United States Genealogy

My Great Grandmother

I decided today to blog about my great grandmother, Alta Estelle Gilbreath. She was an amazing women who lived to be 101 1/2 years old. Alta was born on 5 August 1898 in a dug out in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. As a child I remember her telling us stories of traveling across the state of Oklahoma in a covered wagon. How I wish I had wrote more of her stories down so I could remember them better.
When I think of Alta and the life she lived I am always amazed at how much changed in her 101 years of life. She went from being born in a dugout and crossing the plains of Oklahoma in a covered wagon to indoor plumbing, cars and planes, black and white TV then colored TV, add in computers and then internet. This is just to name a few.

` Alta Estelle Gilbreath.

Alta married Howard Alexander Patterson on 21 July 1917 in Arapaho, Custer, Oklahoma and they had 5 children, Helen Elizabeth born 11 May 1918, Howard Alexander Patterson born 10 March 1920, Ella Jane Patterson born 6 November 1926, Dorthy Estelle Patterson born 31 December 1931 and Mary Lou Patterson born 29 February 1936.
Howard Alexander Patterson was the son of James William Patterson born 1 February 1863 in Gadsden, Crockett, Tennessee and Jimmie Ella Smith born 1868 in Gadsden, Crockett, Tennessee.
James William and Jimmie Ella Patterson had 7 children including a set of twins born in 1902. Ruth and Ruby have been a little bit of a mystery in my research.

1910 US Census Oklahoma, Custer, Clinton Ward 2, District 0119.

In the 1910 census(image above) for Clinton Oklahoma both Rudy and Ruth are listed as being born in Tennessee and being 8 years old. They are also both listed as not being able to read or write and they did not attend school. So you may ask what the mystery is? My great aunt Mary Lou Patterson, told me a story once that when her dad, Howard Alexander Patterson was a boy he accidentally pulled the chair out from under his mom and that she lost the twins. My great aunt remember her father telling her this story. Also if you look at the census above you can see where is ask how many children Jimmie Ella Patterson had and how many are living. it states she had 7 children and 5 living. Wait there are 6 children listed on the census, Issac J, Jessie, Mary Lou, Howard (my great grandfather) Ruby and Ruth. One daughter who is not listed on he census was Martha Mozelle Patterson, who was married and living in Cuba as a Methodist minister, at the time of the census. I have never been able to locate what happen to with Ruby or Ruth Patterson, no death dates or headstones. It seems that if they were born alive they seem to have just disappeared.

Standing Left to Right in back row- Ella Jane Patterson(my grandmother), Dorthy Estelle Patterson, Mary Lou Patterson. Seated in the front row- Helen Patterson, Alta Estelle Gilbreath Patterson, Howard Alexander Patterson and Howard Alexander Patterson

Alta’s parents were John Cyrus Gilbreath, born 18 December 1874 in Washington Arkansas and Janie Melinda Owen, born 9 June 1875 in Arkansas.

I love learning about my family and learning all about the lives they have lived. I have often reflected on my great grandmother’s life and how amazing it was.

4 thoughts on “My Great Grandmother”

  1. Thought/idea/theory when reading about Ruby and Ruth: is it possible that James William & Jimmie Ella Pattersonand fulfilled responsibilties of godparents taking care of the 2 girls for a while, after their parents passed away? If so this would explain to have them in the census. Also why you don’t find further records of the girls, if they had a different surname and were recorded as Patterson’s only in the census.
    This is just a wild guess which is hard to verify.


    1. Frank, It could be true that they were living with family, but the 1910 US census states relationships and lists Ruby and Ruth as daughters of the head of household. Also, my great aunt talked to her father, who was a sibling to Ruth and Ruby, and he acknowledged that his parents had twin girls. We are sure they are the daughters of James and Jimmy. My great aunt and I have searched extensively for them and come up empty-handed so far.


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