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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Pitts

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1642-1643 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This family is of English ancestry and was founded in America by John Pitts, son of Berwick Pitts, of Lyme, Regis county, Dorset, England, a small seaport of the southern coast. Here John was born in 1668 and came to America in 1695, settling in Boston, where he was a successful and prominent merchant. He married Elizabeth Lendall, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, granddaughter of James Lendall, of England, who died in 1652. His will was witnessed by Miles Standish and John Alden. John Pitts had a son James, who graduated at Harvard in 1728, and rose to a high position in the colony. He was a noted patriot and with his sons, John, Samuel and Lendall, at his side, equally devoted to the cause of liberty, walked the stormy path of the revolution when failure led to the scaffold, the axe or the gallows, and success led to liberty, freedom and glory. It was a family noted in the annals of early Massachusetts, where Pitts street, Pitts wharf and Pitts tomb are yet to be found. The family is now scattered, but few if any are to be found in or around Boston who can justly claim descent from James. There is no record to connect the New York family of Colonie, Albany county, with the Boston family. They trace five generations to William Pitts, of Chatham, Columbia county, who was son of Joseph. There were several of the name resident of the town of Chatham, where their descendants are still to be found.

(I) William Pitts, son of Joseph Pitts, was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia county, New York. He was a school teacher in his younger days, but later a farmer. He was a devoted Methodist and a class leader in that church, and was of the Democratic faith. As a boy he recalled the incidents of the revolution and often told of his visits when a boy to the camp of the soldiers, driving cattle which were to be killed for their sustenance. He married (first) Salome Wickham, who bore him twelve children; (second) Charity Couse, who was the mother of two.

(II) David W., son of William and Salome (Wickham) Pitts, was born in the town of Nassau, Rensselaer county, New York, where his father had removed from Columbia county. He also followed the occupation of a farmer all his days. He enlisted and served in the American army during the war of 1812-14. He was a prominent and useful member of the Methodist church and an ardent Democrat. He married Susanna, daughter of Ebenezer Boyce, of the town of Schodack. where she was born. They were the parents of thirteen children.

(III) Sylvester, son of David W. and Susanna (Boyce) Pitts, was born in Nassau, Rensselaer county, New York, April 4, 1818, died in Colonie, Albany county, March 27, 1886. He was a farmer of Colonie all his adult years and prospered. He was a consistent member of the Methodist church, a good but not an austere man, liberal in thought and deed and highly respected in his community. He departed from the family political faith and joined the Republican party when the party was formed. He was emphatically a home man, holding no public office nor belonging to any fraternal organizations. He married, in 1849, Mary Ann Wetherwax, born in 1828, died in 1901. Children:

  1. Emerson A., died in infancy.
  2. Sebastian W., see forward.
  3. David W. (2), born July 12, 1860; married Daisy, daughter of Judge Martin, of Helena, Montana, and they live in Garden City, Kansas, he being with a packing company of Topeka, Kansas.
  4. Ida L., born in Colonie, New York, married Edward M. Dennison, of the same town; she died February 26, 1908; he died four years before.
  5. Blanchard E., died in Albany City Hospital, December 11, 1909; no issue.
  6. Albert F., born December 24, 1868; married Hattie R. Rowe, and resides in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, sales agent for Watson & Company, of Canastota, New York.

(IV) Sebastian W., eldest son and second child of Sylvester and Mary Ann (Wetherwax) Pitts, was born in the town of Colonie, Albany county, New York, June 28, 1858. He was educated in the town schools, has all his life been a farmer, owns and lives upon the old Pitts homestead farm in Colonie. He has given much of his time to the public service of his country and has always been an adherent and supporter of the Republican party. For several years he was on the school board of his town, and in 1895 was appointed deputy sheriff of Albany county. He served as deputy for three years and was then appointed under sheriff, which office he held continuously until 1904, in which year he received the nomination of his party for the office of sheriff. At the ensuing election he was the choice of the people and held the office for three years. On January 14, 1907, he was elected clerk of the county board of supervisors, and is now serving in that capacity (1911). He has always stood high in the local councils of the party and has been their choice, ratified by the party conventions, as delegate to the county and state conventions. He is a member of the Unconditional Club of Albany, and the Colonial Club of Watervliet. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and with his family a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, taking an active and prominent part in church affairs. He married, at Colonie, November 5, 1880, Mary E. Lewis, born at Greenfield, Saratoga county, New York, April 12, 1859, daughter of George Van Rensselaer Lewis, a mill owner of Saratoga county, and his wife, Sarah M. (Weed) Lewis. She has one brother, George L. Lewis, a resident of Whitestone, Long Island, and an attorney in New York City. Children of Sebastian W. and Mary E. (Lewis) Pitts:

  1. Clarence Van Rensselaer, born in Colonie, August 11, 1881; married, November 8, 1905, Mary Seisel, and has a daughter Dorothy and a son Edwin Lewis Pitts.
  2. Clifford Sylvester, twin of Clarence V. R.; married, in 1904, Effie Swatling. Both Clarence V. R. and Clifford S. are farmers, and cultivate the old Pitts homestead farms, the property of their father.
  3. Bertha L., born March 16, 1883; married Irvin Dedrick, a farmer of Colonie.
  4. Arthur Emerson, born June 23, 1885; he was educated in the town schools, afterward taking the full course and graduating from the Cohoes high school; he then entered Union College; at the expiration of his first year he was compelled by failing health to abandon all idea of completing the course; later he took up the study of medicine, spent four years at Albany Medical College, graduating and receiving his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1909; he then took a course at the Lying-In Hospital of New York, and was on the staff of the Albany Hospital, but now is practicing medicine and surgery at 255 Quail street, Albany, New York. Arthur Emerson Pitts married, September 17, 1910, Carrie Louisa Becker, of East Schodack, Rensselaer county, New York.

All the children of Mr. Pitts are graduates of the Cohoes high school.

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