Bronc Buster~Fly Boy and Ditch Rider

The Bronc Buster...W.C. Pittman
The Fly Boy...MD Pittman
The Ditch Rider...C.C. Pittman
This recently...September 2013... found photo taken about 1943-44 is one of three existing early photos of my Dad, Uncle and Grandfather.   In November 2011 on Tracks of My Texas Ancestors, I wrote and posted Rattlesnakes, Sidewinder and Flying Contraptions...a story about these three men at the exact time in their lives as when the photo was taken.
CollectInTexas Gal, Family Genealogist and Psychic Ghost Writer 


Daddy Was A Texas Trucker

Roll on highway, roll on along
Roll on daddy till you get back home
Roll on family, roll on crew
Roll on momma like I asked you to do
And roll on eighteen-wheeler roll on
Yep, my Daddy was a Trucker! 
And...Ya'll may have a hard time believeing this, but...My Mama was a Trucker, too!

It was one of those, "If you can't LickEm...JoinEm thingies!
So, Mama got her CDL (ClassADrivers License), and joined Daddy on the 'BigRig' haulin' everything from 'Swingin' Beef' to Cabbage all across the USA.

Now, being as I'm a Truckers Daughter, I know a thing or two about 'Truckers' and 18 Wheelers.
#1  All Truckers DoNot wear those 'Gimmie Caps.  Ya'll know the ones...as described by Wikepedia...Really!
The design of a trucker hat is similar to that of a baseball cap, with a slightly curved bill in front, joined triangular sections forming the hat, and a button on top. Instead of being made of cotton fabric like a typical baseball cap, the front section of a trucker hat above the bill is foam, and the rest is plastic mesh for breathability. The foam front of the hat stands up straight and stiff, which makes the trucker hat taller than most baseball caps. There is an adjustable plastic snap closure in the back to ensure that one size fits most.
My Daddy always, and I mean ALWAYS wore his Cowboy Hat! 

All the 'Truckin' Memories' were triggered by yesterdays 'OnTheRoad Again' Trip Hi Honey and I made  to Midland, Texas.  It's another of those roads we travel often, so the scenery and PhotoOp is 'BeenThere DoneThat' stuff.  However, this was NeatONikon's first trip down Highway 87 and shooting through the windshield proved to be entertaining as well as getting some great shots of passing trucks and the amazing Texas Sky along with a few splats of bug guts....that's a trucker term.

 #2  I know you are dying to know...Yep, I have driven an 18 Wheeler with my Daddy sitting right close by to help with shifting 18 gears.  It was all I could do to steer and just for the record, Officer, I only wiped out ONE Mile Marker sign. 

PS...FYI...Most all 18wheelers have anywhere from 8 to18 different gears in them depending on what transmission is in the truck. When you shift gears you are moving a sliding collar on the transmission input shaft and splining it with a gear mounted on the output shaft. Since these engines don't have synchronizers in them like a car or pickup has you have to use doubleclutching to slow the gears back down in order to get the gears to mesh together for the next gear change.

See...I told ya'll I knew a thing or two about Truckers and 18 Wheelers.  Thanks, Daddy!
Someday I'll tell them about your Texas Cowboy Trucker in New York City story!


My Motivational Texas Ancestors

In an Interview recently I was asked, "What got you interested in or started your family history/genealogy?

It was my first Genealogy Interview and, I thought the questions were going to be harder to answer.

I was prepared to fess up to questions about having ancestors that might have been Wild West Texas Outlaws.

So the question about how I got interested and started was an easy one to answer.  I even have a photo of the two people who inspired, motivated, and gave me my start as 'The Keeper of My Family's History'.

 Meet the 'Motivational First Keeper' aka as the 'Barefoot Genealogist'...my Aunt Vera Irene Pittman Sinks.  She's sitting beside the 'Cowboy Inspiration' for Tracks of My Texas Ancestors...my Dad...Willard Carroll Pittman.

Irene was the oldest of the six siblings and Willard the youngest.   There was ten years difference in their ages with two brothers and two sisters between them. They were Texas born and raised with an appreciation for their Texas Pioneer heritage.

