Monday, December 8, 2008

Cynthia Abigail Tipton Gouge

Cynthia Abigail Tipton, “Abby” as she was known by those who knew her, was born in Hollow Poplar, North Carolina, August 29, 1880. She died April 30, 1971, in Jennersville, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

She married David Gouge (b. 5 Mar 1881, d. 1946.) They had seven children:

Leota Mildred Gouge (b. 31 Jul 1908, d. 29 Jan 1929)

Hoy Gouge (b. 19 Oct. 1909, d. 23 Mar. 1996)

Geter Gouge (b. 11 Apr. 1911, d. 23 Sep. 1993)

Nelson Gouge (b. 25 May 1912, d. 24 Aug. 2007)

Lonza Gouge (b. 29 Aug. 1914, d. 187 Apr. 1999)

Mary Gouge (b. 20 Sep. 1919)

Elsie Mae Gouge (b. 24 Feb. 1922)

Abby Tipton Gouge was my grandfather’s, Fieldon Jacob Tipton (b. 04 Jun 1884, d. 08 May 1939), older sister. She and her family also moved to the Oxford, Unionville area of southern Pennsylvania during the late 1920s, to work on their relative Don Byrd’s farm as did my father’s family.

The grand old picture featured on this blog is a copy of a picture that was in the possession of Abby’s daughter, Mary Gouge (now Davidson). Mrs. Davidson is alive and well and living alone in Oxford, Pennsylvania, near her younger sister Elsie Mae Gouge Kilby.

Recently I contacted Elsie Mae to obtain information about her family to update my genealogical files. Elsie Mae could not have been more gracious. These are the type of relatives that I cherish meeting when doing my genealogical research. More often than not, I find that it is the older relatives who are most helpful. Some of the younger relatives either are not interested or too caught up in their day to day lives to share information about their family. Of course there is always the issue of privacy which is especially important in this day and age. I always try to respect a person’s privacy.

It was an interesting journey how I came by this picture. Back in 1996, while I was interviewing Elsie Mae’s older brother Hoy Gouge and his wife Annabelle, I noticed a wonder framed picture on the wall. I asked Annabelle who was in the picture. She said it was Hoy’s Mother and Father and all his brothers and sisters. She said it was taken at their home in the mountains of North Carolina, near Relief. She said a traveling photographer was making his way through the mountains taking pictures of families and offering them for sale. The picture hanging on the wall was one of those glorious treasures that we family researchers every so often come across. This picture featured the whole family lined up on both sides of the parents. Abby was in a long splendid white dress which she obviously put on for the picture. David Gouge was dressed in the dark garb of the day, which included a suit like jacket and trousers that matched. I asked if I could make a copy of that picture but Mrs. Gouge declined and I respected her wishes. She probably did not want the picture taken out of its frame. Since that time I’ve always had that picture on my mind because it was the only known picture I had ever seen of my great aunt Abby. I have no pictures of my grandfather’s other sisters and brothers.

Hoy and Annabelle Gouge have since passed on. I do not know what happened to that picture. Perhaps her son Gilbert has it in his possession. I will have to follow that lead some day. However, it was a stroke of luck that I came across the picture that is featured in this blog. During my interview with Elsie Mae Kilby and her niece Mary Miller Parsons, I casually mentioned the picture that I had seen at her brother Hoy’s house and had wondered what happened to it. Her niece immediately said her aunt Mary (Gouge Davidson) had a copy of it! Wonderful! She said her aunt only lived about three miles from where we were, and she offered to take me there.

A few minutes later I walked into Mrs. Davidson’s small and comfy home. Mrs. Davidson will turn 90 this year. What a sweet lady. She brought out the picture, and I saw right away it wasn’t the same picture that I saw at Hoy and Annabelle Gouge’s house. But it was another treasure! I asked if I could borrow it and make a copy. She said I could and I took it home with me. However, in my haste I left a tote bag of other treasures on a chair in her kitchen. They included a graduation picture of her father David Gouge. Also included was the guest book from her father’s funeral. I discovered these treasures were missing when I got home. I called Mrs. Davidson immediately and she said she would hold them for me. I’ve made copies of the Abby Tipton picture with her young children and will give one to Elsie Mae. She said she used to have one but didn’t know what happened to it. I will be glad to do her this small favor in return for all she has helped me with. As I said before, its people like these two wonderful Gouge sisters who make researching family history a pleasure.

The individuals pictured are from left to right:

Geter Gouge 1911-1993

Hoy Gouge 1909-1996

Leota Gouge 1908-1929

Nelson Gouge (wearing a dress because he was still in diapers) 1912-2007

Abby Gouge (holding her new baby Lonza Gouge) 1880-1971
Lonza Gouge (baby held in Abby's arms) 1914-1999

I estimate the picture was taken in the fall of 1914 because Lonza Gouge was born on the 29th of August 1914. The two sisters that I saw last Sunday were not born at the time this picture was taken. Leota, the oldest child, died in 1929. She died leaving an 8 month old daughter by the name of Mary Mae Miller (b. 7 May 1929.) This is the same Mary (now Parsons) who led me to this picture.

My journey to this picture is a perfect example of why I love genealogy research. I met some of the most wonderful people, I learn about my family history, and I enable our family history to live on long after we are gone. It just doesn’t get any better than this. I love it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lorenzo Dow Tipton

Every now and then a Tipton family researcher will run into a dead end on researching one of their ancestor’s origins. One such case is that of Lorenzo Dow Tipton (pictured at left with his third and last wife, Martha Hooks, the picture is dated 1895, they were married 18 April 1889.) Lorenzo was born in Missouri June 16, 1830, and died Cooke County, Texas May 1, 1908. Then, to add to the confusion, there was another Lorenzo Dow Tipton who died in Texas. He was Lorenzo Dow Tipton, born June 8, 1810 in Clover Hill, Tennessee and died in Barton Chapel, Jack County, Texas September 12, 1894. This Lorenzo Dow Tipton was a Baptist Minister (names after the great Baptist minister Lorenzo Dow.) Because of his prominence, many records exist of his existence.

This search for the Lorenzo Dow Tipton born in Missouri came about by a question from his great-great granddaughter Caroline (Tipton) Miller sent to me in January of this year.

Caroline sent me an e-mail January of this year stating:

“I am the sister of Jerry S. Tipton, one of the exact 37-market matches to you at Family Tree DNA for the Tipton surname project. We are trying to find how we hook into the line of Jonathan Tipton, as we know only the last five generations. Would you share your ancestors with us so we might narrow down the possibilities?

Our line goes like this:

Jerry Tipton b. Nov. 5, 1946 (Jerry is Caroline’s brother)
Kenneth N. Tipton b. April 1923, d. Mar. 2003
John Sidney Tipton b. July 1894, d. Aug. 1942
Daniel H. Tipton b. Jan 1870, d. Oct. 1961
Lorenzo Dow Tipton b. June 1830, d. Sept 1908

L. D. Tipton was born in Missouri, and moved to Texas in 1859 with his wife, Dorothy, and son, John S. Dan, Sidney and Kenneth were all born on that family farm in Cook County, Texas. In the 1940, Kenneth moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where Jerry (her brother) was born.

If you could tell us not only the names and dates of your ancestors, but their locations, we might find an overlapping geographical location or migration trail, and find out how we are related. I look forward to hearing from you!


Caroline (Tipton) Miller
Monterey, CA

Caroline mentions in her e-mail that her brother Jerry and I are exact 37-marker matches for the Tipton Family Tree DNA project. I am a direct descendent of Major Jonathan Tipton (b. 1750, d. 1833) of North Carolina and Tennessee. Caroline’s great-great grandfather is obviously a descendent of Major Jonathan Tipton. As any Tipton family researcher has discovered, Major Jonathan Tipton has many direct descendents. He was married three times and produced a total of thirteen children. Many of his children produced even larger families. An interesting fact is that many of my fellow Tipton researchers are descended from Major Jonathan Tipton. Some of those are Tim Tipton of Knoxville, Tennessee, Norman Tipton of El Cajon, California, Paul Tipton of LaJolla, California, Gene Tipton of Witchita, Kansas, and Kevin Weaver of San Francisco, California.

A few years ago I encountered a similar situation. I received an e-mail for a woman whose name I cannot recall at this time who was inquiring about her ancestor Fred Tipton. Again, she encountered a similar situation. She could go back so far and the history of her family stopped with Fred Tipton. I was able to find a Fred Tipton gravestone but we had no way of establishing the father of Fred Tipton. She came to the conclusion that Fred Tipton was probably illegitimate. This inquiry came to me a few years ago, before the Tipton Family DNA project. Maybe if she is reading this blog, she can contact me and I can put her in touch with the DNA project. Of course she would need a male member of her family to have his DNA tested because the test only works through the male bloodline.

