Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are We Related?

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

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

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

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

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

Me at Old Time Photo in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!

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


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,
firstly - hello brother! I have
been following your Tipton Tales
blog for a few weeks now....yes of
course, it turns out I am a Tipton, as this was my
grandmother Elizabeth's maiden
name. Here is the lineage thanks
to great record keepers like

Major Jonathon Tipton III >
William Hannibal Tipton >
John Tipton >
Jeptha Tipton >
Isaac Tipton >
Elizabeth (Tipton) Clark >
Isaac W Clark >
Robert W Clark (me)

I would like to send you a picture
of Jeptha and his wife Miranda
(Lowe) Tipton...
no need to do any research, as
stated, good people like you have
posted enough online so the link
was easily found.

I am so proud to be related to a
Militia Patriot Officer (the
Major) that fought (Battle of
King's Mountain) during the
Revolutionary War! and oddly
enough I will be traveling on
business this spring and you won't
guess where my travel is taking
me...that's right Buncombe County,
NC! what's the chance...anyway
please keep in touch. my email is:

Your Kin! and proud of all you do
for us Tiptons!

Robert W Clark

Robin Merrell said...

Hi Ron,

I'm glad there is someone out there with so much interest in our Tipton heritage and ancestry.

I am incredibly sad, angry, and sorry as a western North Carolinian to read of the hate you have faced because you are gay. You certainly won't get that from me.

My name is Robin Merrell, and i live in Madison County, NC, where I am from. My great-grandmother was Julia Tipton. Her father was Sidney Tipton and her mother was Laura Robinson Tipton. Granny was born 11/13/1897. I'm not sure where. She mentioned coming here in a covered wagon from Washington, DC, but I know she was here by the time she was 13 and married my great-grandfather James Ernest "Ernie" Ramsey.

I'm not writing to ask you for anything. I will gladly try to dig up a picture of Granny and send it to you if you want it. I don't have any pictures of Sidney, though I saw one once.

I just wanted to say hello, and best wishes to you in your life and with your prostate cancer. You are a man of courage and conviction, and I'm proud to be related to you.

Ron said...

Thank you very much for your comment. Would you mind sending me your family tree so I can add your branch to my family tree on
Thank you so much and thank you for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is James Q. Tipton from TN. Bob Ruth and Wanda Ruth are my grandparents. Philip Dry Tipton and Susan Ruth are my parents. My decent is Native American and Irish. just looking around to see where else my ancestors are at. Any relation?

Ron said...

James Q. Tipton. Could you give me the names of your Tipton grandparents? I can check for that point.
Ron Tipton

Steph Gibson said...

Hello! I tried to post this yesterday but I don't think it worked. I am the great-granddaughter of John Russell Tipton. He was the son of Moses Tipton, whose father was John D. Tipton a well known moonshiner. Would love to connect! I have done DNA as well. Stephanie

Robin Merrell said...

Ron, How do I send you my family tree? I'm working on it right now and I'm not very good at this stuff!


Ron said...

Could you send me your e-mail address? That would be easier to tell you how to share your family tree information. I would like the names of your parents and grandparents to tie them into the family tree I've built.



Ron said...

I think I found the link between your branch of the Tipton family and mine but I need to confirm the dates. My e-mail address is:



Anonymous said...

Hello there my name is Brittney my Tipton lienage comes from my mothers side.her name is Barbara she has 3 or 4 siblings.their parents were Neil Tipton an Christine Griggs tipton.bitty Tipton was my papaws mom or aunt? Any help would be appreciated thanks hon'

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention they're from estill co ky

Anonymous said...

Have a blessed day. Thank you for all your research. Rev. Koren Fae Rawlings

Lisa Rand said...

Hi Ron,

I've been enjoying your blog and really appreciate the amazing research you've done. We are distant cousins - I'm related to Isaac Lewis. My great grandmother was Dolly Lewis, daughter of Isaac Lewis. Do you have any pictures of Isaac Lewis that you could send? I could send you a picture of Alice Hughes (Hester Tipton's sister) if that would be of interest. :) Let me know and I can send them over! Sending love and light your way for your cancer battle!! My email is

Best regards,
Lisa Rand

Lisa Rand said...

Hi Ron,

I've been enjoying your blog, photos and amazing amount of research! We're distant cousins. I am related to Isaac Ledford Lewis. My great grandmother was Dolly Lewis Piercy of Yancey County North Carolina (the small town of Daybook near Burnsville). Her father was Isaac. Do you have any photos of Isaac or the Lewis line that you would be willing to share? I could send you some photos that I have of Hester Tipton's sister. Let me know if that would be of interest! Sending love and light your way towards your battle with cancer! My email is

Best regards,
Lisa Rand

Dedpepl said...

I stumbled upon your blog today while doing my own Tipton research.

My stuff is posted here: and I am doing a blog as well:

Trying to find a connection for my Elizabeth Jane Tipton b. ca.1695 in Maryland or Virginia, married John Hunt who was born ca. 1693 in either Prince William Co., VA or MD. He died after 1743. They had a son John Tipton Hunt. The family followed the same migration through Shenandoah Co.VA, TN, KY and IN. They also married into the Denton family. The Tipton name is used in several generations. I noticed that a Martha Denton married into the Tiptons of Tennessee.

Will correspond if you want additional info on any of my lines, really. I do understand your frustration.


Garrett Anderson said...

Hello cousin! I recently came across your blog, and hope you and your husband are doing well.

My name is Garrett Anderson, and using the book We Tiptons and Our Kin I will try to push my lineage back a couple of generations for you.

My Grandfather was Thomas T. Tipton.
My Great Grandfather was Bernard Tipton.
My Great-Great Grandfather was John Need Tipton.
My Great-Great-Great Grandfather was Joseph Tipton.
My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather was William Tipton.
My Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather was Sylvester Tipton.
And if I'm reading this right his father was the Jonathan Tipton who emigrated from Jamaica.