Irene spent much of her lifetime in search of our Family History.  She loved to talk and write about our ancestors, and the information she found in her research.  Her hours of note taking in libraries and the inquiries from Genealogical Societies from Georgia to Texas have given me an abundance of information on which to build our Family Tree in the Technologically Advanced Genealogy Community of the Twenty-First Century.
About that Interview...
CollectInTexasGal/Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
Featured Genealogy Blog
GeneaBloggers 'May I Introduce To You'
Sue Pittman McPeak
CollectInTexas Gal


Microfiching Catches a Family History Whopper

I've been known to tell some pretty good fish stories!  Mostly about how the Bigun's Got Away or the fishin' was so good they were jumpin outta the water and snatching the worms right off the hook. 

It's been awhile since I've been fishin' for whoppers, but recently I got the idea to go Microfiche-ing.

I've been carrying around the 'Bait' for several months and was just waiting to be in the right place at the right time to catch what I hoped would add some insight to what happened to...

....Great Granddaddy's Second Wife!

I caught a Whopper and Opened Up a Whole New Can of Worms!

August 23, 1918


Mrs. G.W. Pittman, of Grandfalls, who only recently had come here for medical treatment, died very suddenly from organic heart trouble, at the Riggs Hotel, Saturday evening August 16th.

The remains were prepared for burial by Undertaker W.H. Bird, after which they were taken to Grandfalls, Sunday afternoon and interred in the cemetery at that place. 

The funeral services were conducted by Reverand M.O. Williams, pastor of the Methodist Church, of which church the deceased was a devoted member.

A husband and two children, who reside in Grandfalls, are left to mourn her loss.

Obituary for Mrs. George Washington Pittman...Nancy Anne Carey Forkner Pittman.
Born...April 23, 1854 in Monroe County Tennessee to John E. Carey and Ellen M. McAllister
Died...August 16th, 1918 at the age of 64 in Fort Stockton, Pecos County, Texas
Survived by husband George Washington Pittman of Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas.
and....here's the Opening of a Whole New Can of Worms....
....the two children left to mourn were her Granddaughters. 
This I knew from the 1910 Census that listed Maime 4 years and Tillie 1 year, and who at the time of Nancy's death would have been 12 and 9 years of age.  Who and where was the Mother of these two granddaughters?   Why weren't Nancy's SIX children she reported as having given birth to in the 1900 Census, listed as surviving her or preceeding her in death? 
Yep, looks like another Fishin' Trip!
But first, the Obituary Revelations!!
The Riggs Hotel where Nancy died has been a subject and photo resource for many of the posts here on CollectInTexas Gal.  As a former member of the Fort Stockton Historical Society and Board Member of the Annie Riggs Museum, I have spent many hours there.  What a Special Moment it was for me when I read that my Great Grandfather and Step-Great Grandmother had stayed there exactly 95 years ago to the day that I Microfiched the Obituary!  I can hardly wait to get back to Fort Stockton and the Annie Riggs Museum to find their Signatures in the August 1918 Registry.

The remains were prepared for burial by Undertaker W.H. Bird, after which they were taken to
Grandfalls, Sunday afternoon and interred in the cemetery at that place. 
That place being the Tamarisk Cemetery.
Another Special Moment to realize that another of my Pittman Texas Ancestors
 can now be officially laid to rest with other Family Members including
George Washington Pittman's Grandsons and Great Grandsons
Willard Carroll Pittman and MD Pittman
Stacy Scott Pittman and Billy Carroll Sinks
Rest in Heavenly Peace
Nancy Anne Carey Forkner Pittman
April 23, 1854 - August 16, 1918
You are fondly remembered in the Pittman Family Tree and History
as documented in
Tracks of My Texas Ancestors.
Your story will be told.


Gone But Not Forgotten In Tamerisk Cemetery

Not My Kin...just folks I find...whose Stones I photograph...whose stories I tell...who sometimes are 'Kin Connected'.
Mary Springen was born in Norway on November 20, 1853 and immigrated to America in 1860 at age 7...according to the 1900 Census from Ward County, Texas.

