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A Story of the William Gittins Family in America

This information was provided by Dorothy Gittins

It is believed the Gittins family first came from Germany, that is, originally. Mr. Oliver Gittins, son of a Thomas Gittins (now deceased) of Carno, N. Wales gave this information to Beatrice Gittins, wife of Thomas Gittins, Griswold, Iowa when she visited Wales in 1937.

William Gittins came to America from Carno, N. Wales between 1865 - 1868. He settled in Pittsburgh [Philadelphia], PA, where he worked in the iron foundries. In 1869 he married Isabella Dines, who came to America when she was sixteen, from the northern part of Ireland and also settled in Pittsburgh [Philadelphia]. From Pittsburgh [Philadelphia] they moved to Stacyville, near Albia, Iowa in 1870, where
they farmed.

William, Anna, Hannah and John were born while living there. From Staceyville, they moved to Cass County, Iowa in 1874, and cut corn on the George Johnson place, which is now known as the Herb Thompson place, two miles north of the Fellows Corner.

While in Cass County, in 1874, he purchased 160 acres of land, now known as the Thomas Gittins place. He purchased this land for fifteen dollars per acre. The post office was located one mile south on the DeWitt place.
It was necessary to haul livestock and grain either to Red Oak, or to Atlantic until around 1878 - 1890 at which time the railroad line connected Red Oak to Atlantic.
Hogs hauled to Red Oak brought 2 - 3 cents (per pound) and corn 10 cents per bushel. Before railroads, it was necessary to travel to Carbon for coal, a distance of about twenty-five miles. Other fuel was corn and cobs.
In 1902 Thomas Gittins, son of William married Beatrice Mary Stevens. They lived with Thomas' father and mother one year, then Thomas & Beatrice moved to the corner place about 1/2 mile away. In 1905, William & Isabel moved to Atlantic, Iowa. They lived there until their death. Isabel died Feb. 1911 - William August 1917.
In 1905, Thomas & Beatrice took over the farm for good. In 1917 the old house was torn down & a new one erected in the same place. Thomas and Beatrice had three children, all born in the old home. They were Burt, Thomas and Lois.
Thomas farmed until he was taken ill in 1941. He died May 19, 1941.
After his death, his wife, Beatrice tried to keep the farm going, but with good help scarce and living alone on the big farm too much, she leased it to Gus Shellburg and moved to Griswold, four miles away. Later an Ed Shellburg took over the farm, leasing it, and moved there with his family.

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Last modified: September 19, 2000