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James Allison Pittman Part II...Life of Fundamental Changes

James Allison Pittman is presented in three parts as his life in Georgia history spanned three historically significant eras in American History.  James was born and raised in the Antebellum Era and became an adult during the Reconstruction Era.  At the end of Part I, James was in his late 20's, still living on the family farm and making his way through the aftermath of the Civil War.  Those were the years after the 1870 US Census and history's declared end of the Reconstruction Era in 1877.   Much has been written about the failure of the Reconstruction of the South.  No doubt the issues of that era had a major impact on those ancestors living during that time and consequently affected their descendants for generations to come.

The third historical era of James' life was also one for all Americans...a time of fundamental social, economic, political and geographical change.  We will call it The Migration Era.

Even though he didn't go far, James left the economically struggling family farm for work in town.  It was a move that fundamentally changed his life economically, socially and geographically.  He migrated to Douglasville.

In the 1880 Census, Douglasville, Georgia, James (age 32) is enumerated as Head of House, Single with occupation as Dry Goods and Grocer, and most interesting are the household members listed.  Sisters Eugenia (24) keeping house, and Savannah (16) at school.  Already James has made a significant impact on the family's future then and for generations to come.


James' life changed dramatically when he  married Marion Alice Kennedy.  According to the Georgia Marriage Records of Fulton County, James and Alice were married on September 4, 1884, but for some reason was not recorded until April 5th, 1886.  A possible reason could have been the upheaval in the states governmental reconstruction.  At any rate, the 37 year old bachelor and 32 year old Alice from Atlanta, were married and eleven months later their daughter Mamie Lizzie was born.  When Mamie was two, Hattie was born and three years later Alice gave birth to Little Allison. The couple would have one more son, Emil Marion born when Alice was 42 years of age.  In less than ten years, Alice would be dead, but not before she created some mysteries with her answers to the Census Taker in the 1900 US Census.
 In the 1900 US Census, the J.A. Pittman family appeared for the first time as a family unit, even though they had been so since 1884 with their marriage and 1885 with the birth of their first child.  They of course would have been enumerated in the 1890 Census as a family of James, Alice, Mamie and Hattie, but due to the loss of the entire National 1890 Census in a fire at the headquarters in Washington, D.C. those records are missing from the Census Archives. 

The 1900 Census, therefore, was of great importance in it's assessments of the population as well as a tool for gathering more information about each individual than had ever been recorded before.  With that in mind an evaluation of the 1900 Census and the information it revealed about James and Alice is quite relevant to the telling of James' story.
~In the 1900 Census...J.A. Pittman is listed on page 14 of 44.  In 1880 on page 2 of 6....attests to growth of Douglasville, Douglas County, Georgia.
~James' occupation listed as Merchant.  **Suggests the possibility of business ownership with 0 missed months at work.
~Ownership of Home marked...Owns Free of Mortgage FARM.
~Since Alice answered Yes to the Education portions and James did not, we can assume that Alice was the only one at home when the Census Taker knocked on their door. 
~Not only did Alice not know or was unsure of James' education, she did not know the birth place of his Mother.  She answered North Carolina when Mary Anne Howell Pittman was born in Cobb County Georgia.
~Lastly, Alice stated she was mother of 5 children with 3 of these children living.  We know from the Family Tree (photo) that Little Allison died at the age of one year, but who was and where is the 5th child of Marion Alice Kennedy Pittman? 

James and Alice lived their married life within the historical constraints set forth by
The Fundamental Social, Economic, Political and Geographical Guidelines of the day.
 
**Ownership

~continued in Part III~

2 comments:

Wendy said...

Oh so frustrating to learn about a child who was born and died between censuses, especially when there seems to be no other record available either.

Suzanne McClendon said...

I agree with Wendy. It is very frustrating to know there was a baby out there somewhere, but have no information about them. I have that issue in my family tree, too.

My daddy's grandma had 10 children. Six of them made it to adulthood and four died as infants/children. Four are buried with my great-grandfather at the Cokesbury church in Hartwell, Georgia. The church has no record of these babies. I have been able to find the names of two of them through census reports as well as a death certificate for one, but have not been able to find anything at all, not even a name, for the other two babies.

My maternal-maternal great-grandmother was born with a twin sister that shows up in the 1900 census, but has disappeared by the 1910 census. I believe the 1890 census is the first one in which my great-grandmother and her sister would have appeared but, as you mentioned, those census reports were destroyed. My great-grandmother was married by 1910, so it is possible that her twin was married, too. But, she may have already died. There's no one left alive to help me with this dilemma and there are a zillion Emma Williams when I try to search for information.

Genealogy is fun and exciting and very often frustrating, but I wouldn't give up a minute of it. :)