Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jessie Stone Tipton

After a long hiatus I am finally updating my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog. Why has the update been so long in coming? A simple answer, spring and summer barged into my life. Comes the nice weather, I'm either outside working in my garden, taking a walk in the development behind my development, dining out with friends or just taking a ride. Now that the fall weather has arrived I will make a serious effort to post regular updates to this blog.

My last few blogs were historical postings of long dead Tiptons. Today I'm posting a blog of one of my peers. Her name is Jessie Stone Tipton (b. 3 Aug 1941.) She is the ex-wife of my first cousin Thomas Fieldon Tipton, Sr. (b. 5 Nov 1939.)

Until this week I had never met Jessie face to face before. I've talked to her on the phone to get information about her three sons and her grandchildren. Thus it was a pleasant surprise on Friday when I got a phone call from Jessie. She told me she was in Lewes with her niece Margaret Skeans and wanted to know if I would like to go to lunch them. Absolutely! I was in the middle of doing bank business but I put that to an end and met Jessie and her niece on Second Street in Lewes, in front of the Wilmington Trust Bank building.

When I got to Second Street I realized that I didn't know what she looked liked so I pulled my cell phone out to call her. Just as I put the cell phone up to my ear I saw this woman about my age motion towards me to a younger dark haired woman.

We both smiled when we realized we had made contact. Jessie told me she recognized me ("tall and thin") from the picture on my blog. We greeted each other with a warm embrace and then I asked Margaret to take a picture of me and Jessie for posterity. Anyone who knows me knows that I take a LOT of pictures for the record.

I took Jessie and Margaret on a quick tour of Lewes and to the hotel where I work at the front desk. We decided to eat in Rehoboth Beach at a restaurant where my friend is the host.

We jump into Margaret's SUV and head on down to Rehoboth Beach and the Dos Locos restaurant. Margaret has visited Rehoboth Beach many times but this was the first visit for Jessie. Margaret is contemplating about retiring from northern Delaware to the coasal area of southern Delaware.

During the ride to Rehoboth, I get acquainted with both Jessie and Margaret. We immediately establish an easy camaraderie. I tell them all the benefits of moving to Lower Slower (what we locals call Sussex County, Delaware because it operates at a much slower pace than the urban centers nearby our beach resort.)

We arrive at Dos Locos. I've never eaten at Dos Locos before but Margaret has and she loves it. As I mentioned earlier in this posting, a good friend of mine works there as a host and I was looking forward to trying out his restaurant. I wasn't disappointed. Our host was delightful, the service was superb, the food was delicious, and the company was wonderful. I will definitely be returning to Dos Locos for more meals with good friends.

We bade our goodbye's to our gracious host, Wayne and were on our way to my home north on Route. 1. I wanted to introduce both Jessie and Margaret to my partner Bill and show them my home as well as a neighbor's home that was for sale.

Upon arrival at my home, I introduced Jessie and Margaret to Bill.  They hit it off right away.  I took them on a tour of the manse.  Then I took them to my neighbor's house.  Alas, Margaret wasn't interested in my neighbor's home. I would love to have had her for a neighbor. However, we did have a good visit. What a delightful surprise on a weather perfect day in southern Delaware.  Then it came time to part ways.  We said our "goodbye's" as Margaret and Jessie pulled out of our driveway.

Jessie Stone Tipton holds a unique distinction in my immediate family line. She is the only Tipton wife of the third generation of Tiptons from the Fieldon Jacob Tipton (04 Jun 1884 - 8 May 1939) line to have three sons. This is ironic because Fieldon Tipton had 12 sons, 11 of whom survived childbirth. Of his eleven sons, some of them had sons but most of their offspring were female. The only exception was my parents. They had three boys of which I am the oldest.

I have 36 cousins that I know of (there may be a few unaccounted cousins lurking about.) I have no children. Both of my brothers have two daughters. My one brother has one son. I only have one cousin who has produce all male off spring that is Jessie's former husband, my cousin Thomas Fieldon Tipton.

