In 1889, James Pitts began working for the railroad depot; later, he also worked as a deputy sheriff and tax collector. He became an active member of the Flagstaff community, participating in Methodist-Episcopal Church activities and literary clubs. Pitts married Eva Ashurst, Henry's sister, in September, 1890. It appears the couple had two children, Harvey and Albert. The family moved to Needles, California in 1893, where James had work with the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. Late in 1894, Pitts moved to Williams, where he was employed as a bookkeeper by shopowner Max Salzman.
The sequence of events in the Pitts' lives is unclear over the next fifteen years. Eva Pitts passed away around 1905, according to information written on the back of one of the photographs, but, James married Ella Foley on April 6, 1904, indicated another source. It is unlikely that these dates are both correct, as Pitts remained on close terms with Henry Fountain Ashurst the rest of his life. Thomas J. Pitts, whose mother was probably Ella, was born. By 1906, the family owned a ranch near Ash Fork. In 1912, the Pitts moved to the Salt River Valley; the Phoenix City Directory lists James' occupation as stockman. Two years later, they purchased a mercantile in Seligman and settled there. "J.A. Pitts Merchant" read the sign on the shop, which added a post office a few years later.
In September, 1918, James received a telegram from Senator Ashurst informing him that Albert Pitts was killed in action in France. Harvey became co-owner of a mercantile in Ash Fork. Thomas Pitts ultimately became an attorney in San Francisco. James' brother William, who had remained in Arizona and was working as manager of the Howard Sheep Company, died in November, 1927 near Congress Junction. In 1929, James and Ella moved to Upland, California. Ella died there in January of 1938 and was buried in Ash Fork. James passed away in August, 1960.
For related material, see the James A. Pitts manuscript collection, MS #15.
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Northern Arizona University
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