Tag Archives: McClain County Oklahoma


I was happy to have in my mail on Wednesday, the death certificate for my great-grandfather, James Harvey Pickens. Here is a picture of James Harvey and family, about 1907.They were married in Cooke Texas 1900.


He was listed as divorced. His wife in Tampa Florida, was listed a s a widow. I do know he left the family somewhere between 1920 and 1930. Wife Alice, my grandfather Harvey H and siblings were in Tampa in 1930. We never knew what happened to James Harvey, except that he is buried with his parents Harvey H and Sarah F Smith Pickens in Hillside cemetery, Purcell Oklahoma. It was reassuring to see I had the right SMith family in the 1860’s in Oglethorpe county Georgia. James’ death certificate verified this.

James Harvey Pickens death certificate

The state of Oklahoma was unable to find the certificates for parents of James Harvey, but, I provided all the information I had , and resent it in hopes of success. James Harvey sister was Tommie Pickens who married undertaker B.H. Rackley. Someone of that family may know something too. I have also posted it to the Pickens and McClain county boards on Ancestry. I hope to put this family back together soon.


A Life in the Making

on the beach

We believe this was taken during their honeymoon, May 1931.

They met while she was attending clerical school in Tampa. He was a hardworking salesman at the time. Later working in the appliance industry. They bought some land in Tampa, several parcels, and built a home. He had moved from Oklahoma several years earlier, with mother, brother and sister. He had been attending Oklahoma A & M, but, quit to help raise the family. From what we understand, father James Harvey Pickens deserted them. Now, this could be due to hard times. That often happened. But, James Harvey was found in the 1930 census in Oklahoma, in the residence of Wynnona Ward. It has not been determined what that relationship was. James Harvey was also buried with is parents In Hillside Cemetery in McClain county Oklahoma. I am still really anxious to know that story.

Mamie and Harvey had two children. My father, Hershel Harvey ( yes, this is a family name ) and Ann Marie. They lived in Tampa up until 1970 when they moved to Bradenton to be closer to both children, both had families.

The house in Tampa that I remember, well, it is different now. I visited in 2008, mainly to visit my aunt Ann. The neighborhood, had some familiar things. Such as the overgrown lawn across the street, on Crawford. The trees and azaleas were still there. I have fond memories of the swing, made of rope, on a paper bark tree in the back yard. My grandfather would give me an orange and cut out the top, so I could squeeze out the fresh juice. They had the most beautiful yard in the enighborhood. It had thick, lush St Augustine, which was perfect for running around, playing hide and seek and easter egg hunts!! Many a picnic was had in that yard, and many fond memories. Both grandparents were avid gardeners. Papa had studied hydroponics, before it was popular, and never used insecticide, instead he used cayenne pepper plants.

Their last home in Bradenton, had a beautiful yard as well. I loved to help Nana plant flowers and assist Papa in picking green beans. There was always a delicious meal on the table.

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