Tom and Jessie have three sons:

Thomas Fieldon Tipton, Jr. (15 May 1960)

Bryan Keith Tipton (25 Mar 1963)

Paul Turner Tipton (14 Oct 1967)

Thomas Fieldon Tipton, Jr. has no sons ( I am also the oldest of three sons and I have no children)

Bryan Keith Tipton has two sons:

Bryan Thomas Tipton (24 Oct 1985)

Nicholas Santiago Tipton (8 Nov 1995)

Paul Turner Tipton also has two sons (twins):

Hunter Nicholas Tipton (26 Jun 2000)

Tanner Jesse Tipton (26 Jun 2000)

Thus, Jessie and Tom Tipton are the only Tiptons in my line who have produced all male offspring in both their children and grandchildren. Thank you Tom and Jessie for keeping the Fieldon Tipton line going strong! And thanks for the visit Jessie. Both you and your niece were a delight and I hope to see you again soon. Now I have to get pictures of all these new Tiptons!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Widow's Claim for Pension Benefits

This is the third in a series of blog postings on my great-great grandmother's application for Civil War Widow's pension benefits. Martha Bailey Tipton was her name and she applied numerous times for pension benefits after her husand and my great-great grandfather John Tipton was killed during the Civil War. John Tipton was killed by an ambush of Confederate Calvary while returning to his command at or near Jonesboro, Tennessee November 18, 1863. See the two previous blog postings.

Widow’s Claim for Increase of Pension

State of Tennessee
County of Washington

On this 3rd day of April A.D. 1867, before me, a County Court Clerk in and for the County and State above-named, personally appeared Martha Tipton, a resident of ……………..,County of Yancey, State of North Carolina, aged 40 years, who being duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the 2nd section of the Act of Congress increasing the pensions of widows and orphans, approved July 25, 1866; that she is the widow of John Tipton, who was a Private in Company M commanded by Captain Nelson McLaughlin of the 8th Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers, commanded by Colonel S.K.N. Patton in the War of 1861, and that by reason of his death in the service aforesaid, she has not been granted a pension of eight dollars per month in accordance wit the certificate, numbered……bearing date on the ….day of …..186 , and that she is a Pensioner of the United States, duly enrolled at the Pension Agency at …….in the sate of ……She further swears that she has the following named children of her deceased husband and herself, under sixteen years of age, to wit: Hiram Tipton born March 5th, 1852 (my great grandfather); Lucinda Tipton born March 26, 1853; Elizabeth Tipton born Nov. 16, 1854; Tempe Ann Tipton born Dec. 25th, 1855; Wm. N. Tipton born July 29th, 1857; Martha Tipton born Dec. 26th, 1859; Curtis Tipton born July 28th, 1860, Elmira Tipton born May 6th, 1862.

She further declares that she has not remarried since the death of her said husband, nor has she abandoned the support of any one of the children above named, nor permitted any one of the same to be adopted by any other person or persons as his, her or their child. That she hereby constitutes and appoints A. M. Hughes of Washington D.C., her true and lawful attorney, and authorized to present and prosecute this claim, and to receive and receipt for all orders or certificates that may be issued in consequence thereof, hereby revoking all Powers of Attorney, if any, heretofore given by her for like purpose. My Post Office address is Jonesboro, Tennessee.

Martha Tipton
(her mark) X

State of North Carolina
County of Yancey

Personally appeared before me the under signed authority of Dobson Deaton whom I certify to be a respectable citizen and credible witness who after being duly sworn according to law makes oath as follows:

In the year 1848 I was one of the justices of the peace for the county and state aforesaid duly commissioned and qualified as such. On the 19th day of October A.D. 1848 I united in marriage John Tipton and Martha Bailey according to the law of the state of North Carolina. All this was done at the house of Anson Bailey in Yancey County, N.C. I further swear that I have no interest whatever in this claim.

