Friday Faces...Minister of the Scriptures

Throughout the early history of my Colonial Georgia Ancestors, Religious Freedom played a significant role in their lives beginning with their migration from Virginia to Georgia. Passionately devoted to the early Baptist Separatist Theology, the sons and daughters of John and Mary Polly Rowe raised their children in the same vein of what would prove to be a dominate force in their spiritual and daily lives.

So it would be for John and Mary's grandson, Elisha Coleman.  Elisha was born four years to the month after the death of his grandfather John, and although he didn't experience his  grandfather's passionate Baptist beliefs, he was strongly influenced by his mother, Millicent, John and Mary's fourth daughter.

Elisha was born on April 2, 1789, the fourth child of Jonathan and Millie Pittman Coleman.  His older siblings were brothers Charles born in 1786, and Jesse and Joseph who from all indications of their birthdates were twins.  Elisha would become the older brother to fifteen younger siblings among them another set of twin brothers.

His parents were founders and Charter Members of The Bark Camp Baptist Church in Burke County, Georgia on land that once was hunting and grazing land of the Indian Nations.  After the Indian Treaty of 1763 people moved into the area in large numbers.  The church was organized in 1788, even before George Washington was elected president.  It was a center of worship, culture and hospitality in one of the oldest settlements in Burke County. 

Elisha remained a faithful member of Bark Camp Church for 52 years.  During those years, his father Jonathan was buried in the churches cemetery along with his older brother Charles.  His mother Millicent, would join them in a matter of years.  His calling to the ministry in 1841, moved Elisha and his family to Emanuel County, Georgia where he joined the Old Canoochee Church.  After a few years of his service there, he went on to build his own church in Swainsboro, Emanuel County Georgia on land surveyed years earlier by and deeded to Elisha's older brother Charles Coleman.  Charles had obtained a grant from the state of Georgia and deeded a part of the tract to Nathaniel Daniels who in turn made a deed to the church dated October 16, 1849.  The Hawhammock Baptist Church continues to be an active part of the community today.

His obituary stated:  The church has lost her brightest light, and the county one of it's best citizens, ever ready to lend the helping hand to the needy and distressed.  His theme was to hear and expound the Scriptures.  ~The Christian Index, Feb. 13, 1861~

Reverend Elisha Coleman died on October 30, 1860 and was buried in a cemetery named in his honor, Elisha Coleman Cemetery in Swainsboro, Emanuel County, Georgia.  His life and service are well documented in Georgia history, and now in 'Tracks of My Georgia Ancestors'.  Reverend Elisha Coleman's branch in our family tree puts him as 1st cousin 5x removed.  His mother was my 4th great aunt, sister to my direct ancestor and 4th great grandfather John Ichabod Pittman, Jr.
Elisha's mother, Millicent 'Millie' Pittman Coleman's story.


Wedding Wednesday...Colonial Ancestors Marriage Stories

The Colonial Marriages of my ancestors began in the late 1690's after the first married couples came from England.  First generation born American Colonists' marriages often followed customs of their homeland with dowry's and marriage ceremonies.  As far as I know, none of my ancestral Virginia brides were 'Auction Brides' paid for with 80 pounds of tobacco which was the practice in the early 1600's. 

In the colonies, weddings were not religious ceremonies.  Rather, they were a civil contract that set the responsibilities and duties of husband and wife.  In the marriage contract, women were protected by law in some colonies, for instance, a law passed in 1641 forbade men from beating there wives unless "it be in self defence."  It was also not unusual for many women to enter marriage with prenuptial contracts that would give her the right to retain control of her own property, or that it would return to her if the marriage dissolved.

On the more romantic side of weddings in Colonial America, brides and grooms often exchanged vows they had written themselves before starting the celebrations that could last for days.  In the Southern colonies...my ancestors part of the colonies...the couple was usually married in the bride's family home by a minister.  After the formal ceremony, there was feasting, dancing and drinking that sometimes lasted for days.