I will begin her Texas story in September 1897 when Mary and her brother Ole Springen bought property  in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas on the SW corner, of Ave D and 2nd Street.  Here they erected Grandfalls first Hotel, a two story building with wide porches and railings on both levels.

Ole and Mary were part of what was called the 'Scandinavian Invasion' in Ward County with many immigrant families seeking land and opportunities in what was being touted as the 'Finest Climate In The World' by developers of the Grandfalls Irrigation Company.  Besides the Hotel, Ole Springen ran a Freight Wagon business between Grandfalls and Monahans, and farmed along with his wife Lena.  Mary, it seems was the primary InnKeeper as was noted in the 1900 Census. 
The circumstances of Mary's death on May 11, 1905 are not known. 
Her gravesite and tombstone are the only records of her death with a possible clue
as to the cause of death with the inscription.
No Pain No Grief No Anxious Fear
Can Reach Our Loved One Sleeping Here
Tamarisk Cemetery...Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas
Sometime after Mary's death, her brother Ole and his family left Grandfalls and Ward County.  Ole's name appears in the Pecos Valley Irrigationist newspaper dated Thursday, March 27, 1913 as a new subscriber from Boumont, California.

In the 1910 Census Ole and his family of wife Lena and three children reside in San Fernando, Los Angeles, California where Ole owned and operated a Blacksmith Shop.

Ole Springen's application for US Citizenship in 1917 reveals more of his and his sister Mary's family background.  Ole and Mary were born in Flesberg, Norway, emigrated to the US from Windsor, Canada on unknown vessel and arrived in the port of Detroit, Michigan in 1857.  Their family name in Norway was Oleson, and declared as Ole Springen on the Declaration of Intention.  His wife Lena was a natural born citizen of Marshall, Wisconsin.  In 1920 Ole, Lena and family are in San Gorgonio, Riverside, California where Ole is working as a farm laborer.  Ten years later in 1930,  Ole, Lena and son Oscar are living on owned farm and listed as Hay Farmers. 
Ole Oleson Springer died in 1937 at age 83.  His wife Lena died in 1948.
They are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Beaumont, Riverside County, California.
 Mary and Ole are Not My Kin. 
 I photographed Mary's Headstone near the Pittman Family Plot in Tamarisk Cemetery.
As a Grandfalls Family Historian, I wondered who she was.
We are Not Kin...but...We are Connected.
A Grandfalls cowboy.  Ott's Blacksmith Shop. C. Hale's Meat Market, and Grandfalls Hotel.
Photo from Ward County History 1887-1977 pg.181
 Original Photo found in my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll's Album.
The Cowboy is thought to be Bob Olfield... Martha Jane's second husband.
My Great StepGrandfather and Pen Name Story Teller.
Here's one of 'Our Stories'
I'm pretty sure Mary and Ole Springen knew not only Bob Olfield, but my Great Grandfather George Washington Pittman and wife Nancy who arrived in Grandfalls about the same time as the Scandinavians Invaded.  Great Grandmother Nancy who died in 1918 is buried not far from Mary Springen. 
It's a small cemetery and a 'Small World Afterall'.


Pictures...Worth More Than A Thousand Words

I don't know about you, but my Family Picture Takers and Photo Album Keepers
must have thought that the Future Generation Viewers were going to have
Super Deductive-MindReading Powers.
It is RARE that I find a picture with ANY hint of WhoWhatWhenWhere!

Like this one sent to me in 1996 by my Dad's First Cousin Tom Pittman and his wife Jean.  It was from their Photo Album and he thought I should have it since it was an early picture of me, my parents and siblings along with his Mother and his children. 
A note came with the photo that filled in a few VIP Facts:
...found the picture of your Mom and Dad's visit in El Paso so many years ago...I will have a copy made.
...There are 3 children in the picture...you, Tommy and a baby.
...PittMama is holding our Judy and son Larry is to her right.
...the photo will not copy...so enjoy!
Needless to say I was thrilled to have the original and the information about the picture.
For the rest of the Who's What's Where's and When's...
....My SuperDeductiveSleuthin' Powers!