Dobson Deaton

Witnesses: Z. M. Courry, J.P.
E. M. Howell

Sworn to and subscribed this 4th day of August 1869 and I herby certify that I have no interest whatever in this claim.

It wasn't until may years later that Mrs. Tipton was finally granted pension benefits for the death of her husband during the Civil War.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Death of John Tipton b. 1830 d. Nov. 18, 1863 Part III

The following is part three of my posting to this blog of my great-great-great grandmother Martha “Patty” Bailey Tipton’s application for a Civil War widow’s pension benefit due the death of my great-great-great grandfather John Tipton.

I have tried to translate the handwriting as best as I could from a copy of the original document. I have indicated where I cannot make out the handwriting.

Washington County

……………appeared before me the undersigned authority Martha Tipton with whom I am personally acquainted. Martha Tipton, being duly sworn according to law deposes as follows:

I am the identical Martha Tipton who was widow of John Tipton, late Co. M 8th Tenn. Cavalry in the service of the U.S. in the War of the Rebellion. My husband came home some time in the month of……1863 with some paper(s) which I understood to be a furlough to recruit. I am sure that he was recruiting nearly all the time that he was at home and had many men consealed (sp?) which he said he was intending to take to his Regiment. Affidavit did not see the said soldier killed but saw him the next day after he was killed. That she got with Mr. Eliza Presley and her son to go with her and bring her husband home. They brought the said Tipton and he was buried about a half mile from affiant’s house on a hill near brother’s house (Bailey.)Affiant is not positive as by whom the said soldier was killed but she understood from many good (can’t read next line, the narrative continues below with next page)………..

Command called Witcher’s Cavalry. Affiant further swears that the said soldier started from her house in the morning of the 18th November 1863 and said he (can’t make out the next word) other up his men and go to his command which she supposed to be at Jonesboro Tenn. Said soldier started in the direction of the mountains (can’t make out the next two words) affiant found him dead at the house of Dr. Pennys about from ten to thirteen miles from house.

Affiant further swears that the men that he was in charge of (as many of them) came to affiant’s house the same day as a few days after the death of her husband. (Affiant does not recollect distinctly the day) and she cooked thin rations for them to join their command and one Calvin Bailey, Curtis Bailey and Dobson Bailey. Arch Bennett staid (sp?) all night at my house and the rest of the command staid (sp?) in some other place. Curtis Bailey and Arch Bennett were wounded in the same battle with affiant’s husband and that Curtis Bailey was buried in the same grave with affiant’s husband. Bennett was wounded in the head and laid for a long time in affiant’s house and after his recovery he joined the 3rd N.C. Mounted Infantry under Col. George W. Kirk.

Affiant may have more facts in relation to her husband’s death if her attention was call to the (can’t make out the next word.)

Signed in present of E.M. Jackson
Martha Tipton
X (her mark)

Sworn to me this 19th day of September 1870

Information compiled by:

Burkett Bailey
905 Irwin Road
Powell, Tennessee 37849

February 16, 1994

Note: The picture that appears on this blog is not of my great-great-grandfather but of an unknown gentleman born during the same time period as my ancestor. I only use this picture as a representation of the demeanor and style of the gentlemen of that period. I would like to think that my great-great-great grandfather bore a strong resemblance to the actor Guy Madison (who played "Wild Bill Hickock" on the old TV show of the Fifties.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Captain McLaughlin's Affidavit

The following is an affidavit by Captain Nelson McLaughlin attesting to the service and death of my great-great grandfather John Tipton (1828-Nov 18, 1863) during the Civil War. His widow (and my great-great grandmother, Martha Bailey Tipton 22 Sep 1830 – 22 Dec 1915) applied for Civil War Widow’s pension benefits.

The affidavit was written in longhand for Mrs. Tipton. She could not write (her “mark” X appears at the end of her application.) I have tried to transcribe the longhand as best as I could however, there are some areas I was unable to decipher. However, upon reading the whole document the reader will understand the circumstances of my ancestor’s untimely death in the cause of keeping the Union together in this country.

