Name: Jonathan Pitts
Date: Approximately 1917
Image Number: RS01acdRS01
Comments: Jonathan Pitts, a longtime resident of Scottsville, is shown here in this photo taken on the back porch of the Pitts home on Main Street. In another photo taken at the Burgess Idylwood studio and shown at right, Jonathan holds a newspaper. His newspaper's headline, "Home Rule for the Philippines," would infer this photo was taken in 1902 when the Philippine national bi-cameral legislature was established. However, William Burgess, the photographer, knew Jonathan took a lively interest in the affairs of America and of Scottsville and perhaps felt a newspaper was a most fitting photo prop for a man who never tired of having the news read to him. Pitts also holds a favorite clay pipe, which he fired up daily to smoke 'Run, Johnny, Run' tobacco. As a child, Raymon Thacker often ran errands for Mr. Pitts, who by World War I was nearly blind from cataracts. One of Raymon's regular errands included running down to Dorrier's Store on Valley Street and West Main to buy a 5-cent pouch of tobacco for Mr. Pitts, and as his payment, a box of graham crackers for himself.
Jonathan Pitts was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 2, 1822, the son of Henry Pitts and Martha Cullingsworth. Henry Pitts built this large brick house on Scottsville's Main Street about 1831, and Jonathan Pitts lived there with his mother after his father died in 1849. Jonathan married Mary Agnes Snead on October 31, 1850, and the Pitts home soon housed a family that would grow to include thirteen children. Jonathan opened a small store on the side of his house and also entertained many old friends on its spacious front porch. The Pitts home, razed in 1955, was located on Lot 19 and 20, where the Chevron Station is today (2002) across from Scottsville Museum.
At the onset of the Civil War, Jonathan Pitts enlisted for the Confederacy as part of the Scottsville Home Guard. The Guard joined the 19th Virginia Regiment en masse on April 17, 1861. Pitt's Confederate military service record described him as a "mechanic, 5' 7", dark complexion, hazel eyes, dark hair." Pitts served in Company C of the 19th VA Regt until his military term expired on July 16, 1862, and he was discharged for being 'over 40 years old.'
Jonathan and Mary Agnes Pitts were the parents of thirteen children:
In 1920, Jonathan Pitts died in Scottsville after contacting influenza, and excerpts from his Scottsville Sun obituary include: "Lacking just a little over 14 months of being 100 years old, Mr. Jonathan Pitts died at his home in Scottsville at 11:45 o'clock AM, Tuesday, December 28, 1920, after an illness of only 3 days. The funeral was held at 2:30 o'clock, p.m., the following day from the Scottsville Methodist Church, the Rev. J.E. Daniel, his pastor officiating. Burial was in the Baptist Cemetery with Masonic honors."
"Jonathan Pitts, son of the late Henry Pitts, was born in Richmond on March 2, 1822. He was married October 31, 1850, his wife having been Miss Mary Agnes Snead of Spout Spring, Appomattox County. To them were born 13 children, eight of whom are living. There are 28 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren of the worthy couple. The wife died about 20 years ago."
"The surviving children are: Mrs. Lindsay Stone of Arvonia; Misses Josephine and Mary Pitts of Scottsville; Messrs David Pitts of Scottsville; Arthur L. Pitts of Arvonia; John L. Pitts of Scottsville; Luther M. Pitts of Elk Hill; and William P. Pitts of Scottsville."
Shown below are later photos of five of Jonathan and Mary (Snead) Pitts' children:
The photos of Luther and John L. Pitts are part of the Kathleen McNamara collection. Kathleen resides in Scottsville, Virginia, and is the great granddaughter of Jonathan Pitts and the granddaughter of John L. Pitts.
The photos of Jonathan Pitts (right) and Pitts House are part of the Raymon Thacker collection. Raymon grew up across the street from the Pitts family and spent many happy hours with Jo and Babe Pitts and often ran errands for the elderly Jonathan Pitts.
The photo of Mary Agnes 'Babe' Pitts (early photo) is part of the Sean Linden collection. Sean resides in Scottsville, Virginia, and found this photo when his family moved into their home on Valley Street. He generously donated it to Scottsville Museum's photo archives.
The remaining photos are part of the Robert Spencer collection. Robert resides in Scottsville, Virginia, and is the great grandson of Jonathan Pitts and grandson of William Patteson Pitts.
Copyright © 2001 by Scottsville Museum
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Copyright © 2001 by Scottsville Museum