#1.  The Baby is my Sister Sonja born in November 1950.  She looks to be close to one year old.
#2.  My Dad...Willard C. Pittman...with HAIR...I don't remember him ever having that much hair...loved seeing that.
#3.  Dad's pockets held Camel cigarettes and box matches.  *a vip hint for future reference.
#4.  I had a CURLY head of hair.  I have naturally STRAIGHT hair...Mom must have given me one of her famous 'overly processed Perms'...probably a Toni!
#5.  I'm wearing shorts....it was SUMMER.
#6.  I guess I was born with KNOBBY KNEES...I still have them...wonder what ancestor started those!
#7.  My brother Tommy was a Shrimp!  His size 3Slim jeans were really probably size 4Slims rolled up and belted.  Mother was a believer in making things last....like Wranglers and Toni's.
#8.  Mother was a FashionIsta!  Rolled up Jeans, sleeveless blouse, dark lipstick and a Home Toni!  She was beautiful...still is!
#9.  My Great Aunt Mary Ella Carroll Pittman aka PittMama to her children and grandchildren.  Her sister was my Grandmother Estella Carroll Pittman...Dad's Mother.  Notice that their Maiden and Married names are the SAME.  *a vip hint for future reference.
#10.  A cousin I didn't know I had.  He's also wearing shorts...it's Summer!
#11.  Back of the photo!  Confirms it came from a photo album with the sticky sheets and even if Jean had written on the back it would not have been visible.  Maybe she had a tag!  For sure it was a special photo for Tom and Jean.
SuperSleuthing Deductions
When:  Summer...August 195l
Where:  El Paso, Texas at  Tom and Jean Pittman's home in *Wherry Housing near Biggs Base.
Who:  PittMama...nickname for Aunt Ella.  *Larry - Jean's son by former marriage. *Judith Lee born in January 1951 in El Paso and described as having her Grandmother's...PittMama...strong willed mind of her own.
What...I learned...There is more to a Photo than meets the eye!

More SuperSleuthing Questions!
Who took this picture?
What happened to Larry?
What is Biggs Base?

I bet I will find the answers to these questions in this book written about Tom Pittman.
It's where I found the * (asterick marked) facts in the Deductions.

*vip future references
*Camel cigarettes-the most recognized cigarette package even by children...
In 1991, the American Medical Association published a report stating that 5- and 6-year olds could more easily recognize Joe Camel than Mickey Mouse, Fred Flintstone, Bugs Bunny or even Barbie.  (Wikepedia)  I was 4 years old and Tommy was 3 yrs. old.  Dad smoked from about the age of 10 years old until his death in 1988 of lung cancer. 

 *Maiden and Married names the SAME:  Sisters Stella and Ella Carroll married Brothers Chappo and Cobb Pittman.  This made their children including my Dad and Tom, Double Cousins.  It has been amazing to see how much the Cousins looked alike...more like Siblings!
A picture is Worth MORE than a Thousand Words...
...even without the
Who What When and Where's!


Dear John...You are NOT Number One

Dear John, John, John, John, John,+ Ten More,

As the 'Number One' most given 'Given Guys Name' in the Pittman Family Tree, it is my duty as 'The Family's Genealogist' to inform All Fifteen of you, despite popular 'Moniker Statistics', Ya'll are NOT Number One.

Since the First John Pittman born in America in 1726, your name has been held in high esteem and an honorable tradition in the naming of 'First Born Sons' who are destined to be called Junior.

From Colonial John through Civil War John, the Pittman John's led the nation as the Number One Given Guys Name.  This trend continued through the 1920's.  During these Trend Setting years, William ran a close second in the US and in our 'Tree' with Eleven Williams.  True to Trend, James, George, Robert, Charles, Joseph, Frank, Henry and Thomas were 'Tree Toppers' as well as 'Chart Toppers ' across the nation.

Dear Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane + Fifteen More,

Ya'll are Number One in The Pittman Family Tree.  Never mind that Jane as a Given Gals Name only made Number Twenty-Two on the All Time Popularity List.

Jane The First, Jane Calvert Leatherwood 1746-1764, believed in the 'Family Namesake' tradition.   Her son's were John, William, James, George, and Thomas.  She named two of her daughters after herself or possibly her mother...one was Jane and the other Janey.