State of Tennessee, Unicoi County….This day personally appeared before the undersigned authority within and for Said County and State Capt. Nelson McLaughlin, late Capt. Of Company M. of the 8th Regt. of Tennessee Cav. Vols. In the War of the Rebellion who, after being duly sworn according to law, States that in the month of September 1863 he was authorized and empowered by Anderson Johnson Military Governor of the State of Tennessee to enlist a Company of Vols., for the Volunteer Service in the U.S. Army and that on or about the 15th day of September 1863 he enrolled John Tipton in Washington County, Tennessee. That Said Tipton was regularly enlisted by affidavit and was sworn into the Service of the United States at Greenville Tennessee by Lieut. Col…..Caps on or about the 5th day of October 1863 and under arms and was in line of duty until he was Furloughed at Mosey Creek Transfer on or about the 23rd of October 1863 he was not mentioned in the Service for the reason there was no mustering officer was with out Command and none had been sent to muster us in until after the Said John Tipton was Furloughed as aforesaid. Affidavit further states that he was within the Rebel lines with his Company and had no regular Enlisting Rolls or blanks with him at the time. Affidavit further states that he is not interested in the (can’t read the next word) or result of the claim of Martha Tipton for widows pension.

Nelson McLaughlin Sworn to subscribed before me this 1st day of April 1878 and I certify that I am personally acquainted with the affiant and (can’t read the next three words) that the name of John Tipton does not appear on the (can’t read the next words) that the name of John Tipton does not appear on the (can’t read the next two words) of M 8th Tenn. Cav. Or records (can’t read the next word) of the (can’t read the next word) on file (can’t read the next two words) reports no records 8th Tenn. Cav on file.

Nelson McLaughlin Capt of G.M. testifies that the enlisted Tipton ser. Over. That he was not mustered, that they were (can’t read the next word) Tenn. That said Tipton, with other recruits were furloughed to go into the Mountains and recruit men for the Union Army. That said Tipton was killed while on his way to join his command at Jonesboro, Tenn. John Miller testifies that he was a member of (can’t read next word) Tenn. Cav. Was with said Tipton on the 18th of November 1865 (note: should be 1863 but appears in affidavit as 1865.) That said Tipton was preparing rations preparatory to joining the regiment. That said Tipton was attacked by the Rebel Cavalry and killed. That affiant heard the shooting and went to the place of attack and found him dead, having been shot by the Rebels. That there were others shot at the same time or engagement at or near Rock Creek, Greacy Cove, Tenn.

Claimant testifies that, on the morning of Nov. 18, 1863 her husband went to gather up his men to join the Army. That she did not see him again until the next day when she heard he was killed, and with a neighbor (Mrs. Eliza Presley) went and got his body. That one Curtis Bailed (a cousin) killed at the same time of her husband, was brought to her home and buried in the same grave with him.

This is the end of the page of the original document form which I copied the above information. There are other affidavits attesting to the death of John Tipton and his widow’s right to claim for a Civil War Widow’s benefit. I will post the transcription of those documents in future postings on this blog.

Note: the photo that appears on this blog is of an actual Civil War widow (Margaret Fleming Stone) who also applied for a Civil War widow’s pension. It is not of my great-great grandmother. I only post it to give the reader a sense of the identity of an actual Civil War widow at that time of great turmoil, loss and sadness in our country. My great-great grandmother was left a widow with nine children from ages 16 to 1 year of age to care for on their farm land located on the mountain sides of western North Carolina. When she eventually received her pension (not until the 1880’s), it was for the grand total of $8.00 a month. Apparently $8.00 a month went a lot further in those days than it does these days.

Friday, February 6, 2009

John Tipton, Union Soldier

John Tipton was my great great grandfather. He was born about 1828 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. He died November 18, 1863 near Rock Creek, Tennessee. He was ambushed and killed by a Confederate Calvary while he was recruiting volunteers for the Union soldiers during the Civil War.

