The Letter...Olivia's Secret

The Boarding House Journal
Date:  November 1912

The envelope was addressed to Mrs. John Buckner in a lovely cursive handwriting with the address having been marked through and forwarded with the last address being that of my boarding house.     My curiosity was peaked to say the least, as I had the impression that Olivia's health condition, and her seeking treatment was somewhat of a secret.

Of course, I would not presume to know the going ons of our Guests private lives.  However, with Olivia, I was privy to her problems from almost the moment she and the Marshall arrived.  Within a few hours of their renting room Number Six, it was evident that the Buckners would be more than folks simply seeking a room for a few nights.

My mother had a sense of 'Knowing Beforehand' when something or someone was to have an impact on anothers life.  That sense was heavy within my heart as soon as Olivia said,  "Please if you could spare a dying woman a bit of your time, I assure you my story will not weigh heavy on your mind as it is only relevant to the unburdening of my soul."

Since that first day, a good many things have happened that changed the course of Olivia's plea and plight.  Those incidents and events are recorded in the previous entries to this Journal, therefore, I refer the reader to those entries and will get on with the delivery of Olivia's letter, and the revelations that follow it's reading.  A reading that changed one family's knowledge of who they were forevermore.

Olivia's Secret ...The Charming Confederate
Come in, Emma.  Thank-you for bringing the tea.  I'm afraid, I may need more than one or two cups after reading the letter you brought earlier this morning.  If I had received this letter a few weeks ago, I would not have been able to take the shock of it's content.  I'm stronger now, thanks to the Doctors treatment, my loving husband and the care I have received from you.  I am ever so grateful.  Thank-you.

I once asked you for a bit of your time, and if you have time now, I would like to share this letter and the memories it evokes that have been buried deep within my heart and soul for many years.

This letter and photograph is from Mary.  She found the photograph in her father's Bible.  It was taken on our wedding day.  Yes, it is the charming confederate solider I married to give Mary a father and myself a home and family.  He was the son of the woman who took me in after my home and family were destroyed by the Yankees.

We were married in March of 1870.  I was sixteen, and he had returned home from the War a few months before with wounds and scars to both body and mind.  I remembered him as a handsome and charming boy of sixteen when he left his mother and me to enlist in the Confederacy.  His father had gone the year before with my own father and died at Shiloh.  I remember his mother's anguish at his leaving and her jubilation when he returned.  We were both joyful and thankful for his return. 

When he left I was but ten years old, he therefore, remembered me as a child, but when he returned, he found the child had become a woman.  In those days of war and desolation, a girls childhood was over much to soon.  Franklin had suffered a crippling leg wound and the ravages of war had left him with unspeakable wounds of the heart and soul.  We both needed healing and someone who cared.  Our needs and what we took for love lead to our marriage and our first child, Mary.

Oh, Emma, I have such mixed emotions about how this letter will affect a decision I must make before I die.  I'll read Mary's words to you for better understanding.

July 12, 1912
Dear Aunt Olivia,
    It is with a sad heart that I inform you of the death of my Father, your beloved brother.   He passed peacefully in his sleep on the night of June 29th.  Since it has been many years since Father spoke of you, I am in hopes that this letter and it's contents will reach you through your last known address which I found in his Bible. 
   I must admit to some confusion concerning the photograph.  It, too was in his Bible along with the enclosed card and your address.  On discovering the photograph, my first thoughts were how lovely it was to have this photo of Father and his Sister.  However, the inscription on the back along with the card and the placement in Proverbs 31 which sites the passages of a virtuous woman, gives rise to questions of which I hesitate to put in writing.
   It is with great hope that you will receive this letter and will reply as soon as possible.  There is one other matter of importance that requires your attention.  Father's Last Will and Testament.  I am not at liberty to state its content to you in this letter, as it was his wish for you to be present to receive his decree.

