Wednesday, April 8, 2020

2020 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 10: "Strong Woman" - Rebecca Marguerite Kinzer Pittman

Last August when my grandparents moved to their retirement community on a permanent basis, my grandmother gave me a huge amount of material that was relevant to my family history pursuits. Among the mountains of newspaper clippings, funeral cards, and little mementos (all of which was scrupulously organized, God bless her), I found a family tree that had been sent to her by a distant cousin more than twenty years ago, when I was just a little kid. Most of the information was already known to me, but there was one thing on the tree that I had never seen before and was overjoyed to have: two small little pictures of my fourth-great-grandparents, Michael and Rebecca Kinzer Pittman.

The photo of Michael and Rebecca that was sent to me, along
with a booklet of stories about their lives.
I was so excited about finding the new pictures that I posted about it on one of the genealogy groups on Facebook. I wanted to share my excitement with people that I knew would understand. This turned out to be a wonderful idea, because a wonderfully generous lady whose husband is also descended from Michael and Rebecca Pittman sent me a message after seeing my post. She said that she had the full sized photograph that the two little cropped photos on my tree had come from as well as a booklet of stories about Michael, Rebecca, and their children, and asked if I would like to have copies of both. Of course I said yes and thanked her profusely, and eagerly read through the entire booklet when I received it.

It was in this booklet that I found a remarkable story that shows just how much Rebecca fits Week 10's theme of "Strong Woman." I give the story here exactly as it was written in the booklet. If you would like to have a full copy of the booklet, you can download it at this link.
This story was told by a great-grandson of Michael and Rebecca Pittman. Grandson of Anna Pittman Crowder. 
Michael and Rebecca lived in Wyoming County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Michael was inducted into the Confederate Army. His allegiance was to the Union, so he ran away, and came to Kanawha County. He never fought with the Rebels. He tried to join the Union Army, but they did not trust him and refused to enlist him. He settled on Campbell's Creek, Cline Hollow, Trig Hollow. He made salt barrels for the Union Army. Lived in a little cabin, or shelter in Trigg Hollow. He had been there a year or more, when someone from Malden came with the news that his family were at Malden. He did not believe the messenger and told the messenger he would kill him if his message was a lie. The messenger was telling the truth. 
Rebecca Kinzer Pittman had loaded her belongings and children (all except Amanda) into a wagon. Tied the milk cow to the wagon to walk behind to supply milk, sewed the little money she had under patches to her clothes and headed from Kanawha County. The trip took about one year. Along the way a baby was born to her. As they traveled Rebecca cooked and prepared meals for groups of soldiers along the way, sometimes Yankees, sometimes Rebels. This must have been the means of obtaining food for the family. Michael and Rebecca were reunited and more children were born to them. Michael eventually obtained a homestead from the government, and 120 acres on Upper Elk Two Mile across the hill from Cline Hollow, where he had been living. This property is still inhabited by his descendants. The cemetery where Michael and Rebecca are buried is also located here. 
When I read the account of how Rebecca had packed up her entire life and set off in search of her husband, tears came to my eyes. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been in the 1860s for a pregnant woman with at least 5 children in tow to pack up all of her belongings in a little wagon and set off on a long journey to a place she had never seen, with little means of protection. I shudder to think of all the dangers that she and the children faced on the road alone, to say nothing of the different army encampments that she cooked for to feed her kids and maybe make a little money. Michael must have thought he was dreaming to suddenly find his wife and children so near his doorstep, and to hold his youngest child for the first time.

Rebecca Marguerite Kinzer Pittman must have had a will of iron to make it through such an ordeal. She is the very embodiment of a strong woman, and a role model to us all.

~ ~ ~

My descent from Michael and Rebecca is as follows:

Rebecca Margarette Kinser 1837-1921
4th great-grandmother

Drucilla Pittman 1860-1941
Daughter of Rebecca Margarette Kinser

Andrew Jackson Hunt 1882-1968
Son of Drucilla Pittman

Earnest Zacharias Hunt 1921-2008
Son of Andrew Jackson Hunt

Phyllis Carolyn Hunt 1943-
Daughter of Earnest Zacharias Hunt

Lora Marlene Quinn 1961-
Daughter of Phyllis Carolyn Hunt

Allison Quinn Kessinger
You are the daughter of Lora Marlene Quinn


  1. Allison, I have an original framed print of M & R Pittman from the George & Martha Pittman homestead circa 1899 "On The Hill" North Beckley WV.

    1. Do you know when the Michael & Rebecca Pittman Reunion is held? Normally in the month of July near Charleston WV somewhere.?

    2. That is amazing! Do you have a picture of it? I'd love to have a copy. My email address is I'd be eternally grateful!

      Usually the Pittman reunion is held on the first weekend of July at Maple Hill Baptist Church in Charleston, WV. I'm not sure whether there will be one this year or not due to COVID.



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