He left behind a 33 year old widow and ten children, all under 16 years of age. He was a farmer and thus the sole sustenance of his family which resided in the hills of western North Carolina, near the Tennessee border.

Below is a transcript of his Widow’s Claim for increases in benefits as a Civil War widow. Martha “Patty” Bailey Tipton was born September 22, 1830 in or near the Bailey settlement in Yancey County, North Carolina and died December 22, 1915 in Swannanoa, Georgia.

Widow’s Claim for Pension

The State of Tennessee, County of Washington.

On this 31st day of July, A.D. 1865 personally appeared before one J. F. Grisham, Clerk of the County Court, a Court of Record within and for said county, Martha Tipton aged 39 years, late a resident of ………………………, in the county of Yancey, and State of North Carolina who, being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on her oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress approved July 14, 1862………………That she is the widow of John Tipton who was a Private in Company M, commanded by Captain Nelson McLaughlin, in the 8th Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Col. S. K. N. Patton in the war of 1861. That her said husband died at Greasy Cove, in the State of Tennessee, on the 18 day of November A.D. 1863 of wounds received on his return to his regiment from home on furlough in an attack upon him by Rebel Cavalry while in the service of the United States.

She further declares that she was married to the said John Tipton in Yancey County, on the 19th of October A.D. 1848 by one Dobson Deaton, Justice of the Peace, that her name before her marriage was Martha Bailey, and that ever since the death of her said husband, she has remained a widow: as will more fully appear by reference to the proof annexed. (5) She cannot present the public record, was private record, but an affidavit of the magistrate that married her as the last proof and affidavit of two subscribing witnesses as to her widowhood, That during the existence of the aforesaid marriage there were born to her and her said husband the following named children who are now under the age of sixteen years, viz:

Sarah A. Tipton, born the 5th day of November 1851
Hiram Tipton, born the 5th day of March 1853
Lucinda Tipton, born the 24th day of March 1854
Elizabeth Tipton, born the 16th day of November, 1855
Tempe A. Tipton, born the 25th day of December, 1856
William N. Tipton, born the 29th day of July, 1858
Martha Tipton, born the 26th day of May 1860
Curtis Tipton, born the 28th day of July 1862
Trisca E. Tipton, born the 6th day of May 1863

All of whom are still living, and reside in Jonesboro, Washington County, Tennessee.

She also declares that she has in no manner been engaged in, or aided or abetted, the Rebellion in the United States.

She further says that her Post office address is Jonesboro, Washington County, Tennsessee.

Martha Tipton
(her mark) X

Martha also had an older son isn’t listed on her application for Widow’s Claim for Pension. His name was Baxter S. Tipton and he was born July 26 1849 and thus 16 years old at the time of her application and not eligible as a dependent.

The Hiram Tipton listed above is my great grandfather. He was the father of my grandfather, Fieldon Jacob Tipton, Sr. (born June 4, 1884 in Relief, North Carolina and died May 8, 1939 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.)

Fieldon Jacob Tipton was the father of my father Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. (born April 18, 1920 in Pigeon Roost, North Carolina and died August 22, 2000 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.) My name is Ronald Walter Tipton and I was born November 9, 1941 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Of interest, Mrs. Tipton indicates the birth of the children listed on her pension claim one year later than other records indicate, including the headstone of Hiram Tipton’s grave and census records of that time. Perhaps this was an innocent error of a bereaved widow facing life with ten children to support on a farm without a husband. Or, perhaps she wanted to extend a year her widow’s pension benefits.

Mrs. Tipton was granted a monthly pension benefit of $8.00 a month.

In future blogs I will post Mrs. Tipton’s claim for an increase in pension benefits as well as testimonies of various witnesses that her deceased husband was in service for the Union forces during the Civil War. Although North Carolina (where John and Martha Tipton lived with their family on their hillside mountain farm), the area and nearby Tennessee was a hotbed of Union activity.

