My mother's name. She was the daughter of PETER RUBEL, who lived near Knoxville, Tenn. She was born November 28, 1778, was married to MICHAEL PITNER in 1799, as above stated, and with him settled in Wilson County, Tenn.
On the farm above described I spent my happy boyhood days, till I was thirteen years old. I have a vivid recollection of the double two-story log house, hewn smoothly, chinked and painted with lime mortar. The house was double, one side the newer, was north of the other, with a hall or passage between, both had large stone chimneys with fireplaces; the kitchen slavery fashion, was a hundred feet at least south.
My father was a thrifty farmer, and owned four good farms; each farm had ample orchards of apple, peach, and cherry trees, in which I spent a great number of my younger days. The farm products were corn, wheat, oats, cotton and tobacco. We raised horses, cattle and hogs for the market. Employed mostly hired help. My father owned a few slaves under protest, for he did not believe in slavery.
He owned a little negro named Will, who was about my size and we were playmates in spite of race distinction. A white handled knife of mine was greatly coveted by Will, and one day I was sent on an errand, riding a wild dangerous horse; to the amazement of the family the horse came running down the avenue without the rider. A cry went up "LEVI is killed, LEVI is killed, the gray horse is come without him". Will took in the situation at once, and clapping his hands with apparent great delight, said "LEVI is killed, I want to have his knife, I said it first." This illustrated how truly the slaves loved their masters.
MICHAEL PITNER, my father, enlisted as a volunteer in the war with Great Britain in 1812, and was in the 3 days forced march from Pensacola to New Orleans, under command of Col. Carrol, Capt. Levi Howell commanding. It was for these two esteemed officers I was named LEVI CARROL. My father was in the skirmish in New Orleans on the night of the 23rd of December, and had a comrade shot dead at his side. His comrade was shot half into between his hands while loading his gun. I have heard him say he saw by the flash of the guns in the dark, that the British were lying on their backs firing. He shouted "Shoot low, boys", and very soon the enemy retreated. He was in the great battle also of Jan. 8th. My father fell sick and was in the hospital with a fever; soon after his recovery, he was honorably discharged, and eturned to his home in Tennessee, to rehearse to the family the thrilling experiences of the war. I remember his soldier overcoat, with its large cape, and his musket, of which all were so proud.
After the war my father returned to his peaceful pursuit of farming, where he and my good mother labored harmoniously together to bring up a large and respectable family. My mother was noted for patience, industry, deep piety and kindness to the neighbors, especially the poor. In family government three things were made prominent: industry, honesty, and obedience to parents. So well were these understood to be necessary, that there was little thought of trying to evade any of these laws. I understood that the word of my father and mother was law, and thought of nothing else but to obey, so was never whipped by either father or mother. My mother urged on the children the study of scriptures, especially the New Testament.
In 1829 or 1830, MONTGOMERY, WILSON and ALEXANDER PITNER went to Illinois and settled near Jacksonville. Later they sent back such glowing accounts of the new country that the whole family became anxious to emigrate. After due consideration it was determined to sell out and all move to Illinois. Accordingly in August 1837 we started for the land of promises.
There were no railroads in those days, and we came the old-fashioned wagon style. One four-horse wagon with schooner shaped wagon bed, and water-proof cover; one two-horse wagon, and one carry-all in which my mother and sister rode; one or two horses with saddles for horseback riding for a change, comprised our complete outfit. At night we camped out and slept soundly. The weather was good and the journey lasted about four weeks, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I think we arrived at the residence of my brother MONTGOMERY two miles east of Jacksonville, Illinois on Sept. 2nd, 1837. Here we spent one week enjoying the rest and hospitality of our good brother.
We then moved on to the farm of my brother, ALEXANDER, ten miles northeast of Jacksonville, in North Prairie. Brother ALEXANDER was then at the lead mines in Galena, Ill. The log cabin into which we moved was about eighteen feet square, with one broad open fireplace. We soon constructed an addition the whole length of the south side which gave ample room for the accommodation of the entire family. Here we lived in comparative comfort, cultivating and farming, until my father, MICHAEL, died April 30, 1840; his disease was hernia in its worst form, and he died from strangulation. Dr. Smith of Jacksonville, and others performed an operation, from the effects of which he died after four weeks of painful suffering. After the death of my father, my mother purchased a farm a mile east of where we were living, where with the aid of my oldest brothers counsel and the help of my youngest brother WASHINGTON, we made a good living, until the fall of 1846, when I left home to enter the ministry.