With kind regards,

Olivia carefully folded the letter and slipped it back into the envelope.  She handed me the photograph and the card.  Both showed signs of having been handled many times.  I turned the photograph over and found the words I expected to see.
Franklin and Olivia ~ March 26, 1870 ~ Wedding Day

I looked up at Olivia to see one hand holding her handkerchief to her eyes and the other placed over her heart.  With great trepidation, I turned the card over and read...
~Olivia Mother of My Children~

...to be continued...
Authored by Sandra Sue Pittman
Photos by Author
Photos are not Representative of People or Places in this Story.
Used strictly for interest and support of story.
Photos are Authentic Representations of the Period.
This Account/Writing/Photos is an Exclusive Publication
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors


Rene Marion Pittman - Notable Ancestor

Rene Marion Pittman
Born - January 28, 1812 in Columbia County, Georgia
Died - October 24, 1873 in Queen Mills, Cobb County, Georgia

Son of
Ichabod Byrd and Frances Jackson Stone Pittman
1780-1827       1783-1857

Thomas Agustus Pittman
Selina Ann Pittman
Joseph Marshall Pittman

Mary Anne Howell Pittman
January 28, 1822 - August 22, 1890
Married - December 20, 1840 
Rene Marion and Mary Ann Howell Pittman and the Howell Family lived in the Southern part of Cobb County in the vicinity of the Chattahoochie River. The Howell property, near Garrett's Bridge is now (1850's) owned by Mrs. Hampton Howell, the daughter of R.N. Pittman (? if N is meant as M). The adjoining Pittman property is owned by Mrs. Hattie Pittman Parish, daughter of Allison Pittman. (Allison son of Rene and Mary Ann)

Mary Ann's father, Isaac Howell, was a pioneer settler of Cobb County, and the brother of Evan P. Howell of Gwinnett County, then Atlanta County. Her brothers married Sewell sisters, and another brother married Elizabeth Redwine whose family was also associated with the Word Family in neighboring Coweta County.

Many Fulton and Cobb County landmarks are named for the Howell and Sewell families including: Howell Mill Road, Sewell Mill Road, Sewell Farms Subdivisions.

Mary Ann's Uncle Captain Evan P. Howell acquired the Atlanta Constitution Newspaper when it was struggling in it's infancy, and was the Editor-in-Chief for many years.
(From: The First Hundred Years, A Short History of Cobb County Georgia)

Children of Rene Marion and Mary Anne Howell Pittman
William Howell Pittman
George Washington Pittman
Albert Singleton Pittman
James Allison Pittman
Mary Eugenia Pittman Howell
Fannie Margaret Pittman
Emma Pittman
Elizabeth Lizzy Pittman
Isaac Marion Pittman
Savannah Bartow Pittman Brown

Rene Marion Pittman served in the 7th State Guard Volunteer Infantry Regiment of Georgia, and enlisted as a Sargent in Company K at the age of 49 years on May 31, 1861. (documented in US Civil War Records and Profiles). 
    The 7th Georgia along with the 8th, 9th, 11th, and 59th made up Gen. 'Tige' Anderson's Brigade in Hood's Division of Longstreet's Corps. The GA 7th Infantry Regiment was formed in May, 1861, at Atlanta, Georgia, and in June moved to Harpers Ferry,Virginia. Assigned to Colonel F. S. Bartows Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah, it was active in the fight at First Manassas. In April 1861, the regiment had 611 effectives and served under the command of General G. T. Anderson until the end of the war. It participated in the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days Battles to Cold Harbor, except when it was detached with Longstreet at Suffolk, in Georgia, and at Knoxville. The 7th was not involved in the Battle of Chickamauga. It was active in the long Petersburg siege south and north of the James River and later the Appomattox Campaign. (From:  The War for Southern Independence In Georgia)

