Separating Fact from Fiction
There is a great deal of misinformation about Jackie out on the Internet.† Iíll try to stick to factual data from impartial sources here.† The data may be wrong but at least weíll know where it came from, if not who entered it.
This first entry is from the records of the LDS but this type of record often contains inaccuracies.† For instance there is no Bearhead, Florida today.†† I am lucky, however, to have an eye witness account of Bearhead, though, and clicking on the link above will take you to a most interesting portrayal of Bearhead as well as more insight to Bessie Pittmanís early life.
Unfortunately the LDS gives no source information for this data.† This is clearly Jackie Cochran as Bessie Lee Pittman, though.
Bessie Lee PITTMAN†
Death:† 09 AUG 1980†††
Father:† Ira PITTMAN† Family
Mother:† Mollie GRANT†
Another IGI entry is this one on Bessieís father. Again, no source info.
Death:† 29 MAY 1928†††
Spouse:† Mollie GRANT† Family
Marriage:† About 1893†† Of Gatewood, , Baldwin, Alabama
And there is this on Mollie Grant.† Still no source information.
Birth:† 11 NOV 1871†† Of, De Funiak Springs, Walton, Florida
Death:† 11 MAR 1948†††
Below is Jackieís family in the 1910 census.† They are in Pine Barren about 12 miles NNE of Muscogee.† You will notice that there is no Mamie in this census.† The census shows that Jackieís mother had 5 kids and that all were still alive so either Mamie is Myrtle or Mona or was missed by the census since the 1920 census shows only Bessie (Jackie) left with her parents.† Since Mamie married Jessie Hydle, I looked them up in 1920 DeFuniak Springs and noted that Mamie was 21.† This would have made her about 11 in 1910 and only Mona, age 12, fits that profile.† Apparently changing names was a family characteristic.† Of the five children, only Bessie was born in Florida.† The others were born in Alabama.
By 1920 the Pittmans were living in DeFuniak Springs in Walton County, Florida.† Below is their census information for 1920.† Bessie is shown in this census as being married but this is probably an entry error on the part of the enumerator.
I know from a family tragedy in my motherís line that Jackie was in Millville, a part of Panama City, Florida, in 1918.† This story is verified by a news account in the Panama City Pilot from the day after the incident and from Jackieís book.† Mary Nicey Brigman was the daughter of my motherís grandfather, Postell Brigman.
Mary Nicey Brigman, age 12, drowned in Watson Bayou about 3:00 PM on the first day of June 1918 when she and her friend, Kathleen Martin, ran into her usual swimming area and fell into an underwater hole that had been washed out the previous night when a tug boat had run aground.† In trying to free itself, the tug had blown out a huge hole in the bottom.
Another girl with them, Bessie Pittman (Jackie Cochran), wrote of the incident in her 1954 book, The Stars at Noon.† Cochran was learning to dogpaddle with the girls when the two girls ran off into deep water and disappeared.† She sat on the edge of the bayou all night waiting for divers to find the two little girls.† They found their bodies the next day.† Cochran went on to become a famous aviatrix but never forgot the incident.