A few years afterwards my mother broke up housekeeping, and went to live with her youngest daughter, HARRIET THOMPSON, at Concord, Morgan County, Illinois, until her death Oct. 19, 1872, at the age of ninety-four. My father and mother lie side by side in a country cemetery in North Prairie (Turner School House), about two miles east of our old home, and nine miles northeast of Jacksonville, Ill
WILLIAM PITNER, my eldest brother, except the one who died in infancy, was born in Wilson County, Tenn., April 17, 1800, and died of pneumonia near Decatur, Ill, on March 22nd, 1875.
He came with the family to Illinois in 1837, and lived with them until 1841, I think, when he was married to CATHERINE PRICE, the daughter of HENRY PRICE of North Prairies. She was an excellent Christian woman, member of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church. There was born
to them one son, THOMAS JEFFERSON PITNER. He was born in my mother's house where my brother and his wife lived at the time. They soon after moved on their own farm in North Prairie. When THOMAS JEFFERSON was about ten years old, his mother died in peace. His father never married again, but gave his son the best education. As soon as he was out of school he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Jones of Jacksonville. After attending lectures in New York and spending two years in the best medical schools in Europe, he has practiced his
profession in Jacksonville with the greatest success, and is classed among the leading physicians of the state.
About three years ago (1891) he married to an esteemed lady in Springfield, Illinois. His father WILLIAM PITNER as a citizen was highly esteemed, he was for many years the Magistrate and several years served as sheriff of Cass County. He was not a member of any church, but lived a moral life, and I believe a peaceful life, for he was a firm believer in the reality and truths of the Christian religion.
He sleeps in the same cemetery with his father and mother.
MONTGOMERY PITNER, my next eldest brother, was born in Wilson County, Tenn. On the old homestead, Jan. 21, 1802. He with two other brothers, WILSON and ALEXANDER, came to Jacksonville, Ill. About 1829 or 1830. Montgomery located on 160 acres of land two miles east of Jacksonville, Ill. Here with his Tennessee wife he raised a large family of children. He was a successful farmer, a trusted and useful citizen, and prominent member and promoter of the M.E. Church. He served the church in the official rolls of class leader and steward for many years. His children most of them lived to years of maturity, married and lived in different parts of the country, mostly west. Some of them have followed the father and mother to the grave.
MONTGOMERY died of strangulated rupture at his home in 1855. His last hours were most remarkable, and a religious triumph. I was not permitted to be present, but many reliable witnesses state that he seemed to have a bright clear vision of heavenly messengers coming to
escort him home. He exclaimed "Don't you see the angels that have come for me, and there is my blessed SAVIOR, don't you see HIM?" With similar expressions his face all radiant, he swept through the gates to his Heavenly home. His memory among his neighbors was "ointment poured forth".
ALEXANDER PITNER was born in the old homestead in Tenn. Feb. 5, 1805, and is still living. (As of Dec., 1891) He left his home in Tenn. With his older brother, and came to Illinois in 1829 or 1830, and entered eight acres of land in North Prairie, Morgan Co., Illinois, ten miles
southwest from Jacksonville, now Cass County. Here he operated a small farm, built a cabin of logs, planted an orchard and kept bachelor's hall for awhile. He then went to Galena, Ill., and
became interested in lead mines, where he remained till he returned to his home in 1839 or 1840. He soon after married in Indiana, and settled on his farm, built a good house, and for many years lived the life of a prosperous, honest farmer. He had two promising sons, and when 12 to 15 years of age they went out hunting, one of them was accidently shot and killed in a very peculiar manner, by a dog stepping on the trigger of his gun, left on a little knoll a few feet away from where he was standing. The other son, MILTON GEORGE, is still living.
ALEXANDER, some years ago, feeling that his strength was not equal to the burden and hard work of farm life, sold his farm and moved to Jacksonville, where he still resides. He was nearly all his life a member of the M.E. Church, and did his full share to promote the interest of the church, and good morals in his neighborhood.
WILSON PITNER was born at the old Tennessee homestead Feb. 25, 1806, and died at his post at Deep Creek, Spokane Co., Washington, February 9, 1880. His early educational advantages were meager, he was powerfully converted in early manhood and united with the M.E. Church, of which he was an active member. He was among the first of the family to come to Illinois. He soon became impressed that he was called to preach the Gospel. and determined to enter the ministry in the Illinois Conference of the M.E. Church, but feeling deeply in need of a better education, in accordance with the advice of his friends he entered the Illinois College of Jacksonville. (Note: Wilson Pitner is listed in early marriages of Morgan Co., Ill. As officiate)
His cousin PETER RUBEL BOREN (also spelled Boring) entered the college at the same time, with the same object in view. Boren subsequently joined the Illinois Conference and was stationed at the young city of Chicago. At the end of his first year, I saw him in September 1837
at the conference of Jacksonville; he was a fine looking you man, sweet spirited and talented. Judge Grant Goodrich, late of Chicago, told me that Rev. Peter Rubel Boren was the most talented preacher he had ever heard. It is said the auctioneers of Chicago often said, "Buy a
handkerchief, gentlemen, you will need it when you go to hear Boren.