One has to wonder what the circumstances are that would cause the father of Lorenzo Dow Tipton to completely disappear from the records of that time. I did a search on for Lorenzo in the individual family trees. The name of Lorenzo’s mother comes up. It was Fanny Rhine Linebarger but the slot where the father’s name appears says “Unknown Tipton.” I can surmise that perhaps “Unknown Tipton” was not married to Fanny Rhine Linebarger and didn’t want the responsibility of a child. Of course there could be any number of reasons why there is an “Unknown Tipton.” Perhaps he died young. My partner’s father died when he was one year old. My Mother’s Mother died when she was not quite two years old. These things happen and the original parent tends to fade into memory because they died so young.

Perhaps there is someone out there in the vastness of the Internet community who is reading this posting now who knows of an old family bible that some long ago Tipton recorded the father of Lorenzo Dow Tipton. If so, please contact me so we can put this mystery to rest and tie Caroline’s line into the Major Jonathan Tipton III line of Tipton descendents. We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ezekiel Tipton 1874-1959

Recently I received an inquiry from a lady in Colorado. She was inquiring about her great-great grandfather, Ezekiel Tipton. Below is her e-mail:

Hi, my name is Pam. My great-grandfather was Ezekiel Tipton, born 1871 in TN or NC (records show different locations.) He lived in Unicoi County, TN on 1900 census then moved to Idaho somewhere between 1906 and 1910, show up on 1910 Idaho census. He married Sarah Catherine Proffitt. Ezekiel's father was James C. Tipton born approx. 1852 and mother Amanda J. Blankenship. Thank you so much for all your research. I just found out about my Tipton ancestors about a year ago. My mother has been so thrilled to find out about her family. Her mother (Anice Tipton, daughter of Ezekiel) died at age 26 from TB when my mom was only 6, and Anice was raised by another family after her mother (Sarah Tipton) died in 1912. My mother wasn't given much info about her mother. My mother knew her mother's name, birth year, birth state and that she was raised by the Bairs and THAT is all she had. We've come a long way and would like to know more.
There are so many Tiptons, was wonder if we are related through this line of mine?
ANY info would be most appreciated, especially by my Mother, and thanks again for all your hard work.
I researched my records and I discovered that she does fit into the Tipton family tree. Most often I can fit Tiptons into the records that I have if supplied with at least three generations back. In this case the lady who sent me the inquiry had the name of her great grandfather which was a unique name (Ezekiel - unique names are always easier to find in a family tree.) Plus she had the name of her great grandfather's parents which is how I was able to identify her great-grandfather. It turns out that Ezekiel is also descended from Major Jonathan Tipton (1750-1833), who is also my ancester. The lady's mother is my 5th cousin. My cousin, and fellow Tipton genealogy family researcher, Tim Tipton (and also my 5th cousin), is checking further into his records to see if he can find any more information on Ezekiel Tipton's wife, Sarah Proffitt (or Prophet.)
This is a good example of why I love researching in my family genealogy and why the Tipton family genealogy is so unique. All records indicate that the Tiptons presently residing in the United States today are descended from that first Jonathan Tipton (1659-1757) who arrived on these American shores in 1692 from Jamaica by way of Pontesbury, England. He settled in Baltimore County Maryland and proceeded to make a large number of land purchases. The records of those purchases exist to this day and form the basis of the Tipton family genealogy. However, in researching the maternal side of my family tree, I ran into a different situation. The name is Hadfield and quite a number of Hadfields emigrated into the United States during the middle of the 19th century through the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as other points of entry into the United States. However, all records indicate that only ONE TIPTON emigrated and stayed in the United States over 400 years ago. Ezekiel Tipton is just one of them. He is the son of James C. Tipton (1850- 1929), who in turn was the son of Henderson Tipton (1819 - unknown), who in turn was the son of Jacob Tipton (1791-1857) who in turn was the son of Jonathan Tipton III ("Major"), who in turn was the son of Jonathan Tipton II (1699-1799) who in turn was the son of the first Jonathan Tipton (1659-1779.)
The following is Ezekiel Tipton's obituary:
Obituary from Idaho newspaper:Ezekiel Tipton, 87, a resident of Emmett since 1921, died Sunday at a local hospital following a long illness.He was born Oct. 8, 1871, in Tennessee, and was married there in 1892 to Sarah Catherine Prophet. She died in 1911. He moved to Oakley, Idaho, in 1903. He was married to Hettie Hoggatt in 1912 at Oakley.Surviving are nine sons, Ross of Emmett, Clark of Jerome, Tony and Homer of Twin Falls, Elden of Hereford, Ore., Delmar and Leo of Baker, Ore., Raymond of Huntingdon and Ralph of McCall; one daugher Mrs. Mildred Smith of Baker, and one sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Hensley of North Carolina.Services were held Wednesday at the Beatty chapel with Harry Bingham officiating.Interment was in the Emmett Cemetery.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Downside of Genealogy Research

Today I received an e-mail from a William Tipton. I don't know Mr. Tipton personally, but I assumed that at one time he sent me an e-mail or an inquiry to one of my Tipton family web sites. All Tiptons that I receive e-mails from I add to my mailing list for Tipton genealogy assuming that they would also be interested in our common family genealogy. Each time I update my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog, I send links to these e-mail addresses, assuming they would be interested in reading a blog about our family research. Since the evidence is abundantly clear that we Tiptons are all descended from the same common ancestor, a Jonathan Tipton who immigrated to this country in 1692 from Port Royale, Jamaica. Well, it appears that I have overstepped my bounds. William Tipton requested that I remove his name from mailing list, equating my e-mails with spam. If William Tipton intended to hurt me by his scarcastic and dismissive e-mail, he succeeded. I will honor his request and remove him from my mailing list. In fact, I'll do him one better. I will no longer send links to my postings on Tipton Tales and Trails. I understand that he does not want to be bothered and that is fine with me. I have encountered this attitude before among some Tiptons during my research on our common family tree. They do not want to be bothered. However, what I did think was unnecessary was his need to insult and dismiss me as a "genealogist" and a spam producer. But, be that as it may. It isn't the first time I've been slapped down for being altruistic. Probably won't be the last time either. On occasion in the past, I thought I would change the way I operate. However, I found it very difficult to be self-centered, selfish, and dismissive and hurtful to others. It's not in my nature. I will honor William Tipton's request and not forward links to my blog postings any more. However, I do have a suggestion for William Tipton. The next time if you just request to be taking off of a mailing list, just send an e-mail saying "Please take me off of your mailing list. Thank you." Sarcastic and hurtful words only add to the negativity that is all too abundant in this world now. Below is the content of William Tipton's e-mail that he sent to me today.


As a fellow Tipton "geneologist" I can certainly appreciate your interest in all things "Tipton." It should be noted, however, that we comprise a very large tree with some branches being so far removed one from the other that any two particular branches may have no closer a blood relationsip than if we randomly put a finger down on a name in the phone book and compared that blood relationship to our own. Such is the case with your branch of the Tipton tree and my branch of the same, large tree.

I would hope you're a considerate guy, so I have one kind request, please:
Remove my email address from your periodic Tipton Trails notice. It's of no interest to me and I've grown more-than-tired of receiving the same message from you, sir.

Like most of us, I've lived with spam only because I must. We Tiptons really have no business adding to the problem.

Thanks for not replying and for taking me off your email list.

-Wm. Tipton

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Visit to Cousin Elsie Mae Gouge Kilby