 Jane The First in 'Our Tree' was the Direct Ancestor and 4XGreat Grandmother of her namesake Martha Jane Marley Carroll, my  Great Grandmother. 

Janie as she was called, has become 'My Family Tree Focus Female'.  Her grandson, Willard Carroll Pittman is my father, and through his lineage Martha Jane Marley Carroll's 'Family Photo Album' was 'Passed Down' to me.

The discovery and photo detective work of Janie's Album has led to many of
'The John's, James' and Jane's in
The Pittman~Carroll~Marley~Leatherwood Family Tree
The Photo Album can be viewed HERE.


This Old Marley Mare Is Goin' Home

The Marley Mare and Mert Carroll's Story
'Don't pick up this 'Old Mare'. She is goin' home'
October 1908
Dear Mama,
I am fine. Don't worry. I am workin' at the Cotton Mill in Post City. Stayin' with Aunt Annie and Uncle Oscar. Don't know when I will be home.
Your son,
PS...Tell Grandpa, I am sorry bout taken' Delsey. I knew she'd find her way home.

Merritt Douglas Carroll was but a boy of ten years old when he hung the cardboard sign around Delsey's neck with the note to his Mama, Martha Jane Marley Carroll. The year before, Mert, got all the way to Snyder, Texas, before he was picked up by Sheriff Frank Christopher.

The Sheriff knew exactly who the boy was, and that the horse he was riding was stolen. Delsey belonged to Elisha Marley over in Borden County. Sheriff Christopher knew the Marley's pretty well since his brother Oscar had married Anna Etta Marley in October, 1901.

The story goes...Mert was pickin' cotton in his Grandpa's cotton field on a clear day with blue skies above when he dumped out his half full sack, threw it over Delsey's bare back and took off. He made his way as far as Scurry County by pickin' cotton along the way for 50 cents per hundred pounds. When Sheriff Christopher picked him up he had $2 in his pocket.

When asked why he took off with his Grandpa's horse and cotton pickin' sack, he said, "We need the money."

Mert was a man of few words with a work ethic that went back to his days as a 'Cotton Picker' on his Grandpa's Farm in Gail, Borden County, Texas. From Post City, Texas he worked his way to California and then on to Canada. His Mama didn't see him again until around 1915 when he returned home to help her move to West Texas.
Mert was the second child of Stephen Bennett and Martha Jane Marley Carroll.
Pictured here with his parents and siblings in 1900.
Mert is the first little boy...standing next to his older brother Othella.
Sister Estella in her mothers lap.
Their father, Stephen B. Carroll died in June 1903....three years after this photo was taken.
Mert was my Great Uncle.
I was fortunate to know him quite well in his Golden Years as he lived with my parents on their Farm in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas.
Dad was Mert's nephew by his sister Estella Carroll Pittman.

Mert was stricken with Glaucoma in his fifties and by his seventies was only able to see light and dark shadows. His blindness slowed him down, but didn't keep him from working everyday of his life. He spent many hours in the fields of the 'Pittman Family Farm' grubbing mesquite with a pick axe. He found his way from the house to the field by following a 'Line of Chimes' he created from 'Hub Caps and Tin Cans'.
He Rests In Peace, but probably still 'Grubbing Mesquite',
in Tamarisk Cemetery, Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas
He was true to his Epitaph to the end of his life.
Merritt Douglas Carroll was a great story teller and I was a good listener.
Thanks Uncle Mert for sharing your Life Stories,
Photo Credits
T J Brown's Cotton Gin...Photo from Martha Jane Marley's Photo Album
Othella and Mert Carroll about 1918...Mert (standing)
Carroll Family Portrait...from Martha Jane Marley's Photo Album
Mert Carroll's Headstone...from my Collection...taken 2011


Trimming The Family Tree

Where did all these folks come from?   Who knew there would be so many people to acknowledge on a persons Family Tree?   Where does one start picking off leaves or chopping off brances?

And to think, when I first started growing My Family Tree, I never ever would have thought I'd find so many ancestors that I'd have to 'Trim The Tree'.