Mrs. Garrett, the wife of a wealthy man in Chicago, was converted and united to the church with his preachings. Soon afterward her husband died, and she devoted her whole fortune to the founding of the Garrett-Boren Biblical Institute of Evanston, Ill. The following year this talented and devoted minister fell the victim of the cholera that prevailed in Chicago that year, and died. His remains now repose in Rose Hill, being removed from the old cemetery.
WILSON PITNER found the college studies irksome, and longed to enter the active ministry, which he did by entering the Illinois Conference in 1838, he became a zealous, useful minister in the circuits of Illinois. About 1849 he moved with his family across the plains to Sacramento, Ca.; he married LOIS ANGELINE PALMER, the daughter of a local preacher of Farmington, Fulton Co., Illinois, who accompanied them to California. Soon after arriving at Sacramento he was re-admitted to the traveling connections in the California Conference, I think in 1859, where he labored for several years. He was then transferred or removed to the Oregon Conference in 1862; spent some time at Ft. Vancouver, Washington, then moved across the Cascade Mountains to Deep Creek, Spokane Co., Wa. where he remained until the day of his death. A letter from his wife to me after his death stated he was strong in the faith to the last, although he suffered great pain. He said that "Justification by faith alone, on which he had always relied, was still his stay and support as death approached".
WILSON PITNER was a remarkable man for his strong faith in GOD, his entire dependence on HIM for all things, the Bible was his great study and delight. He drew his inspirations from the Book, his speech and preachings were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but marvelously eloquent, sometimes eccentric, but always interesting. A full account of his ministerial career, his field of labor, his peculiarities, and eccentricities, may be found in Dr. James' Lectures-History of the Illinois Conference.
The children of Wilson and Lois Angeline Pitner were: Mettie, Sarah, Lydia, Lovina, Berryman, and Wilson Spry Pitner.
This book gives an extended history of him, and furnishes dates of his various appointments. Reference is also made to the minutes of the conference. He was an honest and faithful minister of GOD.
LYDIA PITNER, daughter of WILSON and ANGELINE PITNER, was born on a wagon train in the year 1849. Her parents brought her to California. They settled at Shingle Springs, where her father helped organize and preached in several communities.
At the age of 15 years, LYDIA married CHARLES HOLMES. They operated a hotel in Diamond Springs (building still stands). There were two daughters born to them, HULDAH and VANESSA HOLMES. CHARLIE HOLMES passed away in 1869. LYDIA sold her property and moved to Salem, Oregon, where she was married to ALBERT CAVITT. They moved on to
an acreage near Mill Plain, Clark Co., Washington; in 1884 they traded their acreage to Joe Livingston for a homestead at Ireland. There were six children born to ALBERT and LYDIA CAVITT: ALBERT, JAMES, ARTHUR, BENJAMIN, HAZEL, and RICHARD.
Albert Cavitt passed away in 1898 after a year of illness. He had cleared several acres of land and planted $1000.00 in Italian prune trees. Lydia remained on the homestead and raised her family, the revenue from the prunes being her greatest income. Lydia was a woman of strong spiritual understanding, and spent a life time of hard work and sacrifice. She organized and taught the only Sunday School the community ever had. She passed away in 1915 and was buried at Fern Prairie, Washington.
ELIZABETH PITNER, the first daughter born in the family, first saw the light of day in the old Tenn. Homestead on Feb. 8, 1808. Early in life she became religious and united with the M.E. Church, in which she remained faithful until her death. She never married but emigrated to Illinois in 1837. She was large and fleshy, of a lively and cheerful disposition, she was devoted to the family, and being the eldest daughter much relied on for help in raising a large family.
She made her home after coming to Illinois with her brother Montgomery. She met her death in about 1848 or 1849 in a most disastrous manner; her clothing took fire from an open fireplace and before they could put out the flames, her lungs were so injured by the flames, by inhaling the hot air, that she soon afterwards died in great pain, at the residence of her brother where the accident happened, but I have no means at hand to affix the precise date.