Contrary to popular belief, colonial girls seldom married in their teens.  It was far more common for colonial women to marry between the ages of 20 and 23.  The men were often older, sometimes in their mid to late twenties.  It was a father's duty to see to it that all of his daughters were provided for in one way or another.  While that sometimes meant arranged marriages, it was more common for a father to negotiate with the suitor of his daughters choosing.

Because life was difficult and life expectancy short, it was not unusual for a colonial man or woman to marry three of four times in their lives.  While there were families with 10 to 15 children, it was more common for families to have seven or eight children.  I found these marriage and family traditions to be a common thread among my Colonial Ancestors. 

In researching and documenting the daughters of my 5xGreat Grandparents John and Mary Polly Rowe Pittman, the stories of their marriages, mixed with the historical events of the times, made each of their weddings and marriages a story worth telling.  I hope you enjoy them and will be inspired to search beyond the names and dates of your ancestors, and be rewarded with a story of a life lived...for every life in your family tree is significant in time.
Click on the linked title for these Colonial Daughter Stories.


Full Moon PhotoPlay

Straight Out of Camera
June's Full Moon....The Strawberry Moon
Strawberry picking season reaches its peak during this time. 
This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes.
Moon Facts
  • We all know there was a man on the moon, but did you know that there is one who stayed there? Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, a Geological Surveyor, who educated the Apollo mission astronauts about craters, never made it into space himself, but it had always been one of his dreams. He was rejected as an astronaut because of medical problems. After he died, his ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft on January 6, 1999, which was crashed into a crater on the moon on July 31, 1999. The mission was to discover if there was water on the moon at the time, but it also served to fulfill Dr Shoemaker's last wish.
  • When Neil Armstrong took that first historical step and said "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay. It will be there for millions of years because there is no wind on the moon. That is, assuming the downdraft from the Command Module upon take off back into space didn't destroy the print. Buzz Aldrin reportedly saw the American flag, much further away, blow over during launch. Nevertheless, any footprints made by the famous astronauts undisturbed by takeoff are, in fact, there to stay.
  • When Alan Sheppard was on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, nearly one half a mile.
  • It is possible to have a month without a full moon.
    This occurs in February, but either January or March will have two moons.


    Why I Have Not SewBlogged

    It's because I'm NOT Sewing. Haven't sewn since March.
     Probably won't sew again until....
    ....the urge hits me or....
    I run out of Georgia Ancestors.
    Have I given up my lifelong craft and the one thing that I can always count on to provide me with hours...no days, weeks, and months of creative and productive use of time?  NO...Not Now...Not Evvveer!!! 
    Do I still keep up with and visit my Sewing Blogging Friends?  YES...Of Course...Always! 
    Do they think I've fallen into my bottomless Scrap Box?  Probably...Most likely...For Sure!
    I must admit to being a 'Lurker' and 'No Commenter' more often than not on the blogs of my Sewing Friends. 
    I imagine some of them are doing the same here on CollectInTexas Gal. 
    I hope Sew!  


    Tombstone Tuesday ~ Chester's Stone Stump Still Standing

    Not My Kin...just folks I find...whose Stones I photograph...whose stories I tell...who sometimes are 'Kin Connected'.
    Chester Shear was born on the very day General John Hunt Morgan led his troops into Kentucky...July 2, 1863.  Two days later Morgan engaged Union forces at Tebb's Bend, a bridge crossing the Green River near Campbellsville in the Civil War torn state of Kentucky. 

    The new born infant of German immigrants began life in a state with divided loyalty's to the Confederacy and the Union with strong ties to Kentucky born President Abraham Lincoln. 

    At the age of 19, Chester made his way to Texas.  The first records of his living in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas comes from the History of Ward County 1887-1977. 

    In the late 1890's J. Chester Shear was the Pharmacist at the drug store located in the front portion of the Brandenburg house.  It was during this time he became acquainted with Dr. Charlotte Bergman, her husband Abraham and their four daughters.