My great great grandfather John Tipton was killed returning home from furlough back to his headquarters just over the state line in Tennessee. John Tipton was not in uniform and thus a question was raised was he really in the Union Army. John Tipton’s job for the Union Army was to recruit additional mountain men (his relatives and neighbors) to volunteer for the Union Army to fight the Rebel soldiers. John Tipton and his Bailey cousins were ambushed and killed by a Rebel Calvary headed by a Colonel Wichter. He was only 35 years old.

Note: The source of Martha Tipton's application for Widow's Claim for Pension (as a Civil War widow) was taken from copies of the original application provided by Burkett Bailey of Powell Tennessee, a descendant of Martha Bailey Tipton's brother. My thanks for Burkett Bailey and his cousin Dr. Lloyd Bailey of Durham, North Carolina for their invaluable help in sourcing these references for my family history.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Uncle John and Cousin Bud Tipton

John Hannum Tipton was born August 29, 1922 near in Raleigh, North Carolina along with his fraternal twin brother, Richard Berry Tipton. John was the sixth of eleven sons of Fieldon Jacob (04 Jun 1884 – 08 May 1939) and Hester Lewis Tipton (13 Nov 1891 – 20 Apr 1945.)

John Tipton was my uncle. John Tipton was my favorite uncle. I think I’m accurate in saying that John Tipton was the favorite uncle of all of his 35 nieces and nephews.

John was a paratrooper with the U.S. Army during World War II. He was captured by the Germans. He escaped twice and was recaptured twice by the Germans. Uncle John survived the war but his mother, Hester, did not know that. She died in April 1945, a few months before Uncle John was released from the POW prison camp.

Uncle John was much admired and loved by wife, children, brothers, nieces and nephews. Uncle John had a talent for sign painting. He was working for Gindy trailers painting signs when he suffered a fatal accident. A spark ignited paint thinner on the floor where John was working (probably a welding spark) and caught John’s overalls on fire. Even though his co-workers threw him to the ground to put out the flames, John suffered burns over the majority of his body. He died a few days later at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. How ironic that Uncle John survived the dangers of World War II but would die from an accidental fire caused by a simple spark.

John Hannum Tipton died September 14, 1961 leaving behind his widow, Margaret “Peggy” Frances Meehan (13 Jul 1928); and three young children, John Michael (21 May 1947) , Marsha Anne (18 Nov 1948) and Jeffrey Joseph Tipton (02 Nov 1956 – 25 Jan 2005.)

Uncle John is pictured on this blog with his nephew, Edward “Bud” Tipton, Jr. ( 4 Apr 1941.) The picture was taken in 1956.

Uncle John was the first of the eleven sons of Fieldon and Hester Tipton to die. He died too young. He is still missed to this day by those of us who were fortunate enough to have known him. Rest in peace Uncle John.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tipton Family Research 2009

This is the year that all my Tipton family research is coming together. Now that I’m retired, I can devote more time to researching our common Tipton family history. Not only am I researching names and dates of births and deaths, but I am looking for old photographs and stories. The photographs and stories enable history to come alive for those of us who are interested in our origins.

From the time I was about 10 years old, I wondered about where my parents and their parents came from. What were they like? I especially wondered about my father’s parents and grandparents since his family wasn’t originally from Pennsylvania. My father knew little of his origins because his parents brought him to Pennsylvania when he was only about 10 years old. All I knew was that his family was a “hillbilly” from someplace called “Pigeon Roost.”

Now fast forward to 1994 when my brother John “discovered” Pigeon Roost. I still remember so clearly when John called me where I worked in Philadelphia to tell me “Ronnie! I found Pigeon Roost! It exists!” He was making his phone call from the Griffith General Store in Tipton Hill, North Carolina. I cannot adequately describe my feeling of exhilaration upon hearing this groundbreaking news. I still have that feeling to this day.