In 1994 I began my research into my Tipton family genealogy. For many years I had wondered where my father came from. All I knew was that he was a “hillbilly” from Pigeon Roost, North Carolina. He and his eight brothers and parents moved to Pennsylvania around 1929, when my Father was nine years old to work as tenant farm labor on their Uncle Don Byrd’s farm near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Two more brothers would be born in Pennsylvania. As anyone who has studied their family tree knows, the first place you start is to ask your parents questions. What were their parent’s names and when were they born? Then you ask what were your grandparents’ names and when were they born? Well, my dad didn’t even know his grandparents names. Early on, I learned when one road comes to a dead end, you go down another road. In this case I asked another relative, my Uncle Ed. He knew the name of his grandfather, my great-grandfather (it was Hiram Tipton born 05 Mar 1852 - died 1933.) Thus began my long quest to find my roots. Over the years since then I have sometimes devoted much time researching my family history. However, there have been periods of time in which my job so consumed my life, that I had to take a leave from family genealogy research. Then I had the problem of selling my house in Pennsylvania and moving to my retirement home here in Delaware that ate up over two years of my time. What happened, before I realized it, 10 to 12 years had slipped by. During that time, some of my older relatives passed on, thus ending the most valuable source of information that any genealogist, amateur or professional could have. One such missed opportunity occurred in 1996 when I discovered that my Mother’s aunt was still alive. She was 96 years old and lived in West Chester, only six miles from where I lived and worked in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. My grandmother died when my Mother was only two years old. Here was an opportunity to talk to my grandmother’s sister and find out what my maternal grandmother was like. Also, it was an opportunity to find out about that side of my Mother’s family of which I knew very little. I called her and she was clear of mind and anxious to talk to me. Alas, I was so caught up in my work that by the time I got around to calling her again, she had died. I tried not to make that mistake again. I had several interviews with my Aunt Peg (Mrs. John Henry Tipton, born 14 Jun 1915 - died 15 Jan 2006), before she died at 90 years old a few years ago. Before she passed on, she loaned me several priceless old family photos, including one of my great grandfather that I had never seen before. I scanned those photos into my computer and now some of them are posted on the Internet for posterity. Last week I called my Father’s first cousin, Elsie Mae Gouge Kilby (born February 24, 1922.) Mrs. Kilby is also clear of mind and asked me to stop by “anytime” to visit her. That is what I did today. She lives in Kelton, Pennsylvania, right over the border between Delaware and Pennsylvania. Ironically, her house is just a short detour from the route I take to my Mother’s house in Pennsylvania. Bill and arrived at the agreed upon time, 1 pm. She lives on a heavily traveled turn on Rt. 796, Jennersville Road in a house that is over a hundred years old. Her divorced son lives with her and is her caretaker. Coincidentally by Mother also lives with her divorced son who watches over her. Elsie Mae Gouge Kilby is the daughter of David Gouge (born 05 Mar 1881 died 1946) and Cynthia Abigail “Abby” Tipton born 29 Aug 1880 died 30 Apr 1971). Abby Tipton was the older sister of my grandfather Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. (born 04 Jun 1884 – died 08 May 1939). Mrs. Kilby welcomed Bill and me into her 100 year old home. She introduced us to her son, Robert “Buster” Kilby. We got settled into our seats and I took out my family lineage sheets for her family. I read dates to confirm with her. She corrected me on some dates, and added dates that I did not have. She shared some anecdotes with me like the time she and her husband eloped to Elkton Maryland with my Uncle Ed Tipton and his future wife Mable Thompson to get married. They wanted to keep it secret but the news of their marriage was in the newspapers the next day so the "secret" was out. Cousin Elsie told me that "back in the day" one got married "first." Then she produced a reprinted picture of her father David Gouge as a young man when he attended Milligan College with his first cousin, David Edwards. This was exactly what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an original picture but a poor ink jet copy. I asked her if I could borrow the original copy so I could scan it into my computer. She said she would have to “dig the pictures out” and asked if I could stop back because she couldn’t do it now because she was recovering form a recent fall. I gave her reprints of pictures of my grandfather, grandmother and her brother. She did loan be two old pictures, one of her brothers and sisters and mother taken in 1963. The other picture was of her and her sister Mary with their mother taken about 1918. What I’m really after is that picture of her father looking handsome and majestic in is suit along with his cousin in their official college picture. Another cousin, Anne Tipton (born 21 Aug 1935), had loaned me a picture of her father, George Britt Tipton (born 31 Mar 1897 – died 28 Dec 1969), son of my grandfather’s older brother Dove Tipton (born 11 Nov 1875 – died 22 Jul 1951) that was also his official Milligan College student photo. Finding these grand old photos of these handsome young men and beautiful women is one of the great joys of discovery when doing genealogy research. While I like adding dates of birth and death and marriages and children, the special treats are when old photos are discovered. With these old photos I can scan them into my computer and eventually post them to the Internet so these individuals will never be forgotten. I add these photos to my family tree and now I also add them to the web site Find A That is the true joy for me in genealogy. First I discover my roots. Secondly, by permanently recording this information I leave a legacy for future generations. It is a good feeling. Today was a good day. I’m looking forward to my return visit to Cousin Elsie.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tipton Graves

Here I am pictured at my grave site at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. All I need now is a headstone. I haven't decided yet on what I want for my permanent memorial. I do know that I want something unique for my counterpart next century who will be researching me. Yep, my new passion (actually an old one that I've revived) is cemetery trolling. I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed walking through a cemetery (preferably on a nice sunny day - not at night) and reading headstones. I can't explain it, but I feel a sense of completeness when I read the headstones and wonder about the people below and their history, their life. I first started exploring cemeteries looking for dates to back up my genealogical research. However, I soon discovered a relaxing karma (no better way to explain it), as I walked and communed with the departed. Recently I discovered a web site devoted entirely to graves called Find A How ironic to discover that the man who started this web site was also a Tipton. Jim Tipton is his name. I haven't contacted him yet but I will. I think his interest is more in finding graves of famous people, which is find. That is also interesting. My focus right now is finding and recording as many graves of my ancestors as I can in my remaining lifetime. Oh how I wish I had started doing my family research when I was younger. However, it was much more difficult then without the advent of the Internet. The Internet has opened up so many more avenues of information that it almost overwhelms me. But that is good. I firmly believe everyone must have a passion in life. Mine is my family research and recording as much of that information as I can before I depart from this planet. Even though I'm getting a lot of my information from the Internet and other Tipton researchers, nothing replaces the "in person" visit. Visiting distant relatives and recording their verbal history before it is lost. Also, if I'm lucky, those distant relatives will have pictures of our common ancestors. That's how I found the picture of my great grandfather Hiram Tipton. I had never seen a picture of him before. What a thrill that was seeing it for the first time. I look forward to my remaining days knowing that I have so much history to uncover. I'm not a religious person but sometimes I do think a greater power put me on this path. Just maybe.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Find A Grave

My distant cousin (our great-great-great-fathers were brothers) Tim Tipton has a passion. He searches for Tipton graves to take pictures for his book he hopes to publish in the future. For many years I have also trolled through cemeteries in search of my Tipton ancestors. I have also search for my maternal ancestors, the Hadfields and Hickmans. Over the years I have accumulated a many pictures. I have also discovered facts that surprised me. For instance, I found my maternal great-great grandfather and grandmother's graves less than a mile from my Pennsylvania home. If I hadn't began my grave search, I would never have known this fact. Recently, Tim pointed me to a very valuable web site. It is called Find A Finding this web site is like finding a chest of treasure at the end of the rainbow. Yes, I admit it. I am weird. Hey, another good friend, Larry Meredith also like to troll through cemeteries. Larry and I have made several such expeditions in the past. Now here is the best part. This morning I was reading the background information on Find a Much to my surprise I read that a fellow Tipton founded this website. His name is Jim Tipton. Now my question is to my friends Tim and Larry, why didn't we think of this?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr.

Eight years ago yesterday, my Dad passed away. It is a day that I will never forget. Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. (4/18/1920 - 8/20/2000)was born near Pigeon Roost, North Carolina. Pigeon Roost is located in the Pisgah Mountains that form the border between western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. He was the fifth child and son of Fieldon Jacob Tipton (6/4/1884 - 5/8/1939)and Hester Lewis (11/30/1892 - 4/20/1945.) Fieldon and Hester had a total of 12 children, all boys. One child, a twin of Samuel Tipton (3/31/1934-12/15/2001), who died shortly after birth. My Dad's family moved to southeastern Pennsylvania, around 1929, to work on their uncle Donald Byrd's fruit and vegetable farm. Fieldon Tipton's sawmill business in North Carolina was failing and he could not support his every growing family. In Pennsylvania my Dad met my Mother, Betty Louise Hadfield (November 24, 1923), on a double date in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. From that union I was born November 9th, 1941. My parents had two more sons (Isaac Walter Tipton, Jr., April 9, 1943 and John Lee Tipton, June 10, 1944.) My Father was a stern taskmaster who was a dependable provider for his family. I did not have a close relationship with my Father. I was closer to my Mother. My Father was closest to my youngest brother, John. As is usual in the typical sibling setup, the middle child, Isaac, received the least attention. However, we all knew our Father loved us and was proud of us as we were of him. "Pop", as we called him, loved to garden. Even after he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, he still managed to visit his much loved garden in the back of his three acre property in East Brandywine Township. Although my Dad lacked much formal schooling (I never did know how far he went in high school, that information wasn't available in our family), he was a very smart and clever man. He had good street sense. Pop also loved his carpentry work. Interestingly enough, I was the only son who inherited his love of gardening. I did not inherit his woodworking and mechanical skills. However, both of my younger brothers did inherit his woodworking and mechanical skills. But, sad to say, they have no interest in gardening or growing things. Pop was such a major factor in our lives, it still came as a major shock when he died even though we knew he had a terminal illness. He had requested not to be put on a life support system and we honored his wish. When I received word that he had died, I felt like someone punched me in my stomach. I literally had trouble breathing. Pop has been gone eight years now. Every summer at this time I remember that sultry August day that my life changed. Even to this day, there are times that I want to share information with my Dad and I realize I can't. He loved jelly donuts. Whenever I see one I'm tempted to buy some for him. His favorite dessert was German Chocolate Cake. I would always try to make him this cake for his birthday. I haven't made a German Chocolate Cake since he died. However, one thing that will never change are our many memories of him. His practical jokes, his laughter and his love of my Mother. Perhaps the only thing he loved more than my Mother was his favorite dog, Pepper (a black miniature Poodle.) Even though I miss him very much I am comforted by the fact that he has rejoined Pepper and his brothers. Rest in peace Pop.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Four John Tiptons

As any professional or amateur genealogist has discovered, family members with the same names are perhaps the greatest challenge in researching their family history. In the Tipton family, next to Jonathan Tipton, perhaps the most common name is John Tipton. In my immediate family there are four John Tiptons.

