his father Donald A.L. Tipton).  

Don, or as he is known "Shane", did know his grandfather's name.  After about six hours of intense research in my account on Ancestry.com I was about to find that Shane and I are both descended from Major Jonathan Tipton.  That makes us fifth cousins (once removed).  It is interesting but most Tipton relative I research are fifth cousins.  We all seem to be descended from the prolific Major Jonathan (1750-1833).  Thank you great-great-great-great grandfather Jonathan Tipton.





Below is Shane's family tree and his relationship to me:



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Randall Louis Tipton

Randall Louis Tipton


Occasionally I receive a comment through this blog for help in researching someone's connection to the Tipton family tree.  If given enough information I can almost always make the connection.  Such was the case with a recent comment I received from a Randy Tipton.

As is usually the case, the first go round not enough information is supplied by the person requesting the information so I respond by asking for the names of at least a grandfather and great grandfather and date and place of birth.

After several exchanges of e-mails Randy was able to supply me with the name and date of birth of his father, grandfather and great grandfather.  With the information I started to dig in my family tree as well as public information on my Ancestry.com account.  After several hours of research I was able to establish Randy's connection to the Tipton family tree. (Double click chart to make bigger).

Randy Tipton Family Tree


Randy is my sixth cousin, twice removed.  What that means is that our five times great grandfather's were brothers.  In Randy's case, his 5X grandfather Edward Tipton (1728-1795) was the brother of my 5X grandfather Jonathan ("Major) Tipton (1750-1833).

Twice removed means that we are two generations removed.  In other words I am of the same generation as Randy's grandfather Alvin Clayton Tipton (1914-1972).  Of course this makes me feel VERY OLD.

I was so glad that I was able to find the information to fit Randy's line into the Tipton Family Tree.  I'm always willing to help anyone who reads this blog and is interested in finding out more about their connection to the Tipton family tree.  If you provide me with that basic information that I stated earlier in this blog, I can almost always make the connection.



Here is a little bit more information about Randy.  Randy is a twenty year veteran of the Army.  He served in the Special Forces. Ironically, Randy lost one of his legs not in the Army but in a motorcycle accident.  Below is a video of the new, revolutionary prosthetic device that Randy uses now.


Thank you very much Randy for giving me permission to share your story on my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog.  This is what I love about this blog, exploring and discovering the great and wonderful history of the Tipton family in the United State of America.  Especially wonderful men like Randall Louis Tipton.

Thank you so much for your service to our country Randy!

Randy Tipton in Afghanistan