In the spring of 1994 I left my job and took a week off to visit my brother John and his wife Barbara in Greenville, South Carolina for the first time. It turns out that Pigeon Roost, North Carolina was only 2 ½ hours away from Greenville. John rented a van and off we went to the mountains of western North Carolina, near the Tennessee border with Johnson City, Tennessee. What a thrill it was the first time we traveled up one of those “hollers.” It wasn’t quite “Deliverance” (we weren’t going for white water rafting although John and his church group would do that later) but it was a experience of a lifetime.

From that trip I decided to actively research the Tipton family history. It has been a long journey. For a period I was actively researched the Tipton family history. A couple of return trips were made to interview relatives. Pictures and videos were taken. I was on a roll for awhile then I had a twin whammy hit me. My computer crashed and I lost my job. Life interrupted.

It took a while to rebuild my genealogy file and even longer to get established in a new job. In fact, it too took long. I lost several years. By the time I got back to actively researching my family history, many of my older relatives had passed on, thus taking their unique knowledge with them to their grave. It saddens me to know that information is lost forever.

But there is good news. I am back. I have restored my files and am building them everyday. For safety, I now back up my files on a regular basis. As an added measure of safety I now post my research on for all to see. Anyone who is interested in my research only has to send me an e-mail and I will be glad to send them an invitation to view my family tree. There is no cost, you are my guest. One of my big fears these days is if something happened to me suddenly that all my research would be lost. As those of you know who have been also researching Tipton family history, the sudden loss of someone like Charles D. Tipton of Texas can happen any time. I plan to stay around a long, long time (I’m 67 now) but one just never knows.

This morning a long time Tipton family research, Robert Tipton Nave, sent me a link to a new web site for Colonel John Tipton. Colonel John Tipton was the half brother of my direct ancestor, Major Jonathan Tipton III (1750-1833). I’ve added this link to my blog. I will be glad to add any other links to my blog that the reader thinks will be of interest to the Tipton history.

In these economic hard times and fear of security in this world, the one thing we have that is comforting is the knowledge of our shared family history. Finding out about our ancestors; seeing those old photographs and the similarity to our present relatives is priceless. Join me on my journey into our shared family history.

For those of you who are interested you can e-mail me at the following address:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Searching For My Roots, Part I

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of my life has been the discovery of my “roots.” I feel secure in the knowledge that if I accomplish nothing else in my life, I have achieved one of the greatest goals known to man. Those of you who read this blog and who also have an interest in genealogy understand what I am talking about. There are others who don’t care about their ancestors or their origins. That is an attitude which I will never understand. I truly feel blessed that I was born with this curiosity about my ancestors. I have found the origin of my paternal ancestral roots and now have the time and energy to share that with my relatives and others who are interested in the Tipton Family.

When I was growing up in a second floor, two bedroom, $22 a month, cockroach infested apartment on 120 Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania I only knew that my father and his ten brothers (no sisters) were “hillbillies.” I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I cannot tell you the amount of shame that knowledge caused this 10 year old boy at that time who was trying to fit in with his non-hillbilly classmates at East Ward School. Little did I know at that time the amount of pride that I would eventually have for my father and his ancestors.

My father and his eight brothers (two more would be born in Pennsylvania) and his mother and father moved to the Unionville area of southeastern Pennsylvania around 1930, when my father was 10 years old. His family moved from the Pigeon Roost area of the Pisgah Mountains in Mitchell County, North Carolina. This is an area of heavily wooded mountains near the Tennessee border, near Johnson City, Tennessee. My father always said he was from “Pigeon Roost”, but later research indicated that his family lived near the Bailey Settlement near the Toe River. The Pigeon Roost connection came from his mother, Hester Lewis (b. 13 Nov 1892 d. 20 Apr 1945.) Her father, Isaac Lewes (b. 04 Nov. 1856, d. 27 Apr 1944), was a landowner with a large house (for the area) on the Pigeon Roost Road. According to my Uncle Ed (one of my father’s older brothers), Fieldon (their father and my grandfather) would court Hester at her Pigeon Roost home.