John Lee Tipton, Sr. (10 Jun 1944 - ) – my brother
John Lee Tipton, Jr. (22 Feb 1973 – 22 Feb 1973) - my nephew
John Hannum Tipton (29 Aug 1922 – 14 Sep 1961) – my uncle
John Michael Tipton (21 May 1947) – my first cousin

One would ask how this came about. Here is the explanation. My uncle John Hannum Tipton was missing in action during World War II. When my brother John Lee Tipton was born June 10th, 1944, he was named after his Uncle John Tipton, who was presumed dead, another casualty of World War II. After World War II ended, it was discovered that my Uncle John was a prisoner of war in Germany. He was liberated from the prisoner of war camp and returned home and married his longtime sweetheart, Margaret Frances Meehan (13 Jul 1928). Their first child was a son, John Michael Tipton (21 May 1947.) Thus, in the span of three years, my immediate family had three John Tiptons. How did we keep them straight? Uncle John was always referred to as ‘Uncle John.” My brother John has always been referred to as “John.” Not “Jack”, “J L”, or “Jay”, but “John.” Cousin John has always been referred to as “Johnny”, possibly because he was the youngest John. Some years later my brother had a son and he named him John Lee Tipton, Sr. (22 Feb 1973 – 22 Feb 1973). Unfortunately, his son died shortly after birth. This is how my family came to have four John Tiptons, thus providing fodder for confusion for future genealogists of my Tipton line. In my next blog installment, I’ll tell the story about the Three Isaac Tiptons – my Father, brother and nephew and how I avoided being named Isaac, which would have been logical since I am the oldest son of Isaac Walter Tipton. Then there is the story behind "Walter", which is the middle name of myself, my brother, my Uncle Edward Tipton and his son Edward, Jr. Sometimes it seems that we Tiptons seem determined to make life difficult for future Tipton family genealogists.

Note: The photo in this blog is of my brother John Lee Tipton and three other John Tiptons (grandfather, father and son) who we met at a Tipton Family Association of America reunion at the 1994 Tipton-Haynes Historic site in Johnson City, Tennessee.) Yet another example of Tipton family members contributing to confusion for future Tipton family genealogists. I don't have any pictures of my cousin John Michael Tipton. The picture below is of his Father and my Uncle John Tipton in his Army uniform.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bruce Tipton

October 15, 1931
June 28, 1995

On this July 4th, I remember another July Fourth holiday thirteen years ago. On July 3rd of that year my Uncle Bruce Tipton was laid to rest. The following is a writeup I did of his viewing, and funeral service. Please accept my apologies for any awkward grammar as I did write that thirteen years ago. My writing skills have since improved due to the diligence and kind help of my sister-in-law, Barbara Tipton. However, the narrative you are about to read will give you the flavor of the day and a feeling for the personality of the much loved man who was my Uncle Bruce.

Monday, July 3, 1995. . . a perfect summer day in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. At 10:00 a.m., the temperature was already 75 degrees. The sky was bright, sparkling, and clear. Humidity was low, a break from the previous week’s high humidity. The old Lincoln Highway (U. S. Route 30) in front of the Ralston & Bredickas Funeral Home at 107 West Lancaster Avenue was heavy with traffic. Townspeople were going about their daily routines, passing each other on the sidewalk in front of the funeral home. As Bruce’s friends and relatives were turning their vehicles into the funeral home parking lot, an attendant asked each driver if they were going to the cemetery. If they were, the attendant took their car keys, parked their vehicle and placed a small orange “Funeral” flap on top of their vehicle, above the driver’s side window. If not, he motioned for them to park at the other side of the parking lot. Stepping out of the summer sun into the cool and quiet funeral home was like entering a different dimension. Visitors had already taken seats in the room where Bruce lay at rest in an open casket. Funeral services were to begin at 11:00 a.m.

Bruce Tipton died at the Elsmere Veterans Administration Medical Center located in Elsemere, Delaware. He entered the hospital approximately three months earlier ago for an operation for an aneurysm. The operation was not successful and Bruce’s kidneys failed. For three months, his health steadily deteriorated. Bruce could not speak because he had a feeding tube down his throat. At approximately 3 a.m., in the morning of Wednesday, June 28, 1995, Bruce Tipton died of pneumonia.

Bruce Tipton now lay at rest in an open casket at the Ralston & Bredickas Funeral home. Bruce was surrounded by an array of colorful and beautiful flowers. He looked peaceful lying in his casket, almost serene. He looked younger than his 63 years. As with all Tipton men, he had little gray hair. His hair was neatly combed. He didn’t have his trademark crew cut style that we wore in his latter years. He wore glasses and had a small moustache (something else none of us remembered.) Uncle Bruce was also wearing a suit, something he rarely wore, if at all, during his whole life. Uncle Bruce looked rather distinguished. He had a look now that was a long way from his humble beginnings as a child of the Depression.

Uncle Bruce was the 10 of 12 children (all boys, one twin died early) of Fieldon Jacob (June 4, 1884 – May 8, 1939) and Hester Lewis Tipton (November 30, 1892 – April 20, 1945) . Uncle Bruce’s nine older brothers were all born in the hills of western North Carolina, that border the Tennessee border. Only he and his younger brother Sam (Samuel Park Tipton) were born in the North (West Chester, Pennsylvania). Bruce and his brother Sam were born in poverty and orphaned when they were still young children (Bruce at 14 and Sam at 11.) Bruce and Sam lived with different brother’s families until they left home and joined the service (Bruce the Army and Sam the Air Force). This continued the Tipton tradition of taking care of family. When Fieldon Tipton died in 1939, his widow Hester lived with the families of her various sons.

Uncle Bruce struggled financially most of his life and never attained any of the conventional measures of success such as job titles and material wealth. After 30 years, Bruce saw his job at Gindy Manufacturing (trailers) disappear as a result of a corporate takeover. His one marriage to Irene Hostetter was not successful. He lived most of his life as a bachelor. He did not have any children of his own, the only Tipton brother not to have a naturally born child. He did adopt his wife’s daughter, Sharon. However, by any measure Bruce Tipton had a very successful life. He was happy, contented and well respected by all who came into contact with him. After he left Gindys, Bruce started his own business. It was called the Bruce Tipton Catering service. He served barbecues, pig roasts and picnics to many local organizations, including the VFW, Moose, and various fire companies, and Fraternal Order of the Police. He also catered private parties included the 1st annual Tipton Family Reunion held in October of 1993. Bruce Tipton was well known and liked in the community. He was known as a loyal friend who had a great sense of humor. Who among us who knew Bruce Tipton can think of him without a smile on our face? Who can forget his gentle laugh? A good example of Bruce Tipton humor is when I asked him what his middle name was. Bruce replied “I don’t have one; they ran out of them when they came to me.” Bruce Tipton led a happy, full, and productive life and left us much too soon.

On Sunday, July 2, 1995 a viewing was held for friends and family at the funeral home. All the surviving brothers attended . . . . Uncle Ed and his wife Mabel. . . my Father Ike and my Mother Betty. . . Uncle Tip and his wife Lois. . . and Uncle Sam (who grew up with his older brother Bruce and the only other Pennsylvania born Tipton) and his wife Shelby. The widows of the other Tipton brothers were also in attendance. They are Mrs. Henry Tipton (Aunt Peg), Mr. Samuel Bruno (Uncle John Tipton’s widow Aunt Peggy), and Mr. Raymond Tipton (Aunt Katy). The Gouge Family was also present. They are the surviving children of Abigail and David gouge. Aunt Abby (as the Tipton brothers called her) was their Father Fieldon’s older sister who moved to Pennsylvania in the late 1920’s along with her family.) Aunt Abby’s sons Hoy Gouge and his wife Annabelle, Nels and his wife, Lonz and his wife, and Elsie Gouge Kilby were also at the viewing, paying their respects to their cousin Bruce Tipton. Many nieces and nephews were also there to say goodbye to their Uncle Bruce. Bruce’s many friends fron his social organizations of the Loyal Order of the Moose 1153 and the Brandywine Post 845, St. Anthony’s Lodge, the Thorndale Fire Company, the Chester County Fraternal Order of the Police 11, and the Police Chiefs Association also paid their last respects to their dear and loyal friend with whom they enjoyed many hours of camaraderie. Uncle Bruce’s longtime friend Pete Roop was also there with Bruce for the last time. Bruce and Pete had been friends since childhood.