 I've always thought of 'My Tree' as a Mesquite Tree.  It's a hardy and prolific plant found in West Texas with deep tap roots and what can be anywhere from two feet scrubby shrubs to thirty foot trees.   I've often referred to myself as the 'First Bean' of my Dad's Branch/Twig and my Siblings as Beans Two, Three, Four and Five.

About those Mesquite Beans...they have been known as a food source.  Dried and ground beans have been made into flour which adds a sweet, nutty taste to breads or used in jelly or wine.  It is unwise to eat these beans raw unless you are a heifer or steer.  Yep, they love those green beans and snap them right off the tree.  Now you know how they got to be the most prolific plant in Texas. 

Now don't misunderstand my 'Prolific Bean Theory' as a comparison to my 'Prolific Production of Ancestors'.  It wasn't until the 1890's that they were exposed to the Texas Mesquite Tree, and as you can see from the 'Grandparent Chart', just about any Tree can handle that number of Branches, Twigs and Beans.  It's the Great Great's To Infinity that are cluttering up my Tree...not to mention my BeanBrain!  Why, there are so many 'GG's2InFin' that I have invented 'TAGS' that say Profile Done....afterall you only need to DigEm Up Once.
So where do I draw the Family Tree Pruning Line?
How many 'Great Great's 2 Infinity' Ancestors do I need to know?
I think 5X Great Grandparents John Ichabod and Mary Polly Rowe Pittman ought to do it!
Afterall, diggin' around in Colonial America has turned up some really neat stuff!
Although, finding Mary Polly Rowe's 5XGreat Grandparents in Scotland is tempting!
Just think Sue...10X Great Grandparents...WOW!!!
Click HERE for More
Family Tree Stories/Posts


Golden Moments In The Stream of Life

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ~George Elliot

I liken this quote to the time I've spent in the last few months researching and documenting my Family Tree. I invite you to view my collection of Vintage Photos and read the 'Stories' I've posted here on CollectInTexas Gal and on My Family Heritage Blog...Tracks of My Texas Ancestors.

From my Collection of Vintage Photos, I've been drawn to the portraits of children. Studying them in detail reveals much about their place in the family like this big sister with the big bows tied kind of cockeyed around her braids.

I imagine her Mama fixed them all straight and spiffy before the picture was taken, but back then getting your picture taken was like going to church...puttin' on your Sunday Best and Sittin' Still through lots of 'Hellfire's and Damnations' when you didn't know what that meant except that it was Hottern'Hell in all those SundayBestin's!

And then there's the 'Camera Contraption'! Can you just imagine what Big Sister was thinkin' about the Camera Creature who spoke from under the Three Legged OneEyed Smoke Belchin' Contraption? No wonder she's reaching for baby's hand! "It's all right baby. I'm your Guardian Angel."
Just look at this 'Sweet Angel' in the 'PinTuck Ruffled and Laced' Dress.
Now, one of the things I've discovered in studying 19th Century photos is that just because the child is wearing a dress doesn't necessarily mean it's a Girl Child!

For instance...in this Family Portrait of my Great Grandparents taken about 1899...
you'll notice that four of the five family members are wearing dresses.
I'll start on the left with names:
Great Uncle Meritt Douglas, Great Uncle Othello Elisha, Great Granddaddy Steven Bennett, my Grandmother Effie Estella and Great Grandmother Martha Jane.
(Boy Howdy, did I come from a bunch of 'Off The Wall Named' folks wearin' dresses)

Several years later...beginning of the 20th Century...there's one more child in the Great's Family Portrait.
And Yep, it's a Girl Child named Mary Ella wearin' a dress.
Standing next to her is my Grandmother Effie Estella wearin' a dress.
And those guys in Knickers?
Yep, it's Merritt Douglas and Othello Elisha!
Don't you know from the look on their faces they are thinkin'...
"Our Mama MADE us wear these 'SissyShirts'!!!

So here we are in the middle of the 20th Century where parents sat their kids down on the ground on an old blanket from the trunk of their '1950 Pink Nash Rambler' and said 'Say Cheese'!
So I did with my whole face.
My brother Tommy thought he said, 'Freeze', and baby sister Sonja, well, her first word was...Cheese'!