    Rene Marion and Mary Anne Howell Pittman lived most of their lives in Cobb County, Georgia, and were documented in the following US Census:
    ~US Census of 1840 - R.M. Pittman, age 28, head of house with 4 free white males and 1 free white female in household.  4 Slaves...2 males and 2 females with ages that indicate a young couple with two young children.  Agriculture.
    ~US Census of 1850 - R.M. Pittman, age 38, head of house with wife Mary Ann age 28.  Children:  William, George, Albert, James and Mary Eugenia.  Occupation Farmer.
    ~US Census of 1870 - R.M. Pittman, age 58, head of house with wife Mary Ann (47) and children:  James (23) farmhand, Mary, Fannie, Emma, Elizabeth, Isaac Marion, and Savannah.  Occupation Farmer.  Listed Real Estate value at $2500 and Personal Estate $500.
    ~US Census of 1880 - Mary A. Pittman, age 54, widowed head of house with children:  Eugenia (30), Fannie (28), Lizzie (23), Savannah (19)...all keeping house...Isaac (2l) Farmer.  (This Census taken 7 years after Rene Marion's death shows his widow and children farming his land.  His older sons Albert, George and Loren as living on neighboring farms.  Is possible that older sons inherited their part of their fathers estate and continued to farm all of R.M. Pittmans land.
    ~US Census of 1890 - There is no 1890 Census.  It was destroyed in a fire.  By the next Census in 1900, Mary Ann Howell Pittman has died, her older sons left Georgia for Texas, and her daughters have married or have moved in with relatives.  It is not know what became of the R.M. Pittmans Land....still researching.

    Rene Marion and Mary Anne Howell Pittman are buried in The Howell Family Cemetery.
    The Howell Family Cemetery is located in Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia.
    There are 99 Howell/Pittman and Relatives buried there .
    A descendent of the Howell Family, Clark Howell Hogan discussed founding the Howell Family cemetery in one of the Volumes of Cobb County Georgia Cemeteries. He said, "the cemetery was established in 1860 with the death of *Isaac Howell who fell dead, according to family legend, while 'cussing' Abraham Lincoln. Having said he would rather die than see Abe elected President."  *Isaac Howell was Mary Anne's Father.

    Find A Grave Memorial Links:

    Rene Marion and Mary Anne Howell Pittman
    2X Great Grandparents of
    Sandra Sue Pittman, Author
    Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
    through their son
    George Washington Pittman
    MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected


Courtin' Days...Buggy's and Buckshot

The Boarding House Journal
Date: November 1912
Room Number:  The Kitchen
Guests: The Buckners and Ranger Tom

It's been a couple of weeks since the 'Jail Break'.  The Lawmen caught up with the Mexican Bandits just before they reached the Rio Grande and made their escape into Mexico.  Lordy, what a nightmare, but as 'The Sheriff' says, it's all in the line of duty and getting Gus off his back.  Gus has been in the Sheriff's office everyday demanding his money for damages done when the Mexicans shot up his Saloon.  Lordy, what a nightmare.  I've been thinkin' some about asking for some of that damage money myself.   Eight new windows and fixin' the front door, not to mention time cleaning up broken glass.  Lordy, what a nightmare.

The Rangers completed their investigation and confirmed the shootings by the Sheriff as 'In the line of duty'.  Now, all that is left is the court hearing for the Mexican Gamblers-Shootists-Escapees.  The Sheriff and Marshall Buckner anticipate a mite more trouble with the Railroad Men being called to account and held responsible for the damages of their laborers.  With that in mind, one of the  Rangers hs been ordered to stay until after the hearing.  The Sheriff was obliged for the added security at the makeshift Jailhouse.  I'm thankful to have Room Number Six occupied and Sarah is in love. 

Olivia and I were talkin' just this morning about how 'Courtin' has changed since we were young couples.  She has been seeing Doc Powers  three and four times a week and with the extra rest and treatments, she seems to be getting stonger.  Over 'Medicinal Lady Grey Tea' this morning,  we had a good laugh about the Sheriff's Courtin' days.

You know, Olivia, I wasn't always such a lady, in fact my mama, a true Southern Belle from Georgia, was quite certain I would never be a proper corset, bustle and bonnet lady.  I could see Olivia's raised eyebrow over the rim of the rose tea cup, and as she set it in the saucer, she laughed and said, "Emma,  you must have been quite a sight as a lady wearing a proper corset, bustle and bonnet and armed with a Winchester." 

