Ernest Fremont Tittle D.D. was born in 1886 and died in 1949. He and his wife Glenna rest in the Chapel of First Methodist Church of Evanston, Illinois where he preached from 1918 until he died. He was a prolific writer as well. From time to time he escaped to the Black Hills of South Dakota to spend time composing his sermons, papers, and books.
He had a friend with a ranch beneath the rocks that were being slowly turned into Mount Rushmore. Dr. Tittle would take Glenna, John, Betsy, and Bill with him during the summer months to enjoy the quiet offered by the trout streams and the landscape. Ernest was an avid fisherman. As a Methodist preacher he was by definition above the flock. Adding to that he had very strong pacifist views; he was very reserved and intimidating; and he presented a very stern countenance that distanced people from him. He yearned to be welcomed as a person. He once asked his host…”Why don’t they call me Ernie?” To know this man, one must read the biography written by Robert Moats Miller, PhD who was a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
A part of this man’s life is this piece of wood. A simple aged board with tarpaper letters tacked on with roofing nails. It was placed on the A-frame shed perched up in the woods where Ernie would retire to write. The Rancher assembled the placard posted atop the little building. It said, “Tittle’s Folly.” That was the summer of 1928 when Bill was 10 years old.
Bill grew up marrying Mary Stewart in 1942 and raised three children named Stewart, Cynthia, and Wendy. They grew up and Stewart married Linda Miller who was to become a Physical Therapist specializing in pediatrics. It was during one of her jobs that she met he new boss, Dr. Roland Schmidt, a very nice Cardiac Pediatrician hailing from Chapel Hill. During a meeting in 1978, he slipped her a note asking if Ernest Fremont Tittle was her father. Her reply was that he was Stewart’s grandfather. He said that his wife grew up on a ranch in South Dakota where Dr. Tittle would visit from time to time during her childhood.
Not long after that in 1979, Dr. Schmidt reported that his father-in-law had passed leaving the ranch to his wife. Rummaging through the sheds they discovered this placard and gave it to Linda. She in turn gave it to her father-in-law Bill who had not seen it since 1928. It was posted on the side of his house on Whidbey Island, Washington for ten years until he died. Then, his widow returned the board to our keeping. It now resides over a door mantel in our home in Klamath Falls, Oregon.