Many of us recalled our memories of Uncle Bruce. Cousin Bud (Edward Walter Tipton, Jr.) remembered the new Buick Uncle Bruce arrived in one day at the old Baker place where Uncle Ed and Aunt Mabel and family (Bud’s parents) used to live. Cousin Bud said he hasn’t seen a car like that since. The luxurious leather seats, the smooth ride, greatly impressed Uncle Bruce’s young nephew who dreamed that maybe someday he would also be able to get a car like his Uncle Bruce (he did). Cousin Sis (Joan Tipton) remembered the time that Uncle Bruce accidentally tipped both of us (yes, me – I was a baby at one time – cousin Sis – who is the twin of cousin Bud – and I are the same age) out of a baby carriage when he was babysitting us one time. I don’t remember that particular incident but have been told about it many times by my Mother. She claims Uncle Bruce “dropped me on my head” which may explain some of my decisions and actions later in my life (a little “Mom” humor here). However, I do remember very clearly babysitting Uncle Bruce’s 5 year old adopted daughter (his wife Irene’s daughter) when I was 17 years old. Babysitting doesn’t come naturally to me, so I was not happy about this chore. A 17 year old young man has better things to occupy his time with (or at least I thought so at that time). My brother John remembers his Uncle Bruce buying him an ice cream cone from Ricky the Ice Cream Man (back in the Fifties it was common for someone like Ricky to travel around the poor areas in his panel truck, ringing his bell and selling ice cream – oh how we all loved to hear that bell on those hot summer days) shortly after Bruce had been discharged from his Army service and lived with us for a short while at our apartment over the Gindy offices. Most attending Uncle Bruce’s viewing had their own special memories of Bruce which they fondly replayed again in their minds. It was still hard to believe that Uncle Bruce was no longer with us.

On this perfect summer day of Monday, July 3, 1995, we would be saying goodbye to Bruce for the final time. How appropriate that Bruce Tipton would be making his final journey approaching the Fourth of July holiday. Much of Uncle Bruce’s catering activity took place during the July 4th festivities. Bruce was always been identified with the VFW and his service career. You see the American flag and you think of Bruce Tipton. Bruce’s veteran comrades said goodbye to him today.

After the completion of the funeral services, friends and family poured out of the funeral home into the midday summer sun into the parking lot. The funeral procession was to begin. With headlights on and the red emergency flasher lights on, the funeral procession of mourners in their cars began entering Route 30, turning east through Downingtown. Bruce Tipton would be making his last trip through Downingtown. How many times Bruce had driven down through Downingtown on his way to a catering job or to be with friends and family? Today would be his last trip. As his funeral cortege began to snake through the Downingtown, some pedestrians took a momentary stop from their daily activity to look and wonder who this funeral procession was honoring. Because there were so many cars in the procession, some probably wondered if this was somebody important. The “important” person was someone just like themselves. He was a small town person born of modest means, and who lived and died within his modest means. However, during his journey through life he accumulated a wealth of friends and goodwill. Those who were fortunate to know Bruce Tipton during his life know what they have lost by his passing. Bruce was a good and decent man who left behind many good memories. He enriched our lives by his presence. We have lost something by his passing from this earthly existence.

The funeral cortege slowly proceeded through the main street of Downingtown (Route 30, Lancaster Avenue), turning left onto Uwchlan Avenue (Route 113), and a silent procession yet making a final statement about how much we all loved and respected this man. We were headed for the Philadelphia Memorial Park in Frazer, Pennsylvania (a veterans’ cemetery). The ride was long, crossing over Route 100, turning onto Route 401 until arriving at the peaceful green fields of the Philadelphia Memorial Park, bathed in the sweltering heat of the midday summer sun. As we wound our way through the narrow maze-like road through the park, most of us were reliving our private memories of Bruce Tipton. Eventually, all the cars in the procession came to a stop. We had arrived at Bruce’s final resting place. The pallbearers removed Bruce’s casket from the back of the hearse and gently placed it on the waiting gurney for Bruce’s final trip. We all pushed the casket and gurney to the grave site. Under the now blazing summer sun was a canopy shading the gravesite with four chairs surrounding the opening in the ground. Immediate family member were invited to sit. Bruce’s brothers Sam and Ike took two of the chairs. Ike Tipton’s wife Betty (my Mother) and Mabel (Ed Tipton’s wife), took the other two chairs. Uncle Ed and Uncle Tip (Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Jr.) were too ill to attend the graveside ceremony. Members of the VFW gave a final gun salute and “Taps” was played. The Reverend Charles E. Weigel, Jr. said a few words then removed the American flag from the Bruce’s casket. With a summer breeze caressing the faces of the mourners almost like it was Bruce’s last goodbye caress of those mourning his loss; the flag was folded in a triangular fashion and handed to Bruce’s lifetime friend, Pete Roop. Then it was over. Some, such as Cousin Michael Tipton (Uncle Tip’s son) and Cousin Linda Tipton (Uncle Ed’s daughter) were overcome with emotion as they realized that their beloved Uncle Bruce was gone forever and was never coming back. He would never to joke with them again in his gentle teasing manner. Uncle Bruce would never again share his warmth, friendship and understanding with them. As relatives consoled each other, we began to return to our cars, leave the memorial park and return to our regular daily routines.

Uncle Bruce is in Paradise now. His earthly concerns are behind him. He is at peace. He has joined his Mother and Father, Hester and Fieldon. He has also joined his brothers who preceded him in death; John, Due, Dick and Erby. We will all see him again in the Great Beyond someday. We will again see his smile and his laugh. Goodbye for now Uncle Bruce.

The following is his obituary as it appeared in the local newspaper:

Bruce Tipton, 63, of Downingtown, PA, died Wednesday, June 28, 1995, in the Elsmere Veterans Administration Center, Elsmere, DE.

Born in West Chester, PA, he was the son of the late Fieldon J. Tipton, Sr. and Hester Lewis Tipton and had lived in Downingtown, PA, all his life.

He was a US Army veteran.

He was employed by the Budd Co., Trailer Division, Eagle, PA for 30 years and recently worked at the Brandywine Post 845 VFW, Downingtown, PA.

Bruce also owned and operated Bruce Tipton Catering, serving barbecues, pig roasts; and picnics to local organizations including the VFW, Moose, various fire companies, and FOP. He also catered private parties.

He was known to be a very loyal friend and had a great sense of humor.

He was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose 1153 and the Brandywine Post 845, both of Downingtown, PA. He was a social member of St. Anthony’s Lodge, the Thorndale Fire Co., the Chester County FOP 11 and the Police Chiefs Association.

He was also a member of the Crossroads Hunting Camp in Huntington County, PA>

He is survived by a daughter, Sharon BeBruyn of Corona, CA., four brothers; Edward, Isaac W., Samuel P., and Fieldon J. Tipton, Jr., all of Downingtown, PA.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 3, 1995, in the Ralston & Bredickas Funeral Home, 107 W. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 2, 1995; and from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Interment will be in Philadelphia Memorial Park, Frazier, PA.

Friday, June 20, 2008

George Britt Tipton

Anne Tipton ( 21 Aug 1935 )sent to me the following story about her beloved father, George Britt Tipton (31 Mar 1897 - 28 Dec 1969). Anne is my cousin through her grandfather Dove William Tipton (11 Nov 1875 - 22 Jul 1951) who was the older brother of my grandfather Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. (04 Jun 1884 - 08 May 1939). Anne lives in Kingsport, Virginia, near the mountains of the North Carolina where our grandparents raised their families. I came to know of Anne through my Tipton family research. I had made a call to her brother Boyd Tipton (31 Jan 1929) during one of my random Internet searches of Tipton names in the phone book of the area of the North Carolina and Tennessee border where my grandfather lived. Boyd was very helpful but did not have all of his family's history. He suggested that I call his sister Anne, who kept the family genealogy records. Lucky for me, I usually find one such dedicated individual when I research my family lines, both sides. Anne is a delightful woman and a great deal of help to me in updating her line of descent from our mutual great-grandfather Hiram Tipton (05 Mar 1852 - 1933). The following is a remembrance that she sent to me recently of her beloved father, George Britt Tipton:

December 28, 1969 was a cold, snowy Sunday when I had been visiting my parents, brothers, and sisters in Jonesboro, Tennessee for the Christmas Holidays. I was traveling with my oldest brother, Willie, and his family back to their home in Louisville, Kentucky. Gary, their son, and I were then going to travel back to Maryland where we both taught school. However, my stay in Louisville ended abruptly when Willie received a phone call that my father was in the hospital with his third heart attack. So, Willie and I started back early the next morning and were to be followed later in the day by Doris, Gary and Kathy. Willie was very quiet all the way back, until as we came closer to my parents house he said "Anne, they didn't tell me but I think our Dad has died." Well, that was a "shock" and as we neared the house, I could see a wreath hanging on the door. My father had survived two other heart attacks (one in his garden) but this was a fatal one. As he stood up from his chair where he had been reading the Sunday paper, he had fallen to the floor. During his last eleven months he had been a changed man. By that, I mean he had been much livelier and was full of plans to do things. Why? Because he bragged and liked to show his chest where he said he was the first person to ever have a pace-maker from the University of Tennessee They said he wouldn't live a year without it. I loved my Dad very, very much. He knew it!. . . . . . .to be continued...........................

