8/1/16

Ancestor Born In August...Lizzie May

"Lizzie loves the doll you made for her.  She named her Magnolia, and remembers you in her bedtime prayers.  She is a sweet little girl."  

I vaguely remembered fictionalizing those few sentences in a journal entry back in December 2011.  Mattie's Journal and Letters: The Year of Mourning is a Fact-Based Fiction/Creative writing used to tell the story of my great grandfather's and his children's lives after the death of his wife and their mother.  The journal/letter writer, daughter Mattie, was the oldest of the six children still at home when their mother died.  She was sixteen.  Lizzie May was three.

Lizzie May Pittman was born on August 7, 1892 in Cobb County, Georgia, the tenth child of Emma and George.  Her oldest sister Beulah Magnolia was 23 years old...old enough to be Lizzie's mother.  Between the oldest and youngest sisters were five brothers and three more sisters.  There would be one more brother born two years after Lizzie...Howard Grady in May 1894.  Their mother, Emma June died  the next year on May 4, 1895, the day before Howard Grady's first birthday.

Besides that one entry in Mattie's Journal, there has been nothing written about Lizzie May, until now.  Primarily due to the writing timeline established on Tracks of My Georgia Ancestors where her father George Washington is scheduled last in Generation 4...now in progress. 

On her ancestry profile there are only four 'Date Facts' with the first being her birthdate on August 7, 1892.  The next fact entry is the birth of her brother Howard Grady and the third is the death of her mother in 1895.  The last date is one of speculation which has little or no possibility of being otherwise....her death...stated as 'Before 1898'.  Accepting that as the last 'Fact' on her profile without giving some explanation for a 'sweet little girl' who remembered her sister at bedtime prayers is not how I can leave Lizzie May's story...factual or otherwise. 

Neither Lizzie May or Howard Grady appear in any of the documentation prior to or after their father George Washington left Cobb County Georgia about 1898.  Two documents attest to their absence.  First, in the Texas Marriage Collection of 1899.  George married a widow from Tennessee in Comanche, Mason County, Texas.  Their listing in the 1900 US Census combined their two families with all names listed including his daughters Mattie (18), Ruth (13) and sons George L. (21), Howell Cobb (10) and wife Nancy's children Annie (16), Mary (13) and Mattie (10). 

It would not be far fetched to explore the idea that the two youngest, Lizzie and Grady, could have been taken in by one of their older siblings who had established marriages and homes in Cobb County, Georgia.  However, their names have not been found in connection with any documents of this time period or any later ones.  So what happened to Lizzie May and Howard Grady?

In 1897 there was an outbreak of Typhoid Fever all along the Southern states.  By1898 the US Government concluded typhoid fever had reached epidemic status among civilians and military stateside camps training for the Spanish American War.  The outbreak was particularly rampant in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. 

Could the two youngest and most vulnerable Pittman children been victims of this highly contagious and deadly disease?

Could their deaths have gone undocumented in an epidemic of deaths? 

Could their burial places beside their mother in the Howell Family Cemetery have gone unmarked?

Oh, the questions of speculation with no ready answers to be found.  But know this 'Sweet Little Lizzie May'.....
You are remembered by me
For we all carry inside us,
Those who came before us. 


Photo disclaimer...Photos not intended to represent anyone named in this post.

1 comment:

  1. I really hate KNOWING a child existed but can't find any documentation. I have a child listed in a family Bible but he was born and died between census records and there is no record of a burial. What strikes me as odd though is that there were 2 more babies who were born and died and have lovely little tombstones, so why not the first child? I guess our little blogs are the best we can do to bring meaning to those lost lives.

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