LYDIA PITNER was also born on the old Tenn. Farm, on Jan 24, 1810 and died at her home, Jacksonville, Ill., May 23, 1900. Her husband Rev. James H. Dicking having died the same place about 2 years previously.
LYDIA was converted early in life, and became a zealous shouting Methodist, as they were called. These enthusiastic exhibits of Christian faith were among the first recollections of her. At Rose's meeting house where our family had their membership, I distinctly remember hearing and seeing my sister LYDIA shout loud and high praises of GOD, clapping her hands and skipping about from place to place, from one person to another. Her face was radiant, her step was so light it seemed as if she could fly. She was noted all through her life for her fervent deep piety.
About 1830 or 1831, she was married to JAMES H. DICKING; the son of a noted Baptist minister. Soon after they moved to Jacksonville, Ill., he was granted license to preach, and was admitted to the Illinois Conference in 1836, in which he remained a faithful and honored member until the day of his death. The minutes of the Conference are referred to as giving a statement of the various fields of labor, where for nearly half a century he served his church with great fidelity in the ministry. He was a clear, strong thinker, and successful debater.
His wife was a helpmate for him, moving from circuit to circuit, constantly enduring the hardships of the itinerant life in those early days. When her end came she was ready to go, a soul so filled with the divine light that she saw, or thought she saw her SAVIOR, also the angels and several of her departed friends come to escort her home. If Stephen saw the Heavens open and JESUS standing, why not his sons of all ages.
DR. FRANK RUBEL PITNER was born on the old Tennessee homestead Oct 9, 1812, and is now living in Clay City, Clay County, Illinois. About 1834 he left home and located in Salem, Ill., as a single man. There he studied medicine under Dr. Hall. On the way to Illinois in 1837
the family stopped over at Salem one day. I remember how delighted he was to see us all. Here he remained in the practice of his profession for several years.
He married SARAH RIDGEWAY, the daughter of a reputable man and of a highly reputable family, who proved in every respect worthy of him. They afterwards moved to Clay City, Clay County, Illinois, where he still resides. (1908)
In 1846 he removed to Jerseyville, Ill., but in a few years returned to Clay City. Here they raised five children, four boys and one girl:: JOHN LLOYD, graduate of Bloomington, Indiana college, studied law; soon after was powerfully converted, felt he was called of GOD to preach the Gospel. WILLIAM PITNER, another son, graduated from the Garrett-Biblical Institute, Evanston, Ill., was admitted to the Iowa Conference, where he soon ranked as a useful and successful preacher. One of the other sons became a dentist, and another, I think, an artist. The daughter remained at home single, and kept house for her father, since the death of her mother.
My brother, FRANKLIN, took an interest in politics, and was elected as a Democrat to the state legislature in or about 1844, which met at Springfield. Several matters were settled at this session. He was opposed to slavery, and voted for Lincoln, and never returned to his old party. He has a bright mind, and quick speech, industrious, honest and a devoted member of the M.E. Church, which he has served for many years in various official capacities, but he made his principle distinction as a popular, useful and successful physician.
CATHERINE PITNER was also born at the old Tennessee homestead, Dec. 23, 1814, died at the residence of a daughter in Cass County, Illinois, about 1888. CATHERINE was single and lived at home with the family when we settled in North Prairie in 1837. She married LAWSON TRADWAY, an industrious farmer in 1839. They settled on his own farm about three miles northeast of Beardstown. There they lived many years and raised a family of several children; some of them died young.
About ten years ago he died, she then broke up housekeeping and lived with a married daughter till the day of her death. Sister KATIE as we called her, was the most patient, industrious, and deeply pious woman, a good wife and devoted all her life.
ELIZA PITNER was born on the Tennessee homestead, March 3, 1816, and died at her own home in Jacksonville, Ill., about 1850. She came with the family to Illinois and lived at home in North Prairie until she was married to WILLIAM BUCKINGHAM, in 1838 or 1839. She lived with her husband in Jacksonville until the day of her death.
She had one son who was a small boy when his mother was taken from him by death. Sister ELIZA was a devoted Christian and often led in family prayers; she more than anyone else was the immediate instrument in my conversion. She was a life-long member of the M.E. Church.
HARRIET PITNER was born on the old homestead in Tenn., August 30, 1819, and is still living. She came to Illinois with the family in 1837, lived on brother ALEXANDER"S farm til she married to JOHN N. THOMPSON in 1839. Soon after they settled on their own farm atConcord, Morgan County, Illinois.
