5/6/13

Making Tracks Out of Virginia

By the time John and Mary had married and started their family, The Great Awakening had swept through the colonies.  The revival  experience found itinerant preachers traveling from colony to colony urging citizens to return to their faith in God.  Even with their diverse religious factions, the colonists had strong religious values and strict practices including Religious Taxes imposed by the governing bodies to pay Anglican ministers. 
Many colonist believed that a separation of church and state should be established and made permanent.  For the Pittman Clan, the 'Revival' swept into their lives in the form of a man who set in motion a chain of events that would effect Pittmans for generations to come.

 Reverend Daniel Marshall, a former missionary to the Mohawk Indians and converted Baptist Separatist journeyed into the backwoods of Virgina and established a small church with a growing congregation that included the John Pittman family.

John supported the church as a Deacon and his older son James was called upon as an Itinerant Preacher...a position that landed him in jail for preaching the Baptist Gospel in the Pittman home. 

When the Reverend Marshall moved on to establish another church,  John Pittman and his family followed.

Several years were spent moving and establishing new Baptist churches in North and South Carolina.  Rev. Daniel and his wife Martha Stearns had completed their family of eight while John and Mary Polly's clan numbered eleven by the time they finished their trek from Virginia to Georgia.  There is a great deal written about the Reverend Marshall, his wife Martha and her famous Baptist Separatist Father, Shubael Stearns, and all of it relevant to future generations of Pittmans' deep Southern Baptist Roots.
 
As I read and researched these 'Early Colonial Ancestors', I was struck by the hardships, injustices and paths they took in their search for a better way of life and religious freedom, or what we today, and for generations, have called 'The American Dream'.   So it is that the following 18th Century Events are written 'In Contrasting Irreverence' to the above written 'Reverence To Historical Facts'.  In my 20th/21st Century minds eye and contemporary authorship I write this in awe of the incredulous involvement and historically significant parts played by my Ancestors.  



The Great Awakening!!!  Really!!!!  My poor, poor,  5X Great Great Grandmother, bless her heart, eleven children starting with Buckner in 1726 through 1767 with Timothy.  And still had one to go once they reached Georgia which made for an even dozen blessings.  At the age of 37 years old, Mary Polly had been married 21 years, had 11 children ranging in age from 19 years to 1 month.  During 21 years of marriage she was with child all but a few months each year until 1756 when she had  a whole year off...time for praise and prayer.  For Mary Polly, I imagine the Great Awakening had a double innuendo.

John and Mary Polly's first five children were born in Virginia...three sons and two daughters.  John Ichabod, their third child born in 1752 is my Direct Descendent and the 'Key' connection to my Southern Baptist Roots and Reverends Marshall and Stearns.

 Both whose places in Baptist History as Colonial and Frontier Baptist Ministers are held in high esteem and whose genealogy is well documented for all time.

Here's how two Colonial~Frontier Baptist Preachers became Grandfathers to Generations of Pittmans.

John Ichabod Pittman...son of John and Mary Polly Rowe Pittman
in the year 1781 married
Lucy Eunice Marshall...daughter of Rev. Daniel and Martha Stearns Marshall
Granddaughter of Rev. Shubael and Rebeckah Lariby Stearns
6X Great Godly Grandfather...What were you thinking?

Are you kidding me!!!  Seriously, what were you thinking?  Giving away all your earthly possessions, which were considerable due to the fact you were born into a respectable and pious family of Windsor, Conn. 

Here's a guy whose ardent temperament and zealous Christian beliefs led him to a real 'Calling of the Wild..erness'. 

It is said he caught 'The Glowing Spirit' of the approaching 'Millenial Glory', abandoned everything and everyone except his wife and three young children and rushed right up to the Susquehanna and pitched his WigWam among the Mohawks.  Poor Martha went from the bosom of civilized society and all the comforts of life to a wilderness where your next meal was covered in fur, your neighbors were nearly naked,  your children's lessons went from books to bows and arrows, and your husband was thumping a Bible to the beat of TomToms.  Bless her heart!

Notethe following is purely supposition on my part...based on facts...of course.
Apparently, Reverend Marshall,  now known as 'BlackBook Thumper' among the Mohawks, had some success in converting the savages into receiving the Gospel.  However, after about eighteen months, Martha was fed up with WigWam housekeeping, her heathen children, clothes shopping at the tanning poles, washing Daniels 'breachcloth' and his disregard for removing his moccasins before coming in the WigWam.  Then there was the all out WAR between the savage tribes.

 "I'm leaving, Daniel.   You can stay or go, but know this...if you stay, your heathen kids are staying with you."

Next thing we know, Daniel, Martha and their tribe are in the back woods of Virginia with a different outlook on religion.  It wasn't long before they were both immersed in the Baptist scriptures and in the creek. Through it all, Lucy Eunice, the future Mrs. John Ichabod Pittman, made a complete turnaround from buckskin to bonnets and the only lasting influence from the Mohawk days was the Name she called her children, their children, and their childrens children.  It has passed down through the generations, and has become a Family Name Tradition,  and for the most part it has fit a good many of us.
 Lucy's 6x Great Grandson and my Grandson!
He's a 'Heathen'!
  

5 comments:

Al Diaz said...

Wow, that's something I don't think I would ever do, leave my treasures behind. A dragon cannot live without treasures. And that must have been very difficult change for Martha.
That's a cute kid by the way. Interesting the Mohawk style. I prefer the lion mane better. :)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I see that the 'Mohawks' stuck with your family, by way of your grandson. Cute.

Wendy said...

Wow -- off to a strong start with this story! Baptist ministers - Indians - Heathen Children, oh my!

Debra @ Homespun said...

This was a Blast! :)

Jeanne said...

Wow Sue, I loved reading this. The connection to you is an amazing journey.
xo, Jeanne