Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr.

To continue where I left of with my previous blog, once I added my father’s name and birth date to my Family Tree Maker software computer program, I was now faced with the dilemma of how to get information from him of his father, Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. My dad knew when he died. “Before you were born” was his answer. Obviously, if I was a serious genealogist, albeit an amateur, I would need more information than this. My Mother knew where her father-in-law, Fieldon was buried. He was buried at the Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Thus a visit to his grave was in order. I obtained this information from his headstone: Born June 4, 1884 – Died May 8, 1939. I was born November 9, 1941 so my grandfather did indeed die “before I was born.” I also obtained the information about my grandmother, Hester Lewis Tipton’s dates of birth and death: Born November 30, 1892 – Died April 20, 1945. Now this was a start. I learned from my Father some information about his father. He was in the sawmill business in the hills (Pisgah Mountains) of western North Carolina that border Tennessee (near Erwin and Johnson City, Tennessee). My Father either didn’t remember or want to talk about his childhood in Pigeon Roost, North Carolina. There is some evidence that he and his brothers did not actually live in Pigeon Roost but instead lived at the Bailey Settlement which was in the same general area of those isolated hills dotted with “hollers”. Pigeon Roost is where Isaac Lewis (for whom my Father was named) had a house. One of his daughters, Hester Lewis eventually became the bride of Fieldon Jacob Tipton. This is information that was passed on to me by Ed Tipton, one of my Father’s older brothers and Aunt Peg Tipton, wife of another one of my Father’s older brothers, Henry. Apparently “Field” (as he was called back in those days) used to sneak over the mountain top and pay clandestine visits to Hester. After what can only be assumed a proper courtship, Fieldon and Hester exchanged wedding vows on the warm summer day July 18, 1908 in Relief, North Carolina, dressed in their Sunday best.

From 1909 to 1926 Fieldon and Hester had nine children, all boys. Fieldon was in the lumber business with other relatives in the close-knit mountain community. Leading up to the Great Depression, the sawmill business wasn’t producing enough food on the table to feed nine growing Tipton boys. Fieldon’s brother-in-law, Don Byrd (married to Hester Lewis’s sister, Essie Lewis) had a fruit and vegetable farm in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. He needed cheap farm labor. Fieldon and Hester and their nine ravenous boys needed food and solid roof over their heads. Sometime in 1929 or 1930 (the exact date is uncertain) the Fieldon Tipton family made a life course change and decided to relocate to Pennsylvania and work on Don Byrd’s farm. The whole family moved into one of the tenant cabins called “The Baker Place” near present day Unionville, Pennsylvania. “Field” and his boys began the back breaking work of picking fruits and vegetables in their Uncle Don’s farm. Two more sons were born to Fieldon and Hester Tipton in Pennsylvania. More farm labor. This saga will continue in my next blog.

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