#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Namesake

Welcome to week three of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The prompt is “namesake” and I started thinking about three generations of women named Elizabeth.

Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Pittman Stevens

My great-grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Pittman Stevens, known – as many Marys (Maries?) were in those days – as Mollie. She was born, according to the notation in her Bible, on November 16th, 1882. My grandmother, her daughter Willie Stevens Cook, wrote in the guest book for Mollie’s funeral that she was born in Bay Minette, Baldwin County, Alabama.

Mollie’s parents were Isaac Pittman and Mosella Elizabeth Thompson. According to a handwritten note found in Mollie’s Bible, Mosella Elizabeth was born March 7th, 1865. The 1870 U.S. Census lists Betty Thompson living with her parents Orry (Origen) and Elizabeth Thompson in Escambia County, Florida. Her birthplace is listed as Alabama, while the birthplace of her sister Mary, age 2, is given as Florida. Origen and Elizabeth are listed in the 1860 U.S. Census as living in Baldwin County, and I believe that’s where Mosella Elizabeth was born.

It’s hard to say who Mary Elizabeth was named after. Isaac Pittman’s mother was Elizabeth Ward; I’ve never found a reference to a middle name. Mosella Elizabeth’s mother was Elizabeth Lawrence Rikard, according to the record left in a Thompson family Bible. It’s not clear who Origen’s mother was; his father was reportedly married to an Annie Odom and a Judy Johnson, but helpful records have not yet been found. Mosella Elizabeth had the aforementioned younger sister named Mary, which could have been the inspiration for Mollie’s first name.

Elizabeth Lawrence Rikard’s mother is less of a mystery but still an enigma. I have four records for her. An 1849 marriage record from Baldwin County, Alabama, shows Mrs. Dotia Rikard marrying Jacob Thompson, who’s believed to be Origen’s older brother or half brother. The 1850 U.S. Census for Baldwin County lists Doshia P. Thompson in the household of Jacob Thompson with five Rikard children, including Elizabeth, and the couple’s new baby Adaline Thompson. Ten years later, the U.S. Census for Baldwin County records Jacob and Docia Thompson living with three “Rickard” children and four Thompson children. Newlyweds Origen and Elizabeth are living right next door with their baby son Origen. In the 1870 U.S. Census, we find Theodosia Thompson living in Escambia County, Florida, with one Samuel “Raccord” and two of her Thompson children.

We have clues – Theodosia’s middle name could start with a P or perhaps it’s the first letter of her maiden name. And then there’s Elizabeth Lawrence Rikard; maybe Lawrence is her mother’s maiden name, or it could be the given name of Elizabeth’s father or grandfather. Since I haven’t figure out who Elizabeth’s father is or who Theodosia’s parents were, it’s anybody’s guess.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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