    Dr. Bergman, a Swedish physician of New York and Cleveland came to America in 1889.  She and her husband Abraham, a former owner of a Swedish Chemical factory, were persuaded to come to Ward County with the promise of 80 acres which included a Sanitarium.  Their contract stipulated they operate the sanitarium for two years or the property would revert to the sellers.  They stayed the required two years and then some until Dr. Bergman became concerned her now of age charming daughters would become involved with the 'West Texas Pioneers'.  (History of Ward County 1887-1977 pg. 168).

    For all her attempts to move her daughters from Grandfalls, three of them returned to marry West Texas men.  Twenty year old Gertrude Bergman became the bride of J. Chester Shear, 34 year old pharmacist in 1899.  Sister Charlotte married Tom Brandenburg and Dagmar wed Will Eudaly.

    Sometime in the early months of 1900, Chester and Gertrude moved to Graham County, Arizona, where Chester worked as a carpenter.  The circumstances of this change in location and occupation are not known, nor the details of Chester's early death at the age of 43 in 1906, but it is possible that Chester suffered from consumption (tuberculosis).  As a common malady of the time, TB was often the reason for moving to the drier climate and sanitariums of Arizona.   Apparently Chester and Gertrude returned to Texas sometime before 1905 when their son Henry was born.

    Gertrude Bergman Shear and five year old Henry, are listed in the 1910 Census as living in San Antonio, Texas in a private home where Gertrude is employed as a live in servant.  Ten years later in the San Antonio, Bexar County 1920 Census, they are listed as living with Dr. Charlotte Bergman, Gertrude's mother who is now widowed and a practicing physician.  Also listed is Gertrude's husband, Alexander R. McDonald. 
    And that story will have to wait for another Tombstone Tuesday!
    Chester and Gertrude are Not Kin...but we are connected.
    Chester most likely dispensed my Step Great Grandmother Nancy's heart medication,
    and Dr. Charlotte Bergman was probably her doctor.
    Nancy and Great Grandfather George Washington Pittman lived just down the road
    from the Bergmans, and no doubt knew all the charming Bergman daughters
    and their West Texas Pioneer husbands.
    It's a 'Small World Afterall'.
    Tamarisk Cemetery
    Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas


    Black Sheep Sunday...They Called Him Blackie

    My tried and true genealogy motto...DSL!
    The DIG...Just when you think you've dug up the last bit of dirt info on a family member and pitched the shovel back in the shed, somebody throws a big clod at you....back to the shed!
    The SHARE...through Tracks of My Ancestors just about everyone in my Family Tree has been DSL'ed...you know the 'Digital Subscription Line' kind that shares everything on the World Wide Web.  That included my Great Uncle Mert.
    The LISTEN...You know everyone in the family called him Blackie.  He was considered the Black Sheep of the family.  Why he was always running off as a kid, and doing no telling what with no telling who.  It's no wonder he didn't marry until he was nearly 40 and then he practically robbed the cradle.   (from Mert's 88 year old niece-in-law)
     Great Uncle Mert...you rascal! 
    Here you are with a feather in your cap, a gal on your arm and
    dancing a jig with some of those 'no telling who's in no telling where'. 
    What a life you had, Blackie!
    Photo from O.C. Carroll Family Collection...Mert's brother. 
    A result of Sharing on the www by way of a contact from another of Mert's great nieces,
    and a newly discovered Cousin for me. 
    I tell you, this Tracking of My Ancestors has been a great 'DSL' experience.