The Sheriff thought so, although on our first meeting he wasn't the sheriff, but a cowboy on my Daddy's ranch.  Hardly any of the hired cowboys realized the Bosses son was a girl.  Much to Mama's dismay, I appeared every mornin' dressed to ride, rope and wrangle with my hair under an oversided sombrero, legs in chaps and feet in high heeled boots. 

Olivia had tears running down her face as I lifted my proper ladies skirt hem and propped my booted foot on the table.  Bout that time 'The Sheriff', Marshall Buckner, Ranger Tom and Sarah walked in the kitchen.  "MOTHER," Sarah gasp as she looked up to see her beau's reaction to seeing his future mother-in-law in such an unlady like pose...not to mention wearing high heeled cowboy boots.  The Marshall had out his bandanna trying to cover a smile while looking at my husband  standing in the doorway one hand resting on his holster and the other slapping his hat against his leg.

"Hells Bells, Emma, are you tellin' the Courtin' Story'? 

"I was just gettin' to that, Sheriff.  Ya'll have a seat, I'll put on a fresh pot of coffee.  Go ahead, Sheriff, I always like hearing your version of the story," I said as I lowered my boot and hem to the floor and began filling the coffee pot.  Sarah, why don't you warm up the muffins and set out the mugs.
Oh Lordy, the Sheriff began,  I'd been workin' on Emma's Dad's ranch for a month or so when he came to the bunk house one Saturday mornin' and invited me to dinner up to the main house.  He told me to hitch up the buggy and come round five o'clock.  I thanked him for the invitation and said I'd have the buggy ready for  him and the Missus to take a ride after diner.  As he walked out of the bunkhouse I thought I heard him say somethin' about his daughter.  I sure didn't know anything about a daughter, so I went on about my business of gettin' the buggy ready and thinkin' about a real home cooked sit down dinner.

I couldn't get 'the daughter' comment outta my head.  The only kid I knew about was the skinny boy who always wore that oversized sombrero.  He was a hard worker, could throw a loop and took orders from the boss just like the rest of us hands.  He made me real nervous though.  Everytime our eyes met I got kinda jittery.  Once we were roundin' up some strays and his horse stepped in a gopher hole.  I jumped off my horse to give him a hand  seein' as how he'd been pitched off and landed in a prickley pear.  I tell you when our hands touched it was like a bolt of lightening went straight threw me.  We jerked apart like we'd been bit by a rattler.  I could tell he was hurtin' from all the spines as tears were threatening to spill down his face, and all I could think of was comforting him.

After that, I avoided that kid like the plague.  Like I said, he made me real nervous and confused.  Anyway, after polishin' the buggy, spit-shinnin' my boots and dressin' in my Sunday best I drove the horse and buggy up to the Ranch House anticipating a home cooked dinner and polite conversation.

 Lordy, was I surprised to see the 'Skinny Kid' wearin' a dress and lookin' like she'd like to throw me in a patch of prickley pear, which she threatened to do if I dared mention a word about her gettin' pitched off  her horse.  Her Daddy got a real kick outta my astonishment that the Bosses son was in fact his daughter. 

After dinner the Boss insisted I take Emma for a buggy ride.  She protested.  Her Mama, shooed us right out of the house, practically pushin her daughter off the porch.  Reluctanly, Emma agreed, but not before she disappeared back into the house.  When she came out she was wearin' her Sombrero and carryin' a Double Barreled Shotgun.  I offered my hand to help her in the buggy and quickly backed off as she swung both barrels around which were pointed at my gut, hiked up her hem and stuck her booted foot on the Step-up.

"So, Sheriff," said Sarah's Ranger, "I guess that's when she feel head over boot heels for you".

 I looked over at Sarah who was restin' her elbow on the table with her hand coverin' her beet red face, shakin' her head and mutterin' under her breath, "Oh, Lordy, here it comes".  Her father looked around the table and settled his gaze on the young Texas Ranger and said, "Hell No, young man.  You see that Shotgun hangin' right there over our weddin' picture?  It's the same rifle she had acrossed her lap on that first buggy ride when she told me....

Mister, you make one wrong move and I will fill your sorry butt with buckshot!"
To Be Continued...

