Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 648] the well-known and popular postmaster of Mt. Jackson, and a member of the firm of Pitts Brothers & Miller, manufacturers of wagons, carriages, etc., is one of the leading men of this part of the Keystone State. He first saw the light of day in North Beaver township Feb. 8, 1852. His parents were Daniel and Susan (Miller) Pitts.

John F. Pitts comes from true pioneer stock. His great-grandfather, Michael Pitts, was born in good old Berks Co., Pa., lived for a time in Lancaster County, and came into North Beaver township among the very first of the white settlers. He selected a spot in the western part of North Beaver township, a locality in which his descendants have ever since been the leading landowners. With his family this hardy pioneer camped down in the wilderness, took up three hundred acres of land, and with his own strong arm and trusty ax proceeded to build himself a home of rough logs; here he lived to a good old age, leaving when he ceased this life four worthy sons, Michael, William, John, and David, to perpetuate his good name. Of these sons, John was the grandfather of the subject of this article.

John Pitts was born in Lancaster County but came into this section with his father. He settled and cleared a good farm near Zion Church in North Beaver township in 1789, wedding a Miss Annie Painter. By saving and thrifty methods he became the owner of over three hundred acres of land, and was known on all sides as a sturdy, upright and valuable citizen. He died at the age of seventy-eight years, his wife surviving his departure but a short time. Eight children were born to them, all but two of whom lived to be adults, and were named: Adam, David, John, Annie, Catherine, and Daniel. The latter was the father of John F. Pitts.

Daniel Pitts was born in North Beaver township at the same place where the subject of our sketch later came into the world. He early learned the blacksmithing trade, which he advantageously followed the greater part of his life. He was also an expert butcher and his services were in great demand all over the township. To this day the old shop grounds show the marks of his steady industry, and mutely testify how hard he labored to perform faithfully and well whatever it fell to his lot to do. He was married to Susan Miller, with whom he lived happily until death claimed him in 1865. The widow still survives him, living at the old homestead. They gathered about them this family of children: John F.; Samantha Jane, now deceased; Alfred, who, is on the home farm; Catherine, deceased; Lewis H., now in business with John F.; and Mary Eliza, deceased.

John F. Pitts received his early educational training in the Martin School. In 1870 he began to learn carriage-building and wood-working at Canfield, Ohio; he spent three years there, serving out his apprenticeship. On his return home in 1873 he bought out the business of D. I. Hill at Mt. Jackson, secured the old school-house, which was earlier used as a church, raised it and placed a basement underneath. He then began on quite a large scale the manufacture of lumber and heavy wagons, trucks, drays and carriages. He continued to conduct the fast increasing and developing business until 1887, when his brother Lewis H. became associated with him. In 1890 Mr. O. L. Miller was admitted to the firm, and the present style of Pitts Brothers & Miller adopted. Besides running an extensive manufacturing and repair business, this enterprising firm handles a full line of farming implements. By fair dealing and upright methods from the very inception of the enterprise an interest has been built up that is second to none in volume in this section. They employ several men during their busy seasons.

The subject of our article owns and occupies a fine residence, which is located on the site where Mr. Henry built the first house erected in Mr.[sic] Jackson. Besides his heavy business interests, Mr. Pitts owns a great deal of other property, and is held in high esteem as one of Mt. Jackson's responsible men. The wife of our subject was a Miss Louise Mollenkopf, a daughter of Daniel Mollenkopf of North Beaver township; six children have resulted from this marriage: Rena, Hattie, Laura, Warren, Harrison, and William. Mr. Pitts is a man of wide experience and broad attainments. He finds time to look after his business enterprises, and to look after other affairs that concern him, political, social and religious. He has always been an earnest adherent of the principles of the Republican party, and has held many local offices in the gift of his fellow-townsmen. In the councils of his party he is prominent and influential. As a tribute to his reliability and high standing he was recently appointed to the postmastership of Mt. Jackson, an office he is conducting to the satisfaction of all. He is an active member of the Knights of Pythias, and is a past chancellor of the same. In religious matters Mr. Pitts's principles are in accord with the rules of life laid down by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fairminded, well-posted on all matters, upright in all things, Mr. Pitts is a citizen whose name stands at all times for what is best and noblest.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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