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'!