Pate, Tassie

Surname Pate
Given Name Tassie (Claire)
Sex Female
Born 05-DEC-1880 in Montgomery County, Texas
Died 28-MAR-1910 in Montgomery County, Texas
Buried Pate Cemetery, Montgomery County, Texas
Father William Nelson PATE (22-SEP-1843 - 05-SEP-1905)
Mother Clarkey Lucy MCDANIEL (07-APR-1845- 21-MAR-1906)
Tassie Pate Tassie Pate
Tassie Pate (ca. 1900, front) Tassie Pate (ca. 1900, back)
Tassie Pate
Tassie Pate (ca. 1910)


Dean Anthony Shook has two pictures of Tassie Pate shown above. The oldest picture, circa 1900, has the message "Aunt Tassie Pate mother sister" written on the back. The second oldest picture, circa 1910, has Tassie holding her son Earl. Unfortunately, the other two children are not identified. We scanned these pictures at a Shook family reunion on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

These are the only known photographs of Tassie. MaryAnn (Pate) Harmouth placed two Pate family pictures in the Conroe Public Library, Montgomery County, Texas. Dean and I both agree the woman on the far right of one of these pictures is Tassie. A label on the back of the picture notes Tassie as "Teacher". Dean and I made a photocopy of that picture, but it is not a very good reproduction. On the list of to-do's is to scan in that picture and add it to the above collection. (Those two photographs are in the genealogy section of the Conroe Public Library, which is on the second floor. When you walk in the double doors, look immediately to your left. There are several filing cabinets. The Pate family (manila) folder is in the P drawer.)

Given Name

The Pate side of the family regularly uses "Claire" as Tassie's given name. MaryAnn (Pate) Hormuth has a note recorded from the Pate family bible in which one of William Nelson Pate's children was listed as Clair Pate. MaryAnn's grandmother, Clara (Moore) Pate, said that Tassie was a pet name. So Tassie's given name may indeed be Claire.

No one on the Shook side of the family has heard the name Claire before. I don't have a copy of Tassie's marriage certificate, but the marriage index uses Tassie as her giving name. Jesse Earl "Earl" Shook's birth certificate records the mother as Tassie, and when Tassie's husband (Joe) and son (Earl) had Tassie's headstone engraved, they used Tassie as the given name. Since Tassie is the only name we have ever known for my great-grandmother, I am recording her given name as Tassie (on my own [Shook Family] website).

If someone on the Pate side of the family could scan or photograph that Pate family bible entry, I would love to clarify the given name (and document this facet of Tassie's history). Until then, I'm sticking with Tassie as my great-grandmother's given name.


Tassie married Joseph Webster "Joe" SHOOK, Sr. (21-JUL-1885 - 26-JAN-1955) on 07-SEP-1907 in Montgomery County, Texas. I do not have a copy of the marriage certificate (yet), but the marriage is indexed at the Conroe Public Library in Montgomery County, Texas. Tassie (26) was a bit older than Joe (19) in 1907. The couple became a family nine months later when Tassie's first son, Earl, was born. Tassie died while pregnant with her second son (who is buried with her).



Not much is known about Tassie's life. She may have been a teacher. She may have been a cattle rancher, as MaryAnn (Pate) Harmouth found a cattle brand under Tassie's name. (I have tried to find that cattle brand to no avail.) Earl's birth certificate records Joe's occupation as a farmer. In the 1910 U.S. Census, taken weeks after Tassie's death, Joe Shook is recorded as a day laborer in the cattle industry. So Joe and Tassie were probably both involved in the farming and / or cattle industry - perhaps together.


Unfortunately, all of (Shook) oral history regarding Tassie relates to her death. The more factual side of this history records Tassie dying in the late stages of pregnancy. After Tassie's death, her (born / stillborn / unborn) son was buried with her. The headstone is engraved as "Tassie (Pate) Shook and Infant Son" denoting the family's loss of the baby too. The less factual record (handed down from Joe->Earl->Dean->Jan Jr.) is that Tassie's horse was startled by a rattlesnake, threw her off, and she went into labor in the middle of the woods and died. Regardless of how the tale is told, Tassie died young at 29 leaving Joe at 24 a widower and Earl at 1 without a mother.


In the 1950s, Earl purchased the headstone now resting over Tassie. Joe and Earl drove the headstone to the cemetery in a pickup truck (with Dean tagging along). As a small boy about 5 years old, Dean remembers drinking hot Coca Cola and watching his dad chasing a copperhead around the cemetery. He also remembers his father and grandfather placing Tassie's headstone at a best-guess location. Dean and I visit the cemetery every five to ten years, and just visited in the spring of 2013. Tassie's headstone is still in very good condition.


Almost all of the information we know about Tassie comes from oral history passed down from Jessie Earl Shook, Sr. to his sons. At the time of this recording, Jessie Earl Shook, Jr., his oldest son, has already died. So this oral history is based on the memory of his two younger sons: Jan Joseph Shook, Sr. and Dean Anthony Shook.

MaryAnn (Pate) Harmouth told me she found Tassie's cattle brand in a book she ordered from the Chaparral Genealogical Library in Tomball, Harris County, Texas. I visited that library a year or two ago and could not find that book. Still searching, as this would be one of the few documents on Tassie. By the way, in my notes I have MaryAnn recording Tassie's given name as Tassie (rather than Claire).

1 1900 United States Census->Texas->Montgomery County->Justice Precinct 3->District 107->Image 16/21 ( Image ...

Name Age Sex Race Relation Marital Status Birthplace Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace Occupation
Pate, Wm.N. 67 Male White Self Married South Carolina North Carolina South Carolina Farmer
Pate, Fannie 26 Female White Daughter Single Florida South Carolina Georgia  
Pate, Tassie 19 Female White Daughter Single Texas South Carolina Georgia  
Pate, Louis N. 18 Male White Son Single Texas South Carolina Georgia Farm labor

2 1907 Montgomery County, Texas Marriage License Applications Index

3 Headstone, Pate Cemetery, Montgomery County, Texas ( Image ...