Authored by Sandra Sue Pittman
Photos by Author
Photos are not Representative of People or Places in this Story.
Used strictly for interest and support of story.
Photos are Authentic Representations of the Period.
This Account/Writing/Photos is an Exclusive Publication
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected


James Greene Pittman - Notable Ancestor

Son of John and Mary Polly Rowe Pittman
Brother of
Buckner Pittman
Phillip Pittman
Timothy Pittman
John Ichabod Pittman
(4x Great Grandfather of Author)
James Greene, his Father John and four Brothers were soliders in the Revolutionary War where James rose to the rank of Lieutenant.  When Georgia fell into the hands of the British, James Greene returned to Virginia the state of his birth. 
July 2, 1781 Marriage To
Martha Patsy Taylor
Daughter of James and Nancy Owens Taylor
Family Lineage of
President Zachary Taylor
In September 1788 James Greene, Martha and three children born in Virginia, returned to Georgia.  Documents of Letters and Land Grants show that he owned large tracts of land in Franklin County which in 1796 became a part of newly formed Jackson County, Georgia.  In 1812 a portion of the Pittman land was made part of another new county, Madison County.   He also owned a large tract of land in Wilkes County, Georgia where the Pittman Family home once stood, but was destroyed by fire.
After the war, James Greene took an active role in the affairs of Georgia.  In 1796 he represented Jackson County at the 1795 Convention.  He returned to the 1798 Convention, again as a Representative of Jackson County which has been referred to as *the largest and ablest that ever assembled in Georgia.  They formed the Constitution that was not materially changed until after the War between the States.  *Historian George Smith.
James Greene Pittman State of Georgia Appointments
Judge of the Inferior Court of Jackson County - June 21, 1796
by Gov. Jared Irwin
Captain in the Jackson County Militia - Oct. 13, 1798
House of Representatiaves 1797-1799
Commissioner of Jackson County Academy - Feb. 11, 1797
In 1812 Jackson County was divided and Madison County was formed. 
Commissioner of Madison County Academy - Nov. 6, 1812
Legislative Representative for Madison County
Militia District of Madison County Honoree
Dist. named for James G. Pittman
John Greene Pittman died on Christmas Day, December 25, 1850 at the age of 94 years. 
He is buried in the Pittman Cemetery in Madison County, Georgia.
John Greene Pittman Memorial - Find A Grave Website
Donated By
Erected In Memory of Lieut. Pittman
By His Descendants
Find A Grave Memorial and Photos by Leigh Williams Kitchens
4X Great Granddaughter of John Greene Pittman

Martha Taylor Pittman, wife of James Greene died in May 1850, seven months before his death in December.  During the summer of 1850, he had his slaves build a rock wall enclosing her grave and that of his daughter Martha and her husband, Abner Wells.  James Greene's grave is marked with the Bronze Marker of the United States Daughters of 1812 and with the Government Marker of the Revolutionary War.  This was secured through the efforts of two of his great -granddaughters in 1912. 
James Greene and Martha Patsy Taylor Pittman Children
John Green Pittman  1782-1873
Pleasant Owen Pittman 1784-1849
Martin Hughes Pittman 1786-1836
Sir James Pittman 1788-1848
Elizabeth Alice Pittman 1790-1850
Nancy Sarah Pittman 1792-1830
Lucinda Pittman 1794-1864
Timothy Franklin Pittman 1797-1883
Sarah Ann Pittman 1798-1854
Martha Diana Pittman 1801-1890
Noah Washington Pittman 1803-1890
Teresa Pittman 1807-1888
Elizabeth Ann Pittman 1822-1888

Ancestry.com Public Document
Judges James Greene and John Greene Memorial Presentation
Find A Grave Memorial
Leigh Williams Kitchens
The Georgia Historical Society's
Index To US Census of Georgia for 1820

James Greene Pittman
4X Great Uncle
Sandra Sue Pittman, Author
Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected


The Lawmen..Sheriff, Marshall and Texas Rangers

The Boarding House Journal
Date: November 1912
Room Number: 6
Guests:  Texas Rangers

"I'll be damn'ed 'Buck', I'm truly sorry I didn't recognize you.  How many years has it been?  Emma, this here's Marshall Buckner.  We worked a case together down in Laredo, best I can remember nearly twenty years ago."  The Sheriff said as he shook hands again with John Buckner. 