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Eight years ago, on a warm and humid August day, my father Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. (18 Apr 1920 - 22 Aug 2000), passed away in the early morning hours at the Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, PA. My sister-in-law Barbara Tipton was with him. She recalled him struggling to breath. She held his hand and prayed out loud with him. She met her husband, my brother John, in the hallway and told him his dad had died. John went into his room and was with his him for a few minutes then he called me. "Pop", as we called him, had entered the hospital two weeks previously suffering from lung cancer. He was the fifth child of eleven children (all male) of Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. (04 Jun 1884 - 08 May 1939) and Hester Lewis Tipton (30 Nov 1892 - 20 Apr 1945), my grandparents. I received the news of his death as I was entering the offices of First Financial Bank in Downingtown, PA where I worked. As I unlocked the front door to the offices, I heard the loud ring of the phone demanding that I answer it. I knew instinctively that this was the phone call I had been expecting. Pop had been in declining health since his open heart surgery on November 9, 1999 (my birthday). He was never the same after that operation. Almost always in pain, he found it difficult to even walk to his vegetable garden located in the back of his three acre property located in East Brandywine Township. Frequently, he would have to stop and regain his breath until he could continue the short walk to his beloved garden. Our family moved to this property in 1958, the first land that he ever owned. Prior to 1958, our family had lived in a series of apartments. However, Pop always found a way to borrow some land to plant his vegetable garden (corn, peppers, and tomatoes). For many years to was a small parcel of land next to the Gindy Trailer Manufacturing plant just outside of Downingtown, PA. He always planted more corn than we could possibly eat. He would sell some of it but mostly, he gave it away. He would rope me and my two brothers into weeding all that corn. Oh how I used to hate that interruption to my summertime activities. Looking back on it, I now appreciate that we were required to be responsible for weeding our six rows of corn a day. This was good work discipline that was instilled in us that was beneficial to me and my brothers when we grew up and had jobs of our own. In all his adult years, my father never failed to have his garden. He loved gardening. As sick as he was in the last year of his life, he would force himself up to his garden every day. He loved to see small seedlings grow into magnificent plants. This is one attribute that I have inherited from him, a love of gardening. I may not have inherited his love of hunting or his carpentry skills, but we both had a love of seeing things grow. Ironically, neither of my brothers inherited this love of growing things from their father. However, they did inherit his natural talent for carpentry. I didn't inherit that talent. Each summer, with the long warm days, and when I see corn growing in the fields (as I do in the land adjacent to my property here in Delaware), I am reminded of my father. "Pop." Of course we had our moments. What son doesn't have his "moments" with his father? But in the end, when my brother John told me on the phone "Pop died early this morning", I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. This giant of a man who personality dominated so much of my life was gone. It was hard for me to believe that he was no longer on this earth. As I drove home in the warm sun of that August morning to inform my Mother and brother Isaac, Jr. that "Pop" had died, I felt like I was having an out of the body experience. I literally had the air taken out of me. I had difficulty catching my breath. As I entered the door to the kitchen of the small ranch house that my parents had lived in for over fifty years, I saw my Mother. She knew what I was going to tell her. I would tell her that her husband of sixty years, the only man she had ever known, was no longer part of her life. My brother Isaac knew. This life force that other members of the family knew as "Ike", and that we knew as "Pop", was no longer with us. For the first time in our lives, we would have to go on without Pop. Even now, almost eight years after his passing, I still feel his presence. With the warm weather of summer, I will always think of Pop and his garden. That garden that he faithfully tilled for over fifty years is now covered in weeds. The birds have free reign to pick where they may. Pop is not there to guard his garden from marauding black birds who would swoop down and pick up his hand planted corn seed. Pop's bee bee gun is long gone. If there is a heaven, Pop is up there now with his brother Ed (Tipton 10 Sep 1914 - 24 Jul 1998) and they are continuing their friendly rivalry to see who has the first and biggest tomato and sweetest corn. My uncle Ed died at his home during the day, surrounded by his family, with his hospital bed was positioned so he could see his beloved garden before he passed away. Pop died in the early morning hours in a hospital bed with only his granddaughter Dawn Armstrong by his side. He died before he could harvest his final crop of corn. He is up in Heaven now with his ten brothers - Ray, Henry, Ed, Erby, Dude, Rich, John, Bruce, Sam and, yes, Tip (Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Jr.) I have no doubt that his tomatoes are the biggest and the corn the sweetest ever now. We all miss you Pop! We will see you soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fishing Rodeo

The Tipton men have always loved to fish. My previous blog featured my cousins Steve and Tom Tipton on a fishing trip. This blog features me and my cousin, Edward “Bud” Walter Tipton, on another fishing trip long ago. This fishing expedition was over fifty years ago (1951). The occasion was the West Chester (Pennsylvania) Fishing Rodeo. The picture in this blog is of Ronald Walter Tipton (the author of this blog – born November 9, 1941) and my cousin Bud Tipton (born April 1, 1941 along with his twin sister Joan “Sis” Tipton). I won the fishing rodeo. Yes! Really! I caught the biggest fish, a 14 inch trout. My cousin Bud posed in the picture with me. It is ironic that I won the first prize that day (a young girl also won a prize for catching the first fish). Why the irony? I haven’t been fishing since. I figured I would quit while I was ahead.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tipton Fishing Outing

Tiptons have always loved to fish. Yesterday my cousin Steve Tipton sent me these pictures of him and our cousin Tom Tipton (along with other friends) on a fishing outing at Little Pine Creek, Tioga County, Pennsylvania last Thursday, May 8th, 2008. The picture of the diamond black rattlesnake was taken in Lycoming County. Cousin Tom wasn't with them when they were teasing the snake to strike (not a wise decision according to Steve). The snake was spared. They tossed it in the woods with a stick.

This is the second contribution I’ve received to my Tipton Tales and Trails blog. That’s what this web site is all about, Tiptons and their “tales and trails”. Keep the contributions coming!

Steven Bruce Tipton (born Feb 4, 1958)
Son of Richard Berry Tipton (29 Aug 1922 – 09 April 1989)

Thomas Fieldon Tipton, Sr. (born November 5, 1939)
Son of Erby Erwin Tipton (20 Nov 1917 – 20 Sep 1990)

Steve, Tom and I are all the grandsons of:
Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. (04 Jun 1884 – 08 May 1939)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Pop-Pop Look

In my last blog entry I made reference to “The Look” that my father, Isaac W. Tipton, Sr. (18 Apr 1920 – 22 Aug 2000) would give to me if I said or did something that he didn’t like. My cousin Dick Tipton called me to tell me he enjoyed reading the blog and that his granddaughter Sydney knows “The Look”. In fact, Dick says she does a wonderful impersonation of her grandad’s look. Look at the picture and judge for yourself. She’s got it!

Sydney Abigal Rutt (24 Apr 2006) is the daughter of Kristen Leigh Tipton (02 Oct 1974), who is the daughter of my cousin Richard Dwight Tipton (o3 Sep 1945), who is the son of my Uncle Raymond Luther Tipton 20 Ot 1908 – 03 Aug 1988).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tipton Humor

As any true Tipton knows there is that "Tipton Humor." There are two types of Tipton Humor. There is the risqué (being polite here) humor. Then there is the other type of Tipton Humor is the practical joke. That is the humor I will talk about now. It is ironic that the Tipton men are well known for two things. Anyone who has been around a Tipton long enough has experienced the Tipton Temper. It is well known with much justification. In another blog, I will delve more into that aspect of the Tipton character. However, in this blog I will discuss the Tipton humor. From my earliest memory, I remember that my father never ceased to find passing gas just hilarious. My Uncle Henry had a well known trick all of us young Tiptons caught onto real fast. He would put his finger out and ask us to pull on it. We all knew the joke. We would pull on his forefinger and he would pass gas. However, onetime we had the last laugh on Uncle Henry. Once one of us pulled his finger and he passed more than gas. Uncle Henry had an accident. This brings to mind another irony of Tipton humor. The Tipton men (and it was only the men, I don’t remember my aunts pulling these jokes) have a glorious time pulling their jokes but don’t like to be on the receiving end of the jokes. Oh no. Then you got the Tipton Look. With my Pop it was “What’s the matter with you”? Then Pop would administer a quick slap up the side of my head (maybe that’s why I have a cauliflower ear). During my research into the Tipton family genealogy history I’ve been in contact with distant Tipton cousins I have never met face to face. One thing that is interesting is the prevalence of Tipton humor stories. The following story is from Anne Tipton (Born 21 Aug 1935) of Elizabethton, Tennessee.

Anne is the daughter of George Britt Tipton (born 31Mar 1897 – died 28 Dec 1969), and granddaughter of Dove William Tipton (born 11 Nov 1875 – died 22 Jul 1951). She tells the story of her father, George Britt Tipton pulled on his son Clyde Raymond Tipton (09 Jul 1924 - 13 Oct 1982). George Britt and his dad, Dove William operated a general store at the base of Pigeon Roost Road. The store was about 100 yards from where Anne's grandparents lived, and where her parents and brother, Willie and Doris began their families The store was torn down at some point.
Anne Tipton tells the story:

"Daddy used to laugh & say his joke on young Clyde backfired. He caught Clyde sneaking candy out the cat hole door of the general store just down to the left of this house. Clyde would plant the candy & later go out on a very high porch leading off the store to gather his goods. Daddy said he thought he would set a trap to catch Clyde. So, he waited for Clyde to stick his hand through the hole & thus, he grabbed his hand & held on tightly with Clyde screaming. Dad was then afraid to let go because he thought if he did, Clyde would fall back off the high porch. Dad was really scared, but somehow it was resolved & all ended with nobody getting hurt. "

Thankfully, no one was hurt by the “trap” that George Britt set for young Clyde. Just as no one was hurt by Uncle Henry’s finger pulling episode that resulted in him requiring a change of underwear.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hiram Barnett

August 15th, every other year, Colonel John Tipton’s birthday is celebrated at the Tipton-Haynes Historic site in Johnson City, Tennessee. Thus it was in August of 1996 that I made plans to drive to Johnson City and attend my first Tipton Family Association of America reunion. My nephew Isaac W. Tipton, III (‘Ikey”) would drive us to Tennessee in a van that I rented. We arrived on a typical hot, muggy August day and checked into our rooms at the Johnson City Hampton Inn. The next day I gave directions for while Ikey drove to visit our genealogical roots in the forested hills and hollows that form the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Without Uncle Aster around to direct us, I managed as best I could from memory where the little roads that led up the hollows in those mountains. We arrived at the Tipton Hill community. This was a thrill for both of us, to be in a town named after us. Ikey and I spent most of the day driving around those roads. The only person I talked to was Glenn Renfro’s wife, Wanda Byrd Renfro. We missed Glenn, he was away. The next day we attended the TFAA reunion at the Tipton-Haynes Historic site. What a thrill it was to meet other Tiptons and their descendants we had never met before. My brother John and his wife drove up from their home in Greenville, South Carolina. Perhaps the highlight of the day, other than meeting fellow Tiptons, was meeting for the first time our father’s first cousin, Hiram Barnett (02 Jul 1917 - 28 Nov 2007). Hiram was the son of Jane Tipton who married Spencer Barnett. Hiram and his wife Nadine could not have been more gracious and accommodating to their new found cousins. A special treat of the visit was when Hiram brought out a large framed photographic picture of his grandfather and namesake, Hiram Tipton. John and I were stunned. We had never seen a picture of our great-grandfather. The thought never entered our minds. What a wonderful surprise. Our great-grandmother, Myra Warrick was also in the picture. Of course I wanted to take the picture, frame and all, with me. Hiram chuckled and said that would not be possible. He knew I was kidding (I wasn’t). He placed the frame on an ornate gold chair. I asked if I could take a picture in order to share with my Tipton relatives back home in Pennsylvania. Hiram gave me his permission. I took two pictures, one of which is posted in this blog. As was our visit two years previously with Aster Lewis, Hiram Barnett and his wife Nadine treated us the best of southern hospitality . Before we left, Barbara (John’s wife) took pictures of us outside of the Barnett home. A few years later Hiram died of melanoma cancer. Our visit to Hiram Barnett was in many ways like our earlier visit to Aster Lewis. Both were kind and gracious gentlemen. They generously offered their time and knowledge to help build the Tipton Family history. Fortunately I was able to meet these gentlemen before they left us. I will always remember them with affection and respect.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Goodbye Uncle Aster

The next day, the three of us (my brother John, his wife Barbara, and I) checked out of the Hampton Inn Hotel in Johnson City. We loaded up our van and drove down Roan Road the few miles to Erwin, Tennessee, and Aster Lewis’s house. It was another cool April morning bright with sunshine and the aromatic mixture of spring blossoms. Uncle Aster and his wife Mary greeted us at the door of his house. We would be going to the Johnson City Cemetery and visit the grave of his mother, Rissie Johnson Lewis. We also visited other Tipton graves in the cemetery. Uncle Aster was going to show us where Oscar Brown lived. Oscar was the son of Josie Tipton, a sister of our grandfather Fieldon Tipton. She married an Oscar Brown, the father of the Oscar Brown we were to visit today. Mr. Brown had a very impressive farm located on the outskirts of Johnson City. He told us he didn’t have too much time to talk to us as he was busy with his daily chores. Upon questioning, he said he didn’t remember too much about our grandfather other than his name. We were getting a similar reaction from most of the people we talked to. They didn’t remember much about Fieldon other than his unusual name. I also had the feeling the Fieldon was a man of few words and thus didn’t leave a lasting impression on those we were talking to now. In Oscar Brown’s case, he would have been too young to remember Fieldon. Next, we were to visit Phyllis Hensley. She was the daughter of Geter Tipton, the youngest brother of Fieldon Tipton. Phyllis’s house was a small, rundown house on the outskirts of Johnson City. There was a pile of dog doo on her front porch. For some reason, this sad image is one I will never forget. We knocked on the door. No one answered. We knocked again. Her house seemed so forlorn and lonely. If there was someone in the house, they weren’t answering the door. We left. Phyllis and her father Geter would continue to remain a mystery to us. It was time for lunch. John, Barb and I took Uncle Aster and his wife Mary to lunch. We told them they could go anyplace they wanted to go. I wasn’t familiar with the restaurant scene in Johnson City, Tennessee, but I expected Uncle Aster to choose something special. So where did he want to go? Long John Silver’s. That’s right, the chain restaurant with the murky reputation for quality food. We asked Uncle Aster again, is this where you want to go for lunch? He insisted that Long John Silver's was his favorite restaurant, and he would be delighted to have lunch with us at that eatery. So Long John Silver’s it was. John, Barb and I were not expecting a gastronomic adventure, and we weren’t disappointed. We did not have to wait in line. In fact, we had a delightful dining experience. I think the company had a lot to do with it. As we loaded up in the van outside and drove Uncle Aster and his wife back to their home, a feeling of melancholy swept over us. We arrived at Uncle Aster’s home and said our goodbyes. Something Uncle Aster said as we departed has stayed with me all these years. He said “I’ll probably never see you again, and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting all of you and spending time with you. I hope I was of some help, and I wish you the best in your search.” Although we had planned to visit Uncle Aster again in a few years, we never did see him again. We returned to Johnson City on August 15, 1996, for the bi-annual Tipton Family Association of America reunion, but we did not get a chance to visit Uncle Aster. The next year I received a phone call from his sister Daisy Buckles. She told me that her brother died August 6, 1997. He was 78 years old. Uncle Aster was right on the April day in 1994 when he said it would be the last time we would see each other. We would never see or talk to our Uncle Aster again, but we did have these precious memories of him that will last us a lifetime. And now I am sharing them with you, the readers of this blog. Uncle Aster will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Pigeon Roost Cemetery

After reading my blog on the Pigeon Roost Cemetery, I realized there are more memories and pictures of my visit in the spring of 1994 to Pigeon Roost that I want to share, with you, the reader of this blog. First are the pictures of the tombstones of Ike Lewis and his first wife Mary Alice Hughes. Glenn Renfro said that it was well known that Mary Alice was “one helluva squirrel hunter.” Somehow that doesn’t bring to mind a picture of a genteel lady in a puff sleeved gingham dress. Glenn also said that family lore has it that Mary Alice could handle a shotgun as good if not better than any man on Pigeon Roost. Then there is the story of Moses Honeycutt. Glen said he heard that Moses Honeycutt had such a wicked life he “would go to hell a snappin and crackling all the way.” The four of us made the descent from Pigeon Roost Cemetery on this unusually warm April day in 1994. It is hard to believe that it was 14 years ago this spring that we made our wonderful discovery of the Pigeon Roost Cemetery, where Ike Lewis and his wife Mary Alice Hughes are buried. John and I will always remember our wonderment upon reaching the summit of the mountain and looking at those dignified headstones, shimmering in celestial beauty with the sunlight shining through the gently rustling leaves on the trees that guarded the cemetery. This was the final resting place of so many who were born, grew up, got married and raised their own families on the hillsides below this peaceful cemetery. This cemetery will never be bulldozed to make way for a new highway. This mountaintop will never see a new shopping strip. From the Nolichucky River below to the “hollers’ that rise to the mountain top, the inhabitants of this mountain community continue to live in their own special Shangri La. Some still manage to make a living selling Christmas trees. Most are descendents of former inhabitants who continue to farm the rich soil watered by the many natural spring water streams that flow from the top of the mountains. More recently new homes are built by retirees to the area, who have discovered and appreciate the gentle beauty of the mountains. There are no fast food restaurants in these mountains. You won’t find a gas station because there are no through roads. We did find a general store run by the Whitson family. John and I stopped in the store but were greeted by the wary silence accorded to strangers (or, in our case “damn Yankees.”) We didn’t say anything because our northern accents would surely give us away as outsiders even though our name was Tipton, a well known name in the area. I took more 35 mm pictures, and John took more VCR pictures with our bulky VCR camera. The next day we would again meet with Uncle Aster. He would take us on a tour of a Johnson City Cemetery. We leave Pigeon Roost with warm fulfilling memories that will last a lifetime. To be continued…........