He was one of the best farmers I ever knew. His work never pushed him, he always pushed his work. His neighbors always wondered why he had better crops then they. Here is where my good old mother found a happy and welcome rest in her old days. In their house she breathed her
last. They were both kind to her and devoted to each other. They were both constant and honored members of the M.E. Church.
Brother THOMPSON served for many years as leader and steward in the church. Some years ago they sold out and moved to Virginia, Cass County, Illinois where they live, two happy old people. Their son HENRY THOMPSON is an enterprising and very extensive cattle dealer in the west. The whole family owe a debt of gratitude to brother and sister Thompson for the loving care they took of our dear old mother to the day of her death.
LEVI CARROLL PITNER, retired, Evanston, Illinois. I was born at Wilson County, Tennessee, January 24, 1824. I moved to Illinois with the family in 1837, and lived with my mother and managed her business, helped take care of the farm until my marriage October 30, 1848 to Miss
ARMINBA F. CARTWRIGHT, daughter of PETER CARTWRIGHT, famous among the pioneer preachers of western Methodism. We had one son, LEVI J. PITNER.
I was greatly distressed by the death of my father and soon afterwards at a prayer meeting at the residence of Richard Matthews, at North Prairie on Sunday, June 28, 1840, ELIZA said "LEVI don't you want to be religious, and go to meet our dear father in Heaven". I replied by dropping on my knees and saying "LORD, with all my heart". About one o'clock she said to me, "You seek it by works, you cannot make yourself any better, it is by faith we are saved." I replied, I believe every word of the Bible just as much as you, why am I not saved"? "Trust in the LORD and do not be afraid."
I stopped praying and trying to believe, and began to think of the cross, of the love that led my SAVIOR to die for me, and instantly my face grasped the prize, I found my burden gone, and my soul flooded with light, peace and joy unspeakable. Instantly I was on my feet, embracing my mother and sister and from that day I never doubted my thorough conversion.
The conviction grew upon me that my life's work was to preach the Gospel; at last I was appointed class leader, and received a license to preach at a quarterly conference of the Jacksonville Circuit. I was recognized for admission to the Illinois Conference, which I joined September 4, 1845. My first work was on the Jerseyville circuit, later I was changed to Quincey, Carlinville, Princeton, Bloomington, Jacksonville and Decator. One of the 23
years of this connection with the conference was spent as an agent to raise $40,00 with which to
build the Quincy College, now known as Chaddock College. In 1866 I was appointed Conference agent for the purpose of raising $100,000.00 to aid the conference institutions of learning. This large amount, by the aid of the ministry and laymen, was raised during that year. I served 3 years as presiding elder of the Danville Circuit.
At the end of 23 years in the ministry, I engaged in the real estate business, and my ventures began at about the time Chicago was having a boom and buyers were plentiful. I made a successful clearing of $200,000.00 in 3 years. The panic of 1837 then swept everything but my home away. In the early 80's the tide of fortune again turned in my favor, and I was happy in making investments in Hammond, Indiana, also Seattle, Washington, and since that date lived in the enjoyment of my competency.
In my political views, hereafter voting twice for Lincoln, because of his temperance principles went over to the prohibition party, and was chairman of the State Central Committee of his party, and led the campaign for Fiske and Brooks in 1888. Not withstanding the fact that I was southern born, I was an ardent Unionist during the Civil War, supporting the cause with all the means at his command. I am now a local leader in Emanuel M.E. Church, Evanston, Ill., and a member of the official board.
WASHINGTON CAMPBELL PITNER was born in Wilson County, Tennessee August 19, 1828, and is living in Decatur, Illinois. He moved with the family to Illinois in 1837, being the youngest child of the family he remained at home, and was a great service on the new farm in the support of the family, and when his mother broke up housekeeping he learned the business of photography, which he has followed ever since. For 25 years he has pursued this business in Decatur, Illinois.
About 20 years ago he married an excellent Christian woman in that town, Miss STARR. She has all these years been prominent in church and temperance work. She was first prominent in the Order of Sons of Temperance, and of late in the W.C.T.U.
They had 2 children, FRANK deceased, and THOMAS living in Decatur. They have a good home and a good living, are all members of the M.E. Church, he has been a local preacher in the M.E. Church for years and a devoted constant Christian.
This completes the list of the 12 sons and daughters of MICHAEL and CATHERINE PITNER; all lived to manhood and womanhood and all lived respectable and Christian lives.
Evanston, Illinois, December 25th, 1891, LEVI C. PITNER
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