1/15/15

James Allison Pittman~ Part I~Antebellum Born

By 1847 Rene Marion and Mary Anne Howell Pittman were well established on their farm in Coxes, Cobb County, Georgia.   At the time of his birth, James' mother, Mary Anne, who is noted as wife keeping house in Census Records, was indeed keeping house and raising their three older sons, William, George, and Albert while his father toiled the fertile Georgia soil.  James' first official documentation was in the 1850 Census.  He was 3 years old, William was 8, George was 6, Albert was 5, and Mary Eugenia was 1 year old.  His parents R.M. and Mary Ann were 38 and 28 respectively.

James' childhood was spent in what is referred to as the Antebellum Era...the period before the Civil War.  I suppose he was somewhat shielded from the events leading up to the Civil War, and the family stayed close to their land and away from the dramas of the pre-war years.  That might explain their absence in the 1860 Census when James would have been 13...to young to join the Confederacy with his brothers William and George the following year.  There is no documentation or hearsay that James Allison or Albert Singleton...two years older...were soldiers in the Civil War.

In 1870 the United States Census reflected for the first time in American History the Constitutional Right To Vote in the form of the 'Fifteenth Amendment'.  Ratified on February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude.  It was the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments.  James would have to declare his right to vote to the Census Taker on August 22, 1870.
The 1870 Census was one of the most significant Census taken to date as it was the first to provide detailed information the black population only years after the culmination of the Civil War when slaves were granted freedom.  the population was said to be 38,555,983 individuals, a 22.62% increase since 1860.  The 1870 Census' population estimate is controversial as many believed it underestimated the true population numbers.

The Pittman Family was back in the 1870 Census with R.M. (mistakenly recorded as Henry) age 56, occupation farmer, real estate valued at $2500 and personal estate $500.  When comparing his financial status with his neighbors on the same page, only one other was a land owner with equal numbers, and that was his brother-in-law William Howell, Mary Anne's brother.  The Civil War had taken it's toll and turned prosperous land owners into tenant farmers and farm hands.

For those like the Pittman's and Howell's their real estate and personal estates were in the throes of the Reconstruction Era's issues of taxation which levied heavy taxes on land owners forcing them to sell their land to pay taxes.  This reduction of their estates, once large productive Plantations, were now reduced to much smaller farms, producing smaller incomes to support a large family.  They were forced to take on other occupations to subsidize their farms.

 Rene M. Pittman, James' father, worked as a US Post Master in Cobb County receiving his appointment in 1859.  James became a Grocery Merchant.
The Antebellum Era was over and in it's place a period of change they could not have imagined just a few years before...the Reconstruction of the South and their own migration to the West. 

2 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

Such an interesting post, especially striking the personal estate amount and real estate evaluation. I think this country wouldn't have had some of the issues it still has to this day if Reconstruction had been handled differently.

Wendy said...

Interesting information about how Reconstruction affected farmers and plantation owners ~