Saturday, April 5, 2008

Who Is My Great Grandfather?


Finding the name of my great grandfather was my next challenge into researching my family tree. No one seemed to know his name. Neither my Mother or Father knew his name. I asked my cousin Charles Tipton. Charles has provided much of our Tipton line family information to Lloyd Bailey, who was writing a book about the Toe Valley of the western North Carolina mountain area where my father was born. Charles is the senior cousin of the children of the eleven Tipton brothers who were the sons of Fieldon and Hester Tipton. Charles didn’t know. I was at a dead end. I asked my Aunt Peg, wife of my Uncle Henry. Aunt Peg had provided me with much information about the early years of the Tipton brothers in southern Pennsylvania. She didn’t know. Where do I go now? My Father suggested that I ask his brother, Ed. Ed lived on the outskirts of Downingtown with his family. He owned 8 acres of land in East Bradford Township. Like my Father, Uncle Ed was passionate about his vegetable garden. Each year, he and my Father would compete to see who would pick the first tomato out of their garden. They were equally proud and competitive about their corn crop. Theirs was a friendly rivalry. I called him and asked if I could go over to his place and ask him some questions. He told me to come over. I brought my bulky, old time video camera with me to record our conversation. I set up the video recorder outside his garage. He would sit there overlooking his garden during my interview with him. Ironically, his plot of land and vegetable garden was almost an exact replica of similar lots of land and vegetable gardens in Pigeon Roost. A few years earlier, my brother John and I visited “Pigeon Roost”, now known as Green Mountain Road, and were surprised to see how similar the residents had the same kind of gardens, even down to the shacks that they stored their garden equipment. My first question I asked was “Do you know the name of your grandfather?” He answered “Harm”. “Harm?” What kind of name is that? I was puzzled. I asked him again and he said “Harm.” Then I realized he was saying ”HIRAM” with his mountain Appalachian accent, which most of my uncles still had, including my father. So now I had the name of my great grandfather, Hiram Tipton. But he didn’t remember too much about his grandfather. However, my uncle provided me with even more valuable information. He told me the name of Aster Lewis. Aster Lewis was the son of Isaac Lewis and his second wife, Rissie Johnson. According to Ed, Aster could provide me with much of the information I was looking for. Isaac Lewis, for whom my Father was named, was the father with his first wife Alice Hughes, of Hester Lewis, the wife of my grandfather Fieldon Tipton. Aster Lewis lived in Erwin, Tennessee, which is located across from the North Carolina/Tennessee state line. I called Aster. Aster was one of those rare family members who eager to help me in my quest for more family information. I made arrangements to take a plane trip to meet my brother John Tipton in Greenville, South Carolina. From South Carolina we would take a “Tipton Genealogy Tour” to Johnson City, Tennessee. We were on our way to met with Aster Lewis. The meeting with Aster was going to prove to be the turning point in my search for my family roots. To be continued……………………………………………………

Note: Pictured are brothers (left to right) Ed and Ike Tipton (circa 1951)

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