Times were especially tough during the Depression in that area of hills and hollers of western North Carolina where the “hillbillies” lived. According to my father, his father Fieldon (Jacob Tipton, b. 04 Jun 1884, d. 08 May 1939) was in the lumber business. Fieldon worked in a saw mill. I don’t know if he owned it or not, just that his livelihood was lumber. Business wasn’t good. Fieldon decided he could provide for his family better by working for his brother-in-law, Don Byrd (b. 1874 d. 1962.) Don Byrd was married to one of Fieldon’s older sisters, Essie Tipton (Essie Elizabeth Tipton, b. 22 Aug 1877 d. 1962.) Don Byrd had a successful fruit and vegetable farm in southeastern Chester County, near the present day town of Unionville. “Uncle Don” would provide housing for his brother-in-law Fieldon and his family provided that Fieldon provided ready farm work (picking fruits and vegetables) with his nine sons. Those sons were (in order of birth):

Raymond Luther “Ray” Tipton 20 Oct 1909 03 Aug 1988

John Henry “Hen” Tipton 15 Feb 1911 11 Mar 1993

Edward Walter “Ed” Tipton 10 Sep 1914 24 Jul 1998

Erby Erwin “Erby” Tipton 20 Nov 1917 29 Sep 1990

Isaac Walter “Ike” Tipton 18 Apr 1920 22 Aug 2000

John Hannum “John” Tipton 29 Aug 1922 14 Sep 1961

Richard Berry “Rich” Tipton 29 Aug 1922 09 Apr 1989

Luther Raymond “Dude” Tipton 11 Mar 1925 17 Sep 1979

Fieldon Jacob “Tip” Tipton 31 Dec 1926 23 Aug 2006

Bruce “Bruce” Tipton 15 Oct 1931 28 Jun 1995

Samuel Park “Sam” Tipton 31 Mar 1934 15 Dec 2001

My father and his brothers and mom and dad lived in a tenant house on Uncle Don’s farm, picking fruits and vegetables. Eventually, other family members would join the Tipton in a migration to Pennsylvania for a better way of life. David Gouge, the husband of another one of my grandfather’s sisters, Abigail Tipton, moved his family to Pennsylvania after he delivered some cattle to Don Byrd. Family lore has it that Dave Gouge saw what he liked and moved his family from the hills of North Carolina to the fertile fields of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. Adgie Tipton, a distant cousin, also moved his family to Pennsylvania. Some of the Lewis family (Fieldon’s wife was a Lewis) also moved their families to the New World of Pennsylvania.

Thus began the first chapter of one of the ancient families to move out of their Appalachian Shangri-La into the 20th century. For the first time my father and his brothers would attend a formal school, thus obtaining an education which was not available to them in the hills and hollers of their former home in Mitchell County, North Carolina. Even more important, my father and his brothers would meet Pennsylvania women, who came from completely different backgrounds than they would have met if their parents had stayed in North Carolina. Many, if not most marriages in those hills were between the same 20 or so families, who names have intertwined with one another over the hundred and fifty years or more that the Tipton familes have family had lived and reproduced in those mountains. It was in 1940 that my Father met my Mother, Betty Louise Hadfield (b. 24 Dec 1923), a beautiful young woman from a poor family in Downingtown with Quaker roots.

A year after he met my Mother, they eloped to Elkton, Maryland for a quickie marriage on November 2, 1940. After the marriage, my Father returned his new wife to her home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Downingtown because she had to go to school that Monday (she was still a senior in high school.) However, that arrangement didn't last too long once her father found out about the marriage. Once the secret of their marriage was out, my Father took my Mother away "from all of that" (her home life where she was almost like Cinderella cleaning house for her wicked step-mother.

One year later, almost to the day, I was born (November 9, 1941.) Looking at my ancestry now, I know that I am the quintessential American (along with all my Tipton relatives.) My ancestry is half from this country’s Appalachian pioneers and the other half from Pennsylvania Quaker ancestry. However, to his dying day my dad called me “half a hillbilly.” And you know, he was right.