    Friday Faces From the Past....BEFORE and AFTER Restoration

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  If it's old, old, old don't compromise  it's value by messing with it. 
    Those are 'Rules of Thumb' in the 'Vintage World' and in general.  I respect that...to a point...and then I get out my own 'Thumb Ruler'.  As is the case of this 'Tintype'...yes, it really is...so exciting...of my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll.  It was in her 100 year old Album...HERE...and like most of the photos, was unidentified in any way.
    TINTYPE Photography
    Also known as melainotype and ferrotype.  A photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron metal that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enameling and is used as a support for acollodion photographic emulsion.  First described by a Frenchman in 1853 and then patented in 1856 by US photographer Hamilton Smith and William Kloen of the UK.  The process became very popular during the Civil War and continued into the 19th Century as inexpensive portraits often taken by street photographers at carnivals and fairs as they were simple and fast to prepare.
     I estimate this Tintype was taken between 1887-1889
    I digitally restored it and compared it to photos of Martha Jane as an older woman.  Although not a positive ID, it is a good likeness, and the Timeline fits.  Of course I did not MESS with the original as you can see in the pictures above. 
    That is a RULE...and I never, ever break rules...fingers crossed.


    Treasure Chest Thurs...With This Ring

    "The ring, please.  now repeat after me...
    With this ring I thee wed."
    Those words are spoken by ministers, judges and even Elvis', about 2.3 million times a year in the US.  That's around 6,200 I Do's x 2 a Day.  Brides are on the average, 25 years of age while their grooms are a bit older at 27 years old...on average. 
    The age stats kind of surprised me.  Probably because in my 'Here Comes the Bride' mindset...it's 1965 and my ring finger was 18 years 11 months and 27 days old.  That figures out to December 27, 1965...24 days before my 19th birthday.  Now if you are doing the math, that's going on 48 years ago when 'good girls'...as my Mama often said...waited for 'The Ring', and D I V O R C E was a country and western song.   When I stop and think about it, the Generation Bride Gap keeps getting wider in just about every aspect of 'With this ring'. 
    I can't even imagine what my 'Ancestor Brides' would think about the 'Marriage Mindset' of today and the differences in the 'With this Ring' ceremonies and The Ring itself.

    For the month of June, my Ancestor research has focused on marriage.  It is very rewarding to find documentation and family data with dates and sometimes original marriage licenses or entries in family Bibles, but dates and document data alone make for a boring read. 

    So, as my Family Historian Story Teller, my family and readers expect more than just dates and data.   My Ghost Writer Aunt Savannah has been a positive influence on toning down my 'Outrageous 21st Century Vocabulary...as she explains in The Great Awakening...My Kids Are Heathens.  With that said, Here Comes The Ancestor Bride....stories.


    Wordless Wednesday...Getting Back In The Art Groove

    Back In The Day when I was a StarGazer, FeatherFinder and GraphicGuru.
    I'm Feelin' the Return of the Art Groove.
    Now what did I do with my Groovy Art Stuff???


    Tombstone Tuesday~Gone But Not Forgotten In Grandfalls, TX

    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'.


    Here Comes The Stinking Bride

    There are no June Brides in my Pittman Family Tree...at least as far as I can tell from the research I've done from the Colonials through the Georgians line of Direct Descendants.  Of course there have been lots of marriages...most of them documented through Courthouse and Family Bible records. 

    There are also no 'Wedding Pictures' of Brides married in any month of the year.  That's understandable for the Colonials being as the first camera was not invented until 1840.  Even after folks started having wedding pictures made, they usually looked like they were standing in front of a firing squad.

    At any rate, as a collector of vintage photographs, I have substituted Unknowns from my collection in place of the no show photos of my ancestors...like this 'Leaning Bride' who looks like she might be explaining why her bouquet weighs more than she does.  As it turns out, that Big Bouquet is one of the reasons why June has traditionally been the most popular month to get hitched.

    It seems that back in the day, the Bride stunk!  Yep, under the frills, lace and veil was a gal whose last full tub bath was in May after a long winter of spit baths.  By June the flowers were in full sweet smelling bloom and the bigger the Brides Bouquet, the better for everyone's olfactory senses.  Hence the tradition of the Bridal Bouquet, the Brides Maids flowers and all that rose petal throwing in the isle.  
    More than likely the June flowers kept the wedding march from being called
     'Here Comes the Stinking Bride'.
    Here are some Bride/Wedding Posts from my Family Tree.
    My Wedding
    My Parents Wedding