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pigeon Roost Cemetery

Sometimes, when in search of one’s roots, unexpected but just as rewarding paths turn up. Our goal when visiting Pigeon Roost was to find where my father and his brothers lived. We were not able to find the house where they lived, so we assumed it no longer existed. However, Uncle Aster did take us to our other great grandfather’s home, Isaac Lewis. Isaac, as I mentioned before, was the father of Aster Lewis and of my grandmother, Hester Lewis Tipton (Fieldon). During our conversation with Glenn Renfro, who was now living at the former Isaac Lewis homestead with his wife Wanda Byrd (whose grandmother was Pansy Tipton, an older sister of my grandfather Fieldon Tipton), he asked us if we wanted to see where “old Ike Lewis was buried.” Absolutely! This was an unexpected treasure. All of you fellow amateur and professional genealogists know what I’m talking about. This is a graveyard with tombstones of our ancestors heretofore unknown. A real find! However, saying we wanted to see it and actually getting there was another thing altogether. The old family graveyard was located at the very top of a steep mountain and was only partially accessible by pickup truck. We had to hike the rest of the way to the summit. Imagine how the pallbearers of old Ike Lewis’ coffin must have struggled to get up that mountain. Even though this was a mild April spring day, we still worked up a sweat climbing to the top of the mountain. As we neared the mountain top , John and I began to fear for Uncle Aster’s health. He was huffing and puffing mightily. That’s all we would need….. poor old Uncle Aster keeling over while climbing the mountain to show us his father’s final resting place. Finally, we reached the top of the mountain, and Uncle Aster stopped for a few minutes to catch his breath. There, under a canopy of trees was the small old graveyard. There were the tombstones, worn by the passing of many seasons of weather, proud and erect, hidden from modern civilization here atop this wooded mountain top that borders Tennessee. My great grandfather Hiram Tipton and his wife Myra Warrick are buried in the Freewill Baptist Church Cemetery in Limestone, Tennessee. Not old Ike Lewis though, he and his first wife Mary Alice Hughes are buried in this their own family cemetery. While this cemetery may not be as fancy as the ones in the church cemeteries in Tennessee, it still possessed dignity and warranted the respect of all who entered its environs. After we looked at the tombstones and I took some pictures, Glenn made a suggestion. He asked if Uncle Aster could say “some words” to honor the occasion of our visit to the cemetery. Uncle Aster, being the preacher man that he is, thrust out his arms and beseeched the Lord to put a blessing on this grave and all those who now had their final resting place in this isolated cemetery at the top of Green Mountain Road in Mitchell County, North Carolina. John recorded this momentous event. Later I made copies of this video and shared it with my cousins in Pennsylvania, some of whom would never have the opportunity that I did at this time, to visit the grave of my great grandfather and great grandmother. This day will live forever in both my brother John’s and my memory. Even though we didn't find the homestead of Fieldon Tipton, we found something equally valuable. We witnessed a moment in time, never to be repeated. We had been to the top of the mountain. We had discovered a treasure and paid tribute to our ancestor. We had accomplished much today. To be continued……….

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Love Story

I’m taking a temporary departure from my narrative of searching for my Tipton roots in the foothills of North Carolina. Our goal was to see where my father, Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. (April 18, 1920 – August 22, 2000) was born and raised until he moved to Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old. I am doing this is because my memories of my father were brought sharply back into focus with my selection of music to accompany this blog. Hank Williams, Sr., was my father’s favorite singer. George Jones came in a close second. My “Pop” (what me and my brothers called him) especially liked George Jones’ song “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Even though the lyrics of that song didn’t directly apply to my parents’ relationship, he identified with that sad, sorrowful song. As he often told me, “Ronnie, that’s the only way I will stop loving your mother, when I’m dead.” We played that song at my dad’s funeral on a hot, sunny August day in 2000. “Her” was my Mother, Betty Louise Hadfield Tipton (December 24, 1923). “Happy Trails” is a song that will bring a smile to your face just as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans always had a smile on their faces. My Mom has reminded some of my cousins of Dale Evans. Mom, like Dale Evans, has a big, sweet, genuine smile of happiness. “Cool, Cool, Water” was an old record my dad used to have in his Victrola. Whenever I hear the Sons of the Pioneers sing that song, I think of him. My brothers and I were very fortunate to have “Ike and Betty” as our parents. While we never had a lot of material possessions, we did have a richness that many families did not have. We had parents who loved and respected each other totally. What an example they set for us. My dad loved my Mother so much, and my Mom loved him just as much if not more. He was the only man she had ever been with. She told me that the first time she saw him she knew he was “the one.” For sixty years theirs was a love that was unbroken. Their voices never rose in anger at each other. At us kids? Sure, now that happened. They did have times of disagreement, usually something Pop did. There were no shouting matches. No angry words hurled at each other. Instead, Mom would let him know she was displeased by her serious look and silence. Her sunny smile would disappear. Pop would know something was wrong, and he didn’t take long to make things right. That was just how much he respected my Mother. Pop has been gone eight years now. Mom has never been the same since he left. However, I am comforted in knowing that they will again be together…..for eternity.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pigeon Roost

John backed out of Uncle Aster’s driveway. Uncle Aster was going to show us the way “up the mountains.” Since we were on the Tennessee side of the mountains, we had to cross over the state boundary to North Carolina. We were entering Pisgah Mountains in Mitchell County, North Carolina. These mountains form the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. While Uncle Aster and John amiably conversed with each other in front of the van, I was in the back swiveling my head back and forth, taking in as much as I could of these new surroundings. Less than 20 minutes later we were in North Carolina looking at the green mountains before us on this early April morning in 1994. The Nolichucky River runs along the base of the mountains. An old railroad line, used in the past to transport lumber out of the mountains, parallels the Nolichucky. We were looking for “Pigeon Roost.” Our first stop was at the Floyd Peterson home, just above the Nolichucky River and the railroad tracks. A train, its many open bedded cars loaded with coal, slowly rumbled by below us. We got out of our van. Floyd Peterson (06 Sep 1905 - 26 Sep 1997), small framed bib overall clad 89 year old gentleman, approached us from the front porch of his house with a warm smile on his weathered face. Floyd was a retired railroad worker, having worked on the very railroad so close to his present home. He and Uncle Aster greeted each other. Uncle Aster introduced John to both of us. Then Uncle Aster explained to Floyd why we were there. He asked Floyd if he knew of “Field Tipton” and his boys. Floyd said he couldn’t remember too much. He said he knew of “Field Tipton” but not much more than that. However, he did remember very well my grandfather’s oldest brother, William Dove Tipton (11 Nov 1875 – 22 Jul 1951). William Dove Tipton stayed in the area. He did not move to Pennsylvania as his younger brother Fieldon had done. John told us that Dove had a son that he “petted on terribly.” He said that Dove Tipton’s son, George Britt Tipton (31 Mar 1897 – 28 Dec 12969) was an only child and his father “fussed and spoiled him to no end.” Hiram said that Dove and George Britt Tipton operated a general store in Poplar that sold groceries and other necessities to the local folk of the area. Later that day John and I did find a small grocery store owned by Jack Tipton and his wife but we had no way of knowing if that was the same general store that Dove Tipton operated with his son George Britt Tipton. After about an hour with Floyd Peterson, we moved up the road to the old Ike Lewis homestead. Glenn Renfro (13 Nov 1928) and his wife Wanda Lee Byrd (29 Sep 1933) lived there now. Glenn was tilling the fresh spring soil in his small vegetable garden. John and I noted that most the homes on this road were reached by small bridges that spanned over fresh spring water fed streams from the mountains above. Uncle Aster and Glenn also knew each other. It was becoming quickly apparent that Uncle Aster knew a lot of the folks in that area because of his circuit preaching. We hit a gold mine with Uncle Aster. He certainly was the person to take us on our tour. Uncle Aster introduced us and told Glen what we were about. Glen turned off his rototiller and unselfishly devoted the next two hours or so to us. Coincidently, he told us that his wife, Wanda Lee Byrd (29 Sep 1933) was a Tipton. Upon further questioning we found out that Wanda was the granddaughter of Pansy Tipton (10 Jan 1883 – 28 Apr 1963), an older sister of Fieldon! Glenn was too young to remember our grandfather, Fieldon Tipton. Fieldon and his family left these hills around 1929. Glen would have only been a year old at that time. However, he did know where our other grandfather (father of Hester Lewis Tipton, wife of Fieldon Jacob Tipton), Isaac Lewis (04 Nov 1856 – 27 Apr 1944) and his first wife, Mary Alice Hughes (12 Aug 1858 – 26 Aug 1916), were buried. Their final resting places were at the family cemetery at the top of the mountain at the very end of the same road we were on. During our conversation, we determined why our dad, Ike Tipton, always said he was from “Pigeon Roost.” He and his brothers and mother and father didn’t actually live in Pigeon Roost. That is where our grandmother Hester Lewis lived. Uncle Aster believed that Fieldon Tipton and his family lived at the Bailey Settlement, which was nearby on a different road. However, we never got to the Bailey Settlement because it doesn’t exist now. Thus, we didn’t get to see the house that my grandfather and grandmother and their children lived in. Thus our hopes were dashed if we were expecting to see a gracious, historical log cabin type house that would wash us in waves of nostalgia for times past. To be continued…………………..