Leatherwood-Pittman Myths Debunked

A to Z Family Tree...Letter 'L'

Vera Irene Pittman Sinks..."Okay, Sue, raise your right hand and repeat after me".

Me..."I, Sandra Sue Pittman do swear, on a 'Stack of Family Bibles' to continue and maintain The Pittman-Carroll-Marley-Leatherwood Family Tree.

I accept the Title as Family Historian, bequeathed to me by Vera Irene Pittman Sinks, The Barefoot Genealogist and sister of my father.

As the daughter of Willard Carroll Pittman, Granddaughter of Estella Carroll Pittman, Great Granddaughter of Martha Jane Marley Carroll, and Great Great Granddaughther of Mary Josephine Leatherwood Marley, I do promise to prove that Rene Marion Pittman came to America from France and Mary Josephine Leatherwood descended from a Great Apache Chief."

And so, began my journey as Family Historian.  Armed with my Aunt Irene's collection of notes, letters, novella's and stories told to me in conversations about our family.  Aunt Irene's family history was gathered the 'Old School' way...through libraries, historical societies, court and city records and passed down word of mouth from family members. 

At the TOP of  the Pittman Family Branch, Irene had traced as far back as Rene Marion Pittman from Alsace Lorraine, France who came to America and married a Black Dutch woman...according to her notes.  Right off the bat, I'm wondering how a Frenchman...which could be with a name like Rene, got a surname like Pittman which I knew was not French, and how his wife could be Dutch and black. 
Rene Marion Pittman Myth .... Debunked
Rene Marion Pittman was Born, Raised and Died in Georgia, USA!
His wife, Mary Anne Howell Pittman was Born, Raised and Died in Georgia, USA..
.was not Dutch or Black. 

~DeBunking The Leatherwood Myth~
OMG!!! It has to be Mary Josephine Leatherwood.  She looks Indian! 
After years of conjuring up stories in my head about how an Apache Princess must have lived her life married to a 'Trapper' or a 'Texas Lawman', you can imagine my excitement to find this picture in my Great Grandmother Martha Jane's Photo Album.  So, I proclaimed the 'Apache Princess' story as a part of our Family Tree, and set out to claim our American Indian Heritage.  Then I found....
...this photo on an Internet Search for the name Leatherwood.
Oddly enough it was the same folks pictured in a newspaper clipping in Great Grandmothers Album.
After some 'SueHolmes' detective work on the www, ancestry.com and Find A Grave,  I was rewarded with the black and white photo of Mary Josephine Leatherwood's father John Moore Leatherwood, Jack County Pioneer and her Siblings...none of which were Apache.  The photo explained the newspaper clipping from the Album, and I later found out that Miss Alice Doss
was the daughter of Minnie Lee Leatherwood Doss.  Unfortuately Mary Josephine was not pictured with her Family as she had married and moved from Jack County to Borden County, Texas.
Mary Josephine Leatherwood married Elisha Smith Marley
January 5, 1878 in Jack County, Texas
Pictured here with sons (standing L-R) Jesse Simeon, James Benjamin, George Holbert, Zachariah Andrew and William Samuel seated next to Elisha Smith Marley.  Daughters Anna Etta, Lou Ida and Wardie Bell standing next Mary Josephine Leatherwood Marley.  Martha Jane Marley Carroll and John Henry Marley....not pictured.
Mary Josephine Leatherwood Marley is buried in 'The Plain View Cemetery' not far from the Family Farm.

So, she was the wife of a Farmer, not a Texas Lawman or a Mountain Trapper.  She was the daughter of a Texas Pioneer and Civil War Veteran, not an Apache Chief.  She was the mother of my Great Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll.

She was a Leatherwood...a surname dating back to 1680 when an English couple John and Martha Leatherwood arrived in Colonial Maryland.

Leatherwood Myth Debunked!
This woman!!!! Turns out to be Palmyra Akin Thedford!
My Great Great Aunt from Tennessee...her story

PS...Dear Aunt Irene, I thought you'd like to know the reason we can't seem to get the hang of speaking French, and why the thought of buckskin makes us itch.  Hope you are not too disappointed! 
Love, Sue
To View All AtoZ Posts....click on Apple.


  1. hahaha Your Aunt Irene now has a very good reason. I can not beleive all this wonderful history and those gorgeous pictures!! Incredible. Thanks for sharing. Grace xoox

  2. Wow! That's a lot of detective work with great results. Love the old photos.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  3. Wonderful story, Sue. Since you've debunked that myth, you can help me with mine which says Lafayette GAVE someone in our family the Natural Bridge (in Rockbridge County, Virginia -- big tourist attraction) and then that family member SOLD it to Thomas Jefferson. Care to guess how much stock I put in this story?

  4. Wow, I really admire all the genealogy detective work you've done! My grandfather is the researcher in our family, and I often wonder who is going to trace things once he passes... so much of it is already done, but as you know, the job of the family historian is never done!

    My blog is all about my art-- my jewelry and knitting and everything that goes along with it. I'm glad I found you through the A to Z challenge!

    Happy History Hunting...

    *~* Julia *~* http://beautifullywhimsical.blogspot.com *~*

  5. While the Apache Princess/Black Dutchwoman angle was really interesting, there's just something very appealing and satisfying about unearthing the truth!

  6. How wonderful that you were able to trace your family back so far, find out so much and have pictures to prove it!

  7. Funny post, whilst at the same time informative. I bet you feel gutted now you're not related to a princess.



Thanks for your visit & comment. I'd love to return the visit...please leave your LINK or click on over and comment on Where Bluebonnets Grow.