Their conversation continued as they stood on the porch waiting for the two Texas Rangers to arrive. "I'm mighty glad you are here 'Buck', this is a touchy situation with these Railroad Men and the band of Mexicans they have hired as laborers.  It's a sorry day when the Prohibitioners have shut down every 'Waterin' Hole' within a hundred miles of the rail head.  Just so happens The Grey Mule is the only Saloon and Pecos the only County they haven't shut down.  Those railroaders stayed liquored up and hottern' habbenero's at loosin' at the card table.  I was sure hopin' they'd get on out of town without breakin' any laws or shootin' up the Saloon.

Marshall Buckner reassured 'The Sheriff' that he'd done his duty, and it was too bad that he'd had to shoot the two men.  He felt sure that the Rangers investigation would prove that to be so, and settle things between his office and the railroad.  "I didn't come here on official Marshall business, but I did send a wire to the US Marshall's office this afternoon letting them know I was in Pecos County.  They wired back and ordered me to stay until this is settled.  I'll be here in an official capacity to help with the Rangers investigation and to help you in anyway I can."

The Rangers arrived mid-afternoon.  I was busy in the kitchen so Sarah registered them and showed them to Room Number Six where we had set up two beds on each side of the entry door with night stands and foot lockers.  Two lace curtained windows overlooked the covered porch, Main Street and the Jail House.  They made arrangements for Pedro to stable their horses and set off across the street to the Sheriff's Office where 'The Sheriff' and Marshall Buckner were waiting to brief them.

It was nearing supper time when Olivia came into the kitchen.  I looked up from the bowl of cornbread I was stirring and greeted her, "Why Olivia, I'm so glad to see you feeling better.  Have a seat there at the kitchen table and I'll put on a pot of Lady Grey.  I hope you rested well today.  You surely do have good color in your cheeks and what a lovely lace collar and cameo".  She thanked me and said, "I am feeling better and if you'll show me where the tea is I'll put on the teapot.  I understand from my husband that we will be staying on for awhile, and I do not intend to stay in bed all day.  I'd like to help out anyway I can."

She donned the apron I handed her, put on the teapot, and made herself right at home in my kitchen.  By supper time, the pot of red beans that had soaked the night before and cooked all day with the ham bone was ready along with the corn bread.  Supper began with 'The Sheriff' introducing the Texas Rangers to everyone at the table.  "Pleased to meet you ma'am," said the younger of the two when introduced to me as the Sheriff's wife and Boarding House proprietress.  "The smell of red beans and cornbread sure remind me of my Mother's kitchen."  He then  pulled out the chair for Sarah and was rewarded with a shy smile and, "Thank-you, Tom." 

The Sheriff and I exchanged a knowing look as he offered the Blessing.  Amen's all around and supper began with thanks and compliments to cooks.  Marshall Buckner patted Olivia's hand as I gave her credit for the cornbread and seemed quite happy to see his wife's improved health and obvious acceptance of his new assignment. 

After supper, the men retired to the parlor for cigars and conversation while Sarah, Olivia and I cleared the table and cleaned the kitchen.  We had just joined the men in the parlor when all hell broke loose.  Shots were fired, glass was blown out of the windows, and   I was on the floor with my husband covering me.  Olivia and the Marshall were in a similar position and Sarah was wrapped in the arms of the young Texas Ranger. 

As if in slow motion, we all regained our footing and when it seemed no one was injured, the Lawmen grabbed their Winchesters and headed for the door which was hanging on one hinge.  Before they got to the porch, we could hear the deputy coming up the steps yelling.....

Sheriff,  they blew up the Jail and escaped with the prisoners!
To Be Continued...
Authored by Sandra Sue Pittman
Photos by Author
Photos are not Representative of People or Places in this Story.
Used strictly for interest and support of story.
Photos are Authentic Representations of the Period.
This Account/Writing/Photos is an Exclusive Publication
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected